The WeHaveMasks for Schools (M4S) DIY mask is a fitted mask made of spunbond non-woven polypropylene (NWPP). The pattern for the M4S mask was adapted from the MakeIt Labs Fitted mask (makeitlabs.com/fittedmask). The MakeIt labs fitted pattern was designed to be used with NWPP. Kim Leo of Teulu Creative adapted the size to give us a range for student and adult masks. We have also added an optional nose wire casing to the original pattern.
Our DIY mask is a non-medical mask intended to be used as source control by adults and children (to help contain the users’ droplets) and is NOT intended for use as a surgical mask or in high-risk situations.
No-sew or sewn construction
Three sizes offered, plus easy adjustability
Attachment options - ear elastic or around the head elastic or ties
Water-resistant material and naturally anti-bacterial
Recyclable - NWPP masks can be recycled where ever PP #5 is accepted.
NON-WOVEN POLYPROPYLENE (NWPP)
Polypropylene is a thermoplastic polymer which means it can be melted down, recycled, and made into other items. NWPP is created from the same material but is made to look ‘woven’ by having a cross-hatched pattern pressed onto the material. This process is called spunbond and gives NWPP the characteristic dimpled look. NWPP is a commonly used material in medical settings as well. NWPP is most commonly found in the form of reusable grocery, conference, and promotional bags. Disposable surgical masks are made of the non-spunbond version of this material. The spunbond process and heavier material weight of reusable bags allow the material to hold up through laundering, where non-spunbond NWPP would breakdown. NWPP is preferable due to its rigid structure, breathability, and moisture repelling properties. NWPP is 100% recyclable where PP5 is accepted. The material allows the mask to be reusable, washable, have natural water-resistant and anti-bacterial properties, can be sterilized, and comes in fun colors.
The M4S mask can be held in place with elastic ear loops or with elastic or ties that go around the head. One mask can have holes for all options as well. Having multiple attachment possibilities ensures the mask will give the wearer the best fit.
The masks are assembled with a no-sew method of heat-sealing the seams. This can be done with an impulse sealer (bag sealer) or vacuum food sealer that has a seal button. The mask pattern does work with sewing and by offering the no-sew method, inexpensive sealers can be uses to quickly make masks. Disposable surgical masks are also assembled in the same heat-seal method. The M4S masks can be sewn using NWPP or cotton. Cotton will not hold the stiff shape as NWPP does. The stiffness of the NWPP material offers more breathing room inside the masks.
The M4S design can be sewn or heat-sealed. The heat-seal method uses NWPP for all layers. When sewing you can use all NWPP or a mix of NWPP and cotton. When mixing NWPP and cotton it is important to never put cotton between layers of NWPP. It is best to use cotton on the interior (absorbs your droplets) and NWPP on the exterior layer (repels other's droplets).
Additional Information and Resources
Material and Tools
Visit WeHaveMasks.org/resources for NWPP options and tools available on Amazon (scroll down to our NWPP section). WeHaveMasks is receiving donated bags. Contact us to request donated NWPP.
NWPP comes in a range of weights, measured in grams per square meter (gsm). Most reusable grocery bags are 80-100gsm and promotional bags that aren't meant to carry heavy groceries may be as low as 40-60gsm. The goal is to layer NWPP to achieve a total of 120-160gsm. Multiple layers of lighter gsm material will be more breathable than fewer layers of a heavier weight material. Two layers of NWPP is used most often. If you are unsure what the weight is of your NWPP, contact us at support@WeHaveMasks.org.
An Impulse Sealer or Vacuum Sealer with SEAL button are used to heat seal NWPP.
To learn more about using NWPP for masks visit MakerMask.org.
NWPP masks are machine washable and can be sterilized by boiling or via autoclave (a pressure cooker makes a great home autoclave).
Machine wash on warm or hot, line dry or tumble dry low to medium. It is important to not allow the mask to overheat as NWPP will melt. DO NOT iron.