Face Mask Duckbill With Filter

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Introduction: Face Mask Duckbill With Filter

Howdy.

I'm a physician and a maker. My hospital is currently collecting our used N95 masks for cleaning and possible re-use. I was looking into solutions for if/when we run out. There are quite a few posts for making surgical masks, but I find the 'Duckbill' masks fit my face better than other designs. I hope to continue using 'real' masks, but in a time of shortage, I wanted to at least have something to wear. While homemade masks are not a substitute for true surgical mask or N95, a DIY mask is probably better than nothing. (I make NO promise that this or any mask offers full protection from infectious diseases/ COVID-19.)

UPDATE: Because some individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. (CDC). Please leave N95 respirators for health providers who are in need of PPE. Wash your hands and practice safe social distancing when possible.

If you don't have access to a sewing machine, the CDC has a video to make a very simple mask from a t-shirt and rubber bands.

The CDC changed their recommendation based on newer findings about the high prevalence of asymptomatic carriers. The idea is that by wearing a cloth face mask, you may prevent transmission to others if you are an asymptomatic carrier of coronavirus. In other words a mask may help prevent 'outward' transmission of disease.

As far as 'inward' protection, there is some data that homemade masks *may* help, but they are definitely not a substitute for the real thing (Cambridge Study, Nature, Occ. Env Med, Annals Occ Hygiene, ). For influenza there is some data that N95 mask may not be superior to regular surgical masks in clinical setting (CMAJ, JAMA). So maybe you don't need a N95 (Please stop hoarding unless you are intubating a patient with COVID-19). CDC has gone as far to suggest that even a simple bandana can be used as a 'last resort'. (When N95's are a rare as unicorns, I'd rather have something superior to Chachi's Bandana). To summarize N95 > surgical mask > DIY > Bandana.

I really liked ashevillejm's DIY Cloth Facemask, but it just didn't fit my face very well. You should check out her instructable for ideas and references. Lauren Streicher, MD also has a great video with a different style mask as part of the #millionmaskchallenge. The 'Duckbill' mask just a different style of mask that may or may not work better for your face shape.

I wanted the mask to be reusable, better than a bandana, breathable, and made from materials I could easily acquire. I made the outside from t-shirt material (see Cambridge study above). I made the inside out of cotton/poly blend so it would dry faster. I found filter material that would filter 1 µm particles; I cut out part of a furnace filter. This was a filter made of non-woven polypropylene (not fiberglass). This is definitely not N95 (~0.1 µm) but in theory it may filter water droplets (0.6-1000 µm) (the mechanism for influenza transmission). Please select filter material at your own risk. Read package or contact manufacturer to ensure safety, filter specifications, and durability. Blue shop towels may be a reasonable filter material. Here are some links for other filter materials (NY times).

Looking to donate masks? Check out https://getusppe.org

Supplies:

  • Cotton fabric (like t-shirt) or cotton/polyester blend (about 11 x 20 inches)
  • Elastic (2 x 9 inches)
  • Filter material (Research and select something you feel is safe and effective) Please don't hoard filters- share with your friends. You only need ~ 10 inch square)
  • Bendable metal (wire, thick aluminum from your carry-out container, I found some aluminum roof flashing)
  • Sewing Machine
  • Soap and water (for washing your hands).

Step 1: Download Pattern and Cut Materials

First of all wash your hands and don't touch your face or nose.

Download PDF below. The pattern makes a 'regular' size Duckbill mask. For a small, subtract about 1/4 inch from outside. I cut 2 black pieces of fabric from a cotton t-shirt for the outside. Then 2 blue pieces of cotton/poly blend from the inside. I then cut 2 pieces of filter (this is optional: I don't have any evidence that this improves function). I found an unused filter in my basement, disassembled it and cut two pieces for the mask. The furnace filter had the advantage of being breathable, washable, and had a sticker that indicated it filtered particles as small as 1 µm. Please do not hoard furnace filters (or toilet paper). Please do your own research to determine if the filter material you select is safe. See comments below for filter material ideas.

Step 2: Sew 3 Layers Together at Top

I placed 3 layers in order: inside (blue), outside (black), filter material and sewed along the top. My sewing skills are limited to 9th grade home economics (Thanks Mrs. Schaffer), so it doesn't look pretty. The 'right' sides of the fabric were facing each other. Do this for the upper and lower portion of the mask.

Step 3: Place Bendable Metal at Top.

Place a strip of bendable metal at the top to allow for nose seal and to minimize fogging of goggles. There are a few options here. I found some aluminum roof flashing that I cut to 1/4 inch x 6 inches. I also was eyeing an old take-out container made of thicker aluminum foil. You could probably use craft wire, or 12 gauge copper electric wire (Romex), or thick twist ties. Flip the fabric around and sew around the strip to keep it in place.

Step 4: Sew the Two Sides Together With Elastic

I found some elastic that was about 1/4 inch and cut two 9 inch strips. You could probably use a light bungee cord, or longer hair tie as well. I placed the upper and lower portion with the outside (black) facing each other. I then placed the elastic at the top and sewed down one side, across the bottom, then up the other side. I stopped just before the top to place the elastic and sew it into place. I trimmed off the extra fabric and was done.

Step 5: Final Mask

I'm sure it could be nicer looking, but it fits my face well with no air leak out the sides and it's pretty breathable. I really like our instant pot for making curry and chili, but I plan on cleaning my mask in it. It's not a real autoclave but I think it's better than rinsing with cold water. (UPDATE: I'm using low setting for 30 minutes. See comments below for alternative cleaning methods and science behind instant pot cleaning). Here is CDC guide for cleaning N95 respirators (Note: this mask is NOT an N95 respirator, so this may not apply. Also, the methods described like hydrogen peroxide vapor or UV light are not really accessible to home user.) Steam looks promising, but cleaning method depends on the materials you use.

Now go wash your hands again.

Please check out Deborahhopetree's alternative PDF below in the comment section. She has real sewing skills and a very detailed guide. Also check out Anyjackie's detailed PDF instructions below in comment section. Both create a more refined mask that looks more professional than my simple design. Gem City Sewn has a fun animal modification for kids.

The second mask I airbrushed a wolf howling at the moon dreaming of a wolf howling at another moon:)

25 People Made This Project!

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139 Comments

0
MariaSpringFlower
MariaSpringFlower

8 months ago

Thank you for this pattern! I happened upon it because I was
trying to find something more breathable than the typical masks for people with
breathing issues. I used DeborahHopeTree’s variation. I added a sleeve for a
removable nose wire. I am not a skilled seamstress; the pattern was also very
forgiving of my inaccuracies. Since I was trying to make something more
breathable, for my first effort I used only two layers of good cotton without a
lining. The person I made it for was happy with the breathability. In one of
the last posts here someone mentioned the possibility of leaving the bottom
open and putting replaceable filters in. So now I am trying to figure out what
material to use for a removable filter, to
maximize breathability for people with breathing issues, along with protection.


So I am wondering if anyone has suggestions of a good
combination of materials for a breathable and protective mask. Thank you!

0
Deborahhopetree
Deborahhopetree

Reply 8 months ago

For summer weight masks for community members, I've been using one layer of cotton batik for the outside, with ripstop cotton from Mood Fabrics for the inside. I also made one with this combo, but with two layers of silk chiffon sandwiched in between. It was for a friend who has to ride the NYC subways to work. The only way I could manage to sew with the silk chiffon was to cut the inner and outer layers, put wonder tape on the edges of the inside and lay the pieces on top of the silk, then cut out the silk with the layer attached. Otherwise you'll go crazy trying to keep the silk from shifting around. The ACS posted research about using silk for mask making. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsnano.0c03252

0
MariaSpringFlower
MariaSpringFlower

Reply 8 months ago

Could you recommend a source for buying silk chiffon that is good for our purposes? Thank you very much!

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Deborahhopetree
Deborahhopetree

Reply 8 months ago

I ordered silk chiffon from Mood Fabrics. I bought a swatch of this and liked it better than what I ended up getting because at the time I placed my order the tapioca silk chiffon wasn't in stock. It looks like it is now. https://www.moodfabrics.com/applications/top-weight-fabrics/blouse-fabrics/tapioca-silk-chiffon-pv5000-104 Be sure to get wonder tape though, as I described above, or you will hate the researchers who suggested this fabric, LOL! I put the fabric in a lingerie bag and then washed it in HOT water 3 times and then put it in the dryer on medium. This does change the texture a bit, but it held up surprisingly well when I did this. I would not put it directly against the skin, both because I don't think the fabric would last long used this way, and also it feels a little scratchy. I have started using Mood Fabric's ripstop cotton for the inner layer of masks. https://www.moodfabrics.com/rag-bone-white-cotton-ripstop-325716 It is thin, but tightly woven, so it works well for summer weight masks for community members. So I use batik for the outer layer, two layers of silk chiffon for the "filter" and a layer of ripstop cotton against the face.

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MariaSpringFlower
MariaSpringFlower

Reply 3 months ago

I've been reading the WHO's recent recommendations for masks: inner layer- an absorbent, hydrophyllic material like cotton; middle layer - nonwoven, nonabsorbent, hydrophobic material such as polypropylene; outer layer - nonabsorbant, hydrophobic material like polyester or polyester blend.
Have your thoughts changed about the best fabrics to use now for mask-making?
Thank you!

0
Deborahhopetree
Deborahhopetree

Reply 2 months ago

Thanks for your question! When WHO's recommendations came out, I groaned...and I wondered if anyone had actually tried breathing through all of that.... So much of the research on materials available to the home sewist measure filtration, but don't take into account breathability. Also, I've wondered about the potential for breathing particles of polypropelyne, wondering if that stuff shreds after repeated washing. At this point the healthcare workers I made masks for are using the Envo mask, which is N95 and gives far better respiratory protection than anything a home sewist can make. On the home front, my husband and I don't go out except to walk in local parks and the masks I made for us are fine for the level of potential exposure that we might encounter. Sorry I can't be more help, but I'm not a materials scientist, so these are just my thoughts. But if you need N95 level of protection, check out the Envo. The fit is waaaaay better and the quality control, too, than the KN95 masks I've seen my dentist and doctor use. It is all about getting a good seal. https://envomask.com/

0
MariaSpringFlower
MariaSpringFlower

Reply 2 months ago

Thank you for your reply and for the info on the Envo! My
husband and I are retired seniors and rarely go out, but I’ve given masks to people
from a wide range of ages, life situations, and professions, including medical.
I also wondered about the breathability of the new WHO-recommended masks and
about the safety, with washing. I was sure you would have given this some
thought. I did, by the way, get the ripstop cotton, the silk chiffon, and
wonder tape that you recommended, and had some batik. I don’t think you can go
wrong with these materials! Again, thanks!

0
Deborahhopetree
Deborahhopetree

Reply 2 months ago

The masks I made with the silk chiffon sandwiched between the batik and the ripstop cotton have held up well for the young friend who has to ride the NYC subway to work. She washes them by hand and air dries them. She recently added a face shield to what she wears for more protection, but she says that they are very comfortable. And thankfully she has stayed free of covid even though she is a social worker in a high risk hospital.

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MariaSpringFlower
MariaSpringFlower

Reply 8 months ago

Thanks so much for your reply and suggestions!

0
MariaSpringFlower
MariaSpringFlower

Reply 8 months ago

Thank you so much for all of this great and new (for me) information!

0
binthereorganizers
binthereorganizers

5 months ago on Step 5

I love this mask! It is the only shape of mask I find comfortable to wear. I made a few adjustments to the shape to make it a little easier for me to sew around the curves, and to incorporate straps rather than elastic around the ears. I have tried to upload my own version of the instructions. We'll see if this works.
Thanks Chris!
Sandra WB

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gdpianosrock8
gdpianosrock8

5 months ago

I lined mine with a dollar store surgical mask (unpleated, then sewn into the "inside" fabric layer. I think these will work well for our choir. They are super comfortable. I've enjoyed reading all the comments and seeing the creative modifications!

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Rashea11
Rashea11

Tip 6 months ago on Step 5

Use the metal piece off a coffee bag for the metal piece! It's coated and so is more comfortable.

5
anyjackie
anyjackie

Answer 10 months ago

Hi Deborah and Dr. Holmes, thanks for all your good work! These tutorials were very helpful. I have made a couple of further tweaks that I thought you might be interested in seeing. It complicates the mask construction, but I think the end result is worth it. Be well!
~Jackie from NYC

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sealbano
sealbano

Reply 7 months ago

Made both the original post and Anyjackie's variation and like both of them better than the rectangular ones I made originally. Does anyone have a similar pattern for kids?

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Deborahhopetree
Deborahhopetree

Reply 7 months ago

I recall seeing that someone had scaled down the pattern for kids. Look through the threads. I think there was a tutorial for how she did it, too. Sorry, no time tonight to look for it.

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EffyNyc
EffyNyc

Reply 8 months ago

Thank you so much for the beautiful pattern! I'm trying to figure out what changes to make if there's no filter. (Making this for kids for whom breathability is a bit more important.) Can you just make a stack from the beginning with inner, elastic, and outer? Or do you still need to make the two separate bills and attach? I'm not a pro-enough seamstress to have an easy time of editing patterns! :)

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Deborahhopetree
Deborahhopetree

Reply 8 months ago

Some people have sewn the two sets together with the side seams on the outside, zigzagged to keep them from fraying. This pattern will be too big for kids though. You will need to scale it down. Jennifer Smith posted about doing this in the comments below. Maybe that will give you ideas.

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Juju52
Juju52

Reply 10 months ago

Excellent pattern and instructions--thanks so much for sharing. I used canvas for the cover, after reading that canvas and denim are highly recommended for this purpose (sorry I didn't save a link). Also, for the pocket and flap, I used 5/8" polyester ribbon. I didn't even hem the cut ends--I used a hot knife to cut and sear/seal them at the same time. For me, this was easier than working with tiny pieces of fabric. I just had to hunt down something that wasn't too feminine-looking for my partner! Thanks again!

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