Introduction: DIY Gas Mask

Picture of DIY Gas Mask

With Occupy protests around the country, things are heating up. With disbursement of tear gas an pepper spray by police, how are regular people able to keep safe?

Normally, one would by a gas mask, but given cost, bulkiness and being a target when wearing one, this might not be the best option. Based on a pamphlet i saw floating around the internet, you can make your own primitive gas mask out of some stuff you have lying around the house.

WARNING: Tear gas is no joke, it burns, hurts and makes you cry for your mommy. Those with respiratory issues should be aware that tear gas can complicate things, leading to injury or even death. Do not use this gas mask tutorial for life threatening situations.

Step 1: Idea

Picture of Idea

The idea came from this pamphlet that has no author. I figured to make an instructable about it to not only tell others about it but to get constructive feedback from the instructables community. I do not see this idea as a finished product, please give me your input!

Step 2: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

For this project you will need the following:
- a 2 liter soda bottle
- a n95 rated face mask that is good for particulates. Tear gas is a dust, not a gas so this will be perfect
- Duct tape (i used gorilla tape
- Stapler

Step 3: Mark and Cut

Picture of Mark and Cut

The first step is to mark your bottle and cut it. I used a sharpie to mark the bottom off and the dip the bottle takes to fit to your face. I then took a regular knife and cut the shape out.

Step 4: Tape the Edge

Picture of Tape the Edge

For this to work, you have to create a seal on your face with the bottle. i created this seal with a bit of gorilla tape around the edges. Wrap the tape around the edges until you feel like you'll get a good seal. Check the seal by putting the mask on your face, plugging the spout and breathing in. If you have a seal, the bottle should concave a bit to your face.

Step 5: Disassemble the Facemask and Put Into Bottle

Picture of Disassemble the Facemask and Put Into Bottle

Pull off both of the yellow straps from the facemask (SAVE THEM!) to have a strapless mask. From here you can just stuff it into the bottle.

Step 6: Make a Hands-free Mask

Picture of Make a Hands-free Mask

You could stop here if you just wanted something you could hold to your face, but if you want hands-free operation, you can reuse the yellow straps and staple them to the mask.

Step 7: And Your Mask Is Done!

Picture of And Your Mask Is Done!

Now you can run around in the tear gas a little easier, just slide the mask over your face, make sure the straps are tight and you're ready to go.

If you have improvements or your own builds, please post them in the comments below. Stay safe!

For more info about occupy protests going on around you, check out Occupy Together

For info about hackers are getting involved in the occupy movement go to Occupy Hack


jongscx (author)2011-11-14

I'm really sorry, but can everyone PLEASE STAY ON TOPIC... I'm really tired of reading about how "Occupy is this..." and "Civil Disobedience is that..." and all the, quite honestly off-topic political discussion concerning the potential use of this device.
Does each side have arguments? Yes. Valid? I don't care... not important for an instructable. 

Talk about the function of the device and how to make it better... not WHY it should or shouldn't be relevant.

I think this should be a last-ditch piece of equipment, something that will let you leave a gassed area safely and maybe help those around you that aren't as well prepared.  Honestly, N95 masks are rated for 15-minutes of droplet protection before things start to seep through; and that's with a proper fitting around the face.  "Stuffing" it into the neck of the bottle is less than ideal fitting.

My point is that worst case scenario, this might give people a false sense or security and embolden them to do riskier things than they're prepared for.

geekyfeminist113 (author)2016-11-27

Maybe putting nylon tights over a persons head (the foot part) might help to tighten the seal of the mask to the face, and might add the tiniest bit of protection.

Der_Ubermensch (author)2016-09-04

Would a World War I-era German M1916 gas mask protect against Tear Gas? I do happen to have one lying on my desk that was given to me by one of my grandparents.

Danuel B.C (author)2016-09-02

Wouldn't these be good for general protection when woodworking? I tend to get a lot of dust in my nose and eyes, even with glasses and some cheap masks.

murat.tamgili (author)2016-05-18

good ible and practical. Some charcoal may be useful on the way of inhaling as filter i think

htosis (author)2014-05-05

if i want to buy a n95 rated face mask how much will that cost me at home depot/rona?

NathantheGray (author)htosis2016-03-23

home depot probably sells a pack of five for 4 dollars or something like that. Harbour Freight sells them for even cheaper!

htosis (author)htosis2014-05-05

will this work ?

NathantheGray (author)2016-03-23

putting a few foam pieces (like the kind on your bike helmet) would help make it more airtight and more comfortable instead of just gorrila tape. Also,an additional strap around the neck from a second particle mask (they usually come in packs of 3 or 5 anyway) would help if you end up running (in a protest situation where there is tear gas, you'll probably end up running). Adding a layer of activated charcoal and then another mask on top of that would be even better. BTW lemon juice and toothpaste neutralize the effects of teargas, so smear some of that in there, too!!!!!! Great build!!!!!!!!!

oO-CarlosG (author)2016-01-30

Any alternatives to the cloth strips or foam?

tpeters8 (author)2015-11-11

nice instructable. to all those that are saying these are pointless, even if it doesnt give 100% coverage, id rather take 50% coverage then take a full hit of whatever gas is being dispersed. yes you can buy cheap masks online and whatnot, but if something is going on in the city you cant ask teh authorities to wait 3 days so you can order one.

deus ex (author)2015-09-27

Im not here for politics just the cool concept. keep up the good work :D

InstinctsKill (author)2015-09-15

If it's just CS gas you're protecting against, I think just using the store-bought mask and some swimming goggles might be more effective. Without a proper, tight seal on this mask, you still run the risk of gas irritating your eyes.

If it's anything worse than tear gas you're worried about (nerve gas, for instance), then you'd need full body protection (literally head to toe), or it wouldn't matter anyways.

The idea is neat though.

KeiroA (author)2015-08-28

Clever individuals, assisting Anarchy since Law Enforcement became a thing.

wyrdsister (author)2015-05-02

Thank you for sharing, this is very helpful. (author)2014-10-18

Oh yeah - one last thing. Your DIY mask will not filter CS/CN gas. N95 masks are particulate masks (i.e. things floating around in the air > .03 microns big). (author)2014-10-18

An Israeli civil defense gas mask cost around $20 - usually comes with an expired filter (that are still fine for CS gas) and the whole thing - mask & filter - can be placed in a 1 gallon zip lock baggy.

and for an additional $5 you can buy an adapter to fit standard 3m filters - which are a fraction of the cost of the 40mm type filters these masks normally use.

3m 701 - filter adapter from 40mm to bayonet

3m 60926 bayonet stile NBC filter (if you're going to buy a filter might as well by broad use)

lynnette.jonson (author)2014-07-29


SmatthewSkeletor (author)2014-04-29

cut out the center of the bottle cap. cut out a piece of carbon filter slightly larger than the cap. place carbon filter circle inside cap. screw filter cap on the bottle.

def. use weather seal for gaskets around face. a head band attached to a clear bottle. Why was the bottle green?

Alderin (author)2011-11-14

Tear Gas or CS Gas doesn't dissipate very quickly, and it's effects can be felt more than a mile away from the "event". I've trained around and with CS Gas enough to know. MANY people will feel the effects of the gas that was intended to disperse the FEW who don't listen. Especially in urban areas where the Occupy protests are happening.

htosis (author)Alderin2014-05-05

they will apply force regardless of "non-compliance" as well.

270168 (author)2011-11-14

you won't have to make one if you just listen to the authorities, the authorities are just doing what they were told to do.

htosis (author)2701682014-05-05

its a joke everybody! sarcasm! move along.

antioch (author)2701682012-06-16

At an age of 44 years you won't have to use huge killing machines as profile pic if you just stick to saying smart things.

neur0 (author)2701682011-11-18

And protesters are just doing what they need to do.

vladivastok (author)2014-01-18


superchargerone (author)2013-06-20

Will it not be easier to just wear a pair of swimming goggles to protect the eyes and fit the mask properly rather than to stick it at the bottom like that where sealing against the face and the edge of the bottle and the bottle against the mask may not be ideal at best. Will there be issues of fogging inside due to condensation from moist air?

I am familiar with the mask used in this illustration. It is a 3m N95 8515 model. I have one sitting on my desk right now. It is a good design and easier to breath through than the 3m N95 8210 model but 3x the price. It is far more comfortable to use than the 8210 and the yellow tab in the middle acts as a one way outlet valve to dissipate warm moist air.

An issue with this design is that when breathing in, the entire surface area of the mask is used to filter the air so that you get the needed volume without needing to increase the pressure thereby effort to breath.

If the mask is not glued and sealed against the inside of the bottle, there might be too much leakage to make the mask useful. If too much of the surface area of the mask is glued down or it is wedged against the bottle thereby reducing the surface area, that might increase breathing effort. Also, the small opening aperture of the soda bottle, I am wondering about the rate of air exchange and breath in effort when in use. The alternative is to cut away a part of the neck to expose more of the mask and tape the mask to the enlarged neck (though that means that the mask will get wet from water cannon)

Still think its a cool project and very inventive. I enjoy the lateral thinking. But if I find myself in a bad situation, it would probably be easier to travel and get out of the situation with a pair of swimming goggles and wear the N95 mask. Only down side is if the mask gets wet from water cannon, it stops working. Good project nevertheless.

ROAFROAF (author)superchargerone2013-10-04

Answering your question, NO, is not about easier or not, is about the tear gas irritates your skin as well, and believe me, it hurts specially in that skin around eyes, and mouth, so this is a good way to cover your face.

JerryBYong (author)2013-06-19

Hey there, I live in Singapore and the haze here is really really bad like PSI 321. I wanted to get a gas mask and I stumbled upon this. I'm not sure if Singapore has 2-litre bottles we usually get 1.5-litre bottles. I was wondering if they would still work

onrust (author)2013-01-26

Your photo reminds me of Denis Hopper in BLUE

kristell1119 (author)2013-01-08

i just love that every body is making political comments on her for or aghanst the US for or aghanst the occupy movement which yes were mentioned. but really its just instructions for an emergency device dont expect it to be a 400 dollar gas mask its made out of a pop bottle. id rather have that then nothing. nice instructable. ill make imporvements as i see fit. and if i think of any potental political rants id like to go off on ill just come back here.

cman9 (author)2012-05-22

Still proud of your occupy buddies after their violent activities in chicago this week?

Chadifornia (author)2012-04-29

Thats a great idea. I was thinking of purchasing some masks to have around just in case but I think Ill make a few more of these. I used a sticky foam strip normally for doors to create a better seal.

professorzed (author)2011-12-04

Well, sorry to inconvenience you as we attempt to make a better world, jongscx. If the Occupy movement wasn't 'annoying' people, it wouldn't be much of a social movement, would it? I'm pretty sure that white people were 'annoyed' when black people started occupying seats in the 'whites only' sections of buses and restaurants, too.

So, back on topic.

I think the store-bought mask beneath the soda bottle is o.k. However, if you really wanted to make it truly DIY you might try something like a bandana or some brand-new socks with powdered charcoal inside. DON'T use charcoal briquettes, since these contain lighter fluid. Get the powered charcoal used for fish aquariums instead. Oh, and the charcoal should be wet to work properly.

I'm also wondering about making a gas-mask like this and keeping both sides together for a 'spy-tech' effect. If these became popular enough, Cops might recognize these as an improvised gas-mask as soon as they spot them.

Maybe keep the two bottle halves, and use hot glue to attach an airtight plastic bag on the inside. The plastic bag would fit over your head, preferably with a drawstring to seal it tight. The 'other half' of the bottle would just sit on the back of your head. Kind of useless really, but a convenient way to keep the two bottle halves together so they just look like bottles of soda pop until pulled apart.

I wonder if the bottle opening at the bottom could be made to work like a water bong/ hookah, to filter out the tear gas? Club soda/ soda water is pretty alkaline, which might ameliorate the effects of the tear gas. Maybe a smaller bottle inside with a cork and two straws (or a can, whatever.) Fill it three quarters full, with an air bubble at the top, one straw at the top that you can breathe through, one at the bottom of the can, submerged in the club soda, or even just a hole that air can get through, but club soda can't. Come to think of it, just perforate the bottom of a pop can full of holes, fill it full of cotton balls, pour in some club soda, add powdered charcoal. That's your home-made disposable 'cartridge' for the inside of the mask.

Come to think of it, a gas mask needs a 'spit valve' for perspiration and condensation to drain from.

bendog38 (author)professorzed2012-04-25

I just finished my mask. The mask seems sturdy enough. I just need materials to make a good filter. I know that the military grade filters can filter chemical weapons. So what do they use in those and what do I need to buy or find to mimic a military filter? If I can't mimic them, then I will just have to buy an Israeli filter on Amazon. But I would rater not do that. Any help would be great. Maybe I should make a forum topic...

bendog38 (author)professorzed2012-04-24

Using these instructions to add onto my current gas mask project, I will have one effective gas mask by mid-summer. I would probably be using it though to filter the air that I will breathe when I detonate my ant poison grenades, assuming that they work. One problem you might encounter with the plastic bag is how hot it can become inside one of those masks. Another is with the seal along the neck line. The human neck is not perfectly round and therefore will open holes in the seal. This can be problem can be countered by using a seal such as the duct tape one described in this Instructable or by going to a more extreme measure and using a door seal (the rubber kind used to guard against wind) and sewing it to the bag, then creating a duct tape seal around the interior and the exterior of the bag. This would seal out the air from the neck line.


Alex Mercer (author)2012-04-14

Great. Keep it up!

zzoe (author)2012-02-19

Please research your subject, at least a little, before you rant. It's painfully obvious you didn't, sorry. I hope that a genuine attempt to seek out the facts will, if not change your point-of-view, at least allow you to express it with more depth and a fact or two. Yes, you have a right to your opinion, and to express it. I once met a man on a bus who tried to convince me that gravity is a hoax- that was his OPINION. He had a right to express it.

Hobo in Training (author)2011-12-19

Quick tip about tear gas and pepper spray:

Mixing a base with water and spraying over the skin can decontaminate when hit with either of these chemicals. This includes Alka-seltzer in water and even soda water. Dedz to How To Avoid Being Killed in a Warzone.

BTW: Occupiers are kind of annoying.

professorzed (author)2011-12-04

Oh, also Nana2peanut is right. To be effective, the gas mask must be an air-tight seal.

wildwabbit (author)2011-11-15

I remember reading somewhere that during WWI and WWII that soldiers would pee on a cloth and hold it over there face if they were attacked with tear gas and did not have mask.

Apparently the ammonia in the urine neutralizes the tear gas.

Pee on the dust mask for more effective filtration of the nasties in the gas.

codongolev (author)wildwabbit2011-11-15

I feel like that.... would be smelly.

also, our liver (I believe - might be another organ) converts ammonia into urea before it goes into our urine. that's why cat pee is so strong - cats don't convert to urea, they just pee out the ammonia. so it might be the urea in the pee that does it.

Nyxius (author)codongolev2011-11-16

I was going to suggest a mixture of urea hydro chloride, water, and oxalic acid. it would be a little more effective than vinegar. I think the purpose of the acid is to denature the oils in the pepper spray. That and the oils should then dissolve (maintaining the low surface tension needed to breath) and saturate the mask instead of your air.

sokamiwohali (author)Nyxius2011-11-27

ARE YOU FREAKIN KIDDING ME?!?!? Chlorine is one of the ingredients in CS think you would want something in your mask that just makes things worse. not to mention that is a vapor at room temp and turns into hydrochloric acid?...your just begging to die...

Nyxius (author)sokamiwohali2011-11-27

have you ever had any chemistry? Urea hydrochloride is a semi-stable radical compound in liquid form. It is an activator for the Oxalic acid and it takes VERY little to work. The reason you are using for your argument would also lead people to think that they will be poisoned by ingesting table salt. Also known as sodium chloride. Oxalic acid is present in rhubarb at 5% (edible). Urea hydrochloride is what you get when you mix a little stomach acid with your piss. It'll probably smell, but it'll smell a lot less than taking a piss in your mask or pouring vinegar into it. Plus it will remain effective for about 20 time longer due to the massive amounts of available hydrogen. You want something in your mask that will react with the gas and have a low vapor pressure so it doesn't evaporate into the air your breathing. The oxalic acid and urea decomposes in the presence of the gas and releases water, carbon dioxide and some chlorinated compounds that are water soluble and will remain in the wet cloth. As the cloth dries out the compounds will precipitate into solids and crystallize in the cloth. The reaction stops when there is either no more water, or no more oxalic acid. You could even add a little sorbitol if your really worried about the chlorine. In the presence of chlorine gas most sugar alcohols will decompose into HCL and a slightly less complex organic acid. Stop being a Chemophobe. It releases bad chemicals in your brain...

sokamiwohali (author)Nyxius2011-11-28

hahaha...well, i (and wikkipedia) stand corrected i i guess you cant trust things that ppl put on there after all...and no, i hate chemistry unless it is with women...then im all about but seriously, i never liked chemistry even though it was part of my job in the military.

Nyxius (author)sokamiwohali2011-11-28

I guess I over reacted, but Wikipedia is usually right. Chlorine gas is very dangerous. In fact it was on of the first chemical agents used in WW II (right next to mustard gas). Chlorine gas is very reactive, corrosive even. But most forms of chlorine you encounter everyday is already reacted with something that stabilizes it. Notable exceptions being toilet bowl cleaner, acids etc. Most Ionic forms of chlorine are fairly harmless {in low doses}, but you lungs are sensitive. These methods should only be used in an emergency. Even breathing vinegar fumes for more than 20 min can cause minor lung irritation ( I know from personal experience). But any of these options are better than taking a crowd dispersant directly to the lungs.

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