Making A Frame Mask

There is a shortage of professional masks to protect against Coronavirus, so making one of your own could be better than going without!

It will also help protect others from your coughs and sneezes if you get infected, so many governments now recommend that masks be worn outdoors. If you are interested in the science behind home made mask designs, you can read more towards the end of this page.

The design we are going to show you how to make is called the ‘Frame Mask,’ because it uses an external frame, allowing the mask to be much stronger and durable than many existing designs. You can see the You Tube guide here:

The frame is re-usable, and it uses cheap and quickly replaceable cloth as the filter. The frame pulls the mask into the face so it forms a better seal, and disinfects easily.

You can make it from things like fence wire and a milk carton.

To start with you need:

-A piece of fence wire about a metre long
-A clean and disinfected milk or juice carton with a moisture resistant inner coating
-Masking tape for temporary assembly
-Waterproof tape, e.g. Duck Tape
-Elastic strip for straps or similar
-Draught excluder if available for a more comfortable seal
-A lemonade bottle or similar

You can find the original template here. For ease of printing on A4, there’s a Google Docs version you can print directly.

Here’s how to make it:

1 Lay the template on the opened out carton to maximise the use of useable material


2 Cut out the shape from the carton


3 Redraw the hexagon and other lines from the template and cut through the centre of each dart shape between the squares


4 Fold the squares upwards and inwards, the rectangles outwards, and alternate the triangles inwards and outwards


5 Cut breathing spaces in the centre


6 Start to assemble the mask by taping the inner sides of the hexagon together with masking tape, making sure to alternate the triangular folds inside and outside, and layer the outer rectangles as shown


7 Raise up the rectangles to form a face shape, and bend the corners of the inner ones so they don’t keep pushing the shapes outwards


8 Attach tape to the outer edges of the rectangles and loosely stick them together. Then fit the mask to your face and adjust the tape, so the mask fits snugly


9 Trim the outer mask edges to make a closer fit to your face. THIS IS ESSENTIAL


10 Mark across all the edge joins so you can reassemble the mask exactly later


11 Carefully unfold the mask back into a 2d shape and mark the alterations you made on the template. This will help you recreate copies of the mask to have spares


12 Reassemble the mask carefully using the marks to help you and tape over each join with waterproof tape



13 Cover the external mask with the tape, so it’s completely sealed


14 Seal all joins on the inside


15 Add thinner wire to the top to form a mouldable bridge over the nose. Add a thicker wire lower down, as shown, so you have an upper backstop for the elastic bands later


16 Add thicker wire to the lower mask to form the lower backstop for the elastic bands later, and cover completely with the waterproof tape


17 The finished mask should look something like this


18 Cut a double layer of T-shirt cloth (or dish towel cloth), fold it over and secure it over the mask with two elastic bands. Check you can breathe through it by holding it on to your face and inhaling


19 To start forming the wire frame, take a 50cm piece of wire and bend it in half, forming a nose shape


20 Form a loop on the first corner of the inner hexagon


21 Use pliers to give the loop an extra couple of twists


22 Repeat on the other three corners, and then at the bottom bring the wire together and twist it, to help form a handle for the mask so you can take it off more easily



23 Bend the wires back on themselves and wrap them round the lower loops


24 Trim and tuck in the excess wire


25 Your finished frame should look like this


26 Attach elastic strips to the loops


27 Fit the frame around the mask. It is now important that you spend time shaping the mask and the frame around your face, pressing in any loose areas until you have the best fit possible. If you cover the front air vents with your palm, you should need to blow out quite hard to get any air out of the mask at all. Similarly, with the vents covered over, when you inhale you should feel the mask ‘stick’ to your face. If you can breathe in easily with the vents covered, it is too loose fitting, and you will need more adjustments to the mask, or to scale down the template and make a smaller (or larger) sized mask. It is vital that the mask does not ‘leak’ air


28 To start making the waterproof shield, if you want one, take two pieces of wire about 28cm long


29 To make the shield itself, cut a section out of the bottom of a plastic drinks bottle


30 Attach the wire to the plastic shield with clear sticky tape


31 Put the wires through the loops of the frame


32 Twist and secure the overlapping wire around the loops


33 With the frame reattached, the mask is now ready to use with the shield in place

We hope you find this mask design useful.

If you don’t have an empty milk or juice carton available, you can make one with a moisture-resistant bowl. There’s a quick guide on how to make this version here, on our You Tube channel, and a longer one here, using a cardboard bowl instead of the carton. However, please replace the masking tape used in this version with waterproof sticky tape, e.g. Duck Tape.

Before you make masks of your own, you might want to look at the articles below:



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