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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 No products found. 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 151 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

    Janet - June 22, 2020

    I’ve been using these also. The nubby ends bothered me, but you can trim those to be narrower with scissors.

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.

    Dede - June 14, 2020

    I have sewn just about every mask pattern I can get my hands on. The Jesse mask gives you plenty of room to breathe- there are a ton of pattern sizes, so you can make it to fit your face. Another mask I really like is the one with the 2.5-3.0 in band across the front with upper and lower triangles which cover you nose and chin. I can breathe very easily in this one.

    Tina - July 5, 2020

    You need a thicker fabric and the pattern has to be a little more curved at the mouth/ nose line. An extra stitch helps keeping the fabric stiff.

    Jillian D Luy - July 7, 2020

    On the fitted mask, if I don’t need a filter, I just sew a single line across the middle of the liner and cover and a sew a “v” above that. Works great to keep you from sucking the liner into your face!

    Maylin Pat - July 15, 2020

    I used boning & sewed into.inner layer which curved the fabric away from my mouth:)

Shannon Murphy - June 5, 2020

Thank you for all the advice! At what point does the wire go into the fitted face mask? Does it get sewn under top-stitching. If so, that makes it pretty permenant. Is it possible to wash it without the wire shredding the fabric?

    Susu - July 19, 2020

    I use extra fabric about 2×6 inches at see it in the top of the inner lining top and bottom and one side, and insert the pipe cleaner when using and remove before wash so it won’t rust. Recently I started to use wire so I cut it fold the edges so they are not sharp and then use fusible interface so they won’t move and they are covered then insert it under the top stitch and stitch all around. Washed it twice so far by hand didn’t damage the fabric

    Helen - July 21, 2020

    I just stitch around the nose wire so it does not move. Curling the edges takes care of it not poking through the fabric

Donna @ Modern on Monticello - June 9, 2020

These are some great tips and resources since I have heard of so many friends looking for mask supplies and options. Thanks for sharing. #HomeMattersParty

    Helen - June 10, 2020

    Thank you, Donna!

Shelbee on the Edge - June 11, 2020

Thanks for sharing this helpful information! Necessity really is the mother of invention! I love how creative people have been with the face masks. Thanks for linking up!


    Helen - June 12, 2020

    Glad to have been of help, Shelbee. thanks for stopping by

Pam - July 10, 2020

Helen – THANKS for free mask patterns, great instructions and a Website that is a joy to use. You have no idea how many ‘free pattern’ links I followed only to be disappointed before finding your great site. You rock!

    Helen - July 11, 2020

    Wow, that one comment made my day. Thank you so much, Pam! I’m glad to have been of help

Shirley - July 11, 2020

I use two 5 1/2 inch garden ties (from a roll) and place them side by side on electrical tape. Fold over. Trim, leaving ends covered by tape. Trim any excess on sides because the tape doesn’t always fold over accurately. Trim sticky portion. I zigzag to the inside top of the front piece close enough to the edge to allow front and back sides to accommodate the top seam.

    Helen - July 12, 2020

    Great idea. Thanks for sharing, Shirley

Christina - July 11, 2020

I am currently using the aluminum strips found on eBay or Amazon and they break in half after 2-3 washes. Has anyone found something more durable?

    Helen - July 12, 2020

    Hey Christina,
    it really depends on how you are folding the masks. Repeatedly folding the nose wire in half is very likely to break it quickly.
    I’ve been using mainly craft wire for months (without folding it in half) and it has help up well to repeated washing.
    You can use any of the 10+ suggestions in this article and simply make the nose wire removable

    Eileen - May 17, 2021

    I also found that the ebay Aluminium nose pieces broke after a few uses so I now use the lid of a sardine tin, cut into strips with scissors and then the sharp edges filed with a nail file. I also make sure they fit into a channel on the mask , so they can easily be removed before washing the mask.

    Helen - May 18, 2021

    Great idea, thanks for sharing. What do you use to cut the tin lid?

Stacia Shumway - July 17, 2020

I’m using bell wire, it came in. 65 feet roll, I divide the red and white wires so it’s 130 feet. The wire is coated which makes it more comfortable.

Becky - July 18, 2020

I plan to try bobby pins. Open them all the way with needle-nose pliers, then fit to your nose before installing them.

    Helen - July 19, 2020

    Let us know how you like them.

Sue - July 18, 2020

I also use small gauge insulated electrical wiring. I encase it in good quality and colorful grosgrain ribbon and sew to the outside of the masks. The grandkids were always putting their masks on with the nose piece ending up under the chin. The ribbon shows them which side up and goes over the nose.

Kay Watt - August 31, 2020

Anyone had the problem of custom made alloy strips which snap in half after a few wears?

Are different thicknesses available, I wonder? Or different metals? These were an alloy.


    Helen - September 3, 2020

    No I haven’t but I’m using craft wire or coffee bag ties in most of my masks. You can make the nose wire removable

Sandra - October 23, 2020

Go to ebay and look for mask making supplies. I found some heavy aluminum strips that are made for using as bendable nose wires. I also found a plactic basket like piece that is designed to hold your mask off your nose and mouth.

Savvy - November 16, 2020

Thank you! This was very helpful.

YiRr - November 29, 2020

Great article, exactly what I wanted to find.

Pamela - February 11, 2021

Please explain which way to fold the aluminum. Teachers often call folds “hot dog” folds” and “hamburger folds” depending whether the result is shaped like a “hotdog”–shorter and longer–or a hamburger–taller and wider. Make a hot dog fold by putting the long sides together and folding. Make a hamburger fold by putting the short sides together and folding.

So do you put the 6″ pieces of aluminum together and folding or the 8″ sides?

    Helen - February 15, 2021

    It easier to show than to explain, but I’ll try. You put the shorter sides together and fold it once in half. Then fold in half again, touching the shorter sides again. That’s repeated 5 times and you end up with a piece of aluminum that is 6 inches long and 1/4″ wide. Does this make sense?

Penny Harris - March 4, 2021

Do you use the metal nose pieces for the children masks?

    Helen - March 5, 2021

    Depends on the style of mask. If the style has a close fit, I don’t

Sue T - September 9, 2021

I ordered a 100-foot roll of 22-gauge stainless steel floral wire, brand name Master Wire Supply, from Amazon several months ago to use for mask nose pieces. I use wire cutters from the dollar store to cut the nose wire pieces, and needle-nose pliers to bend each end into a loop so it doesn’t poke the wearer.
Since the wire is stainless steel, it can be permanently sewn into the mask and will not rust when the mask is washed and dried.
Thank you for all the wonderful help you have provided to countless people with your free mask patterns and other things to help us through this pandemic! May God bless you!


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