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How to Make Plastic Face Shield with Household Materials

Have you tried making your own face masks? In a time when even hospitals are running low on N95 surgical masks and face shields, it’s possibly the best option for helping to keep much-needed medical supplies in the hands of those helping at the front line.
Better yet, you can help. Hospitals and doctors are reaching out via social media to ask for much-needed help in alleviating the shortage of PPE equipment during the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and many people jumped in to help. If you are sitting in your home keeping social distance, you can join some of this amazing initiatives and help fight the shortage of face shields and/or face masks.

We though we can help our readers as well by improvising solutions and got to work. After coming up with a snug-fit face mask pattern we came up with a DIY face shield with off-the-shelf supplies that is super easy to make. After testing several different prototypes, we present you with the face shield that we developed.

Disclaimer: Use this homemade face shield as a last resort only (when there is severe shortage of equipment) as its capacity to protect is unknown.

We occasionally link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. Some of the links may be affiliate in nature meaning we earn a small commission if an item is purchased. Read full disclosure here

How to make a DIY Plastic Face Shield with Off-the-shelf Materials

Time: 15min  |  Difficulty: Easy | Expences: $ or none

Supplies and tools

This is a relatively simple project so it doesn’t require a lot of materials and tools to be completed. You need:

face shield supplies

1. Gather the materials.

1.1 Bucket

We tried to use materials most people usually have at home. Try to find a small bucket with approximately 7″ opening – I used a small paint bucket that I saved, but anything with a similar size will do.

1.2 Clear plastic sheet for the visor

Use clear plastic sheet such as those used for spiral or comb binding of books. Punch two holes in it as shown in the pattern.

2. Cut the top of the bucket

Draw a top cut line parallel to the top opening. With the lid removed, cut the top of the bucket along this line with the utility knife. Make sure the cut is clear and there are no sharp edges. Sand the cut edges smooth, if you have to.

To make the headband cut the top of the bucket in two, leaving the handle on one of the sides.

Round the corners with the utility knife so that the are no sharp edges pressing against your temples.

Carefully remove the handle from the cut part and put aside.

Measure 1 1/2″ in toward center from each of the cut edges and mark the location of the new holes. Punch a 1/8″ hole with a hole punch on each side at the marked locations.
If you don’t have a hole punch you can use a nail and a hammer to make the holes.

Snap the handle in place

Snap the handle into the new holes you’ve just made. The visor will be bonded to the handle, so the new position of the handle moves the visor further away from the forehead. This allows a better fit over larger respirators, glasses and protective goggles.

Apply the double sided tape and place the visor

Apply the double sided tape onto the handle avoiding any contact with the adhesive surface. Apply pressure to the tape using your fingers to make sure it adhered well to the handle. Carefully remove the release liner, again avoiding contact with its surface.

Bond the visor to the handle

Bond the handle to the shorter edge of the clear plastic sheet, one inch from the top edge of the sheet. Apply pressure on the bond area using your fingers. Make sure it is fixed well.

Cut two pieces of thread, each ~6 inches long. Insert the thread through one of the old handle holes and through the hole on the clear visor. Tie a knot and cut off the ends of the thread. Pull the thread until you hide the knot inside the top part of the face shield. Repeat on the other side.

Assembling the elastic band and final check

Cut a 15″ piece of the 1/4 inch elastic and use a lighter to melt the ends to prevent them from unraveling. Feed the elastic through the old handle holes, adjust the length if needed, and tie it off. Pull the elastic to make sure nothing comes undone. Round the bottom corners wither with scissors.

The face shield is now ready. Disinfect it before use.
Recommended for a single use only.

Use it with any of our DIY fabric facemasks:

Our FREE face mask patterns:

how to sew a surgical face mask

Pin for later:

Face Shield FAQ

So Who Does Need a Disposable Medical Face Shield?

What PPE do healthcare providers need to deal with COVID-19?

Help fill the shortage of personal protective equipment needed to deal with the expanding coronavirus outbreak. They need face masks and disposable plastic face shields and you can make a difference! 

We’d love to hear from you. Did you make the face shield? Do you have an idea for improvement? In case you do, please leave a comment below or drop us an email via the contact form.

Sharing is caring! If you find the tutorial useful please share with your friends on social media


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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 17 comments
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    Clark Accounting - April 7, 2020

    Awesome write up. Thank you!

    Helen - April 7, 2020

    Glad to hear that. Thank you for the comment!

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Flo - April 7, 2020

I was looking to make a face shield that can be attached to a hat for a two year old toddler, as she will not wear a mask, but she likes to wear hats.

01983629463 - April 17, 2020

Thank you for putting this online I have had a go at using a 3 ltre clear lemonade bottle for the shield Cut off top two inches and bottom two inches then slit from bottom to top, this can then be cut to size cover edges with glued bias binding and add ties, sterilise with baby steriliser before use. I would also add that if you use cloth ties and no metal strip masks could be microwaved to clean ?

Bryan J Yee - April 24, 2020

Does this face shield pivot up and out of the way so that one can eat?

    Helen - April 24, 2020

    Yes, it can pivot up.
    However it does not stay up by itself.

    Helen - April 24, 2020

    Yes, it does pivot up.
    However, it does not stay up by itself. If you need it to stay up, you would have to modify it. Maybe adding a Velcro or an elastic can help.

Bryan J Yee - April 25, 2020

Can this face shield be rotated up and out of the way to allow for drinking while keeping it on?

    Helen - April 29, 2020

    Yes it can! It rotates but is not designed to stay up by itself. I’m sure you can come up with a way to keep it up – like adding a rubber band to attach it to the side of the white plastic

Bob Allen - June 22, 2020

Nice posting. I used light foam for the backing instead of the bucket. Probably more comfort than hard plastic(1+”X1+”).

My question – I am using a shield instead of a breathing restricted mask for canoe and kayak racing. My unsubstantiated thinking is that a shield provides at least equal protection or better compared with face masks. Are there any studies for that that you are aware of?

The shield keeps the wearer’s breath from projecting; deflects contaminated air; likely limits infection level quantities of contaminated air; allows normal breathing; etc.

I know it is always the desire for anyone to protect themselves from blame from using a product, but that shouldn’t prevent CDC or commercial shield producers from testing and providing valuable information about protective value w/o also wearing a mask. Bob

    Helen - June 23, 2020

    Thanks Bob. My latest project also used a foam for the front part and it is certainly softer and a bit more comfortable.
    Generally face shields are not use as a primary respiratory protection due to the lack of good facial seal.
    I am not aware of any studies comparing the efficacy of face shields vs masks, but here are few links and quotes to help you further research the topic:

    1. CDC states here that “Face shields: Provide barrier protection to the facial area and related mucous membranes (eyes, nose, lips) and are considered an alternative to goggles. Face shields are not meant to function as primary respiratory protection and should be used concurrently with a medical mask (for droplet precautions) or a respirator (for airborne precautions) if aerosol-generating procedure is performed. They should cover the forehead, extend below the chin, and wrap around the side of the face. Face shields are available in both disposable and reusable options.”
    2. According to Shan Soe-Lin, a lecturer at Yale University in Connecticut “a plastic shield would not filter air and would just block droplets from hitting your face, especially if not worn in conjunction with a cloth face covering.”
    3. One review of “Face shields for infection control” concluded that “due to the lack of a good facial seal peripherally that can allow for aerosol penetration, face shields should not be used as solitary face/eye protection, but rather as adjunctive to other PPE,” like protective face masks and goggles in medical settings.

Braden Bills - July 15, 2020

I want to have a nice plastic face shield. It makes sense that getting a little bit of plastic sheeting would be important for this! I’ll have to see if I can get my hands on some so I can make my own face shield.

Melinda - July 21, 2020

An excellent post, thank you!

Trevor Hall - October 30, 2020

I really appreciate you trying to use products that most people will have at home or around the property. My cousin is thinking about getting a lot of medical supplies for her family. She wants to make sure they have plenty of masks to wear so they can stay safe.


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