Brian Woo-Shem

Mechanical engineer, tech wizard, cartoonist, writer, creator of things.

Add Elastic Headband to Earloop Mask

Ear loop masks are common but often fail to provide a good seal around the face. Since the ability to filter small particles decreases drastically if there are leaks around the sides, good seal is important. Head-strap masks are more effective, but harder to find and more expensive. Turn an ear loop mask into a head strap mask using this simple trick.

Equipment Needed

  1. Mask. I recommend KF94 or KN95 type masks because they are reasonably available now but not too expensive and not needed by healthcare workers. See this video by citizen scientist Aaron Collins for some recommendations.
  2. Two pieces of 1/4″ thick elastic, 12-18 inches long each. I recommend buying a 100+ yard spool such as Option 1, Option 2.
  3. Two small cord locks such as these.
  4. Two small beads. Any common ones work.
  5. Scissors for cutting elastic.

Step 1: Cut the earloops in half

Step 2: Feed the bead onto the elastic

Tip: It is easier if you pinch and roll the end of the elastic to make it round, then while still pinching, try to feed it through the bead.
Pull the bead to the middle of the piece of elastic.
Repeat for the second elastic piece.

Step 3: Feed the two ends of each elastic through the cord lock

Repeat for the second elastic and cord lock.

You should now have a bead and cord lock on each elastic as shown:

Step 4: Tie a square knot between the loose elastic and the mask strap elastic

If the mask built-in elastic is much thinner and flimsier than the added elastic, I recommend tying it very close to where the built-in elastic is joined to the mask. This will allow for easier tightening later.

Tie one of the new elastic pieces to the left and right sides of the built-in elastic on the top of the mask. Tie the other to the left and right connections on the bottom.

You should now have the following:

Step 5: (optional) Cut loose ends. Leave at least 1/4 inch at the end to prevent unraveling.

Step 6: Complete Mask

The mask should now look like this.

See this video by OSHA for thorough instructions for properly wearing a mask.

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