Introduction: Leather Face Mask (with Filter)

About: I love the challenge to try something new!

The idea was to make a leather mask that goes together with a professional filter, exchangeabel and secure. For the pattern I took measure from the filter and I made it to fit to my face. So I designed the outer lines of the mask. The material is 3mm cowhide vegetable-tanned, some metal-parts, the nose-wire is an aluminium-wire 3x3mm, the waxed tread is synthetic in a natural color. The nose-wire is covered with little pieces of goat-leather on both ends to protect the mask from cratches. The holes are made with a press and punches, hold with a magnet in place. I added the pattern with a mm and inch measurement - I hope the picture is without distorsion, so you can use it for your own mask (pattern in the next step). I colored the mask with the airbrush and leather dye. It was the first time I tried this and the result is amazing! I will definitely go ahead and enhance my dying-skills - it is a new dimension for me. I don´t provide a list of the tools I used - you can see it in the pictures and/or the description. I will try to make this Instructabel short and simple - not to much text, nobody will read it... most of it is self explaining.

Step 1: The Pattern

The filter was the first guideline. I folded a paper, draw the lines (you can use the pattern i provided) - the nose-part is the paperfolding - so here no cutting to make a perfect symmetric pattern. Then I stapled the paper model where the sewing will be - to check the form and fit for the filter (maybe you see I adapted the pattern a little bit).

Step 2: Cut Out, Mark the Holes and Bevel the Edges

I designed a nice pattern with the holes. (Three different sizes of punches will be used.) You can make your own design.

Step 3: Punch the Holes, Mark the Stitching Holes and Burnish the Edges

I used three different punches to make the pattern more interesting. An arbor-press helps a lot to make perfect holes. I hold the bits /punches in place with a strong magnet. I marked the stitching holes (4mm). I burnished the edges with gum tragacanth (you can also use plain water or you can use the edge-dye to burnish the edges! But use vegetable-tanned-leather, this will work.) When you hear a "click-click-click" the burnishing is done. Then I made this decorative line ... I don´t know the english word for it, also no idea how the tool is called - I have to look to my first Instructable ... maybe I will ... maybe not.

Step 4: Stitching, Edge Dyeing and More Burnishing

Cross-stitch; when you start to sew at the edge (highly recommended, because the end/knot of the thread will be at the "nose" and not at your chin) be assured, that you have the same amount of stitching holes until the top. Best new tool I lately purchased: empty marker filled with leather-dye. A new dimension of edge-dyeing. And more burnishing .... click-click-click...

Step 5: Airbrush Dyeing, Oil and Balsam

Wow, it works perfect. Great fun! I used leather dye in "tan", "yellow-brown" and "dark-brown". Then I put some oil and balsam on the leather.

Step 6: The Nose-Wire

Aluminium-wire 3x3 mm both ends filed round, then three sides of the wire covered with superglue and baking soda (don´t use the other powder - might be illegal) to make it more rough - the thread will have more grip. On the smooth side of the wire I made a loop with the sewing-thread, started to wrap, nice and tight all the way to the other side, then stick the thread through the loop and tear from the other side the loop into the wrapping. I think this is the technique to tie a fishhook to the fishing line - in former times. You can get a very tight self-holding wrapping. The ends looks still sharp....

Step 7: More Nose-Wire...

After some trials I found the best way: a wrapping for the ends with little pieces of goat-leather. Glued (for assembling) with contact-glue, some holes punched (I decided to use 4 mm stitching-hole-punches all over the project). Later sewn on the mask I trimmed the goat-leather-wrapping with a sharp knife to make it more ... pleasing.

Step 8: Hope We Can Leave This Nose-Thing Behind Us ....

I made two stitching-lines, marked the stitching holes (4mm again), widened the holes with the awl ... was afraid to install it wonky ... so I made an auxiliary-stitching (the black thread) to hold it in the correct position. Stitched it with a cross-stitch (again) and removed the black thread. Finally I dyed the goat-hide with a small brush in color "tan".

Step 9: Set the Hardware

I made two stitching lines (each side), marked the holes (4mm), punched the holes with the awl and widened it. Now I sewed with only one needle, beginning with a knot outside. I finished also outside and burnt the two ends of the thread. So I don´t have any knot or end inside the mask (it is the area of the cheek and should be comfortable).

Step 10: The Straps

I cut a leather stripe (15mm wide and apox. 1,5 mm thick, cowhide veg-tanned), dyed it and also prepared the piece for the backhead (same leather as the mask). A fitting-test ... how long schould be the stripes? Measure it to your head or the person you dedicate this project.

Step 11: Set the Rivets and the Button Studs

To attach the stripes to the mask I used copper rivets - punch a hole, put the rivet through, add the washer, push the washer down with the rivet-tool. Clip off the rest of the rivet and hammer it down. I used a selfmade ball peen hammer (a screw i filed down to a hemisphere). On the other end of the strap I set a backscrewed button stud.

Step 12: The Backheadpiece, More Dyeing, Burnishing and Finishing the Project

I cut longholes into the backheadpiece, then bevelled all the edges of the stripes and the backheadpiece. More dyeing, oiling and burnishing. And finally assembled the mask and the stripes etc.

Step 13: Some Pictures of the Mask

I was great fun to make this mask. A friend of mine got some pics during my workflow. Commented like "Hannibal Lecter?" or "Helps to distance people..." But I think, the Mask is less scary than I was afraid of. It is working with the filter and it is comfortable to breath with the vents. THe nose-wire is strong to hold the mask in position. Thank you for watching my Instructable, hope you enjoyed it and you are inspired to make your own project. Stay healthy and protect yourself and others!

Leather Challenge

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Leather Challenge