Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Just For Fun: My New And Improved Faux Respirator Masks

My faux respirator mask tutorial from 2016 has been getting some attention lately:

That's the one I made to wear around Dragon Con, and while it's by no means medical grade, it makes a decent sneeze guard. It's also surprisingly comfortable, since it's made of lightweight craft foam. (And for once I didn't catch con crud!)

When I mentioned the tutorial's recent popularity to Karen, my friend and lockdown buddy, she lit up. "Omigosh," she said, "WE SHOULD MAKE FUN MASKS."

So we did!

Let me stress again that these are NOT medical grade, and the thicker 3mm foam leaves a substantial nose gap under the eyes. These are just for fun. That said, you can wipe them down with soapy water if you seal them with Mod Podge, and I suppose you could make a bunch of cloth filters to swap out after each use? Go forth and improve on my ideas, is what I'm saying.

I should also mention that John and I've been testing out a new and better foam mask design for everyday wear, which I'm hoping to share in another week or two. It's thinner, lighter, less costumey, and what we personally plan to wear out in public. So stay tuned for that.

For now, though, here's my fun new faux-respirator mask:
 Isn't it Wonder-full?

 Also pictured: my DIY invisible jet.


I literally had to follow my own tutorial, since I forgot how to do some of this. It's been a while!

The only upgrade I made - but this is a BIG improvement - is with the head strap. Check this out: 

 Now the single strap split into two with one long loop of thin elastic, which better cups the back of the head. This helps SO MUCH with keeping the mask in place, omigosh. No more bobby pins to keep the strap from sliding up or down!
That strap mod was born of necessity, since the only elastic I could find in my stash was this thin cord. I'm so glad I didn't have the thicker elastic, though; this design is so much better, it's all I'm going to use from now on.

 Next up, Karen's mask!


I love this aged blue, it's so pretty. And doesn't the stitching make it look like real leather? You'd never know this was craft foam.

Can you guess what Karen's inspiration was before I show you the side picture?

Scroll down to see!

 She chose... WISELY.

 (Did I just mash up Indiana Jones with a Hogwarts House motto? Yes, yes I did.)

Karen's side straps are shorter than mine, so you can see how that affects the elastic in back:

The shorter the foam side straps are, the more the back elastic loop can split into two.

We used my Cricut to cut the eagles and stars out of a plastic report cover, then covered them in gold Rub N' Buff. You could also use card stock to make your designs, but if so you may want to seal them with packing tape or mod-podge to protect them from moisture.

 Now back to mine:

The only other difference from my 2016 masks is that we used metal hardware cloth in the "respirator" instead of a plastic grid - just because it's what John had in the garage. We're still not shopping in-store when we can avoid it here in Florida, so it's kind of a fun challenge to use what we already have!

Like before there's black cotton behind the metal grid, which you can easily swap out.

And finally, here it is on!


 And a side shot:

 I've pulled my hair through the elastic to cover the straps, btw, which is kind of messy but we're working with what we have here. Maybe "mask head" will be the new "bed head"?


 This was a fun project, and once John and I finalize our "everyday" mask template I'd like to come back and make more fandom-inspired designs like this. What would you guys like to see? Something Disney, maybe? More superheroes? And you KNOW I have a Ghostbusters idea or two rattling around. I figure I can take requests and then make some for give-aways!

(I was going to offer this Wonder Woman mask, but John loves it so much I think he's claiming it to display in his room. And since he's a little sad that he's losing his Bog of Eternal Stench bathroom sign to one of last month's Squeegineer winners, I figure this is a fair trade to make it up to him, haha.)


  1. I've been thinking of your mask tutorial recently! I'm not surprised other people have been checking it out, or that you've done an update to it.

    I saw the elastic cord you used and have an idea to share for people making fabric masks. Years ago, I bought these round elastic headbands, like gigantic ponytail holders, to keep flyaways out of my face. They never worked because they kept rolling off my head. However, when I started making masks recently and heard that elastic cord was sold out in places, I realized my headbands would likely work. They're big enough to stretch around one's head. Sure enough, I sewed them into the sides of a couple masks and it worked really well, and so much faster than hand-sewing ties for the masks, which is what I'd been doing. I had gotten a 6- or 8-pack, so I still have more for when I'm up to making more masks. Otherwise, they're just sitting around unused.

    --Yet Another Jen

  2. Mary Poppins seems like it could be a fun steampunk-y vibe. Ooh, or Firefly! River Song of course would have the most amazing mask, or a Tardis one with "Bad Wolf" graffiti. This is a super fun rabbit hole!

  3. How about a Dr. Who mask? K-9? Cyberman? Just a thought.

    Stay safe, ya'll!

  4. Bada*** disney princess masks?

  5. I've already made 7 everyday masks out of fun cotton prints to wear each day to work. But I am seriously planning to make a beautiful mask inspired by my love of Okami. I can channel Amaterasu with a red and black mask with maybe some embroidered patterns of her swirl patterns and Amaterasu running in her wolf form :) Still debating what to do!

  6. You can get N95 fabric from https://filti.com/ to upgrade any mask to a medical grade* one. *depends on fit of mask and placement of fabric, of course.

    1. ohh, thanks for the link! That could definitely come in handy.

    2. Blue shop towel is also CLOSE to N95. Since you're trying to catch *droplets* instead of preventing free-floating virus particles, there's very little practical difference (or even between n95 fabric and heavy cotton, for this purpose).

      If you really wanted, you could just use the actual filters from a cheapo respirator anyway.

  7. That looks so fantastic!!! I desperately want to make my own now. I'll have to rummage through the craft supplies.

  8. You could probably use some heat to mold the top edge a little closer to your face?

  9. You make a lovely Steampunk Wonder Woman!

  10. I'd love to see a Labyrinth inspired mask!

  11. I would love to see a Hei Hei one to go with the hat :D

  12. Oh wow, they both look so good! And you make a gorgeous Wonder Woman with your pretty hair!

  13. These look great! Completely O/T, I remember your Frankenstein light switches from a few years back, so when I saw these I immediately thought of you.

  14. These are fantastic! My new favorite Marvel hero is Captain Marvel, so that would be my first one to tackle if I made a mask. Unless I started with something easier like Darkwing Duck.

  15. Off topic, but I know you don't have any idea how beautiful you are. Truly.


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