Flexible Nose Piece Materials for a DIY face mask
You can improve your face mask seal by adding bendable nose wire to your fabric face mask. You can fit a small metal strip/wire at the top — so that the metal can be molded over the nose and fit individual face shape better. The nose wire material should be both durable and flexible, and we found a number of options you can use no matter which face mask you are making. So far I’ve seen three distinct variations of face masks:
1. regular face masks with elastic ear loop;
2. face masks with adjustable fabric ties (can fit over N95 respirators)
3. contoured/fitted masks with pockets for removable filters
Our free fitted face mask pattern allows for an easy fitting of a nose wire and many of our readers asked what they can use as a bendable nose wire for their face masks, so I wanted to quickly cover the options.
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Table of Contents
How to make a Flexible Nose Piece
There are a number of ways to make the bendable nose piece for the face mask. Let’s cover the best ones:
1. Crafting wire
Using a wire cutter cut 7 inches of thin crafting wire or floral wire. Curl in the ends of the wire to prevent the edges from piercing through your fabric. Curl either side about half an inch inwards.
2. Folder fastener
Prong fasteners such as those from office files are just the right length.
TIP: If there any sharp parts, you might want to cut them and / or curl them inwards. I prefer using mini wire cutters and bent nose pliers over larger multi-purpose pliers, but according to my husband you can and should use whatever you already have at home.
3. Aluminum foil
Cut a piece of aluminum foil 8″ long x 6″ wide. Fold over in half width-wise 5 times. You can even sew through it with the sewing machine. No aluminum foil? Use thick tin foil from a baking dish or a disposable cookie sheet instead.
4. Twist ties
Use twist ties from bread loafs, gift bags, or trash bags. While you can use a single twist tie, it won’t be durable enough and won’t mold very well over your nose. I suggest two or three twist ties together. The resulting nose piece is both flexible and durable.
You can either sew the ties in the mask, or make a removable nose piece and slide it through a channel 3/8 inch away from the top stitch of the mask.
- If you are taping your twist ties together, slide them through a channel and don’t sew them in as clear tape won’t withstand washing.
- Don’t use paper twist ties, as the paper washes away during hot water washing and the sharp ends of the tie will show.
5. Paper clip
Unfold the paper clip and straighten it. It doesn’t have to be perfectly straight.
The resulting nose wire measures about 3.5 inches in length if you use a small/regular paper clip, and almost twice as long if you use a jumbo paper clip. Curl the edges just a little bit so it does not stick through the fabric.
TIP: While you can use the regular sized paper clip, the resulting nose piece is rather small (about 2.5-3 inches) and I recommend only using it for a child sized mask or if the other options are not available.
6. Pipe cleaner
Use a 12 inch pipe cleaner, fold it in half and twist together. The resulting nose wire measures about 6 inches in length.
TIP: Only use pipe cleaner if your nose piece is removable, as face masks are to be washed in higher temperatures and pipe cleaner wire may rust.
7. Other (non-conventional) options:
- Christmas ornament hanger
- Aluminum can – cut into strips and folded over, so that there are no sharp pieces that can rip through fabric
- Heavy-duty waxed thread
How Long Should the Flexible Nose Piece Be?
After testing a lot of options, we found that the 6″ long nose wire was the most comfortable to wear and provided the best fit for an adult sized mask. Of course, depending on the mask of your choice and your personal preference, you may want to make it a bit shorter.
Not sure which face mask is the right fit for you?
Check out our FREE face mask tutorials:
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TELL US: What did you use to make a flexible nose piece? Do you have any other ideas for the nose stay?
Do you have an idea for improvement? Leave a comment below – we’d love to hear from you!
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