No mask? Make one of your own!
No mask? Make one of your own! Jens Schlueter / Getty Images

According to today's recommendation from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), all Americans should wear a protective face mask when going out in public. From the New York Times:
Wearing masks everywhere, including in places where cases of the virus have not already spiked, could help slow the rate of infection significantly, some C.D.C. officials believe.

While wearing a mask is no replacement for social distancing, at this point, every little thing we do helps, right? BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CURRENT LACK OF MASKS IN AMERICA? Shouldn't they be reserved for our frontline workers and medical professionals? YES, THEY SHOULD. Which is why it's up to all of us to do what we can... and if we can? LET'S MAKE OUR OWN MASKS. And better yet, make enough to donate to others who may need them!

Though your homemade mask may not offer all the protection that frontline medical workers need, they can be used to cover existing N95 surgical masks (thereby extending their usage), as well as providing protection to support staff (receptionists, cleaning crews, stockroom, etc) so that N95 masks will be saved for those who need them most. Your masks can also be used by neighbors who may not be able to secure their own.

SO, YOU WANT TO MAKE SOME MASKS? Here's how you do it:

Cascadia Behavioral Health has provided clear "Make a Mask" instructions— just use this PDF! They will also accept face masks for donation, and deliver them to those who need them most!

• Need visual directions? Try this! (OMIGOD those masks are so cute. Which isn't the point, I know, but still!)

• The fine folks at JOANN (the greatest craft/fabric chain in the nation, Michael's and Hobby Lobby can go to hell) also have a very clear tutorial.

Joann is also offering free tools and supplies via curbside pickup for your mask making project—just be sure to call your local store to see if they're open and participating.

• You can also help by making hospital gowns and scrub caps for donation. Here's a good pattern.

• Even if you can't sew, help your friends who can! After all, MANY HANDS MAKE THE WORKLOAD LIGHT. If you are able to make enough face masks to donate, email Cascadia at to arrange for delivery. According to Cascadia, "collected masks will be immediately sent to be sanitized and be prepared for use." Joann is also accepting face mask donations, so check their site and your nearest location for more info.

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UPDATE 5:18 PM: Can't sew? Here's a super clever face mask hack!