Do it yourself Mask

A recyclable respirator

This page describes how you can build your own breathing protection that uses replaceable breathing filters. All components used are household items, or can be bought in a supermarket.

Please have a look at all photos in the galleries and read all descriptions and texts. Then watch the videos to see how the parts are put together.

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Material list

This is a list of materials used to build a mask.

Tool list

This is a list of tools used to build a mask.


Filter box: Spacer

Another material can be used instead of foam rubber in the spacer. For example, bicycle inner tube, sponge or even fabric. If the material is porous, such as fabric, it must also be sealed. On the sectional view shown here, you can see that the foam rubber is only used to press the filter pad against the cover. If a material other than foam rubber is used, this spacer should be bonded to the edge of the container with fabric adhesive tape.

Breathing valve

For the breathing valve, it is important to test whether the valve cover closes properly. If this is not the case, the valve must not be used, otherwise unfiltered air can be inhaled. Instead of foam rubber, aluminium foil can be used here.
Important: If aluminium foil is used, the inner surface of the valve cover and the support should be rubbed with oil. This procedure should be repeated after each use.

Try on

If the mask is tried on in between, the inside must be cleaned with alcohol to remove grease and other residues. This is important, otherwise the adhesive tape will not adhere properly and will come off again.

wire hanger

The wire clip for the nose, should be attached between 1cm and a maximum of 2cm from the edge. It is only attached to the middle and ends of the mask. When the mask is put on, the wire hanger should be pressed on so that the mask fits the cheeks and surrounds the nose.

If no wire is available, a 1cm wide and approx. 20cm long strip of sheet metal from a beverage can can can also be used. Please be careful when cutting out, as there are sharp edges on the edge of the sheet metal. In order not to damage the mask, the sheet should be wrapped with adhesive tape before use.


Adjusting the mask shape to the face: The bridge of the nose must be enclosed by the mask. To do this, the excess mask part is folded upwards so that the mask rests. This part is separated. A V-shaped incision should have formed. These butt ends are joined together and joined with fabric adhesive tape. Then a strip of adhesive tape is attached on the inside and the protruding end is folded over to the outside. The same can be done for the chin area.

Inserting the breathing valve

Before the thread for the breathing valve is glued in, the valve must be screwed in and aligned so that the suspension of the movable valve cover is at the top and the retaining wire is at the bottom. Only then can the thread be glued from the inside.

Retaining strap

The rubber band is fed through the upper eyelets and then through the lower ones. When the mask is put on for the first time, the rubber band is pulled taut through the lower eyelets and knotted in the neck.

The outer material of the mask is arbitrary, it should be easy to work with and always sealed from the inside with fabric adhesive tape as shown in the video. The used shopping bag has the advantage that it consists of several layers and the outside is very robust and weatherproof.

Let us begin!

The construction of the mask is done in four phases and takes about two hours. The phases are creating the filter containers, creating the breathing valve, creating the filter pads and creating, assembling and fitting the mask.

Notes on use

The mask is created and adapted for one user. After use, the mask should be disinfected and cleaned inside and out. To do this, unscrew all parts and then wipe with a cloth moistened in disinfectant / ethanol / isopropanol. The filter pads are suitable for approx. 4h to 8h and should be replaced afterwards. The fit and tightness should always be checked before using the mask. To do this, unscrew the filter containers and either open the intact covers again or close the openings of the mask with the palms of your hands. Try to inhale; you should feel the mask sucking tighter against your face.

filter canister and filter

The breathing valve

The Mask

From all sides