Friday, July 24, 2020

Video Tutorial: These Foam Face Masks Are Better, Stronger, Comfier, Cuter

After my foam mask tutorial last month I kept looking for ways to improve the design, because I knew the permanent fabric filters weren't ideal. I was fiddling with a velcro filter that sat on the outside of the foam frame right around the time my friend Traci posted her own upgrade: a full fabric cover that attaches using the existing elastic strap. GENIUS!

I immediately set out to make my own version, and another friend, Karen, helped me figure out the fabric template. So huge thanks and kudos to both Traci and Karen for helping me improve the original design. 

Here's how the new masks look:

Can I just say how excited I was to find a galaxy print at our local JoAnn's, when most of the cute fabrics were all sold out? Awww yeeeeah.


 This uses the exact same foam frame as before, so don't despair if you've already made some! I'll explain more in the video:


 [Quick correction: I use 1/8 inch elastic cord, NOT 1/4 inch. Sorry!]

Or, if you don't have 25 minutes to watch me go through this step by step, you're in luck: John also edited a "short short version" to give you the general gist of how this works in under 3 minutes:





 If only I worked this fast in real life. ;)

 That doesn't have any of my helpful tips or instructions on how to use the foam frame with your existing masks, though, so I recommend watching the longer version when/if you plan to make your own.


Oh, and you'll also need these templates:


(Right click to embiggen, then save to your desktop)

That size fits both me and John, but you can scale it up or down as needed. (I've found 30% smaller is a good fit for kids aged 6-10.)

I mention that the foam frame is visible with my design, but it doesn't have to be. Here you can see I shifted the fabric up to cover the foam completely:


 It all depends on where you place your eyelets; you've got room to shift the fabric a little either way. Here's my galaxy mask where the pink foam frame does show:


 And a few more covers I've made:


A black frame tends to go with everything, so I make a lot of those.


 I didn't mention it in the video, but the foam frame IS washable. You can scrub it with soap and water or use alcohol wipes/sprays on it. So you could have a single foam frame you wipe down every day, and then only swap out the fabric filters to wash with your laundry. It's nice to have several frames, though, so make a couple if you can.

So... what do you think? This is way better, right? I hope I've inspired you to make your own version, even to just wear with your existing masks. This frame is so much more comfortable and easy to use, plus it makes your fabric masks seal around your face better, so they're more effective and don't slide around so much. Seriously, I think you'll be converted once you give this a try!

****

 I found my eyelets, elastic cord, and contact cement on Amazon, so I've linked all three in my Craft Supplies list. I'll also add in the cord crimps, just in case you can't find those at your local craft shop. The rest - the fabric, foam, hot glue, etc. - should be easy for you to find locally.
https://amzn.to/32QTC6n


Happy Friday, you glorious glob of galactic star stuff. Remember to be your awesome self this weekend, k?

::mwah::

42 comments:

  1. I love how you can tell John has a big smile on his face at the end, even when the mask is covering it. :)

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  2. That's such an awesome idea!

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  3. What a cool design! My only concern is the contact cement. I know you're supposed to work with proper ventilation and not breathe in any fumes when working with it. Is it safe once dry? Especially on something that's covering your mouth?

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    1. john here. Everything I could find seemed to say that once it's dry, it's safe. As for me, after a day of airing out, I can't smell the contact cement at all. I completely understand the concern, though, so you could use hot glue on the seam since it will be covered by the fabric. Good question.

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    2. Is there any reason you shouldn't use contact cement in place of the glue gun bits? I don't have a glue gun and want to keep the cost down.

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    3. I was the weird kid that loved the smell of rubber cement so there I was getting a toxic buzz all my childhood to build up to my future mask-wearing days of dystopia.

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    4. If you want to avoid using contact cement Beacon 3 in 1 or Magnatac work great!

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  4. The foam is still not able to be sanitized. You are still setting yourselves and your readers up for skin irritation or infections. This is still irresponsible.

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    1. Why do you say the foam can't be sanitized? I've washed mine with soap and water no problem, I've also wiped them down with alcohol and rinsed. I stated that in the post. How much more do you need?

      And of course, if anyone experience skin irritation, I would hope they'd know to stop wearing this style of mask, just as they would with anything else they wear.

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    2. EVA foam is porous, though. While it is washable, if you wash it, it needs a day or two to dry, and I'd be worried about not getting it either clean enough or rinsed thoroughly enough to prevent skin irritation.
      For the same reason I'd be worried about just wiping it down with anything.

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    3. No. Just no. Half of Americans won't wear a mask. Half of the people who will wear a mask are wearing it down past their noses and the other half have huge gaps between their noses and near their ears. These masks actually seal on the face, have two layers of fabric, don't fall down off the nose, and don't require you to touch them and your problem is that if you don't wash the foam well enough you might get an infection?! Seriously? Then wash it better! My god, what is wrong with you people? In a country where Covid is thriving, we need every option we can get. If you can't figure out how to wash a piece of foam, don't make this. Just continue wearing the saliva saturated piece of fabric that's making your ears raw and keeps falling down onto your chin. Man, I hate the internet. -Tiffany K.

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  5. What size eyelets do you recommend?

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    1. As long as the end of your elastic strap can fit through it, the eyelet size doesn't matter. I did link the ones I'm using in my Amazon list, though, if that helps.

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  6. How do these work with glasses? Do they interfere with the nose pieces? Reduce fogging?

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    1. Ah, I should have said: they do really well with glasses! John pops his glasses forward so they're sitting on the foam frame, which helps a lot with fogging. There can still be a little (we live in 1,000% humidity here in Florida, after all) but he tells me it's the best of all the masks he's tried.

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  7. Gah! (In a good way). Your hair is so beautiful. It matches your soul.

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    1. I always try to coordinate my hair and my soul. Good way to get through the day.

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  8. Ooh, I'm excited to try this! We accidentally got the foam that has adhesive on one side, so I had one type of fabric for the vents (to show through) but also lined the inside with another layer of fabric to cover the adhesive on the inside. I'll try this way, which looks even cooler and easier! I may also try to do a "teeth" or "gear" cut on the front foam seam, since we had a hard time getting the glue to hold (probably 100% user error, I'm sure). ALSO, we got that same purple galaxy fabric at Joann and I'm super excited at how cute it is on yours! FUN!
    Now, do you have a fun rack by the front door for hanging yours up or do you keep them on your glass mannequins while not in use? I got a bunch of animal head hooks and mounted them on a rack by the door so it's more fun to remember on your way out! :)
    Stay healthy out there, friends!!

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  9. So, you guys live in Florida, where I assume it must get humid. Does the foam make your face sweaty at all? Here in Phoenix we are in monsoon season, so it is hot and humid. Even my regular cloth mask makes my face sweaty. I worry about the foam making it worse where it rests against the skin, like how under the rim of sunglasses gets sweaty.

    I am intrigued by the design though. After puffing around Costco today with the cloth pressing against my mouth every time I breathed in, I'd love to have the frame to hold it away!

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    1. I don't know about foam-against-skin and how different people will feel about it, *but* I can say that I added wires to a fabric mask (inspired by those little tents with the two crossing bendy slide-into-place poles in the fabric channels) and it keeps it out of the mouth nicely. You need to be careful about bending the wires so they're not jabbing into your face, and you need to use wire that won't care about the washing machine (aluminum is good with most standard laundry detergents?) or slide the wires out before tossing in the washing machine [and sanitize the wires a different way], but that might be a way to retrofit masks to get them out of the mouth. :-)

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    2. Oh yes, Florida humidity is like walking through soup! I can tell you my limited exposure wearing these outside hasn't been noticeably sweatier, but of course your mileage will vary. The foam is slightly spongey and absorbent, though, so it won't bead up sweat the way your glasses do.

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  10. I LOVE THIS.

    I have been making plenty of fabric masks. Daleks, "Exploding TARDIS," regular TARDIS, Harry Potter (the recipient was Hufflepuff so I even matched the lining to her House Colors)!

    No matter how delightful and whimsical the prints, the fabric still ends up occasionally getting sucked into my mouth at some point. Especially when I'm helping with yard work in the Georgia humidity. 1000% humidity indeed, it's no joke.

    I think I'm going to be making quite a few of these, and retro-fitting ALL THE THINGS to work with this.

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  11. It's only 800% humidity here in the far north, so I've found a double layer hatchet mask with wire stays away from my nose any mouth okay. But I feel your pain! The thinner the mask, the more it seems to want to adhere to my nose and mouth.
    Since we're only at 800% humidity, do you think the fabric cover could work as a mask unto itself? I could definitely add a wire, and I'm interested in trying the shape you've created!
    Final thought: Remember Cute Overload? It was a blog of cuteness. And there were occasionally people in the comments saying that the posted things weren't cute enough for the blog, as though some how the blogger wasn't following her own made up rules. The community gently rebuffed every one, and over time they came to be called 'nuffers. For them, nothing would ever be cute 'nuff. Don't let the 'nuffers squelch your awesome. Your masks are as good, if not better, than the fabric ones people all over the country are wearing, and you're incredibly generous for sharing the pattern!
    ~Cashew

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    1. Haha, I *do* remember CO! Literally the first blog I ever followed. Wow, memories.

      Thanks very much, Cashew, and yes, you could absolutely put a wire in and use just the fabric part. I'm not sure how well the straps would work, so if you try this, please report back!

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    2. I tried it! It seals really well, seems like all "exhaust" (breath) is going through the fabric. That being said, the straps are definitely the weakpoint without a foam frame, as the two "eyelets" (I used buttonholes) want to collapse the fabric and it makes a wrinkle on the side. I'm struggling to get myself to go to the craft store during COVID-time, so I'll continue searching for a solution using things I have on hand. It was a cinch to whip up!
      ~Cashew

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    3. Hmm, could you add more wire between the eyelets to keep that section from buckling? Or maybe a little interfacing?

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  12. Hi Jen!

    What's the awesome tool you use to punch the holes and then set the eyelets? It looks like such a useful piece of kit, but I don't know what to search for to find it!
    Thanks!

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    1. I'm using a Crop-A-Dile in the video, it both punches the holes and sets all sorts of eyelets/grommets.

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  13. I figured out how to make this very comfortable mask with earloops for those of us who prefer them (no judging as to which is "better"). Use short pieces of elastic and the bar parts of toggle-style jewelry closures to go through the eyelets. Attach the toggle parts just like Jen did the closure she used. Easy as can be.

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    1. Ahh, brilliant! It never occurred to me to use toggle clasps, that's perfect.

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  14. Jen: love the design. Can I refer you to a bit of research that brings up a potentially important consideration: a two- or three-layer design for a cloth mask that uses silk and another fabric, like cotton, seems to generate a bit of static that helps the mask work better for the wearer.

    https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsnano.0c03252

    From the abstract: "Although the filtration efficiencies for various fabrics when a single layer was used ranged from 5 to 80% and 5 to 95% for particle sizes of <300 nm and >300 nm, respectively, the efficiencies improved when multiple layers were used and when using a specific combination of different fabrics. Filtration efficiencies of the hybrids (such as cotton−silk, cotton−chiffon, cotton−flannel) was >80% (for particles <300 nm) and >90% (for particles >300 nm). We speculate that the enhanced performance of the hybrids is likely due to the combined effect of mechanical and electrostatic-based filtration."

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    1. Thanks, Simon. I have read that study, and I'm all for folks mixing fabrics to make their mask covers more effective if they're up for it. Tbh, though, I'd be over the moon if we Americans would just wear ANY form of mask, so I'm not going to nitpick over fabric choices. We should be making masks easier, not harder, so more people will want to make and wear them.

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  15. Okay, I'm sorry if I'm missing something obvious, but I'm having trouble printing the templates big enough. I embiggened, saved, and printed, but the square that is supposed to be one inch is coming about about 2/3 an inch. What I am is doing wrong? Is there a place where the files are downloadable as a pdf? Thank you -- and thank you so much for the creativity and tutorial. My husband and I have all the supplies and are really looking forward to learning how to make these! -- Debbie in Kansas

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    1. Hi Debbie! My only thought is some printers automatically resize a file, so look for a checkbox in your print screen that says "scale to fit media" and UNcheck it. Or if you have a box that says "print at 100%" then check that.

      Sorry I don't have .pdfs, but I'll ask John about converting them.

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    2. Hi Debbie! I was having the exact same problem this morning. I was printing from my web browser, not from the file that I saved, if that makes sense. When I opened the file in a photo editor and printed from THERE, it was the correct size. Hope this helps!

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    3. I had similar problems Debbie. I changed to printing landscape instead of portrait, and then was able to get the size right.

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    4. Thank you all for the help and sorry for the delay looping back to check in -- I'm in the midst of prepping for the semester and moving all my classes online. I'm not quite sure what was wrong, but I downloaded the files again, made sure I was printing from the file not the site. and this time it seems to have worked. Thanks for the assist!

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  16. Hi Jen!! I'm super interested in making just the mask frame, but am having trouble figuring out what thickness EVA foam to get. The first foam I ordered was 2mm thick but it seems really, really flimsy to me. What did you use?

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    1. I used 2mm as well, but I've noticed (after buying craft foam from 3 different sources) that some 2mm feels thinner and floppier than others. They should all still work, but I have found I prefer the stuff from JoAnn's vs the foam from Walmart and Amazon.

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  17. So I'm new at crafting but I'm trying!! I made a couple of these and they fit me PERFECT but I would love to have a larger size (for the hubs) and a smaller size (for the childrenz). What do you think is the best way to resize this pattern or do you have different sizes? I know there's ways to like percentage up and down photos to print (honestly not 100% sure how to do it) but I was just wondering if you had advice on the best way to accomplish this! Thank you so much for these! Definitely so much more comfortable than a regular mask.

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    1. Excellent! To re-size the pattern you can often do that from your print screen: if there's a box that shows it's printing at 100%, you can replace the 100 with a different number. I'd go up to 120 or down to 80 and see how those do for your hubby and kids.

      If your print screen doesn't show the percentage option, then you should be able scale the whole thing with an image editer. We have an ancient version of Photoshop, which has it under image size, and I can choose a percentage there.

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  18. Hi Jen & John! I just finished the frames for 4 masks - won’t get to the fabric part until tomorrow (I’m not a sew person, so I have to visit my sister who owns a sewing machine). I’ve never used contact cement, but got the hang of it by the second mask. Can’t wait to try them out! Thank you for all you two do!

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