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Flexible Nose Wire 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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Nose Wire for Face mask Ideas – VIDEO

Check out our selection of the top nose wire piece materials in this short video, then read below to find more about each of the options.

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How to make a Flexible Nose Wire for Face Mask

There are a number of ways to make the bendable nose wire piece for the face mask. Let’s cover the best ones:

materials you can use to make nose wire for face mask

Why use a nose bridge wire? Using a thin and flexible metal strip is critical to custom-fit the top of a mask to a your face, to make them more effective, less likely to slip off, less likely to fog your glasses, and more comfortable to wear.

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. Aluminum can

Cut into strips and folded over, so that there are no sharp pieces that can rip through fabric. To get a 3/4″ wide nose piece cut a piece of the aluminum can 4″ long and 1 1/2″ wide. Fold both ends to the middle, then fold in half.  Your aluminum nose wire is ready.

Now we all crafters have the perfect excuse to order more beer and soda, don’t we 🙂

3. 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. 

4. Aluminum foil

Cut a piece of 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Aluminum nose bridge strips

I recently saw that some aluminum nose bridge strips such as these pop over on amazon and they look like a good option.


Promising ideas from our readers:

9. Metal zip ties

You can easily trim these metal zip ties to length with wire cutters. Each one is ~12″ long and you can make two or three nose wires out of a single zip tire. 

8. Aluminum cups from tea lights

Cut the outer rim straight down to the circular bottom of the cup and then cut straight across the bottom. Cut around the circular bottom of the cut until you just have the rim left. Then, fold into thirds so there are no rough edges and trim to the length you need

10. Coffee bag closures

These seem to be a popular option to use as nose wire for diy face masks. One coffee tie makes two nose wire pieces

11. Christmas ornament hanger

12. Heavy-duty waxed thread

How Long Should the Flexible Nose Piece Be?

After testing a lot of nose bridge wire options, we found that the nose bridge made of 6″ long craft 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:

how to sew a surgical face mask

New to sewing? Check out few tools/supplies that can help make sewing easier and faster

Pin for later

nose bridge wire for face masks pin

TELL US: What did you use to make a flexible nose bridge? Do you have any other ideas for the nose stay?
Do you have an idea for an improvement? Leave a comment below – we’d love to hear what you used as nose bridge wire!

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 116 comments
Patty - May 28, 2020

I found that these reusable rubber Gear Ties I bought for wrapping around cords work great.

    Helen - May 29, 2020

    Nice find! Thanks for the share

carol martinez - May 29, 2020

Has anyone found a way to keep the mask away from your mouth – when I breathe, I have to gag cause the material sticks to my lips/mouth?

    Helen - May 31, 2020

    I find that pleated style masks keep the material further away from your mouth.

    Sahar MD - May 31, 2020

    I made so many patterns, surgical, Olson, bandana style and just fabric with ties, the only one that doesn’t stick to my nose and mouth while breathing is the 2 layers 3-pleats pattern
    Also each layer has its own pleats not stuck together while making them.


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