Introduction: DIY Protective Face Mask

Making paper at home is pretty simple and there are some great examples on instructables. You can also make a paper face mask with a shaped mold. Currently many places are selling out of masks and more are needed for healthcare professionals. You can make your own face mask at home.

There is some debate about the efficacy of face masks to prevent disease but it is generally agreed that they help prevent touching the face and social distancing which are important factors to avoid infection.


  • 3D Printer
  • PLA
  • Used paper products
  • Water
  • Blender
  • Bucket

Step 1: Make Mold and Deckle

A) Traditional
You typically create a mould with wire mesh and build a wooden frame. You may be able to mold the wire into the form of a respirator or

B) 3D Printed

Download the 3D printable file we created from Thingiverse. This step includes a shaped mesh mould and deckle. Optionally customize by resizing for intended user in Meshmixer or CURA. Print.


Our design has a fine mesh interior where we lay our paper pulp and a solid edge that contains the pulp and directs excess water to the bottom

Step 2: Make Paper Pulp

You can make new paper by recycling almost any type of used paper. To get a structured mask a thicker stock is better. We used egg crates for this example.

  1. Cut, tear or shred a couple of handfuls of paper stock
  2. Process in blender
  3. Soak in 2 pints of water for 30 minutes

Step 3: Form Your Face Mask

  1. Place the blended pulp in a container. Since we are creating a shape instead of a flat piece of paper, you will need more water than usual. Try to find a container that just fits the form.
  2. Add water to create a thick slurry
  3. Submerge the form in water
  4. Pull form out of slurry in a smooth easy motion.
  5. Let excess water drain out
  6. Soak up excess water with towel or felt

Step 4: Dry

Running a fan or hair dryer will speed the drying process that takes 4 to 8 hours depending on thickness

Step 5: Harvest Your Face Mask

  1. Carefully remove the mask from the mold. Pull up the mask by moving around the edges into the center. Tears on the flat part don't matter and will be discarded. You can help separate mask and mold by blowing back with hair dryer or compressed air. Cut out your mask!