Create a DIY No Gap Mask With Basic Household Goods

6 Materials
$3
10 Minutes
Easy

Editor's Note: This mask is not a N95 mask. It is meant to be used for general protection from coughing and sneezing when out in public. This is not protection in place of social distancing. At this time, it is best to stay home when possible. For necessary trips out, like trips to the grocery store, the CDC recommends wearing a mask to provide whatever protection you can for yourself and others.


With the spread of COVID 19 it’s becoming harder and harder to find a mask to protect yourself and others. While a surgical mask is able to protect you from splashes and sprays, and can prevent a sick person from spreading their illness, it simply doesn’t cut it when it comes to protecting yourself from others. Unfortunately, these types of masks, the most popular one being the N95 mask, are hard to come by nowadays. I decided to take matters into my own hands and make a DIY no gap mask in the N95 style from basic materials you can find in your home.


Disclaimer:

This is not an actual N95 mask, but rather something very similar in style and more protective than a regular surgical mask. My version does not filter out 95% of particles, which is where the “95” in N95 comes from. However, I do believe that this is better than nothing, especially when true N95 masks need to go to the doctors and nurses who are working on the frontlines of this war.

DIY No Gap Mask

Tools and Materials

  • Clean breathable material
  • Bendable metal wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Rubber bands
  • Tape
  • Scissors
Clean Breathable Material

Clean Breathable Material

There are a few options for this that are easily found in your home. You could use a paper towel, a few tissues taped together, a t-shirt, or even a Swiffer pad. You’re looking for something with a tight weave, so pantyhose is not the best option for this particular project.

Bendable Metal Wire

Bendable Metal Wire

There are also plenty of options for the wire that you use to help to mask fit snugly around your nose and mouth. I’m sure everyone has a few wire coat hangers lying around. For this project, a thinner, flimsier wire coat hanger is better than a thicker one as it will be easier for you to shape it. You could also use pipe cleaners, twist ties, stripped electrical house wiring, or a variety of other bendable metal wires.


For my example I used a coat hanger and a paper towel.

Cut the Coat Hanger
Cut the Coat Hanger

I cut my coat hanger close to the top, and then again at the same length on the bottom part of the hanger. It’s important to make sure that it’s even on either side of the bend, as the bend in the coat hanger will help you create a symmetrical shape.

Bend and Cut
Bend the Wire
Bend the Wire

I used a respirator mask to demonstrate what shape the wire should be bent into. Of course, if you don’t happen to have a respirator mask lying around, don’t worry, you can more or less get the right shape with trial and error on your own face. The center of the wire, where the bend already was in the coat hanger, should be at a 60-degree angle. Then, bend the wires into a rounded triangle on the bottom.

Mold it to the Respirator
Get Rid of Any Gaps
Get Rid of Any Gaps

This part is essential in creating a no gap mask that fits properly. Put the wire on your face and bend it anywhere there is a gap. A mirror is helpful and will allow you to see where the gaps are, as opposed to having to feel for them. By the end, you should have a mask that fits your face without feeling like it’s going to fall off.

Fitted Metal Wire
Tape the Mask
Tape the Mask

Once I had the wire shaped properly, I taped the spot where the two ends met. Be generous, you don’t want to accidentally scratch your face while wearing this.

Add Two Pieces of Tape

Then, add two more pieces of tape, one horizontal and one vertical. These are only temporary.

Measure the Fabric
Measure the Fabric

Lay a round object in the center of your fabric (I’m using a paper towel here) and place the wire frame on top of it. Lift up the fabric and mark about one inch from the wire. Then, cut the fabric along your markings. You don’t have to be exact, but you do need to leave just enough room in the fabric to cover your mouth and nose, without being so loose as to be ineffective.

Mark the Fabric
Cut
Fold the Border
Attach the Fabric to the Wire Frame

To help in the next step, I folded a one-inch border around the edge of the fabric to create crease lines. Then I folded the material over the wire frame and taped it down. This can be a little tricky because it needs to bunch up to fit properly, but a little patience and finesse and you should be fine.

Attach the Fabric to the Wire Frame
DIY Face Mask
Poke Holes
Add the Elastic

Cut two rubber band and tie them together. Then, poke a hole on either side of the mask, about halfway down the sides. Thread the elastic through and tie it off. That’s it!

Add the Elastic
Tie the Elastic

It’s quick and easy to produce your own mask, and it can’t hurt to add an extra layer of protection these days. Let me know what household materials you use in your own masks!

Resources for this project:

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Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

3 of 9 questions
  • Tina Tina on Apr 10, 2020

    How do you fix a broken leg on a foot stand?

  • Sylvia Sylvia on Apr 10, 2020

    When you make a hole to attach the elastic, it is letting air out (or in)

  • Kate Garrett Kate Garrett on Apr 17, 2020

    You describe the mask as no-gap several times. I am confused.


    While there is no gap on the edges, doesn't punching holes to attach the rubber bands let in outside air?

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