DIY Face Mask Support Frame

It’s time to get back to a routine and school! Nope, not another mask pattern, but I’m still designing ways to improve our situation. No one wants a mask stuck to their face so I’ve designed a DIY Face Mask Support Frame that you can make from your trash/recycle. Ok, stop laughing… take a look.

Look Around:

There are supplies everywhere you look. We have an abundance of plastics that make a quick trip through our lives; so why not reuse them?! The Vinegar and Bleach bottle are made of HDPE (High-density polyethylene) It melts at about 130.8 °C and is quite flexible but also keeps it shape. I can be cut pretty easily with scissors or xacto knife so it can make a great material for support your mask. The usual Soda bottle is made of PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) which has more of a ‘memory’ to keep it’s round shape but can also fit the bill.

Cut the bottles apart and take the largest flat pieces. The Bleach bottle is thinner and more flexible but does work quite nicely as well.

Free Pattern Download:

I have been testing and trying and watching and drawing… Many of the mask frames look like muzzles; I don’t think we want that much form on our face; we just want the mask to stay away from our mouth and nose. After a few prototypes this strangely simple shape came to be. The mode of attachment also works easily on surgical masks as well home made ones.

Download the Pattern here

Print the pattern at 100% (do not fit to page) If you print it on some thicker paper it makes tracing easier.

Trace it:

Using a permanent marker, trace the pattern to the plastic. The ‘arms & legs’ will be long but trimmed to fit your mask style.

Cutting is easy with some scissors (don’t use your finest or your best sewing scissors!). Try to keep the outer edges smooth to prevent catching later on.

Cut the Face:

Please use a cutting mat to protect your table. Cutting the holes in the centre front section are a bit more challenging. It is not that crucial that they are perfect, it only allows air through but keeps the fabric back. The face ensures right side up… and offers a smile for these tough times. Xacto knives will cut through but need a couple passes. Slow and steady…

Another Option:

Another way to cut plastic is with a hot knife (Versa Tool Hot Knife) as I used to cut the Christmas Ornaments and Easter Eggs. It works well but will still need some pressure. Hint; do not touch the front metal part – ouch!

Adjustable Fit:

You can reuse this support frame after cleaning so you do not need many at all. Since most Face masks have a centre section that should give room over the mouth this support frame can fit in it. The key is keeping it in place in a variety of mask shapes/patterns.

How To Install the DIY Face Mask Support Frame:

In a pleated mask (like surgical) centre the frame in the mask and force it to stretch across the frame. Mark where the ends of the ‘arms & legs’ meet the side of mask. Cut to adjust ‘arms & legs’. The pleats in these masks are perfect to slip the end of the frame ‘arms & legs’.

Cut the ‘arms & legs’ as needed. Do not cut too much, cut small amounts as once cut it can not be lengthened again. It should pretty tight across the mask to stay in place when wearing. It will bend across your face and mask top and bottom will still touch your face.

Notice how well the frame keeps the mask curved. You can push the DIY Face Mask Support Frame higher or lower according to where your nose end is, as it should not touch your nose end. It sits usually above the chin.

The unique frame shape pushes the frame outward and also the ‘arms & legs’ keep it place by their placement in the pleats.

Adding or adjusting a mask at the side:

The Olsen style masks as well as my Mask for Glasses, Fitted Face Mask, Snug nose Mask all have sides that can be adapted to use the frame. The foldover can have some channels sewn to hold the ‘arm & leg’ ends or a piece of fabric can be added inside quite simply.

I used a thin casing (right above) and then used some extra foldover to make the places to insert ‘arm & leg’ ends.

Fit the frame into the mask by forcing it as tight as possible across. Slide into place (compression fit)

It works quite easily…

Once you put it will bow and curve outward and keep it’s shape to eliminate touching the mouth.

Home sewn pleated masks work quite well since the ends tuck into the pleats.

Another good thing is that is pretty well invisible. The more open the space is inside the mask the more surface area allows air through the fabric.

When needed wash well with soap and water, or wipe with disinfectant wipe as you would anything coming near your face. Carry in a pouch to keep clean.

Having a good fit around the nose is also key so I still like to Make Iron-in Metal Nose Pieces for Masks.

If you would like to watch the video:

And most of all; please stay safe, be careful, and keep all you love safe. Make good smart choices for yourself & loved ones… I hope I can be of some help.

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  1. Thank you! I’ve been struggling to figure out a solution to this problem. I’m looking forward to experimenting with this brilliant idea.

  2. Thank you Barb! What a great idea!! I have to try this. I love the fitted mask for glasses pattern and this looks like a winner too. I have shared that pattern a couple of times in a Facebook group.

  3. Barb you are truly AMAZING.
    Thanks a million for this. – I’ll be trying it out today.
    I’m in Melbourne Australia and we’re in strict lockdown – only allowed 1 hour of exercise out of our homes every day.
    I actually hate going out purely because of the collapsing mask issue so you may have saved me both physically and mentally.
    Thanks again.
    Chris 😊

  4. Thank you so very, very much!
    I kept pulling the mask away from my mouth. And we all know we should not be touching our faces or mask. I really appreciate the patterns you have been graciously allowing us to use..

  5. I’ve watch your video to the end I love it I want to know if it will fit someone with a full face structure because everyone has different size or is it one size fit all for kids as well as adult.
    Love it

  6. That looks awesome! Does it also help keep the mask in place while talking? I find it always slips down if I talk more than a few sentences. Can’t wait to try it!

    1. That sounds like the nose does not fit good enough. Maybe you need a good wire around the nose piece too. We are all not the same, you may need to adjust patterns a bit.

  7. Love the way you do the nose wires. I found that putting the nose wire about half inch down from the top works for me. The fabric goes under my glasses and the nose wire is at the ‘softer’ part of the nose and make a better seal for me. I also make a channel from the nose wire to bottom of mask and insert a cut down zip tie to keep the mask away from my face. Going to try your frame today.

      1. Superb!!! I made my first one from a clear plastic salad box and then tried a 650g yogurt container – it’s a bit thicker but I was able to use the xacto knife for the holes (scissors for the outer edges) and that worked like a charm. Then I realized that I could get two from one container so have passed the second frame to my neighbour to use in the masks I made for her. I will be offering to make them for the other neighbours in my building to whom I’ve supplied masks as well.

  8. Thank you so much Barb. You’ve taken the hard work out of coming up with a design that works. I love that it’s so simple and easy to make. I can now make them up for my elderly clients and myself. Good job.