Get a Better-Fitting Face Mask With These Easy Adaptations - Image 1

Get a Better-Fitting Face Mask With These Easy Adaptations

Since the CDC made its recommendation that everyone should wear a face covering when going outside, people have done what they can to get their hands on masks, whether they’re store-bought masks or a DIY face mask. If you are using a homemade face mask, you may wonder what you can do to keep it from slipping down your face and to ensure it’s more secure. These suggestions will help you achieve a better-fitting mask.

Include a nose wire

If you are using a face mask kit or simply recycling some of your own fabric to create a face mask DIY, then you know you can add a nose portion to the mask that allows it to sit more snugly against your nose. But how do you add a nose wire to your mask and what is nose wire made of? 

Nose wire can be any type of wire that you can bend and shape into place. Some tutorials for how to make a face mask also offer suggestions on creating a face mask with nose wire, and some popular and creative ways for adding nose wire include sewing a pipe cleaner into the nose portion of the mask, using a flexible piece of craft ribbon, or, in a pinch, using a twist tie from a loaf of bread. Another idea is to unfold a paper clip and use that! 

Any of these will work, and all you need to do when you are making your DIY face mask is leave a space open for the nose wire, place it inside, then add stitches around it to keep it in place. When you secure your mask to your face, carefully bend the wire in order to fit over your nose securely. This should work to keep your face mask from slipping and sliding.

Use elastic to secure it

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Some homemade face mask tutorials give you instructions on how to make a mask with fabric ties or ribbons that go over your ear. Though these are great if you are short on elastic, they’re not as secure because the ties can become loose and slip off. The most secure way to create a face mask is to use elastic for the ear loops. 

If you go to the fabric store, you can purchase a face mask kit that has elastic already in it. However, due to the sheer number of people making their own face masks, you may come across an elastic shortage. So, what can you use to secure your mask if you can’t find elastic? 

There are a few genius solutions to this dilemma. If you wear bras (or live with someone who does) one solution is to cut the elastic straps from one that no longer fits and use those. However, these can be thicker than the recommended elastic size and may become uncomfortable over the ears after long periods of wear. So before you dig through your underwear drawer, go through the ones in your bathroom and see if you can find elastic hair ties or an elastic headband you can use. Lastly, when all else fails, go for a regular rubber band! There’s no doubt you probably have one in your desk drawer somewhere. Anything with elastic will provide a better-fitting face mask than something you can tie.

Use slightly stretchy fabric

You can use any type of fabric you have on hand to make a homemade face mask, though it’s best to use cotton and other breathable materials. If you choose a stretchy material, this can ensure your face mask fits better. For instance, if you use a t-shirt to make a face mask, the ear loops will be stretchy, too, providing a close fit on your face. You can use an easy DIY to create a t-shirt mask that only requires a pair of scissors and a ruler, and you can adjust the ear loops to fit your face.

Slide in a bobby pin

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Finding that your face mask keeps sliding down despite using elastic? A bobby pin secures your mask to your face with ease. Simply put your mask on and locate the spot where your face mask slips. Then, slide a bobby pin into the area to secure your mask better via the ear loops. This requires no sewing, no cutting, and no extra materials! You can use multiple bobby pins if you need to, as long as you end up with the right fit. It’s easiest to do this while you look in a mirror.

Needle and thread

Are your ear loops too loose? Put your mask on and see how much extra material there is on your ears. Pinch the fabric between your fingers. Now, use your sewing machine or a needle and thread to make a few extra stitches and take up some of the slack in the loops. Now try your mask on. This quick adaptation should ensure that it fits much better. Masks definitely aren’t one-size-fits-all, and some may need to be tweaked!

Create adjustable ear loops

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Maybe your ear loops are really loose and a few stitches won’t do the trick. If you have enough slack in the ear sections of your mask, you can create a loop and pull the excess through, making a knot. This will allow you to tighten and loosen the ear loops to create the adjustment you need. Try it on and adjust the loops until they fit properly. This method will only work if you have a generous amount of slack and your mask is super loose, but it’s quick, easy, and requires no materials.

Adjust a too-small mask

You may find you have the opposite problem, and you’re faced with a face mask that is too small. Don’t worry, you can still make this mask work for you. All you need is a shoelace and a few other materials to make this mask fit better. This works better when you have a mask with fabric ties, but if you have elastic, you can cut the elastic loops to adapt your mask.

Grab a shoelace and cut it in half, then into fourths. You can burn the plastic ends of the shoelace off using a lighter if you have one. If not, cut them off. What you will do is use the shoelace portions as extenders and tie each portion to the existing mask ties to make the ties longer. This way, there’s more leeway when you’re tying the mask around your ears.

Make kids their own masks

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The CDC says that children under two should not wear face masks, but kids over two should. You may not be in a hurry to take your child out, but it’s a good idea to have at least one mask on hand for your little ones. Since there’s no way a grown-up mask will fit a child, make or purchase a homemade face mask for kids. 

Typically, for a kids’ mask you’d want to use two pieces of fabric that measure 5 by 7 inches, then follow the traditional DIY instructions for an adult face mask.

How do you wear a mask properly?

It’s safe to say that most Americans have no experience wearing face masks. So how do you know if your mask fits and whether you are wearing it correctly or not? 

When you secure your mask to your face, it should feel snug but not tight. You should be able to breathe freely without restriction. However, the mask should cover your entire nose and mouth – there should be no gaps or loose portions. If there are, your mask doesn’t fit properly and requires adaptation. 

Some rules of thumb for wearing a face mask offer even more ways for you to reduce transmission of the coronavirus and slow the spread.

  • Always wash your hands before putting your mask on.
  • Put your mask on before you leave the house and don’t remove it until you are at home.
  • Remove your mask via the ear loops; avoid touching the outside of your mask. Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth while you are removing the mask.
  • Wash your mask after each time you wear it – don’t wear it several times before you wash it. This only spreads more germs.
  • Don’t touch your face while you are wearing your mask.
  • If you have a mask with pleats, put it on with the pleats facing downward.
  • After you remove your mask or wash it, wash your hands thoroughly before going about your day.
  • If you have to leave your house frequently for work or errands, you may want to have more than one mask on hand so you can switch out easily.
  • Don’t wear a damp or wet mask. Make sure the mask is completely dry before you put it on.
  • If you use a disposable face mask, throw it away in the trash can as soon as you remove it. Don’t leave it laying around for someone else to pick up, potentially spreading more germs.
  • Don’t assume you won’t get sick if you are wearing a mask. You still need to practice social distancing and good hygiene as well as wearing a mask. Wearing a mask actually prevents you from spreading the virus should you have it and not know it. It’s come to light that up to 50% of those infected may show few or zero symptoms, so it’s best for everyone to wear a mask to avoid spreading it should they be infected and not know it.

Homemade face masks aren’t the same as the N95 masks that doctors and nurses wear. Those are professional-grade masks, and homemade face masks don’t filter out the same number of particles. However, if used correctly, they can effectively reduce virus transmission, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to wear a mask.

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