Home made facemask question: floppy ears edition
April 3, 2020 1:10 PM   Subscribe

We are attempting to make our own facemasks here with a bandana. But as it says in the title I have floppy ears (I used to absently fold them all the time when I was a child) and now because of this the elastic straps don't stay on. We've created a version when it just wraps around the back on my head but it keeps slipping. Could anyone offer any tips on how to create a good fitting mask with my Bert from Sesame Street ears ?
posted by Webbster to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Would you wear a headband or hat of some sort? Because you can sew a button on each side of it, and loop the elastic over that. I can confirm that it works. Also in that article someone suggests tying the elastic to the back bit of your sun/eye glasses (the part that goes over your ear) if you wear them.
posted by the webmistress at 1:21 PM on April 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Additionally, if you have longish hair, put it in a pony or man bun and that will keep the elastic from sliding down the back of your head.
posted by the webmistress at 1:23 PM on April 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You can use two separate elastics, like the person in this photo.
posted by Dolley at 1:27 PM on April 3, 2020 [4 favorites]

I didn’t have any elastic, so instead I used a shoelace to tie my homemade mask behind my head. No need to rely on my ears at all.
posted by politikitty at 1:30 PM on April 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

Yep, two bands around the head. The top one goes down on the back of your head, the bottom one goes up on the back of your head like Dolley's picture.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:42 PM on April 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

There's also the Surgical Mask Tension Release Band for Ear Comfort & Extended Use reviewed for use on the NIH 3d printer response site
posted by scruss at 1:52 PM on April 3, 2020

I saw a picture of a medical person using a jumbo paper clip to loop the straps into so they go around the back of the head instead of behind the ears. Apparently ears get sore from the elastic after a while.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 2:06 PM on April 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

I find the two strap ones hard to keep on my head unless I can keep the top one from popping up off the top, pinning or paperclipping it to the bottom band helps.
posted by advicepig at 2:17 PM on April 3, 2020

Just wanted to add solidarity as I was bemoaning my own childhood-twiddled-with floppy ears as well for this very reason!
posted by stefnet at 2:23 PM on April 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

Saw a pic of a nurse with a headband with buttons the mask elastic slipped onto instead of ears.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:05 PM on April 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

I had the fairly terrible idea of using a ski/bike nylon balaclava with a piece of HEPA vacuum bag filter inside, and a medical professional in my circle said that's pretty good. Plusalso, it'll keep the shitz from sticking to your hair. Don't care if I look like I'm ready to rob a bank at this point... and nobody else should either.
posted by vers at 6:50 PM on April 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

Yeah - the headband-with-buttons solution looks pretty good. I'd worry about the headband slipping, though, so, if it's not too warm where you are, how about:

beanie/hat with buttons slightly up from where ears would be?
posted by amtho at 9:26 PM on April 3, 2020

A vetted collection of homemade mask designs here
posted by latkes at 9:42 PM on April 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

the headband-with-buttons method was very popular with nurse friends of mine.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:35 AM on April 4, 2020

Best answer: This no sew bandana mask looks more comfortable (and looks like it seals better especially if you have the coffee bag closure thing/twist tie) than the hair tie version. Nothing around the ears; it just ties behind your head.
posted by misskaz at 7:07 AM on April 4, 2020 [5 favorites]

a ski/bike nylon balaclava with a piece of HEPA vacuum bag filter inside,

Running stores sell "snoods" or "neck gaiters" that would also work well and tend to be less warm than a balaclava. You want a non-fleece one otherwise you will overheat. You'd definitely want to augment the filter capacity with more fabric as they are designed to be very breathable and would likely let too much in or out but they are reasonably comfortable. I run wearing one most of the winter here in Chicago.
posted by srboisvert at 11:25 AM on April 6, 2020

you can do the two separate bands, but they also might keep slipping. I have a tall/rectangular head so things that need to grip but not slide don't work too well for me. What has worked Is a single elastic that is then connected to an elastic loop. To imagine it a different way, the elastic on each side splits into a Y and the arms of the Y meet at the crown/round part of the head. I drew a quick doodle instead of trying to find the magic google incantation to find in real life
posted by FirstMateKate at 10:09 AM on April 7, 2020

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