Cricut member turns creativity to good during lockdown

30 September 2020

Like so many Cricut members, Carol West combined the cutting expertise of her Cricut Maker with the power of her sewing machine to whip up some face coverings during lockdown. We spoke to Carol to find out how she combined her creativity with her love of motorbikes to make over 5,000 face coverings for schools, care homes, GP surgeries and the local community.

Q. Hi Carol, could you tell us a little bit about how you first got started with your Cricut machine?

I’ve always loved arts and crafts. I actually used to be a classroom assistant at a Junior School and “cutting and sticking” was my speciality! So I’ve always had a bit of a creative side. As luck would have it, I came across the Cricut Maker at my local arts and crafts shop and snapped it up – it turned out to be the week of lockdown, so it was perfect timing to keep me occupied! As a passionate biker with my own Harley-Davidson motorcycle I was excited to use my Cricut machine to make vinyl stickers for my bike, iron-on patches for my jacket, and a mask to wear riding.                                                        

Q. That’s great timing. How did you get involved with making masks for others – what was your first project?

Well, it’s funny because making masks actually turned out to be my first project. Once lockdown started, the news started to come out about how to keep safe and wearing masks. I saw the mask template on Cricut Design Space, and thought it would make a good face covering to help with my other passion in life – my motorbike. So I made a pink sparkly one for myself as my first project.

Soon after this, it was being reported that there was a shortage of masks for those who needed them most. Cricut had an initiative called ‘millions of masks’ where the creative community was encouraged to use their skills to make masks where possible. I made about 100 to begin with and put a post in a local Facebook group to say I had some masks if anyone wanted any. 

The local school were making face shields, and had asked about masks, so they took my first batch and I carried on to supply them as they needed them. 

From there I just kept producing them! I joined a group on Facebook called Volunteer Riders UK who are bikers who were delivering PPE across the UK free of charge.  I joined with a view to being able to go out on my bike to do deliveries.  But someone on there said they needed masks and I said I could make them. From there it became a full time thing for nearly 4 weeks – I was able to make around 200 masks a day, one day I managed 370!

For eight hours a day, I’d sit in my designated craft corner, making masks. I ordered material online, used old bed sheets and relied on donations, too, including two bags of fabric samples from a woman who used to make curtains.

I’ve made over 5,000 now!

Q. That’s really amazing. Who did these masks go to, was it just schools?

The amazing thing about making masks is being able to help so many different people. The masks have gone to care homes, respite care, GP surgeries, community midwives, social workers.

I sent some to a cake baker who was making around 6 deliveries a day and was worried about her baby at home so she wanted masks.  I made a large batch for a group of ladies who make wigs for cancer patients, and when they received their masks they asked for more for their customers to be able to have some.  A family of a little girl with cystic fibrosis had some. 

Some of my masks have gone as far as the Outer Hebrides for carers on the island who were struggling with getting masks and the ones they had were making their faces sore.           

For doctors and nurses, I made superhero masks, adorned with comic-book characters like Wonder Woman and Batman, which they wore over their medical- grade masks. If the masks were going to GP clinics, I made them with floral patterns or geometric designs.

The feedback I have had has been very positive, people like the masks as they are comfortable and washable.  The ladies in the Hebrides were very very happy with theirs!

Q. Wow. What gave you the drive to help in such a powerful way?

I am the daughter of a retired nurse and my daughter is a paramedic – so for me making masks was doing what I can for those that needed help.  My mum taught me to always give what I can for those in need.

When I discovered I could use my creativity and Cricut machine to do so much good for people, it was really an easy decision to make.

I’m not the real hero this year though, it’s the NHS staff of carers, doctors, nurses and more who deserve endless praise for the work they’ve done for the whole nation throughout the pandemic.

Q. What’s next for you, are you still making masks?

Now I am just producing for local families or individuals who ask for masks. I’m still making them, but on a smaller scale than before. I’m really proud to have contributed to both Cricut’s Millions of Masks campaign and the national effort more widely.

I’m looking forward to continuing my creative journey and making more creations.

Since March, Cricut has seen that over 1.9 million masks have been made using patterns on the company’s Cricut Design Space software. Various patterns are available including a cardboard template and a no-sew face covering and even designs with embroidered patterns. Follow the links below to make your own face covering using Cricut patterns in Design Space:

Face covering with window

Cricut Maker (fabric) face covering

No sew face covering

If you don’t have a Cricut machine, you can download the face mask patterns here: