WNY STEM Hub is unable to directly supply DIY masks to individuals. Our purpose is to mobilize and inform DIY makers regarding medical facilities accepting homemade donations of masks and shields. Individuals wishing to use our posted resources to make masks for personal use are encouraged to do so.

Local Volunteer Makers Needed to Make Face Masks and Personal Hygiene Supplies

UPDATED April 6, 2020

In this difficult time, sewer and makers are coming to the rescue!

Globally, hand-sewn face masks are being produced by volunteer makers with sewing machines for some hospitals and clinics as a supplement to the flow of government-grade supplies.  Other makes are helping out my handmaking and donating personal hygiene supplies.

WNY STEM Hub is listed as a coordinating contact with the Erie County Department of Homeland Security and the Niagara County Health Department Emergency Preparedness Division. As requests from hospitals and providers are received for donations of homemade face masks or face shields, we will be notified and will share those announcements via this website and through WNY STEM Hub social media.

How you can help: 

1)  Share this message with anyone who is willing to help make masks for medical or personal use. Individuals in essential jobs or those eventually returning to work may want to equip themselves with these masks.

2)  If you are aware of any medical facility needing masks, please notify us at info@wnystem.org.

3)  If you know of a medical facility needing face shields, we can mobilize makers with a 3-D printing machine and match that need. Notify us at info@wnystem.org.

4) Learn how to make a personal use facemask without a sewing machine.  Read our blog “Making Face Masks with No Sewing Machine

Directions and Resources for Sewers and Makers

  • To sew a facemask, use 100% cotton material, two-ply is best. Note that used facemasks can be sterilized in boiling water for 30 minutes, air-dried and reused.
 
  • For step-by-step instructions to make a cotton facemask, watch this video provided by the Deaconess Hospital System: https://youtu.be/9tBg0Os5FWQ.
    • *Some local medical staff suggest that the pattern provided in the YouTube video can be enhanced by using two different colors or patterns so that staff can tell which side is inside vs outside when they take the mask off.
 
  • This is a public service to mobilize our community of makers in WNY.  Please be aware that careful fabrication should produce masks that are CDC compliant. However, WNY STEM Hub does not assume responsibility for donated products that fail to meet n95 standards.
  • For those unable to locate ¼” elastic bands, Aurora Sewing Center in East Aurora and Williamsville has elastic as well as fabric. Safe pick up and orders can be arranged by calling 716-652-2811.  Visit their website www.aurorasewingcenter.com and check their Facebook Page for live education in support of this project.
  • For those needing 100% cotton, a fabric donation of 300 misprinted t-shirts was made by Canisius High School. To arrange a safe pickup, contact mkavanaugh@wnystem.org
  • As suggested by volunteer makers, options to the elastic band when supplies are limited:
    • Modify for round vs flat elastic or different size elastic.
    • Substitute with stretchy ribbon, shoelaces or bungee straps used on swimming goggles. Some medical staff prefers ties to elastic.
    • Check local drug store or dollar store shelves for elastic hair bands.
    • Use t-shirt bands
 

WNY STEM Hub is unable to directly supply DIY masks to individuals. Our purpose is to mobilize and inform DIY makers regarding medical facilities accepting homemade donations of masks and shields. Individuals wishing to use our posted resources to make masks for personal use are encouraged to do so.

This is a public service to mobilize our community of makers in WNY.  Please be aware that careful fabrication should produce masks that are CDC compliant. However, WNY STEM Hub does not assume responsibility for donated products that fail to meet n95 standards.

 CDC Information:

The CDC website indicates the following concerning the use of homemade face masks in a crisis situation:

HCP Health Care Professionals (HCP) use of homemade masks:
In settings where facemasks are not available, HCP might use homemade masks (e.g., bandana, scarf) for the care of patients with COVID-19 as a last resort. However, homemade masks are not considered PPE, since their capability to protect HCP is unknown. Caution should be exercised when considering this option. Homemade masks should ideally be used in combination with a face shield that covers the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face.

Follow WNY STEM Hub:
Volunteer Makers Needed to Make Face Masks