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How to Make a Face Mask with a Bandana, According to the CDC

And a handful of great options to get you started.

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Bandanas are endlessly useful. For a spill, for a sneeze, for the sweat off your brow, a bandana should be an essential part of your everyday carry. And in light of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s downright vital if you’re going outside.

According to the Center for Disease Control Prevention (CDC), the novel coronavirus is mainly transmitted from person-to-person contact through moisture droplets emitted from an infected person (i.e., coughing, sneezing and even just breathing). The safest way to prevent COVID-19, the disease which develops from the novel coronavirus, is to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching your face where the virus can be easily contracted through your mouth, nose and eyes, and practice social distancing by maintaining a distance of at least six feet from any other person.

However, the CDC now also recommends that all people wear some kind of cloth masks whenever venturing out into the public.

That’s because people who show no symptoms of COVID-19 can still transmit the disease unknowingly. It takes a few days after a person has contracted the novel coronavirus before they display symptoms. This is when people are pre-symptomatic. Many people have contracted the disease show no symptoms at all and are known as asymptomatic. Both pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic people are still capable of spreading the disease.

While cloth face coverings such as scarves, t-shirts and bandanas wouldn’t pass healthcare standards, they have been shown to provide some protection. And, it’s easy enough to make a face mask without any sewing involved. Using just a bandana and two elastic bands (or rubber bands), you can protect yourself and anyone around you.

No-Sew Method


  • 1 bandana
  • 2 Hair ties (or rubber bands)
  • Step 1: Place the fabric face down.

    Step 2: Fold the top and bottom edges to the center of the fabric.

    Step 3: Once more, fold the top and bottom edges to the center of the fabric.

    Step 4: Thread the fabric through each hair tie until the ties are about face-width apart.

    Step 5: Fold the left and right edges of the fabric toward the center.

    Step 6: Adjust to fit.

    Start Here

    Paisley Bandana by Carolina Mfg. $4

    Paisley Bandana by Sunny Day Supplies $4

    Paisley Bandana by Genluna $12 (12 Pack)

    Rotary bandana by Left Field NYC $10

    Washed Cotton Bandana by Madewell $13

    Bandana 3 Pack by Tellason $54 $19 (3 pack)

    Two Tone Custom-Dyed Bandana by Kiriko $36

    Bell Print Bandana by Iron Heart $35

    Black Printed Cotton Bandana by Kapital $35

    Carpenters Bandana by Filson $45

    Gryhpn Rope Bandana by Indigofera $46

    Bandana Night Camo by Maharishi $65

    Trade Post bandana by RRL $125

    The CDC updates its guidelines and recommendations on masks regularly. To read the latest guidelines, click here.

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