Introduction: Face Masks From Upright Vacuum Cleaner Bag

Makes 8 single-use face masks from 1 upright vacuum cleaner bag. Face mask is not medical-grade, but will satisfy local requirements to be masked in public places. Takes 10 minutes or less.



  • 1 upright vacuum cleaner paper bag. Pictured: HomeCare Products DVC MicroLined XL & Type CC Vacuum Cleaner Bags. $12.09 (USD) at Amazon.
    IMPORTANT: Make sure the vacuum cleaner bag does not have fiberglass.
  • 2 rubber bands
  • 1 metal paper clip, small
  • 5" (~13 cm) of 2" (~5 cm) wide packing or duct tape
  • (Optional) 1 circular coffee filter


  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • (Optional) Pliers

Step 1: Cut

  1. Cut ends off the vacuum cleaner bag.
  2. Cut bag in half, width-wise. You now have 2 relevant pieces of vacuum cleaner bag.
  3. Cut out portion attached to cardboard gasket.
    Note: Half of the masks will be slightly shorter (~0.3" or ~0.8 cm), as measured from nose-to-chin, as a result of cutting out the portion attached to the cardboard gasket.
  4. Cut bag halves in half, length-wise. You now have 4 relevant pieces of vacuum cleaner bag.
  5. Cut each portion again in half, length-wise. You now have 8 rectangular pieces of vacuum cleaner bag.
    Note: This particular model of bag has two paper liners, which I discard.
    - The brown paper is not breathable.
    - The white filter line is too fragile. I replaced it with a coffee filter, but that is optional.

Step 2: Fold

  1. Take rectangular piece of vacuum cleaner bag and fold in quarters, then unfold.
    Optional: If using coffee filter, fold it in quarters, then unfold.
  2. Fold piece of vacuum cleaner bag in half length-wise.
    Optional: If using coffee filter, fold it in half, then insert between folded vacuum cleaner bag.
  3. Fold corner down, forming a 45° angle.
  4. Fold flap up from lower edge, forming a 22.5° angle

Step 3: And Fold Again

  1. Fold edge down, forming a ~11° angle.
    Optional: Unfold all folds, then fold down first ~11° angle fold, and roll the folds (valley folds) along the existing fold lines.
  2. Repeat for other side.
  3. Spread mask halves apart, then fold corner outward.
  4. Insert rubber band.

Step 4: Staple

  1. Staple from inside of mask outward to secure flap from previous step. Use multiple staples.
  2. Repeat for other side.

Step 5: Tape

  1. Take small paper clip and unfold into an approximately straight wire. It does not need to be absolutely straight.
  2. Cut a piece of 2" (~5 cm) wide tape slightly longer than the unfolded paper clip.
  3. Place unfolded paper clip on sticky side of tape, length-wise.
  4. Affix tape to underside of lower edge of mask. Wire should not be touching mask at this point.
  5. Flip mask over, then fold tape over across the top of the mask. Wire should be on this side of the mask, close to the edge.

Step 6: Usage

  1. Place mask over nose, tape side up.
  2. Press down on wire to form seal along bridge of nose.
  3. Pull lower edge of mask toward chin.
  4. Loop rubber bands behind ears.