Masks made with love by Mefites April 7, 2020 5:04 PM   Subscribe

Over the last few weeks, I've seen comments from Mefites, infinitely more crafty than myself, who are making masks. Are any of you selling your masks on the Etsy or elsewhere? I'd love to buy a few for myself and Mr. Computech. Links please!
posted by computech_apolloniajames to MetaFilter-Related at 5:04 PM (20 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

I really like this vid on youtube, a doctors wife sewing masks make from HEPA vacuum cleaner bags. I have a few masks which are way better than nothing but with a HEPA insert, I believe that it's good idea.

Makes sense, to me anyways -- HEPA filters are a fine weave indeed, designed for people with allergies to pet dander and who knows what all else.. I also like her idea of using elastic rather than tying the mask behind my head. I don't have a sewing machine, nor want one, but I can easy sew a couple of straps of elastic in place of the current ties, just sew it by hand.

I think that this will take good masks and make them bombproof.

This thing really has me spooked. I hope these masks will give me a bit better protection when out and about.

Wish me luck.
posted by dancestoblue at 6:35 PM on April 7, 2020


I don't want to discourage anyone from buying from a MeFite, but if you're desperate for a mask, this company seems legit.
posted by dobbs at 7:38 PM on April 7, 2020 [4 favorites]


For local providers and makers, check on whatever local social network you might be on. My wife is making some, for free, for folks around us, and another friend is doing something similar.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:14 PM on April 7, 2020 [2 favorites]


HEPA is difficult to breathe through. Right now, someone did some research and found out that masks made with blue hydro-knit shop towels have the best filtration. Not to virus level, but maybe with enough of a chance to keep some out. Better than cotton.

I'd have to shave off my nipple length beard to get any real mask protection and it's difficult to weigh my having basically not shaved since I was 18 (I'm not 52) with wearing a mask. I know, some of you find this decision conundrum silly. Others of you don't.

But if I were to shave to wear a mask, I'd maybe go with the shop towel ones. (I have a low personal-space workplace and lifestyle so I'm not that mask focussed. I might be more if I were to get sick myself and still have to circulate.)
posted by hippybear at 8:19 PM on April 7, 2020 [3 favorites]


I know MeFite Ambrosia Voyeur is making masks and giving them away to people in need in her area. I pitched in some $$ for fabric etc. If you're in her area, look her up. I got mine from a local health care worker (and MeFite) who has less work to do as fewer people come in for PT so she and her colleagues have been making them in their spare time. I think I mentioned our local glove factory has been making masks for frontline workers. They also sell to the public but they are, understandably, back-ordered.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:19 PM on April 7, 2020 [4 favorites]


Not selling them, but I wrote a blog post comparing three of the free patterns floating around online if you want to sew your own!
posted by web-goddess at 10:53 PM on April 7, 2020 [21 favorites]


web-goddess, thanks for doing that post -- that is super useful.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:16 AM on April 8, 2020


I bought a couple of these last weekend. Shipped in 2 days. It looks like she may be out but it's worth checking into, a lot of the Etsy masks won't ship for a few weeks.
posted by doctor_negative at 11:46 AM on April 8, 2020 [2 favorites]


since my earlier report of throwing together a bandanna with a coffee filter, babymama has cut and sewn that bandanna into a mask; i think it is the olson mask from web-goddess' blog post. it fits reasonably well. yes, the elastic bands are a little small on the ears, making them stick out a bit and increasing the odds that my not-very-well-fitting glasses will slip off. i've remedied that by tying some glasses straps (i think these) to either earloop and cinching them up with the tension gather at back of head. the other problem was that it was a bit loose around the nose. in keeping with the macguyvering ethic, i'm attempting the nose-crimp by rolling up a length of tinfoil and rolling that up in duct tape -- sticky side out -- to secure it in inside the filter pocket at the nose. it is a little bulkier than ideal, and i haven't evaluated it for lens fogging, but it seems to be a marginal improvement. probably will have to be removed for washing and replaced as the glue gets covered with lint. hopefully by then i'll have had (or learned elsewhere) a better idea. fyi.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:21 PM on April 8, 2020 [1 favorite]


hey, thanks for this post!

I too am not particularly handy, and while I'm okish DIYing my own mask, I'm also looking for someone to buy masks from- I need to order some to send some to my older parents... literally 20 miles from me- but with it not being a great idea to use public transit right now, they might as well be on the other side of the world.

Some of the links higher up are already out- anyone else have a store/leads on whom i could support? we've tried placing orders with folks on etsy, but two of those have already responded that they are overwhelmed.

(my social networks trend less handy and don't really have people who have sewing machines- so unfortunately not something I've been able to tap!)
posted by larthegreat at 8:25 AM on April 9, 2020 [1 favorite]


I am making them by hand for friends and family. They are most similar to the 'olson' style in the web-goddess link above. My supplies of elastic are limited but I could make and mail in a day or two. I could also make the tie kind.
posted by maya at 8:56 AM on April 9, 2020 [2 favorites]


Not selling them, but I wrote a blog post comparing three of the free patterns floating around online if you want to sew your own!

Cool rundown! Wanted to mention that the pattern I'm using uses a nose wire, so I ordered 500 plastic-coated twist-ties. Not as stiff as coat hanger, so probably less durable, but I'm pretty sure the plastic coating will be washing-machine safe and protect from rust.
posted by solotoro at 1:02 PM on April 9, 2020 [1 favorite]


The thick twist-tie like things that come on coffee bags--you roll the bag up around them and then bend the edges to secure things--make good nose wires.
posted by carmicha at 4:19 PM on April 9, 2020 [5 favorites]


I use insulated copper wire for nose wires. I've made masks for myself and Stoneshop, and for a friend who is in bad health and has lung problems.
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:57 AM on April 10, 2020


I found some floral wire in my stash, the kind that's a flat 1/8" wide ribbon and that's working well. Have managed to make masks for my household and roommate's parents, and have more local friends and family I hope to cover in the next few days.

I do not like how the pleated mask feels to wear and am now using the Olson pattern, may try one of the others for my next batch.
posted by buildmyworld at 10:53 AM on April 10, 2020


I have a small stash of n95 and surgical masks that I've set aside for if we get sick and when I have to go to the hospital. The healthcare here seems pretty ok for masks and for daily use, I've sewn a more comfortable lined mask (it feels like it works because the damn thing is like breathing in a sauna like a surgical mask) with a right-sized little one for my daughter's face. Tip: the nurse at a clinic just stapled smaller the sides on a regular surgical mask for my daughter on one visit.

Regular mail from Singapore is at least a couple of days to 1-2 weeks at this point, but I'm happy to send n95 to mefites in medical work. I think I can get my hands on more basic surgical ones from a local art supply store I use as well.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 12:57 AM on April 12, 2020 [2 favorites]


Our household is making masks for the community. I find 15 gauge (1.5mm) aluminum craft wire is pretty good. But you have to loop the ends with needle nosed pliers or similar so that the sharp ends don't poke through, especially if you are machine washing your masks.

Amazon has 50 meters of this wire (10 rolls of 5m each) for $12.99. Backordered now, naturally... but search for 1.5mm craft wire to find one that's in stock.

If you are in the U.S. and money is a concern, please text me your address at 660-460-9473 and I will send you some lengths of wire free.

PandaHall 10 Rolls Aluminum Craft Wire 15 Guage Flexible Artistic Floral Colored Jewely Beading Wire for DIY Jewelry Craft Making Each Roll 16 Feet, Random Color
by PandaHall Elite
Learn more: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F8R2CTD/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_GnZKEb9Q8ETAP
posted by etherist at 9:01 AM on April 12, 2020


We ended up buying homemade cloth masks from a woman selling them on a street corner in Harlem- my partner is walking to work, and figured that was a better option than the bandanas we've been wearing.

We just need to figure out how to mail some to our parents- social distancing is being more thoroughly observed these days, so we figure we can finally go to a post office.
posted by larthegreat at 6:16 AM on April 16, 2020 [1 favorite]


in keeping with the macguyvering ethic, i'm attempting the nose-crimp by rolling up a length of tinfoil and rolling that up in duct tape -- sticky side out -- to secure it in inside the filter pocket at the nose.

TINLA, but I've considered trying to add Self-Adhesive Metal Fasteners, which I've always referred to as 'file tamps,' but search engines apparently do not. The sides are sharp, though, so be careful when handling them, but they can be easily cut down to size with regular scissors.

We just need to figure out how to mail some to our parents- social distancing is being more thoroughly observed these days, so we figure we can finally go to a post office.

In the interests of even more thorough observation of social distancing: USPS, UPS, and FedEx can pick up packages for delivery.
posted by katra at 7:42 PM on April 18, 2020 [1 favorite]


Also if the masks are flattish and under 11 oz and you can more-or-less weigh them (an ounce is about 5 sheets of normal printer paper) you can put on postage yourself and just stick them in a mailbox if you have a few stamps.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 7:54 PM on April 18, 2020


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