To comply with the new government advice many of us are wearing face masks to protect each other from coronavirus when we are out in the community. While there are lots of different mask types, the government advises: 

“A cloth face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably. It can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head.”  

We have had some wonderful stories of mask-making success. Madeleine one of our brilliant Oxfam Shop Managers found a fantastic way to support our NHS by setting up a hub making masks and scrubs; for her 2.6 challenge, BBC’s Katya completed the incredible task of making 26 face masks out of sustainable clothing to raise money for Oxfam’s coronavirus appeal. 

Now our brilliant volunteers at the  Oxfam Bideford  shop show us their own DIY face masks from unsaleable Oxfam sale T-shirts! 

Here are 6 easy steps to making your own face mask from an old T-shirt – no sewing required and each T-shirt makes 2 face masks which can be adjusted to fit you. 

You will need: 

  • an old T-shirt that you do not want anymore  
  • 2 x elastic hair bands 
  • pencil 
  • scissors

1: Measure out a 15×15” square. 

2. Using scissors, cut the square out (through front and back of the T-shirt at the same time), giving you two squares. Each square makes one face mask so you only need one square. 

3. Fold two opposite corners of the square together, to create a triangle.

4. Fold the triangle into thirds by folding the top point into the centre and then fold that same side to line up with the bottom.

5. Roll the ends around your hair bands by placing a band over the corner and rolling the fabric around one side of the band as pictured. Make sure it’s not too loose otherwise it will unroll and not too tight otherwise it’ll get bunched up. You can always roll and unroll later to adjust it to your face. Make sure you end up with the loop on the outside.

6. Do the same to the other side. Then loop the bands around your ears and adjust as needed. 

Nur’s story 

Credit: Fabeha Monir/Oxfam Nur inside her house wearing a mask to protect her community from Covid-19 Rohingya Refugee Camp, Cox’s Bazar, Banglaesh

“I have lived in this refugee camp for almost three years.  There are many challenges we are facing including hot weather. It’s tough to live inside these tents. The water crisis is still here.” 

“I know about the Coronavirus. I heard that we have to clean hands often with soap. Then we have to dry our hands. We have to do it to prevent the disease. We are not afraid. We know how to wash hands, how to be safe. We heard from volunteers, they told us. We have to dry our hands and stay clean to stay away from the disease” 

In Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, where over 855,000 Rohingya are living in extremely overcrowded conditions, Oxfam is working hard to stop the outbreak. We are providing vital support like handwashing facilities, clean water, toilets and soap in the most vulnerable communities. 

Work like this has helped contain deadly disease outbreaks such as Ebola and cholera – and it will protect people against this virus. Globally, we are hoping to reach over 17 million people with hygiene kits, access to clean water, soap and food assistance. 

We urgently need your help to support our response to the coronavirus pandemic. Please give what you can today. 


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