A cute girl in a turquoise face mask.
Courtesy Cat Bowen
For Your DIY Face Masks For Kids, Shoelaces Might Be The Trick

by Cat Bowen

The tides are changing, and now Americans are expected to wear masks in public at all times. That's easy enough for grownups, as there are myriad tutorials available as well as shops selling masks for us, but not as simple for children. Luckily, there are plenty of DIY cloth face masks for kids that are not only simple, but can be quite cute as well.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shifted its guidelines on masks, and now suggests that everyone over the age of 2 should wear a mask or face covering in public in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The CDC noted that there should be multiple layers of fabric, it should be secured around the ears with elastics or tied behind the head, it should allow for breathing without restriction, and should be able to be laundered without changing shape. If you're handy with sewing, they are apparently very simple to sew, and many blogs like See Kate Sew have simple, free patterns and tutorials available that can be stitched by hand or by machine.

If, like me, you cannot sew to save your life, then you need something simpler, something that does not require a sewing machine. YouTuber CookCraftCake has a tutorial that includes a HEPA filter. If that's still a little tricky for you, worry not — if there's a problem, there's a Hanks solution for it. And it's dead simple. You just have to make sure the handkerchief is smaller, about 16 by 16 inches.

Now, after approximately 80 attempts at this, I can tell you that the hair ties pull on your kids' ears, folding them in half, and sliding off. This is fixed by looping one or two shoelaces through the hair ties, and tying them in the back of the head or loop the elastics over either side of a ponytail.

However, if you can sew, even hand sew, I would argue that it is a much better solution, because the hair ties on little ears are really a not fantastic work around. The New York Times featured an article noting that the fabric you use should be dense, but breathable, like 600-thread count cotton sheets. The article reported that if you hold it up to the light, you should not see much coming through. For the DIY face masks for kids that I attempted, I used a cotton button-down of my husband's that he doesn't wear any longer. It is soft to the touch, but really durable.

I plan on hand sewing (the best that I can) the no-sew mask into an actual mask for my daughter with real elastic. It feels like a much sturdier idea. The no-sew options are at best a stopgap. I'm also ordering a ton off of Etsy, because I know my limits.