Homemade protective mask project/Instructions

From Noisebridge
Revision as of 06:16, 28 March 2020 by Boredzo (talk | contribs) (Consolidated the cut-framing instructions.)
Jump to: navigation, search

This is a set of instructions for making your own face mask out of cotton, based on Deaconess Health's instructions and clarified and expanded.

These instructions have been expanded to include variant construction methods (because some things, like 1/8-inch elastic, are sold out everywhere), though some variants are a work in progress.

What you will need

  • Cotton fabric, printed or solid-color.
    • For adults: One piece that is at least 9-by-12-inch, or two pieces that are at least 9-by-6.
    • For children: One piece that is at least 7.5-by-10-inch, or two pieces that are at least 7.5-by-5.
  • Two 7-inch lengths of rope elastic (beading cord elastic will work) or 1/8” flat elastic
    • OR four lengths of 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch grosgrain ribbon to use as strap
    • OR four lengths of scrap fabric turned into straps. You'll need a loop turner to do that.
  • A box of paper clips to use as nose-pieces.
    • OR a roll of floral wire and wire-cutters to cut it (note: beware of sharp points!).

Cutting the pieces

The fabric

For an adult mask, use one 9-by-12-inch piece, folded over to 9-by-6, or two 9-by-6 pieces.

For a child mask, use one 7.5-by-10-inch piece, folded over to 7.5-by-5, or two 7.5-by-5 pieces.

If you're working with a print, think about how the cut will frame the pattern (e.g., for licensed characters or other designs with a right way up). The mask is horizontal (9-inch or 7.5-inch is the longer side), and you should cut straight across the fabric or along the fabric (with the grain).

Two separate pieces of fabric is easier to work with when you're installing straps rather than elastic; it's also a way to use up fabric that isn't big enough for a one-piece mask (e.g., if you're making masks from a fabric quarter, which is 18-by-22, you can cut two 9-by-12 pieces and two 9-by-6 pieces, leaving an 18-by-4 remainder).

If you're using elastic

Cut two 7-inch lengths of elastic. If you're using beading cord, tie a knot at each end. If you're using flat elastic, don't do that.

If you're using straps

Method A: Cut four 16-inch lengths of ribbon.

Method B (requires a loop turner): Cut four 1-by-16 pieces of fabric, then fold each one over to half an inch, sew it down, and use a loop turner to turn the tube inside out. You've just made four 16" spaghetti straps.

Assembly

Phase 1: Main body

Elastic variant

  1. Put right sides of cotton fabric together.
  2. Starting an inch or so from the center of the bottom edge, sew to the first corner, then stop with the needle down. Lift the foot, turn the fabric 90 degrees, and drop the foot. You should be in position to continue sewing down the next edge.
  3. Insert one end of the elastic into the corner, with the end sticking out from between the pieces of fabric. The elastic between the ends should be on the inside, between the right sides of the fabric. Sew over the end of the elastic; a few stitches forward and back will hold it.
  4. Sew almost to the next corner, stop, and bring the other end of the same elastic to the corner. Make sure there is no twist in it. Sew a few stitches forward and back over it, then do another 90° turn.
  5. Now sew across the top of the mask to the next corner. Put in the end of the other elastic, with the end sticking out. Another 90° turn, then sew back and forth over the elastic.
  6. Sew down almost to the next corner, and sew in the other end of the same elastic. Again, make sure the elastic is inside the mask and that there is no twist.
  7. Last turn, then sew across the bottom leaving about 1.5” to 2” open. Stop, cut the thread.
  8. Turn the mask inside out. You should have a rectangular mask with two elastic ear-pieces, one sticking out of each side.

Strap variant

  1. Put right sides of cotton fabric together.
  2. Place each strap into a corner with the end sticking out, and the rest of the strap on the inside, between the right sides of the fabric. Do a straight stitch over it to secure it in place.
  3. Put right sides of cotton fabric together.
    • Each strap should be angled toward the top/bottom of the mask, but not cross it since you don't want to fasten it into that edge—it should only protrude from the left and right edge.
  4. Starting an inch or so from the center of the bottom edge, sew to the first corner, then stop with the needle down. Lift the foot, turn the fabric 90 degrees, and drop the foot. You should be in position to continue sewing down the next edge.
  5. Sew to the next corner, stop, and then do another 90° turn.
  6. Now sew across the top of the mask to the next corner. Another 90° turn.
  7. Sew down to the next corner. One more turn.
  8. Sew across the bottom leaving about 1.5” to 2” open. Stop, cut the thread.
  9. Turn the mask inside out. You should have a rectangular mask with two elastic ear-pieces, one sticking out of each side.

Phase 2: Installing the pleats

This design is pleated so that the middle of the mask can expand like an accordion (necessary because the distance from nose to chin is greater than the distance from cheek to mandible—pleats are how this is achieved in a rectangular mask).

At every step, make sure the edges of the mask are aligned—if the mask begins to slant, start removing pins until you can fix it.

You'll need at least eight pins. Three more pins or clips in the middle are highly recommended.

  1. About half an inch from the top of the mask (somewhere below, but near, the elastics), fold the mask over. Make sure the edges are aligned, then pin this fold at each end and optionally in the middle, about 3/8-inch away from the fold's crease.
    • Each pin should point from the middle toward the edge of the mask.
  2. Fold the mask back the other way where the pins are.
  3. Fold the fabric again at 3/8-inch, directly beneath the previous fold, and again pin the fold 3/8-inch from its crease (i.e., at the base of the fold).
  4. Do the previous two steps one more time.
  5. Flatten all three folds in the same direction toward the bottom of the mask. Use two pins, pointing in opposite directions, at each end of the mask to hold the three folds down.
  6. Sew over all three pleats at each end twice.
  7. Sew an additional, final seam around the edge of the mask.

Phase 3: Installing the nose-piece

Floral wire variant

TBD but it's likely to be something like the paper-clip method.

Floral wire is flexible but stiff wire that comes on a roll, used for building the skeleton of a floral arrangement. Here, a short length of floral wire becomes the nose-piece of the mask.

Paper-clip variant

A single normal paper clip can be turned into a simple nose-piece for the top of the mask. This helps keep the top of the mask somewhat flush with the face on either side of the nose, rather than having two big gaps there.

Notes:

  • Fancy paper clips in whimsical designs such as animal shapes may not be effective here. You want normal, bog-standard paper clips.
  • Daiso's “easy to use” paper clips with the rectangular edge are even better. The installation process is no different.
  • If you want to color-match the paper clip to your fabric, you can get coated or metallized paper clips that come in a variety of colors.

If you don't know what a “bar tack” is: It's a zigzag stitch with length 0 and some amount of width. For example, shirt buttons are installed with one or two bar tacks over the holes in the button.

  1. First, find the exact center of the long edge of the mask. Measure this with a ruler, then put a pin or clip at that center point.
  2. Take your paper clip and spread it apart. Spread it flat, so you have a metal “S” shape.
  3. Place the paper clip so that the middle of the paper clip is in the exact center point that you measured, and the clip is about half an inch below the edge of the mask.
  4. Do a bar tack with a width of 2.5 mm over the middle of the paper clip.
  5. Next, move to one of the end points of the paper clip's “S” shape and sew a straight stitch with length 2.5 mm over both parts of the clip.
  6. Do the same thing for the other end point.
  7. Lastly, do a bar tack with width 2.5 mm over each end curve of the clip.

The wearer of the mask should fold the paper clip to about 90°, then adjust it further once they put on the mask for the first time.

After assembly

Hygiene

Launder your masks after you finish making them, especially if you buy new supplies during the pandemic, and especially if you're giving them to others (e.g., neighbors or donating to health care providers that accept them). Don't let homemade masks become a vector.

If you machine-wash your masks, a bra bag made of fine mesh will help ensure any elastics or nose-pieces don't get caught on the machine's drain holes. Be sure to pay attention to the washing instructions on your fabrics and other parts; you may need to use cold water, and count on your detergent to obliterate and/or remove any germs.

Distribution

Some health care facilities accept donations of homemade masks when commercial PPE is scarce. Maintaining a list of such facilities is outside the scope of this article; if you can't find a current list, check the websites of your local hospitals, clinics, etc. If you can't find such a statement online, you might call them and ask whether they accept donations of homemade face masks, but be ready and willing to take no for an answer.

Other options:

  • Yourself (you could even have a small variety of masks)
  • Neighbors
  • Family members and close friends

Consider including mask distribution in other forms of mutual aid, such as grocery shopping on folks' behalf.

Also, remember that not everyone can safely wear a non-N95 mask (they may need the real stuff), or any mask (they may need completely unobstructed respiration). Be sensitive to people's needs; ask whether they need a mask and accept refusal gracefully.