DIY Reusable Face Masks

04.27.20

0600

Materials:

  • Paper- Graph paper might be easier to follow the grid system
  • Pencil- If you plan on sketching out the templates
  • Fabric Crayon- If you plan to sketch the templates on dark fabric
  • Ink pen- For tracing the templates onto the fabric pieces
  • Ruler (Centimetres)
  • Fabric
  • Elastic bands/ribbon/surge fabric together to create straps to tie around head

Tools:

  • Sewing Machine
  • Sewing Kit

So I’ve been seeing a lot of YouTube videos, blog posts and Instagram posts of DIY reusable face masks recently. I wanted to try to figure out how to design a face mask that anyone could make and use.

However, I didn’t want my readers to have to print out a template if you were not able to. I wanted to teach my readers how to be able to build your own template. Not everyone has access to a printer, printer paper or even printer ink right now, so that was my overall goal for this blog post.

So I decided to design my own templates, but I wanted to give you guys the measurements as well as the templates. The following 6 images are of the designs I created (they are in JPEG format). You can download them or use the measurements and create them yourselves. These were all drawn on 8.5″ x 11″ sheets, or 21.59cm x 27.94cm sheets. The light, dashed lines, around the bold black boarder on each image, is the edge of the paper. I decided to create these drawings in centimetres since the metric system is more universal. The fabric filter insert templates are not a guarantee of protection from any virus, but it will give you an extra layer of fabric, along with the mask.

I had drawn out the first templates, so what you’re looking at (below) was my own first round of the templates. I cleaned up the design for the downloadable images for you guys.

First decide which fabric will be the exterior layer of your mask, then decide which fabric will be your interior layer of your mask. After that, you can choose a fabric to be your filter layer. I tend to chose a lighter color for my filter layer, so it stands out from the rest of the mask. For my fabric filter inserts, I used whatever leftover fabric I had.

I decided to show you how I created the child sized reusable face masks and reusable filter inserts in this blog post. The same steps are used to make the adult fabric masks and adult filter inserts.

REUSABLE FABRIC FACE MASKS:

First I cut out fabric pieces for each of my masks. There are two fabric pieces for each of those six cutouts in the next photo. I chose my exterior layer fabric and interior layer fabric and I then traced the child mask template onto each set of fabric piles. I didn’t trace the templates onto each fabric piece, since I like to cut my fabric, two at a time.

I cut up the fabric I chose for my filter layer for each mask, and then I traced the child filter templates onto the fabric pieces.

Once I traced all of my templates onto the correct fabric piles, I pinned the fabric piles together and cut out each set accordingly.

For each pile of the filter layers, I placed each set with the ugly side facing up, so I could hem the edges. I simply folded over the edges, pinned them in place and then sewed them together. I used a back stitch so I could secure the ends of the sew lines. I used a zigzag stitch throughout this whole project.

So each set of fabrics for each mask will include, two exterior pieces, two interior pieces, two filter layer pieces. I had already cut out my ear straps, which were 12cm each. But I wil elaborate on the ear straps later on.

Now you have to sew each set of fabric layers together. For each set of fabrics (ugly side facing outwards), sew along the arch edge, from one end to the other.

Now we have to line up each fabric pieces to get ready to be assembled. First, interior layer (ugly side down), then on top of that is the filter layer (ugly side down), and lastly, the exterior layer (ugly side up). Pin together the stack so they wont move during the sewing process, and sew along the top and bottom of the mask. Trim the excess thread on the ends of each sew line.

Flip the face mask inside out, between the filter layer and the exterior layer.

Once you flip the mask inside out, you should be looking at the pretty side of the exterior fabric on one side of the mask, and then the pretty side of the filter layer fabric on the other side of the mask.

I folded in the sides of the mask so I could pin the fabric together. You can also iron the folded sides too, so there is a clean and crisp edge. I just needed the edges to build their shape until I added on the ear straps.

I actually cut out straps, about 12cm in length. In order to test the fitting of the straps, I actually pined the straps in between the exterior layer and the interior layer, on the side. The pins are pushing from the interior layer, outwards. If you want to use this method to test the fitting of the ear straps, please be very careful when trying on the mask.

If you don’t have elastic bands, you can quickly sew long pieces of fabric together and use the long pieces as ties, to tie around the user’s head. I used four pieces of fabric that were 72cm in length and made my straps 4cm wide, for one mask. Technically, you probably only need each strap to be 25cm in length, as long as it can be tied around a large adult head with enough extra slack for an extra knot. Each strap will be sewn to each corner of the mask.

I cut out each strap, folded them into thirds and then used only two pins to secure one beginning end of the strap together. I didn’t pin down the whole strap, because with a fabric this small, it’s quicker to sew and fold simultaneously, as the fabric is passing underneath the presser foot of the machine. The machine will feed the fabric under the pressure foot, so just hold the folded fabric steady and taut.

I also created a back stitch at the beginning and end of the strap to secure the sew line.

Once you decide if you want to use elastic bands or sew your custom straps together, you can tuck the ends of the straps between the exterior layer and interior layer, and sew the edge of the mask together.

Using my ink pen, I drew tiny triangles on the top straps of each mask to indicate the top verses the bottom of the masks.

REUSABLE FABRIC FILTER INSERTS:

Using my templates, I cut out fabric pieces for both my adult template as well as my child template. For each template, there are two fabric pieces per set. I then pinned them together, so they wouldn’t move when I had to sew them together.

With the ugly side of the fabric facing outwards, I cut out filter insert pieces and then sewed them together. I sewed in one direction, around the edge of the mask, but left one side open. This opened side will be the location of where the filter insert needs to be flipped from the inside to the outside. I used the back stitch lever to secure the sew line, as always. I then trimmed the extra thread.

I flipped the filter insert, inside to outside and using a chopstick (you can use a slim stick), I made sure all of the corners and edges were fully stretched out from the inside.

I then ironed all of the fabric inserts I had sewn and then tucked in the open end to pin the fabric closed. I then hand sewed that edge of the filter, using a running stitch.

So there you have it. My templates are available for anyone to download and you can make as many as you like. Please keep in mind that these masks are not a guarantee against any type of virus, but they will help protect you from other people’s exposure to you. There are a lot of fabric mask tutorials on social media right now, and I hope you can find one that you prefer to use and make. I hope this blog post helps anyone it can reach.

PLEASE STAY SAFE AND HEALTHY EVERYONE AND I HOPE TO SEE YOU GUYS SOON!

☁️

Rollup Christmas Tree

11.28.2017

0600

Materials:

  • 8 baseboards at 28″ long
  • 15 pieces of 12″ long thin twine rope
  • Extra: Matches to melt the ends of the twine together so it doesn’t come apart over time)

Tools:

  • Miter Saw
  • Drill & Drill Bits (Need 1/8″ drill bit for all holes)

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  • Measure each base board at appropriate length
  • Organize each baseboard to it’s general location on the tree formation and mark the corners of where you plan to make the 45° cuts. I made my marks for my 45° cuts on the bottom edges of my baseboard pieces so my baseboard lengths would stay consistent.
  • Using a Miter Saw, take each baseboard and cut each end of each baseboard at 45°
  • Starting with the top of the tree, mark off each of the holes for each piece.

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  • Drill each hole to create openings
  • Using the twine pieces, start tying the pieces together. To keep each space consistent, I tied the knots towards the end of the rope and the same amount of twine end to melt later.

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It’s a simple tree where the clean up is just rolling up the tree.  When I put up the Christmas lights, I simple wrap them around the edges of the pieces. I usually go in one direction so that the lines are more evenly spaced. Same as my blog post Minimalist Christmas Tree, I hang my ornaments off of the lights. For the more fragile ornaments, I hang them from paperclips and then hang them from the cord.

This was created as an option to not use push pins on the wall, but it was an interesting take on a holiday tree as well. Give it a try if you’re interested, and you can even change out the material I used too.

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Zero Waste Hallowen

10.24.2017

0600

Growing up Halloween has always been representative of dressing up and going out at night to trick-or-treat. As a kid, Halloween was a fun holiday for me because if all the free candy we would receive as we went out at night to go trick-or-treating. I didn’t grow up with much candy in my household so Halloween also meant that I would get to stock up on a large amount but I also had to ration my favorite candy pieces to last for awhile.

When I moved towards a zero waste lifestyle this holiday became slightly tricky. A lot of the joy I experienced came with the inevitable result of producing trash. All of the small wrappers of the individually wrapped candy pieces added up to a lot of trash. I wanted to figure out how to celebrate this holiday but still practice my zero waste lifestyle.

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There are three areas of each holiday I like to tackle: decorations, food and entertainment. For Halloween, you can decorate your spaces using

  • Reusable fall and Halloween decorations which you can pull out each year
  • Use dried leaves from trees in a bowl or a jar. I usually string rope across areas of rooms and I’ll hang  up the leaves using clothespins.
  • Use fresh fruit or vegetables as edible decor such as pumpkins and then once the holiday is over, you can even make delicious dishes using thm
  • You can arrange twigs and fall leaves in a vase
  • You can tie pieces of sticks together and create a wreath to decorate with colorful leaves
  • Any decoration that is compostable or reusable is a great option

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Food options can vary due to location, seasonal fruits and vegetables available.

  • Look for seasonal fruits and vegetable to make dishes with
    • Some seasonal vegetables to keep an eye out for:  pumpkins, winter squash, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, sweet potatoes
    • Some seasonal fruit to look for: cranberries, apples, pomegranates, and grapes
    • Search for recipes available on the internet for this seasonal favorite. Websites such as YouTube , Pinterest , All RecipesFood Network, Better Homes and Gardens and Taste of Home. If you’re anything like me, my searches always start with “simple” in front of my topic because I tend to lean towards simple ingredients and fewer steps when making dishes.
  • Bulk candy is also a great way to sneak in sweets during this holiday. A lot of bulk candy locations have a variety of options from chocolates to sour candies. The grocery stores I frequent have these options but my local movie theater has the name brand candy in bulk, that I love to eat as well.

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For Trick-Or-Treaters, consider handing out non-candy options. I’m still a big believer in feeding a child’s creativity so some of these items on the list are geared more towards art than just toys. During this season, children are usually in school, so if you hand out items they can use during school, it’ll also benefit the children. Here are some options other than candy, that you can hand out:

  • Crayons
  • Bouncy Balls
  • Play Doh
  • Coloring books
  • Mini notepads
  • Halloween Pencils
  • Mini slinkies
  • Bookmarks Pencils
  • Halloween Erasers
  • Hand out mini packets of herb seeds
  • Loose change such as dimes and quarters
  • Decks of playing cards
  • Compostable packaged snacks (crackers, raisins, pretzels, etc.)

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Entertainment can vary depending on what you have planned during Halloween.

  • Costumes
    • Check out costume rental stores, they always have a lot of variety and sizes to choose from, but remember to to check the stores early so there are more options available
    • Check out thrift stores for options of clothing to create your costume from
    • For families, check if you can swap costumes with neighbors, classmates or friends. You can even set up a costume swap meet if that helps get the word out.
    • Borrow clothes and items from friends, family or neighbors to see if you can assemble your costume and look of your character
  • Movies
  • Karaoke
  • Board Games or Card Games

Check out these other blog posts from some other Eco-Sustainable Bloggers:

I hope this list is helpful in creating a zero waste Halloween. If you choose to adopt only one of these ideas, you’re still helping the environment by creating less waste. It’s a step away from the standard Halloween traditions but it’s a more environmentally friendly outline for this holiday. Have a great Halloween!

Handmade Handkerchiefs

10.03.2017

0600

Materials:

  • A few shirts (I used collar shirts for the fact that I like this material and these were extra shirts I found)

Tools:

  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing Kit

 

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So there was a recent heat wave that spread through California, and it was HOT. I only had two handkerchiefs and those were being used up fast. I knew I needed more. Although I could have bought a set of twelve for about $5.00. I thought making my own would be more fun.

I found some old collar shirts, that had never been worn (and would never be worn) to make into handkerchiefs. Since these shirts were dress shirts with a tight thread weave, I knew these would be durable over time and the material was still 100% cotton.

I had no idea how many handkerchiefs I would produce from these three shirts so I was curious about the end product. Most handkerchiefs are square shaped and I knew these would vary in size, so I kept that in mind. My current handkerchiefs were 10″ x 10″.

First I took apart each shirt. this meant I had to tediously unravel each thread that made up these shirts. This took awhile to do since certain parts of the shirts had double layers. I also needed to be able to look at each piece of each fabric that made up these shirts. I needed to be able to size up my handkerchief template accordingly.

 

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Once I took apart all of the fabric pieces that made up my shirts, I started to map out 10″x10″ sections on the fabric. There were pieces that I knew I could not use, such as the cuffs and collar of the shirts. For these pieces, I put them aside for future projects. Parts of the shirts such as the Yoke, would have to be sewn together to create enough surface area for a handkerchief.

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Due to the shape of each piece of fabric, I wasn’t able to make perfect 10″x10″ squares. Instead, the shape of the fabric pieces gave me some very unique shapes to use for handkerchiefs. Who said a handkerchief had to be a perfect square anyway?

For each piece of handkerchief, I hemmed the edges by first folding in the edges in to create a margin of 1/4″ and pinning them down with sewing pins. From there, I simply sewed the edges down and tied off the leftover thread.

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From the three collar shirts, I originally started out with, I was able to make a total of 47 handkerchiefs. The breakdown is:

  • six – 9″x10″
  • six – 11″x11″
  • twelve – 10″x12″
  • six – 9″x12″
  • twelve – 10″x18″ (used for cloth napkins)
  • five – 8″x10″

Because the result of the shirts varied in size and shape, I decided to use the twelve 10″x12″ for napkins instead of  handkerchiefs (Luckily I ended up with twelve in this size).

This was a fun upcycling project that took me longer than expected. Taking apart the shirts was the most time consuming, but it was well worth it in the end. Handkerchiefs don’t need to be perfect squares, but preferably 100% cotton. I hope this post inspires you to give it a try to making your own handkerchiefs as well. I’ve learned that although carrying around a handkerchief is an old tradition and I personally don’t see it practiced too often where I live, having one handy can be a lifesaver. Sometimes I’ll use it as a napkin when I don’t have my reusable cloth napkin available. And sometimes, when a stranger needs a kleenex, I’ll give my handkerchief for them to use. I have so many that I can give it away as well. It’s a gesture out of love and caring for humanity.

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Tank Top Bags

09.12.2017

0600

Materials:

  • Two Tank Tops
  • Sewing Kit

Tools:

  • Sewing Machine

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This hack has been published before, but I made these years ago and I thought I would share it. Depending on the type of material the tank tops are made out of, the bags may be better used for carrying smaller and lighter items. These tank top bags stretch well, so a lot of items can fit into these bags.

First I turned the tank tops inside out and hemmed the bottom of the tank tops. I pinned the hemmed edge using sewing pins and tied off the thread ends.

I turned the tank tops inside out and that’s about it. Using the straps of the tank tops as the handles, the tank tops become small bags.
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These are really simple and quick solutions if you have extra tank tops or shirts that you may not want to get rid of. For t-shirts, just remove the sleeves, and hem the existing openings of the shirts and you can use the collar opening to fill up the t-shirt bags. You can always repurpose items into useful items. Living a zero waste life doesn’t necessarily mean to live with only glass or aluminum items, it also means to repurpose items so that you won’t purchase unnecessary items as well. Considering where materials are foraged for the products we use, and how much clothing is donated each year, sometimes repurposing clothing just seems to fit better for some memorable pieces. It’s the reason why I tend to repurpose clothing items when I can.

For the clothing items that mean more to you than others, consider making it part of a quilt or a bag or even a pillow cover. You’ll be able to hold onto the items, and they will also serve another purpose as its initial purpose may have expired.

Fact:

In less than 20 years, the volume of clothing Americans toss each year has doubled from 7 million to 14 million tons, or an astounding 80 pounds per person. The EPA estimates that diverting all of those often-toxic trashed textiles into a recycling program would be the environmental equivalent of taking 7.3 million cars and their carbon dioxide emissions off the road. Trashing the clothes is also a huge waste of money. Nationwide, a municipality pays $45 per ton of waste sent to a landfill.

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DIY Simple Face Exfoliant And Facial Mask

06.01.2016

0600

Materials:

  • 1 Lemon
  • Raw Honey
  • Sea Salt

Tools:

  • Small bowl for mixing

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So this is a Personal Face Exfoliant recipe that I use. It is a simple recipe and it only involves three ingredients. I like to use organic ingredients and it helps that I already own these ingredients in my kitchen cupboards.

Lemons are antibacterial, so they help treat acne. They are also rich in Vitamin C and citric acid, which can help brighten your skin when used over time.

Honey is naturally antibacterial, so it’s great for acne treatment and prevention. It’s also full of antioxidants, so it is great for slowing down aging. Honey is extremely moisturizing and soothing, so it helps create a glow.

By adding the sea salt, the mix becomes an exfoliant and without it, then the recipe can be a mask for your face. Either way, it’s a great and simple treatment for your skin… Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 Lemon
1 Tbsp of Sea Salt
2 Tbsp of Raw Organic Honey

Steps:

  1. Mix ½ lemon juice + 2 tbsp Raw organic honey + 2 tbsp sea salt
  2. Rinse off face with warm water and then pat down dry
  3. Apply mixture all over face and leave on for 20 minutes
  4. Rinse face off with warm water

Reuse Items

02.01.2016

0800

I’m located in Northern California and recently we’ve had some rain. It’s good situation, in fact it’s a great situation. Our seasons have been delayed in the past decade that we’re always thankful that we can replenish our water supply when the opportunity arises.

However, this situation also brings other issues to the area such as floods, landslides and residential water damage. There are five rain gutter spouts attached to my home and one of them releases water a little too close to the exterior structure of the house. There are splash blocks that are sold to be placed beneath the downspout elbow, which helps to disperse water away from the foundation. But I also don’t like to go out to buy new items if I can make it at home.

So my solution was to take an old metal paint roll pan and cut two slits on the wide-sided end, and about six inches apart. This section cut would create the gap where the water could exit the pan. I hammered the new piece of metal down and then slipped it under the spout.

Here was my solution:

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For those of you who may have the same issue, I hope this post helps.