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How to make your own face shield at home

If you're ready to ditch the bandanna, you probably have everything you need at home to make this other helpful protective gear

ST. LOUIS — Many front line workers have relied on face shields to keep themselves safe. So, as more of us begin leaving the house, what if you want one for yourself or a family member?

“It’s easier to breathe through this than it is through a face mask,” said Carol Wilbois, modeling a homemade face shield she put together using containers from her own kitchen and supplies she picked up at the dollar store.

“You see in the grocery stores, you see women that are checking you out behind a plastic shield. This is a plastic shield that you can easily make,” she said.

Wilbois said she’s not at all worried about looking silly.

“Actually, people stop me at the store and take pictures and they want to go home and make one, and they’re very interested in seeing this,” she said. “So this is my hope, that more people will make these to keep everyone and themselves, as well, safe.”

And according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, these shields can be a useful tool in preventing COVID-19 from spreading in the community. Experts are still divided on if they’re technically preferred to a properly used cloth mask, but these shields can do a better job at protecting your face from disease-carrying droplets and particles. Along with being more durable and easily cleaned, Wilbois said they are more comfortable and easier to wear.

As a former nurse, she wanted to do what she could to help hospital workers while PPE shortages were a major concern.

“I took my idea to the local hospital and they put it through the laboratory and it went through multiple checks and they said it was a great idea and they wanted 50, but by the time we started making them they received their supplies,” she said. “We were ready.”   

So instead, she wanted to share the idea with anyone who would listen. Wilbois and her daughter posted a video detailing how to make the shields on Facebook.

“I get very upset when I see people walking around in the store, going down an aisle without a mask and they’re definitely not 6 feet away from the person they’re passing, that makes me very sad,” she said. “So, this is a simple item you can make from what you might have lying around the house.”

Here’s what you need:

  • Clear plastic container that holds at least 10 cups. It can be a recycled or new, as long as it’s sturdy, at least 5.5 inches deep, 9 to 11 inches long, and 7 inches or more wide. It’s best to put the container on to see if it “hugs” your face. (Wilbois recommended using vegetable oil or Goo Gone to remove the label and any residue if there's a sticker on the container.)
  • Magic Marker
  • Two shoe strings, or one adult shoe string cut in half
  • Heavy-duty scissors
  • Ice pick, long nail or other sharp metal object

How to put together your DIY face shield:

  1. Use the marker to draw a “U” shape on one of the narrow ends of the container. That’s where you’ll cut an opening for your neck. Cut it out using the heavy-duty scissors.
  2. Place the container over your face to mark small dots on either temple. Remove the container from your face. Carefully heat the tip of the sharp metal object over an open flame, then melt/poke each dot into a hole.
  3. String the shoe strings or other long corded material through each hole, tying a knot on the short ends inside to secure them. To wear, tie the two strings together behind your head.

Wash the mask after each wear with your usual antibacterial household cleaners.

More DIY stories to keep you safe during COVID-19: