homemade masks

mountainmoma's picture

There are various masks, alot of them cloth, and I have heard that any type will at least cut down about 50-70% of virus and other germs. But, if you need more protection, nursing someone at home who is sick with this, or if the medical personell get so desperate in a few weeks/next month they will take un-verified homemade -- well, if you have any HEPA vacuum bags or can get hold of a few, it would be good to make some of these to have on hand

Here are instructions for making a mask that comes the closest to replacing an N95 mask, so better face fit ( wire over nose) and using a filter fabric. This uses HEPA filter vacuum bags. An "insert" into a cloth mask does not work the same as you can easily end up breathing around it, those are not the same as a mask entirely made of the filter medium.


Mask pattern to cut out here:


Pictures of mask process so you dont have to keep rewatching the You tube:


David Trammel's picture

That's a good video. I've run across quite a few different tutorials so far. Unfortunately my sewing machine is on the fritz.

mountainmoma's picture

You could easily hand sew this. Do a back stitch to keep stitching tight, if you can, but if not, just do a regular running stitch, take your time and keep stitches relatively small, like your sewing machine would do -- and she calls for 2 rows of stitching, so you will also do 2 rows.

If you dont have a hot glue gun, use any glue and wait for it to dry, or super glue. Any wire you might have that can be bent and formed, bread bag ties would work

A lot of people here were working on making cloth masks for first responders and hospital workers, but the hospitals politely refused them, but seem to be willing to take those made by three-d printers out of plastic with the breathing hole filled with a square of filter paper. The hospitals instead suggested that these cloth masks would be good for use in nursing homes. ?????

It looks to me like the filter bag one would be a one time only use. These plastic ones are reusable and presumably you can sanitize them after each use and of course pop in a new piece of filter material. While the cloth ones may not be able to filter out all the virus, they could be autoclaved after each use as they use to be in the past. Maybe some fabric manufacturer needs to produce a suitable fabric that can be reused. I was wondering about non-adhesive inter-facing since most disposable masks seem to be made out of some similar material.

lathechuck's picture

To "save face" (so to speak), the CDC is considering advising the general public to keep avoiding "face masks" (e.g. N95 or surgicals), but go ahead and tie on a "face covering" when in public. What is a "face covering"? It's what everyone else is calling a DIY face mask! I've sewn two (and intend to do more), using the "Fu" pattern found at freesewing.org. Pay particular attention to getting the shape of the bit that covers the nose right: a short straight line, then a curved break down to the chin cover. If the nose line is curved, I found the mask to slip down to hang from the tip of my nose, and not make a good seal under my eyes.
Now that the fabric stores are (I assume) closed, and perhaps the highways, too, you might want to look for an old cotton flannel shirt to salvage some fabric from. Just eye-balling it, I think we should be able to get one mask from each sleeve, at least one each from the front and back, and have enough 15"x1" scrap material to make a few ties (maybe not the 16 needed for 4 masks, though.)
Be sure to wash your mask frequently, to be sure that unanticipated microbes don't colonize the warm, moist environment. Nightly washing seems about right to me. (I agitate mine in a quart jar of soapy water, rinse, and hang until dry.) You might need two, to use on alternate days.