Masks can be an extra layer of protection from COVID-19 when you are around other people. A mask should cover both your nose and mouth to be effective.

Last updated: 19 August 2020

Babies and children under 2 years old should not wear masks as they are a choking hazard. Even when wearing a mask:

  • you still need to try to keep 1.5m from others
  • wash your hands regularly
  • stay home if you’re sick.

If you’d like, you can even make your own. Here are some instructions on making a mask at home.

You will need

Section Quantity [1] Material type Example materials
Outer layer 1 piece (25 cm x 16 cm for women or 20cm for men) Water-resistant fabric (polyester / polypropylene)
  1. reusable supermarket carry- bags (not plastic)
  2. exercise clothing
Middle layer 1 piece (25 cm x 16 ​cm for women or 20cm for men)
Fabric blends
(cotton or polycotton)
  1. cotton sheets
  2. quilting fabric
  3. t-shirt
Inner layer 1 piece (25 cm x 16 cm for women or 20cm for men)
Fabric blends
(cotton or polycotton)
  1. cotton sheets
  2. quilting fabric
  3. t-shirt
Ear loops 2 pieces (20 cm each) Elastic or string or cloth strips
  1. t-shirt
  2. shoelaces
  1. Material dimensions are the right size for an average adult.


Make sure that all materials are intact and have not worn too thin or have holes in them.

Check the item’s label or tag to confirm the type of material.

For more information and the latest advice, please visit If you are unwell, get tested. Call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.


  1. Cut out the outer layer, middle layer and inner layer pieces (see above for dimensions and material to use).
    Place the outer layer on the bottom, the middle layer in the middle, and the inner layer on top.
  2. With the inner layer facing up, fold over 1 cm of the three pieces of material for the top and bottom edges and stitch at the borders (see red dotted lines).
  3. With the inner layer facing up, fold over 1.5 cm of material for the side edges and stitch (see red dotted lines).
  4. Thread a 20 cm piece of elastic, string or cloth strip through the wider edge on each side. Use a safety pin or large needle to thread it through.
  5. Knot the ends tightly or stitch them together.
  6. Put on the mask with the outer layer facing away from your face. Adjust the mask to make sure it fits tightly over your nose and mouth. While wearing and removing the mask, do not touch the outer layer. Wash your hands before putting your mask on and after taking it off.

Based on advice from the Infection Control Expert Group Department of Health - Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Are cloth face masks likely to provide protection against COVID-19?​​​​​

Current as at: Wednesday 19 August 2020
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW