…and ideas on what to use if you can’t find filters. (Plus contest at the end!)
Being a woodworker, I have masks to keep sawdust out of my lungs. With the newest guidelines from the CDC recommending wearing facemasks when in public, I knew my box of them wasn’t going to last long. I adapted a pattern to be pretty simple to make a DIY mask.
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The problem? I haven’t touched a sewing machine since middle school. Luckily my oldest daughter was given one years ago that she left behind when she moved away (sniff). I decided I should probably dust it off and make some DIY masks. In case you want to give it a try, I adapted a pattern I found to make it pretty easy.
- 15 x 7.5″ fabric piece
- 1.5 x 4.25″ fabric piece (2 of these)
- pipe cleaners or chenille stems
- rotary cutter
- cutting mat
- sewing machine
- steam iron
- ironing board
- measuring tape
- attachment method of choice: elastic, grosgrain ribbon, bias tape
For a non-sewer, I was a little surprised at how many sewing supplies I actually had. I guess my supply collection from upholstery projects like the Jewelry Frame and fireplace mantle headboard come in handy.
Cut fabric into pieces.
Quick Tip: If you want your image to be upright, make sure you orient the large piece of fabric in the long direction or all your images will be sideways on your finished mask.
Fold in half long ways and pin about 1.5″ from each top edge to hold it together.
Sew each side (edge to 1.5″ pin mark) with a 3/8″ seam allowance and press open.
Turn the “sleeve” right side out and sew the opening edges at 1/8″. (This is the only tricky part of the DIY mask project.)
Orient the fabric that the opening is about 1/2″ from the top of the project. Press flat. This will be the back of the DIY mask.
Quick Tip: If you have a print, it should be upside down on this back side. Note that mine is not, so the finished project is upside down on the front- Oops
Sew the two open sides together with a 1/8 seam allowance.
Cut a pipe cleaner piece to about 1/4″ shorter than the width of your DIY mask (roughly 7″ or so). Use pliers to twist the ends back onto itself. This will keep the metal from poking out either side when you’re done. Insert and center the stem along the top and sew closed at about 3/8 to 1/2″ to hold in place.
Flip the mask over and create 3 pleats of roughly 1/2 each. This is done by folding the mask down leaving about a 1/2″ space under each fold. (I found it easiest to pin the mask to the ironing board cover and press first, then pin to hold it together after pressing.)
Sew sides with 1/8″ seam allowance.
Take the smaller pieces of fabric and flip the mask to the back. Center and pin them along the edge leaving about 1/4″ to hang over each side. Wrap the excess around to the front and pin down. (It’s important that it stay aligned with the top edge all the way around) Sew the edge at a 1/8″ seam allowance.
Head over to the ironing board again and pull the flap open and press down the “tabs”.
Fold the flap over about half way and press down.
Fold that flap over and press then pin down to the front of the mask.
Sew as close as you can to that inside edge. You have just created a pocket to hold your ties, elastic or attachment pieces. CONGRATULATIONS!!
(or how to hold the DIY mask to your head)
NOTE: I used elastic so they can slip over the ears. The rest of the instructions are for that method. If you can’t find it, You can use ribbon or even bias tape and have them tie at the back of the head.
How long do you make the elastic?
Insert one end of elastic into one side of the pocket you created in the last step then sew it in place.
To figure out sizing, I cut a piece of elastic about 9″ and used a safety pin to insert it into the pocket on the side. I tied a knot in the elastic and stretched it over everyone’s ears. We have pretty big heads. My husband, my 11-year-old daughter and myself needed about 6 3/8″ of exposed elastic, my 10-year-old son needed about 6″.
Mark the distance needed with a pencil and thread the elastic into the other side of the pocket stopping at the pencil mark.
Sew the second side of elastic in place and repeat process on the other side of the mask.
Flip the mask over and use the pocket in the back to insert a filter.
YOU ARE DONE! Put your mask on and wear it with pride.
I don’t have filters! What can I use?
I am not, nor do I claim to be a medical expert of any kind. Please do your own research.
These are things I have seen listed online as filter replacements:
- HEPA filter vacuum bags (these may be hard to breathe through so please be careful if you go this route)
- HEPA air conditioner filter (can be bought by the large roll just also make sure it’s easy to breathe through)
- nonwoven fabric Composed of short and long fibers that are bonded together by chemicals, pressure, or heat to create a product that behaves like a woven fabric. The gaps between fibers are much closer together so it is thought to do well as a filter option for masks. You may even have some in your house already. I do.
My friend Danielle over at DIY Danielle feels so passionate that everyone should be “masking up” in public that she is running a contest. Make your own mask and show it to her. It doesn’t even have to be this version- even just be a bandana tied around your head…. no judgement. She’s giving away a gift card funded with her very own money to one random entry. Head over and enter when you’re done with your mask, or maybe you have one to show her already? The contest is open until April 30th, 2020 so you have time to get your diy mask done and snap a pic.