Cotton masks with channels for elastic loops. The design of the masks allows the elastic to be replaced, or to be converted to a "tied" style mask. Purchase here
When making mask prototypes, I knew that the elastic loops would need to be replaceable. The reason? Elastic can be really tricky; there is no one width that will be comfortable for everyone, and everyone needs a different length. It's also not as durable as the cotton mask itself; over time it can wear and begin to degrade. The final mask design features side channels that allow the elastic loops to move freely and easily replaced as needed.
The decision to make the masks this way proved to be a wise one! Apparently 1/4" elastic is harder to find than toilet paper, since a world-wide effort to make masks has resulted in a global shortage. Even with this shortage, I had been lucky and was able to ship most of the orders with the 1/4" elastic. Until that luck (and the elastic) ran out, with no delivery date in sight.
I had to decide - ship the mask orders with a wider elastic, or wait an unknown time for the thinner elastic to arrive. I chose to ship, hoping that the wider elastic would work for most!
Thankfully, the much sought-after 1/4" elastic has arrived, and the masks are now shipping with the more comfortable thinner straps. If you have a mask with a wider elastic and would like to replace it with the thinner one, send an email with your order number, and a replacement kit will be send to you!
Converting Your Mask
Regardless of the elastic situation, you might find a "tied" style mask to be more comfortable, especially if you need to wear the mask for a longer period of time. To convert your mask follow the steps below:
1. You'll need a ribbon, cord, or drawstring about 42" in length, and no wider than 1/2".
2. Cut the elastic, but do not remove it from the channels yet. (If you've already removed it, it's ok - it will be trickier to thread the ribbon through, but it can be done with patience!)
3. Attach one end of the ribbon to the cut end of the elastic using a small safety pin.
4. Gently pull the elastic out of the channel while it threads the ribbon into the channel.
5. Repeat on the other side. To loop the ribbon as the photo above, follow this path: start at the bottom of one side, out the top, then into the top of the other side, then out through the bottom.
Your masks are designed with a pocket for a disposable filter, which helps improve the effectiveness of the mask. What should you use as a filter? There is no perfect solution, but coffee filters are easy, quick, and effective. Other ideas include paper towels and a dried out baby wipe (unscented). HEPA vacuum bag filters or air filters with MERV ratings are very effective, but use caution as many contain fiberglass and should always be sandwiched in between the fabric, just to be safe.
Washing and Care
After each use, dispose of any filters inside the pocket and launder your mask in the washing machine. Machine-dry on a normal setting. You mask can also be hand-washed and line-dried. Do not iron your mask, or use bleach - the CDC confirms that regular laundering with soap or detergent will effectively clean fabric masks.
Masks are not for children under age 2, or for anyone who has difficulty breathing, is unconscious, or incapacitated. Remember that your mask should not replace safe social distancing. Your mask is not medical grade.
Masks are priced at cost, and include options for shipping. Click here to purchase.