DIY Face Mask with Removable Eye Shield

The face masks are still everywhere– and they are here to stay, I’m afraid. Now that there are hundreds of tutorials online and you probably have some experience in wearing masks, you know what you like to wear and what is most convenient for you.

I’m still making and wearing the mask from the tutorial I shared with you a couple of weeks ago. I’m really fast at making them now. I no longer mark the pleats, I just iron 3 pleats and I’m using 1 inch wide strips of fabric from old t-shirts for the straps. They don’t unravel and I’ve noticed they withstand high degree washing very well.

This is my sequence of operations for a fast face mask, the lazy version - if you like. It takes me 5 minutes. The video is double the speed so you have 2.5 min watch time:

1. Cut 2 squares of 8 by 8 inch.

cut square 8x8

2. Iron a hem of 1 inch at the bottom side and 3 pleats on both fabric pieces.

3 pleats on both fabric

3. Position the straps in the 4 corners.

position straps in 4 corners

4. Make a sandwich and pin together, securing the straps and pleats.

make sandwich and pin together

5. Sew down 3 sides, leave the bottom open.

6. Cut the threads and edges, or trim with pinking shears.

7. Turn inside out.

I‘ve made a lot of masks in the past few weeks (I’m not counting any more), and I haven’t bought any material yet. YAY! Scrap busting for weeks now and still no need to go to the store.. Yes - blushing - I have a big stash… :-).

We’ve noticed an increased interest in face masks with an eye shield. I don’t know if this is more effective, but it can’t do any harm, right? I did some tests, and came up with this easy solution to add an eye shield to your diy face mask.

You just need some transparent plastic and hook and loop tape (velcro!). If you want, you can also sew the plastic shield in the top seam– but I don’t think washing the plastic along with your mask in a washing machine is a good idea. So, I decided to make a removable eye shield. I didn’t add bias tape to the edges of the shield because I like it to be more ‘invisible’. The only downside is, it’s not so visible in pictures either. Not an advantage for a tutorial :-) .

You can wash this eye shield with soap or detergent and throw your cloth mask in the laundry.

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Just as you should realize that a face mask is not a guarantee to protect you against viruses, adding an extra eye shield isn’t a guarantee either. It is up to you to decide whether you want this extra protection or not. If you aren’t sure, seek professional advice in your community.

You can find my old detailed face mask tutorial here:

For the transparent plastic, I used "laser transparency film”– the transparent sheets I used to use for presentations a couple of decades ago. (Yes, I know, I don’t throw away things easily :-)). If you’re looking online, search for "clear binding covers” or “acetate sheets”. It’s important that the material is flexible and as clear as crystal.

Cut a rectangle of 3.5 inch high and adapt the width to your own face mask’s width. Mine is between 7 and 7.5 inches wide. Don’t use your fabric scissors to cut the plastic!

Stick the soft side of some velcro tape (hook and loop tape) or 4 velcro buttons onto the inside of your mask. The rough side (the one with the loops) goes onto the edge of the transparent plastic. My velcro buttons have an adhesive backing which makes it easy to position them. I prefer to stitch them down anyway, especially on the mask. I don’t trust that the glue will withstand the several high temperature washes the mask will have to endure. Just sew a little cross on each button.

And that is all there is to it. Just like with glasses, the shield can sometimes get foggy. Washing the screen with soap should reduce the fog a little bit.

And if you want you can trim the corners of the shield a bit to get round edges.

I wish you all a very nice day, lots of energy to live in these weird times, and I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe!

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