Introduction: N95 Type Mask

About: I'm a Designer, Creator, Inventor. #1 Hobby - brainstorming. I invented the Unicorn Poop cookie, as published here on instructables. And now I am a metalsmith. <3

I call it "N95-ish", I wish I could test it to see how well the filter layers work! Not being sure about the filtration properties, I cannot claim that it is exact in any manner. This won't prevent, treat or cure any ailments/diseases and your creation of my tutorial is at your own risk. If you need up-to-date information on SARS-COV-2 or COVID-19, please head to the CDC website for latest developments. :) Stay Safe, Stay Home.
A mask is only a small portion of a regime of preventative measures that can be effective while multiple layers of hygiene practices are in place. Be mindful of sanitization, hand-washing and regulatory govt. updates.


My tutorial is for a reusable, medical grade particulate filtration mask, probably comparable to N95.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional, I am not an industrialist, I'm not a seamstress. Sew and sport at your own risk. CLAIMER: I trust this mask for myself and my loved ones. (I've been wearing mine for a couple months, am currently covid-free, & as an asthmatic fatty, that's damn good. LOL)


This tutorial is dedicated to all the people in earlier countries that were unaware of the danger surrounding them, while the truth was withheld. It's for healthcare workers that don't have enough resources to maintain their health while they save our lives. This tutorial is made for the people who want to help their family, friends, and support healthcare systems in need. It's scientific fact that a filtered mask will stop a person from getting a high inoculum of virulent particles. (Even better if they are worn and used properly and with subsequent personal protective equipment. Glasses/goggles/clear face shield.)

Back in January I was following Covid19 and I was already seeing the flashes of how rapidly it would reach the USA. Call it panic, paranoia, preparedness...But I was looking for N95 masks and I didn't like the price and frequency of use for them. I ended up buying the half-gas-mask system that has filters you can change out. But I also wanted a face mask, because it would be much more socially acceptable in the USA.

I researched the materials that went into an N95 mask, to see if they would be available online, by the bolt, by the yard. But it turned out to be some very interesting words and mysterious materials. That led me to seek out images of the materials, the means in which they are fabricated and what end materials those fabrications were applied to. I wanted to understand what each piece did, how it operated and what qualified it as such.

Upon familiarizing myself with the materials used in the high filtration masks, I sought out aftermarket products that contained these materials. Lucky for us, nonwoven "fabric" is created by melting fiber from polypropylene and projecting it onto a flat surface, which causes a layer of hairy messy fibers in thin compression. This method makes for cheap material, and wide-spread application.


Top Layer (exteroir) * NonWoven Material *** Landscape or Bulletin Board or Massage Sheet or Alternative
First Interior Layer * PolyCellulose Material ***
Any of the polyester cellulose "wipes" linked below
Second Interior Layer * NonWoven Gauze ***
Gauze preferred, lightweight and effective
Final Interior Layer (face) * NonWoven Material *** repeat of your chosen nonwoven type linked below ("landscape/classroom/massage table" etc.)
Nose Wire/ creative ideas below, linked
Elastic / Linked below / Shoelace / Ribbon / String / Elastic Headbands / Hair Ties / Anything you can find. (You can even use strips of NonWoven material to use as ties. Just sew them to the 4 corners of the mask.)

Assembly: Sewing Machine / Needle and Thread / Staples / Glue / Do what you gotta do.
Optional: Scissor Sharpener for keeping your scissors working with these non-coventional fabrics. I use dollar store scissors and bought this style of sharpener so I can use it on knives, scissors, everything. :) Option2 ** Option3

PPE (personal protective equipment) I use in photo/out to risky rain poncho * 2nd Poncho * 3rd Poncho , my usual glasses * hair net * hair2 * hair3 * hair4 . I use the poncho as an outer layer of gear, like a hazmat suit lol. Basically, just wear a tank top underneath and when you're done with the errand, disinfect. Turtle your arms into the poncho and take it off from the inside, so you don't touch the outside of it. Hang up on a hanger near your car, use spray bottle with dawn soap and water, just spray it down, front and back. This photo was from an emergency dentist appointment. The dentist laughed because I had more PPE than she did. hahaha. And hair net, because the hair carries the virus and spreads it around like a magic wand of death. Prevent that. :D


You guys, as you have noticed in this Pandemic, supplies fly, once their need is announced. So I am trying to think ahead and name as many possibilities as I can, so you have more options.



Elastic - Elastic2 - Elastic3 - Elastic4 ***Adjustable1 *** Adjustable2 *** Adjustable3 *** Adjustable4 *** -- Yes, these lead times are stupid, but you can use a simple household solution until the good stuff arrives. The elastic makes an amazing fit and ease of use. *** Use the bra straps as elastic, make it adjustable, or even just cut and sew it to the mask to fit. ***

Nose Wire Suggestion - NoseWire2 - NoseWire3 - NoseWire4 - NoseWire5 - NoseWire6 - NoseWire7 -- I used heavy duty twist ties, and put 2 inside, loose, together to stack the strength. so when you get your soft, pliable wires, you can choose to add multiples for strength.

PolyCellulose - PolyCell2 - PolyCell3 - PolyCell4 - PolyCell5 - PolyCell6 - PolyCell7 -- These are the ones I am worried about because they are less-plentiful, they have sold out in my 7" square size, and there aren't many applications for this material, at least that I know of.

Landscaping Material - Landscape2 - Landscape3 -- (Weedblocker fabric, make sure it looks like it has polkadots crimped into the fabric.) This is available at big box stores, online, probably locally, and it's even an Aldi Find, this week.

Classroom Bulletin Board Sheeting - Sheeting2 - Sheeting3-- I wish I bought this LOL. Lots of fabric for the price. And depending on demand, they have lots of colors available, which is awesome.

Gauze1 - Gauze2 -Gauze3 - Gauze4 - Gauze5 - Gauze6 - Gauze7 - Gauze8 - Gauze9 - Gauze10 - Gauze11 - Gauze12 - Gauze13-- get nonwoven 4" gauze and unfold it into a bigger square to cut the mask shape out of.

Massage Table Paper/Sheets - Sheets2 - Sheets3 - Sheets4 - Sheets5 - Sheets6 - Sheets7 - Sheets8 - Sheets9 -- These are like the sheets you find at the doctor when they have a new patient and they don't want your cooties on the bed. BUT, they are fancier, made of non-woven material and used on massage tables for clients. Thickness is unknown by me, but you can always just layer it more, as needed.

Alternate Nonwoven Sheet
- AnotherSheet

OlyFun Fabric -- for kids crafting (pretty much sold out)

Reusable Shopping Tote -- I've gotten a reusable shopping bags here and there, months back, that had the polkadot material, just match it up to the texture in my photos, then you will know it's nonwoven polypropylene. :)

Bonus Tip: You can use Serger Thread , much better price. Just keep it behind your sewing machine, or next to it, inside a coffee cup, and thread it through the machine as normally done. It will rattle around in the coffee cup and let thread free up into your machine!

Step 1: Cut the Materials

Print out a template of your choice, or I have one included at the bottom of this step :) Print on cardstock if you want to have something sturdy.

For the gauze, once you have it unfolded and laid out, you can cut up to 10 layers at a time. Just make sure to hold your template as you cut along the line, so it doesn't shift and give you .. fanned edges/cuts.

For the polycellulose, 4 layers is kinda the max. This is the main filtration, and the thickest/dense material.

For the Nonwoven, 4-6 layers may be possible, depending on your scissors and ability to control them lol.


For One Mask
2 nonwoven OUTSIDE pieces
2 nonwoven INSIDE pieces (different color if you want)
2 poly cellulose pieces
2 nonwoven gauze pieces

(Essentially, you're building the mask, but it's divided in two, or doubled.)

Step 2: Stack the Layers and Sew!

PRO TIP : Use paperclips instead of pins - to not puncture small holes into the materials.

Lay out the first OUTSIDE nonwoven layers, round edges toward each other.
Then do the same, on top of those, with the following layers. Next comes polycellulose, then gauze, then the last nonwoven.

Take those two stacks and place them "outside layer, to outside layer", so the top of the stack and the bottom of the stack have the FACE side layers.

First line to sew is the big curve. Back-stitch start and end.
Then cut the excess off, making the edge clean and short. Back-stitch.
Then sew the under-eye-swoop. Then the other. Back-stitch.
Cut/trim excess edging off, helps make your sewing look better hahaha.
Sew across the entire bottom, Back-stitch. Cut and trim excess.
Lastly, fold ans sew the ends over as an overlap for elastic/string. Nothing measured, just adequate.

Cut off anything you find ugly, cuz these fabrics don't fray and don't need to be hemmed! :D

Step 3: Nose Wire

Adding the nose wire is a great strategic move. This helps stop air from coming into your mask, and out of your mask. Having a snug nose-fit is ideal.

If, by the end of making this mask, and it doesn't seal properly, feel free to use * MicroPore Tape * MicroPore2 * to seal any edges against your face. This tip is also applicable to the other masks you may have, where there are facial gaps of non-protection. I bought the tape for this use, and as a prepping item. You can use it later to make band-aids, and use the leftover gauze scraps for small medical uses. :)

To make the nose wire, find a link in the beginning of the tutorial for the wire of your choice. I purchased heavy-duty twist ties, but they aren't available anymore. I chose my next ideal options for linking you to. :)

Cut a rough rectangle shape of the scraps from your template cuts.
Smash the top nose-area of the mask as flat as you can.
Lay rectangle on top, sew on 3 sides. To turn a corner, make sure needle is down into fabric, and just lift the presser-foot, turn fabric, put presser foot back down, continue to sew. :)
Stick your wire choice into the pocket you made, stuff it with as many wires as you like for sturdiness, and ease.
Back the wire out, cut shorter than the depth of the pocket, cut as many pieces as needed.
Feed into the pocket, sew it shut, then trim all 4 edges to clean it up.

Step 4: Elastic Finish

Thread your elastic through, should be simple to do, because these materials don't bunch up and fold over. Kinda stiff and strong, so it makes a tunnel to feed it through simply.

*** Ideal Elastic Snug, Perfect Fit *** For 1/8" elastic, I used 31" length, so I could wear it around my head, snug, perfect and great seal, due to the great fit. If that's too loose on you, tie another knot so it snugs up.

For your specific cording, you may want to use a length of it, then cut it shorter or tie knots to tighten it. It's irritating following a tutorial for elastic, to find that yours has different elasticity and you've wasted some. Especially in today's struggle. That stuff is extinct.

For the photos, I used 1mm elastic cord, because that's all I could find. Not recommended, but just what I had on hand. That was 10" on each ear loop.

Step 5: Care and Cleaning

The layers in this mask are essentially plastic. So they stand up to hot water and a nice scrubbing.

On the go...I spray 70% alcohol on the outside of the mask, if I have to get in and out of the car a couple times. For leaving it alone, I spray inside and outside of the mask and let to air dry.

Once I am home, done with use, ready to clean and store --- boil some hot water, or use the hottest from the tap, soak for a minute. Then use a toothbrush and dishsoap to get between the fibers, inside and out of the mask.

Rinse well, warm, to get rid of the dead jerkwads that tried to kill you, hang to dry. In a pinch, you could probably use a hairdryer on low heat? :)

Why does this work? The current coronavirus is enveloped or encased with a layer of fat or oil. This layer is dissolved and destroyed with any soap. Once it has no shield, it crumbles and dies. So your last rinse of the water will be the flushing of the disseminated bodies of your foe. So Mote it Be.

Step 6: Alternate Formulas

If you made a mask or were gifted a mask that holds a filter...Use this tutorial to make the N95 filters to go in those masks. That way you have the fun fabric and the serious filter. Which is also cleanable.

If you can't find all the layers, get what you can and then devise a layer system that suits you. The properties of these fabrics are what goes into the filtration, so even if you made an all-gauze mask, it would be much better than a layer of cotton.

Same goes for nonwoven. If you had only this material, you could do 4 layers of nonwoven and have a pretty safe mask. It won't be the same as my layered approach, but it will always be better than cotton. :)

Stay safe, educate yourself, have fun, be creative and share photos of your creations! <3

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