COVID-19: How To Make Your Own Face Mask

We are all living in an unpredictable and sometimes dangerous world, where bad things happen to good people all the time.

One of the “iconic” must-have items according to those in the know for a prepper’s stockpile is the mask.

And China urgently needs medical masks and other protective equipment in a context where the number of people infected with coronavirus has exceeded 17,000, and 361 people have died, a representative of the Beijing Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

The country produces about 20 million medical masks a day, according to the Ministry of Industry, but the panic caused by the rapid spread of the new coronavirus has prompted China’s population to make surgical mask stocks, so the demand for protective equipment is very high.

As for the United States, even if there is no shortage yet, alarmism encourages, as in any crisis situation, the supply of products whose stocks are likely to run out.

The masks disappear within a few hours after opening. In about 10 days, sales increased by 20%. It is for the first time that the masks occupy a place of honor when entering the shops.

With these in mind, we thought our readers won’t rely on what’s in the stores and are more likely to make their own mask to protect themselves.

Here’s what you’ll need:

You will use a cotton woven fabric that should be prewashed, thread and an elastic for this. If you have the string type of elastic that will be better.

  • Cut 2 pcs 6″ X 8″ fabric in fold
  • 2 pcs of 2″ X 5.5″ strips of fabric
  • Fold the fabric wrong side out. Stitch the sides.
  • Fold  ¼” on both sides from the center then stitch over the folded sides.

Not let’s make the seam: place the 2 pcs of 2″ X 5.5″ strip of fabric underneath the mask, roll them so both ends come in front of the mask, up and down, and then stitch them to the mask. Roll the edges from left and right to come to the center of the mask and stitch them in order to create a casing.

Cut 2 pcs of 8″ elastic. Insert each piece of elastic on the casing using a small safety pin and stitch both ends of the elastic together. If you are using elastic tread you can just tie it up. You can pull the stitch ends of the elastic to hide them inside the casing.

Other Types of Masks

A gas mask is that thing that has the potential to save your life by filtering toxins from the air when SHTF in one of the following situations:

  • In a natural/man-made disaster, when airborne pollutants fill the air. In the aftermath of volcanic eruption for example, the dust and ash in the air can kill you by obliterating your respiratory system. The same principle applies in an office building fire.
  • In a riot eliciting a chemical attack, a gas mask will make the difference if you have one when confronted with CS gas, tear gas or whatever.

You get the picture: basically, a gas mask will help you keep your lungs clear and your nose, mouth, eyes and mucous membranes protected from harmful substances. Having a gas mask ready or knowing how to improvise an effective DIY one on the fly is crucial both for your long term survival and your physical comfort in an emergency SHTF situation.

There are lots of disaster scenarios where a gas mask will help you mitigate the contamination in the air regardless of whether it’s smoke, particulates, infectious agents, airborne diseases, chemicals or what not. Fortunately, in this day and time, decent gas masks and respirators are commercially available everywhere, both online and offline.

You can buy a military-grade gas mask from the internet, in hardware stores, in Army surplus outlets etc, but there’s a flip side to that coin too: the coin itself, meaning that they are pretty expensive to buy and to maintain.

While they perform excellently, standard gas masks/respirators require regular maintenance, as in frequent changing of the filter cartridges, proper storage and so on and so forth. All these come with a hefty price tag, especially when times are tight.

Also, and, most importantly, you can’t carry a gas mask around with you 24/7/365. That would be pretty weird and uncomfortable, because gas masks are bulky and heavy. It would be very peculiar to carry around a gas mask with you at work, don’t you think? People will label you as a terrorist or a nutcase.

Also, keep in mind that standard gas masks don’t function well if you have facial hair; any type/length of facial hair will negatively effect the crucial tight seal a gas mask has against your face.

However, you should know that there are alternatives to buying a regular gas mask. Yes, you can build yourself one using readily available materials (stuff you already have in your house) which are also dirt cheap even if you don’t already have them.

There’s a downside to a DIY respirator though: you can’t trust it with your life, especially in cases of biological or chemical attack, because it’s not anywhere near as effective as the real thing so using one in a life threatening situation is a desperate measure, the last resort..

Fair warning: A DIY gas mask / respirator is primitive when compared to a standard/military grade one and offers very limited protection especially in a chemical/biological attack; you should be aware of the fact that tear gas (for example) is no joke; it can seriously injure your respiratory system and lead to death in certain situations especially if you suffer from chronic lung disease or asthma. To put it bluntly, a homemade gas mask should be Plan B because it can never compete (efficiency wise) with a military grade mask that features special filters, fibers, vents and valves and what not.

Imagini pentru coronavirus

The idea of a DIY gas mask is nothing new. It started back in the 40’s during WW2. The citizenry was instructed on the how to’s regarding DIY gas masks and the concept continued with Occupy Wall street protesters along with  many others Arab spring: Syrian, Egyptian, Maidan in Ukraine, Occupy in Hong Kong etc.) as people were trying to protect themselves against the chemical weapons used by the regime police and military forces.

How to DIY Your Own Mask

Now, let’s take a look at the most popular DIY methods for masks, shall we?

2. The most basic DIY gas mask that can save your respiratory system (and implicitly your life) in the case of an event such as a volcanic eruption or a fire where ash and smoke fill the air. If these don’t sound probable to you, think about Pompeii and Mount St. Helens and 9/11.

In these cases, a fairly effective gas mask can be improvised under exigent circumstances from a simple cotton T-Shirt. Yes, it’s that “your T-Shirt can save your life” kind of a deal, when your ripped T-shirt will work as an efficient anti-dust/ash mask.

All you have to do is tear the T-shirt apart and use strips of fabric to cover your nostrils and your mouth (tied at the back of your neck) and voila, this is the simplest DIY gas mask project. For best results, you should get the cloth damp before using it, if possible.

3. One of the most dangerous things that can happen to you in a SHTF situation when you get gassed/trapped in a fire is loss of vision. Swim goggles will save your life if you’re caught in a stampeding mob “sprayed” with tear gas and running for their lives, soaked in panic. To stay alive in such situation, you’ll be required to see properly if you want to make it to safety. A quality pair of swim goggles is a must-have item to keep around in your “tactical” bag.

Cider vinegar can be used to protect you from the inhalation of tear gas, remember that folks. You can use a bandana soaked in cider vinegar put around your nose and mouth until you get to safety.

4. The soda bottle gas mask is my favorite DIY project because it offers a reasonable amount of protection from various contaminants, it’s very simple to manufacture and it doesn’t require huge skills or exotic materials to build it. It’s also pretty effective for a home-made gas mask and it can be built in 15 minutes tops, if you have the necessary materials and a little bit of (prior) training.

For your soda bottle gas mask project you’ll require a sharp cutting tool (razor blade, exacto knife, sharp scissors), a permanent marker, glue, a 2 liter soda bottle, rubberized foam insulation strip (at least 1” wide) and a N95 particulate mask. Total cost: maybe $5.

You’ll have to clean the 2 liter plastic bottle and remove the labels. After that, draw a U-shaped area using the marker, big enough to fit your face and yet not too big. You should start with a smaller cut and work your way up from there because you can always trim more but you can’t put it back. You’ll need a fit snug against your face for an efficient seal.

The bottom of the bottle must be cut away, along with the U-shaped section (using the template lines drawn with the marker to fit your face).

You’ll end up with a basic shape that can be further adjusted for an optimal fit until you get it right. Keep in mind that the mask should fit your face tight yet not be uncomfortable.

Next, you’ll use the rubberized foam insulation as a seal for the edges of the bottle until you end up with a secure, complete seal and you’ll also make a circle of foam insulation inside the bottle that will serve as a resting place for the filtering element (the N95 mask) 2 inches up from the spout.

The elastic bands from the N95 mask will be removed for later use, along with the metal bridge. The N95 mask’s edging must be carefully cut. Just leave enough to keep the edges sealed. After that, the N95 mask must be placed inside the neck of the bottle, with the filter pointing out and down towards the spout. The elastic bands from the N95 mask will be used to secure the gas mask firmly on your face.

That’s about it, just remember to keep the soda bottle gas mask stored in a well sealed plastic bag, removing as much air as possible from it, thus preventing the N95 mask (the filtering element) from getting contaminated.

Remember that all these DIY masks are to be used only in emergency situations when you don’t have alternatives. If you have other ideas or patterns, please share them with us in the comments section below.

NewSMDCover

Written by

Growing encyclopedia of survival, your source of uncommon wisdom for dangerous times.

Latest comments
    • Doesn’t let us know how to make it… -_-

  • A gas mask must never be used indoors (office) where there is a lack of oxygen. It does filter smoke from a fire, but if the fire is indoors, it also burns up oxygen. Outdoors whee there is likely plenty of oxygen, it should work just fine.

  • re: pop bottle gas mask. How do you attach the bands from the N95 filter to the soda bottle?

  • I don’t recall hearing the instruction on how to attach the two rubber bands removed from the N95 mask, and there were no shots close enough or sufficiently still for me to determine the method of attachment.

  • Thanks for the input on DIY Gas Mask. Could you go one step further and tell us which gas masks would be good to have. And what to look for when purchasing the filters for them. Thanks again.

  • Hey there folks.

    To answer your questions:

    You can attach the rubber bands to the soda bottle by perforating the bottle wall (in the respective area) with a sharp object –>I’d use a thin hot nail ,thus creating a small hole. The rubber band goes through that hole; you’ll have to make a knot at the end of the rubber band, so it doesn’t slip through the hole.

    Also, if you’re a perfectionist, you can use some sort of glue to make the hole in the plastic as sealed as humanly possible 🙂

    @terry

    check this out : http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topics/respirators/factsheets/respfact.html

    Generally speaking, the best gas masks are mil-spec/military grade, I’d go for a gas mask that is compatible with the NATO standard ( 40mm NATO threaded filter canisters), these are easier to find/popular and a tad cheaper.

  • Hi Chris,

    I live near a surplus Army/Navy store. They sell gas masks there but I suspect they are pretty old and vintage. Would something like this work? They seem to work but I wouldn’t want to bet my life on one without more knowledge.

    Thanks!!

    • Yes they will work perfectly just buy a new filter to fit the mask and check for any cracks, rips, and tears in the mask if there are any just deal it with some silicon glue and you’ll be set. You can also make a filter using activated carbon gauze and a soda can

      • h Owen what kinf of filter shoud I use My sons use ventilators and we have filter for that equiment would that work?

      • Where can I find activated carbon gauze? Trying to make a simple face mask to wear to get groceries.

    • N95 dust mask and 10 filters = about $10
      Better is a vapour mask as used by mechanics or pest control about $10-20, These seal around the mouth and nose,
      You can easily change the filters and they are cheap ($5-10 for 25 filters)
      A face shield can easily be made from a pop bottle.
      Safety glasses , ski goggles or as mentioned swimming goggles will stop droplets entering the eyes.
      Even just sun glasses will reduce the risk.
      The Problems with gas masks (I have 4 Israeli civilian masks +lots of filters) are
      ;1- they are really claustrophobic,
      2- need to regularly change filters.(max 8hrs)
      3- you can’t breathe or work as easy.
      Even the Israeli civilian gas mask in clear rubber with built in hood !! $30
      I’m ex military
      I USE N95 DUST MASKS, EYE COVER AND GLOVES !!
      Wash the n95 mask and gloves after each day and change filter daily. Wipe eye ware with alcohol wipes.
      I “do” actually change clothes after outing, just to feel safe.
      Best protection =
      STAY AWAY, STAY INDOORS.
      DONT TOUCH YOUR FACE !!
      DONT RUB YOUR EYES ETC !!
      apparently it can live on hard plastic for several days ?
      But dies in a hour or two on paper surfaces ?
      Soft or poures surfaces seem to limit the chances of transferring from surfaces to body.
      Ie =rubber gloves may actually “preserve ” the virus longer on the glove itself..
      I share “MY” views in hope it helps.

  • i would name it “2 liters of hope”mask.
    im going to make a few of these,,and try them ot,,ill let you know how they work for me..

  • in addition to using the n-95 mask, you can take a soda can and cut the center of the top and bottom out cut the can in half place a coffee filter in the can fill it with activated charcoal place filter on top press two halves together to form a canister and place in the bottom of 2L bottle sealed to force air to enter thru filters and charcoal or carbon

  • Can we not just use a pesticide/paint mask for about $25 off amazon? sounds like it still have a fairly good filter – activated carbon etc…
    Thank you

    • Yes
      With Eye protection and gloves, your set.

  • You have an advert for survival MD on your page.

    The guy is a wanker who claims his dad died because of katrina but has a secret on how to help others not go through that but charges money for the info.

    He’s either a liar or douchebag and it is beneath you to have his advert on your site.

  • Dr. Mercola found out that the common cold/flu brew inside of your ear 2-3 days before showing symptoms. When you do think something is not right – pour hydrogen peroxide in each ear and let it sizzle from 5-20 minutes – depending on how much is going on in that ear.
    Now with a question about a gas mask ….. humm …. shouldn’t the ears be protected too?

  • Wouldnt trust a homemade gas mask with anything even with cs/tear gas, just get some cheap mask offline that will accept 40mm filters. Anyone making homemade protective gear like this is asking for trouble.

  • I think it would be much easier to just make a video for the gas mask and every body would prob. find it much easier to figure out what’s what without looking it up.. thanks

  • I was able to find good info from your blog articles.

  • It’s going to be ending of mine day, but before end I am reading this
    wonderful piece of writing to increase my knowledge.

  • Sorry Folks, but if air can get thru, so can coronovirus/covid-19! Masks are useless.
    It’s just like the bubonic plague, and the chinese know it! That’s why they deliberately created and released it!

    Now we all have to wait it out, and let it run its course, just like they did in the Dark Ages!

    Ain’t communism great Folks???

    • yep and modern amenities will keep folks from having same results. Hand washing and hot water. with soap.

  • What nobody thinks about is your groceries everything with a smooth even surface can keep the virus alive for 7 to 9 days . So you buy your groceries there are lots of stuff in your basket with a smooth surface. What about that and also something else why dont they tell people to wear gloves disposable ones when you go outside and dispose of them before entering your house, when you come into your house first spray under your shoes and your jacket with colloidal silver . If you are making your own mask would a detachable lining of carbon be a good idea and would it not be a good idea to impregnate your mask with colloidal silver and then let it dry followed by water in a copper mug kept for 24 hours and then into it essential oils which are antiviral teatree some citrus oils and also impregnate the mask with that and let it dry. By impregnation i mean just put it in a bottle and spray it on.And also you can make a perfect mask but what will it be walking the streets when the shit hits the fan people are already unbelievable tuggs in a normal situation if you have a maske and they dont they’ll just rip it off your face these are the same people who steal you handbags etc,So i just want to say life sucks and you can’t prepare for everything.

  • I made a mistake; i meant to say before entering your house, spray your jackets and shoes dont forget under your shoes .

  • With the DIY fabric mask, would it be good to make it like a pocket and possibly insert a square (same size) of the carbon pee pad (minus the plastic of course). Just saying it’s a filter of sort.

  • Picture directions would be really helpful for visual people.
    I’m having a terrible time trying to understand the soda pop bottle directions.

  • I don’t understand why the government is still lying. People should isolate at home and wear N95 masks, not just wash their hands. Masks and isolation are good ways to control Covid-19, but now N95 and KN95 masks are basically out of stock.

  • Think staples at the sides,, One side carefully placed, so one can ‘tighten’ slightly a 7 inch piece of string. Use a bread tie to glue or stable the nose area, leaving the staple ends or points on the outside. Use two thicknesses of cotton and staple the sides in only two places ( where the 4 ends of the 7 inch string or yarn would be. FINGER PRESS edges. This makes sense if you apply imagination! Have a Happy Seclusion! card games, jig saw puzzles ( make your own too! ) . My Mother created a wonderful DICTIONARY GAME. using only a book and simple rules. Take your shoes off at the door, don’t go out! Write letters or cards to family, friends and neighbors.. Stay busy, keep calm and wash your hands! make face masks!

  • Yea, the Chicoms alerted WHo on December 31st – after a doctor took it upon himself to spill the beans on what was happening, at least since late November over there. It’s most likely the virus came to the U.S. and many other countries even before the December alert. By the way, the reporting doctor died , possibly from the virus or possibly from “lead” poisoning for his honesty.

    • You are most correct. In the US, a little before 1918, the Us was experimenting with inventing a biological weapon. Germany was as well. It’s on the internet, but well hidden. Look up the “Mexican Flu”. It will also tell you why it was names that. The US made it, and experimented on our own guys unknowingly. It got loose. Killed millions of people world wide. No one talks about it. America does too much blaming foreigners for everything, or illegals for that matter. Look up legal stealing of resources. smh The US is guilty. The US was there before the breakout happened. It did not start in a market. It had starts in three different places. China was correct in it’s accusations. Not everything that is being told is true. The truth has been hidden. So what’s new about that.. smdh

  • Recommendation yesterday for homemade masks is make a mask with room for inserted filter. Use HEPA vacuum cleaner bag material for the insert, and you may want to use a layer of foam filter material over that. Craftpassion.com has downloadable PDF patterns for both single-layer and pocket face masks in three sizes. Word is not yet out on the HEPA filters and eBay still has plenty of bags.

    • While not a bad idea to use HEPA filters, Skip, they really aren’t designed to filter out viruses only particulate matter down to about 0.3 nano metres. Viruses typically get down to 0.08 nano metres or less. If you’re thinking of using a homemade mask made with HEPA filters you’re really rolling the dice. Be careful and stay safe.

  • At the end of December, the Chicoms admitted to the virus. In October, U.S. Intelligence got a tip there was a “disruption” taking place inside of Red China. December through February, more than 700,000 people traveled to the U.S. from all over the world. The virus was here earlier than admitted and being similar in some ways to seasonal flu, has been misdiagnosed. 61,000 deaths? Maybe since the numbers are NOT accurate due to the CDC early on requiring any deaths that are “assumed” to be virus related be reported as virus deaths. 61,000 people on average die every year in the U.S. from seasonal flu. This is the 19th strain of Coronavirus with the first being discovered around 1965.

    Who’s dying more from Coronavirust? Mostly people over 65 years of age with other serious health problems. People on medications that compromise their immune system as a side affect of the medication are also at a higher risk.. Younger people are not critically affected unless they have some other serious health issue.

    There have been some highly qualified experts appearing on One America News Network giving information the other major media is not reporting. It’s available online if your TV provider doesn’t carry the network.

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