As of this writing (March 31, 2020) there is a severe shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment) in the United States as we face an outbreak of COVID-19. Many people have been making masks at home in an effort to provide a minimum of protection to frontline healthcare workers, and some hospitals have begun accepting donations of these homemake masks.
I began making surgical-style masks at home, for which there are many online guides, but found them to be frustratingly uncomfortable and seemingly ineffective, as they fail to form even a rudimentary seal around the wearer's nose and mouth. Instead, I decided to try and make a smaller, more comfortable, and potentially more effective homemade mask in the style of certain disposable Chinese KN95 (roughly equivalent to the U.S. N95 specification) masks that are available online.
This design has gone through several iterations and seems to work well. It uses less material than a homemade surgical-style mask, is more comfortable to wear (in my opinion), is reasonably easy to sew, even for a beginner, and offers arguably better protection by eliminating any large air gaps.
Please note that this mask has NOT been rated or certified in any way whatsoever. Its effectiveness will depend entirely on the quality of construction, the particular materials used, and the fit on the person wearing it. Similar to manufactured N95 masks, this mask should NOT be used by anyone with a beard. This mask may provide better protection than a surgical-style mask (either homemade or manufactured) or a simple bandana, but it should still ONLY be used when medical-grade equipment is unavailable.
Disclaimers: I am not a healthcare professional. This design has not undergone any laboratory testing. No warranty is implied or provided. Use at your own risk. Please use common sense, and please be safe out there.
Learn how to make an N95-style mask using simple materials. These masks should ONLY be used when medical-grade equipment is unavailable!