Leather Respirator Mask




Hello, and thanks for checking out my instructable! This is a tutorial for the style of respirator common to dieselpunk and steampunk outfits. There are many variations and takes on this particular style, and many different ways of going about constructing one. This mask is actually a custom commission for a client, built to his specifications.

If you like my stuff but don't want to build it yourself, come check me out at the Starboard Sky Website for more information about my work.

Step 1: Get Your Blank

What better pattern for a leather respirator than... an actual dust mask? Well, I couldn't find regular old dust masks, but I did find some n95s from work. I cut it about 2/5 of the way down from the top and 2/5 of the way up from the bottom, making it mostly split. Then I mashed it down on some heavy paper and traced the outline. realizing that the outline might not be even on both sides, I folded my paper in half and cut it that way, so my halves were symmetrical. Then I put it on some 4/5 ounce veggie leather, traced it and cut it out.

Step 2: Do More the Things

Go ahead and punch some holes along the inside cuts as in the first pic. Then take some thin straps at least 1/2" wide that will cover the seams as in the second pic. Pull the seams together, even everything up, mark through the back of the mask and punch some holes at the outer edges of both straps, and hold them in place using some double cap rivets. Double cap rivets usually snap together and hold without having to permanently set them, which makes them useful for testing fitment. Then, mark through the back of the mask again at the middle holes, and punch through the straps there. Put some double cap rivets in those holes. Go ahead and mark through the back of the mask on the leather strips for all the other holes, then take everything back apart. Now you can mark where you want your nose pieces and respirators to sit.

Step 3: Literally Can't Even

The nose pieces in this mask are garden hose caps from Lowe's. Make the mark on one side, and use a compass to trace a circle that is slightly smaller than the outer diameter of the garden hose cap. Carefully cut the circle out, fold your blank in half, and trace the hole to the back of the other side to make the other circle, then cut that out. If you got the holes properly sized, the caps should pop in with some force and not fall out.

Repeat this process for the respirator holes, placing them roughly in the middle of each half of the mask. The respirator grates are snap in tub strainers from Lowe's, and they come in chrome or brass finish. You can mount them on top of your hole or recessed behind it, which is how I did this one. I used a metal punch to punch out the holes around the edge of the strainers and punched corresponding holes in the leather, and stuck in some double cap rivets to test the look.

Finish punching all the other holes, and fill every last one of them with a double cap rivet. Don't set any rivets yet! Put it up to your face and take a selfie. Make a drink.

Step 4: No Bros Noes Bout My Nose

If everything looks good, take it all back apart. Hate that it's so fkn complicated. Dye or stain your leathery regions whatever color you desire. Finish your first drink and make another one. Put your finisher on your leather. Put it all back together. Set ALL the rivets! I recommend setting them from the back of the mask. Put it up to your face and take another selfie!

Step 5: Get Strapped Son

The entire strap assembly is attached to a single point in the middle of the front of the mask. I was feeling frisky, so I used a screw and acorn nut to attach it. Measure out a strap and loop both ends around a couple of 2 inch cast rings (available at Tandy) that will overlay your respirator holes. once you have everything lined up, punch some rivet holes but don't set the rivets. Dye the strap and set it aside.

Now cut your anchor straps. You'll need 4 of these as pictured above. Take a sewing chisel, fold the straps in half and punch holes through both layers in an x pattern. Also punch some screw holes which will secure these straps to the rings. dye them and set them aside.

Now you can cut your buckle straps. Cut 2 lengths as pictured above. Use an oblong punch in the center for the buckle and fold it over the buckle, then punch a hole for a rivet just behind the buckle. Keeping the strap folded over, use your sewing chisel to punch holes through both layers in an x pattern. Now go ahead and make 2 straps that will slide through the buckles. Punch holes for the buckle tongue, and punch sewing holes on one end of these straps in an x pattern. Dye all these and set them aside to dry. Make a drink.

Step 6: Disregard the Constabulary

Measure out some elastic to attach all your straps. I find woven elastic works best. Try to match the widths of your leather and elastic. If you use some weird size like 5/8" ... you know, like I did... you may have difficulty finding a serviceable piece of elastic to use. Next, beg your wife to sew the elastic to the leather while you play video games. If you did everything right up to this point, it should fit as pictured.

You're done! Let's go make a drink!

Halloween Props Contest 2015

Participated in the
Halloween Props Contest 2015



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13 Discussions


3 years ago

Hey so this looks awesome and I really want to try it, but I have one question. Do you have a materials list? It would be great to have a list so I know exactly what to get when I go out for materials. Thanks for you assistance, and for this great guide :D


3 years ago

thank you so much, it still fits


4 years ago on Introduction

Fantastic idea! Thank you so much for sharing. I was looking for my next leather project, and you sir have helped me out tremendously.


4 years ago

damn I want the eye on the background to get tattooed on My chest are you willing to send me a picture ?

2 replies

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

That's one I drew and I'm glad you like it! Here's the link to the album:



Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

lol, well it's a commission and i don't know what use it will be put to, but it's not my place to judge :)


4 years ago

you should do something for Jessica Havok. @HavokTNA and get your work seen worldwide.

1 reply