7 DIY Face Mask Nose Clips to Use

Want to DIY yourself a protective face mask? Here are 7 household items that will make perfect face mask nose clips and secure your sewn mask to your nose.

Want to DIY yourself a protective face mask?

Let’s face it, this is now one of the most in-demand DIY crafts you can make. And whether you’re making some for your own use or to give away to others, a DIY face mask is probably one of the best 15 minute investments of your time.

Please note: all the links provided below are for your convenience only. I make no claims as to the increased effectiveness of one linked product over another that you may already own.

Sewn face masks are the best bang for your time

Look. I have to come clean, here. I am far from the most competent seamstress out there. By which I mean I’m such a novice that it’s almost a wonder that I know which sewing machine end is up.

The downside of so much vague incompetence is that I seriously spent actual time actually sketching out a wisp of an idea to knit a facemask. Actual to goodness knit.

Fabric face masks make the best DIY

Granted, my prototype was going to be a two-layer thing that could fit a coffee filter or whatever inside, but still. Talk about a sieve situation! Not to mention the quick realization of how much longer it would take to make than if I just bit the bullet and sewed.

Btw, raise your hand if you can picture how much faster it’d be to even hand-stitch a mask rather than knit one.

There is, however, an upside. And the upside of being nearly useless with a sewing machine is that it prompted me to watch a lot of video tutorials. A silent cry for help that the internet was more than eager to answer.

The crafting community is so incredibly lucky to have this many members who really know their stuff and are willing to share that know-how.

I have to say, though. If you’d have told me even 2 months ago that I’d be trying to figure out sewn pleats for a face mask of all things… I’m not proud of how hard I’d have laughed in your face.

The one thing your DIY face mask must have

First, let’s recap what a good DIY face mask is.

  • It’s an expandable piece of layered tissue that cups your face from the bridge of your nose to the fleshiest part beneath your chin.
  • It’s a personal filter that prevents small airborne particulate matter from crossing over into your airways.
  • It’s a face covering that can be secured to your head in one of three ways:
  • twin elastic straps behind your ears
  • long elastic straps at the back of your head, parallel or criss-crossed
  • a long string or ribbon securing the mask to the back of your neck and the back of your head.

Technically speaking, the last option is the least prone to wear and tear, because strings take longer to break down than elastic bands. It’s also the fiddliest option, however, as with anything that requires tying at the back of your head.

The first option is the more run-of-the-mill model. But wearing it also strains you the fastest, because it puts pressure on rather sensitive cartilage. And since the whole point of an elastic is the pressure, you can’t cheat yourself out of the stretch.

Want to ease that strain? Lisa from Life Away From The Office Chair has shared a gorgeous Mask Extender crochet pattern that you can make while still keeping that classic ear-loop mask pattern.

And if you’re a knitter, grab this free Mask Extender knitting pattern from LoveCrafts.

Why your DIY fabric mask needs a nose clip

Now, all that aside, I hope you caught the keyword I slid in there. Because the face mask has a twofold job, and both parts are equally as important.

It needs to filter, of course. Meaning you should, first of all, use slightly denser cotton tissue than you might normally reach for. If possible, you should also include a filtering layer.

Tracy from The Sewing Channel recommends Flex Foam for hospital-grade masks. Click through to her video and get a full tutorial, as well as another link that you can grab this interfacing from.

Another great filtering option is HEPA cotton, which is pretty effective as an antibacterial filter. Watch this quick tutorial to see how you can use it in a no-sew handkerchief mask!

If Flex Foam or HEPA cotton isn’t something you can get your hands on, then something utterly DIY like a coffee filter or a cutout from a vacuum cleaner bag is also better than going bare.

However, a filtering layer on its own isn’t enough. Not unless a seal is formed. So your DIY face mask also needs to cup your face. In fact, that is an absolute imperative. A mask doesn’t just need to sit snug on your face, it needs to cup the 3D contours of it as intimately as possible.

Don’t DIY a face mask without a nose clip

Because our nose is our most challenging facial feature, we need our face masks to fit to it more than anything.

As such, it’s a good idea to include something shapable and moldable to the upper middle of your mask; something that you can squeeze around the bridge of your nose.

This actually holds whether you’re making a sewn or a no-sew face mask, btw. Whichever your DIY choice, you can still decide which way is up.

7 DIY nose clip options for your mask

Here are a few different options you can use to secure your DIY face mask to your nose.

I think it goes without saying that this isn’t an exhaustive list. But the point of it isn’t to be exhaustive. It’s to give you some things that you might already have around the house. Things you can use at the bridge of the nose when you DIY your mask.

To secure your nose strip to the inside of your face mask, you can use some strong double-sided tape (the very thin dressmaking kind).

Here are some of the handiest household things you can use to secure your mask to the bridge of your nose.

1. A bread bag clip

A bread bag tie is a good piece of metal to use as a nose piece.
The little metal tie at the top of your bread bag makes a great nose piece for your DIY mask.

I know. Starting you off with the basics. Just keep the metal strip that closes your bread bags and reuse it in your DIY face mask to mold it to your nose.

Of course, this only works if you:

(a) eat bread, and

(b) buy prepackaged bread rather than visiting a bakery or making your own.

I mean, I guess you could filch the clips off bread bags that you leave on the supermarket shelves, but let’s not get into that. Matter of fact, let’s outright pretend no-one would do that, and move on.

If you do buy your bread from the supermarket, but it uses those weird plastic tabs to hold the bag closed… Then keep making your way down this list.

2. A pipe cleaner

Pipe cleaners make a great nose clip for a DIY face mask
Not the easiest to glue on, but pipe cleaners make a great nose strip.

Yep. Nothing surprising there. You’ve probably seen a couple tutorials using this already.

Depending on the kinds of crafts you make, especially if you’re a Mom, you might already have a lot of pipe cleaners lying around. Cut a 3 in (~ 7,5 cm) piece to secure in between the inner and outer layer of your mask, right at or very near the top.

3. A coffee bag tie

The ties on bags of loose tea or coffee are great for a DIY nose clip.
The ties on bags of loose tea or coffee are great for a DIY nose clip.

This is one of two hacks involving coffee.

Assuming your coffee comes in tied bags rather than vacuum-packed ones, you can use (half of) the coffee bag tie to tightly hold your DIY mask against the bridge of your nose.

As with the pipe cleaner, a strip of one tie will do the trick. If the wires seem like they could start poking out, wrap the ends with a small bit of electrical tape before gluing the tie to your fabric.

4. A twist tie

Cable twist ties can be inserted as nose pieces into DIY masks.
Fold one or a couple of cable twist ties together to make a nose clip.

If you’re anything like me, you keep the twist ties that came with your various electronic cables. In fact, I keep them twisted around their respective cables, knowing I might someday need to pack the cable or something.

Bend the twist tie double (or triple, depending on its length), flatten it, and secure it to the top of your mask. Make sure you position it so it doesn’t poke through the fabric into your skin.

5. A piece of PVC-wrapped garden wire

Clip a good length of gardening wire to use as a nose strip.
Make a nose strip from gardening wire by cutting a long piece and folding it down a few times.

You know what? I have zero coffee bag ties in my house… And number 7 will tell you why. But I do have rolls and rolls of thin PVC-wrapped garden wire.

Although it is extremely thin and flexible, it’s also pretty durable, especially when you fold it over itself a couple of times. Cutting an 8 or 9 in (12-15 cm) piece and folding it in 3 or 4 should do the trick nicely.

6. A coated paperclip

Make a nose clip out of a straightened paperclip
Straighten a paper clip and insert it at the top of your mask for a good, if very solid, nose piece.

I’m on the fence about putting paperclips on this list. Technically a straightened paperclip would/should/will work a treat. However, paperclips are also pretty stiff, and the metal ends can occasionally poke out of the coating.

As someone with sensitive skin, I’m a little wary at the thought of securing a paperclip to the bridge of my nose for too long a time. To each her own, however. You might find that they work fine for you.

What’s more, paperclips aren’t exactly a scarcity, and you can buy them in super bulk for super cheap. That makes them one of your best options if you’re going to sew a lot of masks to give away.

7. A Nespresso capsule

DIY a nose strip from a used Nespresso capsule
Cut out the middle of a Nespresso capsule and fold it down to make a nose clip for your DIY mask.

One of these things is not like the others… And yet it kind of is. This is the second “coffee hack” on this list, and it’s ultimately born from my need to recycle my coffee paraphernalia.

Nespresso capsules, as you’ll know if you’re a fan, are made of aluminum. Thin, flexible yet rigid metal you can be sure to bend to shape? Win!

Just cut a capsule in two down the middle. Remove the dome and the thick outer edge. Then, fold it down on itself to get a slightly curved metal strip you can mold to your nose.

Looking for more things to do with your used Nespresso capsules?

Upcycled Nespresso capsules in a DIY crochet headband

Check out my easy, blingy crochet headband here. Make it up in just an afternoon!

That’s it for your DIY face mask nose clips

There you have it. Seven awesome supplies you can use to make your DIY face masks more secure, all from things you probably already have around the house.

One of the best ways you can possibly recycle and reuse? Keeping seemingly useless things and integrating them into stuff you need. This is honestly what reusing is all about.

Have you come up with other household “waste” you can recycle into emergency supplies? Let me know below!

Are you more visually inclined? Speed-watch the video version of this post instead!

Linked up with: Traffic Jam Weekend Linky Party | Friendship Friday Blog Hop | Inspire Me Monday | Edge of the Week Friday | Unlimited Monthly Link Party | A Themed Linkup for Crafts and DIY | The Hearth and Soul Link Party

P.S.: Looking for ways to contribute? Join the Million Mask Challenge here if you’re looking to donate your DIY sewn mask to your local hospital or health care institution.

7 DIY Face Mask Nose Clips to Use

13 comments on “7 DIY Face Mask Nose Clips to Use”

  1. shelbeeontheedge1 says:

    This was the most fun I have had reading a post about face masks. Thanks for injecting your sense of humor into it! And you are a much better woman than I. I don’t even own a sewing machine so you know how skilled I am in that area. Haha. Thanks for linking up!


    1. Allie Vane says:

      Ha! A friend sold me his sewing machine when he moved to a different country. If not for that, I’d probably still be too intimidated by sewing to invest in a sewing machine… It seems a lot scarier than it is when you don’t have the hardware, I guess.

      Thanks for hosting such a fun linkup & for stopping by!

  2. thank you for all useful informations and suggestions 🙂 very helpful for me 🙂

    1. Allie Vane says:

      That’s good to hear. I’m glad you found the post useful. Thanks for stopping by 😊

  3. Dee | Grammy's Grid says:

    Visiting again to say thanks so much for linking up with me at my #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 11, open April 1 to 26.

  4. Irene Crowe says:

    I’d just like to say that I’ve been sewing face masks with no two being the same, trying to find a method I like. I’ve got pipe cleaners in our house and found that one strip is not really enough, especially after you have washed the mask, they go wiggly for want of a better description. I’ve now made some with a double pipe cleaner length, sewn as tightly as I can into a length of bias binding that can cover the sharp ends too. I know it’s a faff to say the least, and the amounts of material for the bits are too small for a machine to work properly, so I sew them by hand. Seems to work better and be a bit more durable. One thing I would like to know though, how long, if at all, does it take for pipe cleaners to go rusty? I’m hoping they don’t.

    1. Allie Vane says:

      Thanks for sharing such an in-depth comment, Irene!

      That’s certainly good to know about the pipe cleaners… Bit odd, too. I would have expected them to lose their fuzz in the wash, but not their ability to hold their shape. Though I too hope they at least don’t rust.

  5. Carol E. says:

    Thank you for your post. I enjoyed reading it. Over the summer I fabricated about 65 masks for family and friends – the 3-pleated kind complete with nose piece and elastic ear loops. A permanent, effective breathable filter was sewn inside each mask. Since I custom-made each one according to face measurements, they fit snugly for each individual.
    However, the pipe cleaners, after a few washes, did show rust through the cotton outer materials, making them look quite unsightly. Now, after doing a ”recall”, I am busy removing them from the masks, soaking the materials in pure lemon juice which quite quickly removes the rusty stain, refitting them with non-rusting nose pieces. Good thing I didn’t make 165 ! Once this is accomplished, I will no doubt make many more masks – making sure to use non-rusting nose pieces.

    1. Allie Vane says:

      Wow, you have me genuinely impressed. 65 masks is no small feat! Congratulations to you for pulling that off!

      Very good of you to share that tidbit about the pipe cleaners, too. It’s very frustrating that they’re that prone to rusting, all the more so since they’re such a cheap and easy to grab nose piece option.

      I’m sure every other option will prove to have its drawbacks as well, but hopefully neither rust nor durability will be one of them.

      Thanks so much for your detailed comment!

  6. Oofy Prosser says:

    That bread tie shown? It is plastic tape, not metal. Won’t work for a mask. You need a different photo showing an actual metal tie. Also, that sort of tie is available in the veg/fruit section of most supermarkets, too.

    1. Allie Vane says:

      You’re wonderfully eagle-eyed. Yes, that stock photo shown? It’s what was available to me, not ideal. Worked just fine for a little blog post.

      That sort of tie is available in some veg/fruit sections of some supermarkets, depending on where you are in the world. The same can be said for bread, though. And people are of course welcome to grab bagged apples or whatever rather than bagged bread in order to procure themselves one of those ties.

      Thanks for stopping by and dropping a comment.

  7. Oofy Prosser says:

    I think I made a comment that the photo of bread DOES NOT have a metal tie, it shows a small bit of sticky tape. Then my comment was never posted. And the photo was not fixed. So, either I didn’t post this (my bad, here it is) or you ignored it (that would be your bad). In any event, insert a photo of a loaf of bread with a metal tie.

    1. Allie Vane says:

      Mmm, nobody’s bad. I’ve been so busy I haven’t looked at my site in months.

      Honestly, I find it commendable you recalled leaving a comment like one month on and caring enough to come back to this post. Considering I can’t remember what blogs I leave comments on even 5 minutes after I click submit, I’m truly wowed.

      I’m also frankly a bit wowed that you’re this invested in some internet rando doing what you tell them. In any event, no, not least of which because I lack those means at present.

      But again, thanks for stopping by, and more importantly, kudos for your memory and your sense of investment!

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