Instructions for tinkering yourself:

Tweet from Prof. Christian Drosten on 21 March 2020: “Even in Hong Kong protective masks are in short supply. DIY-instructions.”

This instruction was developed in a project of the University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen Hospital. These homemade masks provide a filter function of 90% compared to surgical masks.

There are a lot of other possibilities

Here you can find an overview of the potential materials that have been tested in a study by Cambridge University

Many materials offer protection. Click here for an overview.

 For practical and tightness reasons, the study by Cambridge University recommends the DIY solutions with fabric such as T-shirts or pillowcases. But maybe you come up with a super smart solution for the firmer materials.


Change your mask as soon as it is wet and be sure to clean it after each use!

Here is all the information you need to put on and take off your mask correctly


1. Sewing a boil-proof cotton mask

Here and here and here you can find sewing instructions on how you can make yourself a mask from boil-proof cotton.

There are many more videos on how to sew yourself a face mask:

Here and here and here and here and here. Just have a look and see which one suits you best!

2. T-shirt or pillowcase

You can also put a T-shirt or pillowcase over your mouth and nose and tie it at the back of your head. Or use a peg, hair clip or an elastic band to fix it. As the fabric becomes damp very quickly, put on your mask only shortly before you enter a shop. When you are no longer in close contact with people, put it off again.

Galileo’s Jan Stremmel (PRO7) has found a simple, clever way to turn a T-shirt into a mask.

3. Dish towel

Always wanted to be a cowboy or a cowgirl? Fold a dish towel into a triangle and tie it over your mouth and nose! You can also fold and use it as shown in these instructions. With elastics and a few stitches you can create a great mask! Please remember: #maskonnow, before you enter a shop.

4. Scarf

Tie a scarf or a ski mask over your mouth and nose. Please note: With this option, there is less protection compared to the other homemade masks. When the fabric becomes damp, change and wash it! We recommend washing the fabric with 60 degrees after every use. Better safe than sorry!d. Sicher ist sicher!

5. Vacuum cleaner bag

In the meantime, we have moved away from recommending masks made from vacuum cleaner bags, as the material may contain substances which, when inhaled, may be harmful to human health.

IMPORTANT: The masks presented here do not comply with standard surgical face masks and only serve as an aid or as a temporary solution.

 Here you can find a great instruction on how to put on surgial masks correctly. This is also applies to your homemade masks:

When should I wear the mask?

Prof. Christian Drosten, virologist at the Charité Berlin: “You always think you protect yourself with the mask. But instead you protect others.“ Source: NDR Podcast


When you come in contact with people at a distance of less than 2 meters, for example during shopping, on the streets or at the pharmacy. So in fact all the time. But please still keep the minimum distance!


Even if you go for a walk in the forest, where you only meet very few people and wouldn’t need a mask: You are a role model and you motivate others, who still think this is kind of funny. If you have a cloth mask, rather remove it before it gets damp from your breath. Only dry masks offer protection!


In some regions of the world, e.g. In Japan and other Asian countries, the mask has become an everyday accessory and is regarded as reasonable and polite gesture. Most people wear it than not. Let’s achieve this goal here, too!


The government of Thailand recommends its citizens to always wear DIY masks, in the Czech Republic it is mandatory to wear masks in public.