Origami (Beta) – Fitted Mask

Illustration of the MakerMask: Origami Mask

Printable Sewing Instructions (4 Pages)
Paper Folding Instructions & Pattern (2 Pages)
Instructions with Schematics (10 Pages)
Photo Tutorial (16 pages)

The “MakerMask: Origami (Beta)” is designed as a stand-alone fitted mask with a number of features to improve accessibility. This mask is constructed without any seams in the central mask area and creates a 3-D shape around the face that gives extra space around the mouth and nose.

Mask Features:

  • Single latex-free silicone headband improves fit and accessibility
  • Large breathable surface area!
  • Compatible with Hearing Aids and Ear Buds
  • Washable
  • Available in multiple sizes
  • Construction Time: 10 – 20 minutes


This mask is a sewn mask constructed from a square of fabric material (two or three layers) which is transformed into a 3-dimensional fitted mask by a series of pleats and origami folds. These folds are stitched into place, creating a padded trim around the circumference of the mask, which both improves the seal to the face and increases the comfort of the mask. Before you get started, consider practicing the origami folding with a piece of paper.

Origami Mask Instructions (Beta Version 0.2)

Materials & Equipment



  • Sewing machine (size 16 needle/jeans needle), scissors, ruler, paperclips or similar.
Fabric Squares; 9" by 9"

Sew Layers Together

Step 1: Sew Layers Together

A.     Place all of the layers of fabric directly on top of each other, with the edges aligned.
B.     Sew the layers together along each of the 4 sides leaving a 2” section unsewn ( ¼” seam allowances used throughout).
C.     Trim excess fabric, especially at the corners and then turn the square inside out through the 2” unsewn section.
Sew Layers of NWPP Together for Mask

Add Nose Piece & Attachment Loops

Step 2: Add Flexible Nose Piece

A.     Turn Down the top ¾” of fabric.
B.     Place the flexible nose bridge under the nose flap, so that it is centered around the mid-line of the mask.
Add Nose Piece to Mask

Step 3: Add Attachment Loops and Sew The Fold Down

A.     Tuck attachment loops under fold.
B.     Sew the fold down, securing the nose piece and attachment loops in place. (For added durability reinforce the stitching on the loops using a “box X” stitch or similar)
Add Attachment Loops and Sew in Place

Add Pleats

Step 4: Add Two “Waterfall Pleats”

A.    Add two pleats, each ¾” wide and ¾” deep
Measure ¾” down from the bottom of the fold for the nose piece. To create a pleat ¾” deep, the fabric should be folded so this point is held to the point 1 ½” down. Repeat for the second ¾” pleat.
B.    Use clips (or basting stitches) to hold pleats in place
Add "Waterfall Pleats" to Mask

Add Origami Folds (see video for details)

Step 5: Fold The Bottom 2 ½” Under

A.    Fold the bottom 2 ½” under (to the back)
B.    Turn the mask over
Fold Back Under and Turn Mask Over

Step 6: Fold ¾” Down

A.     Fold ¾” of the back down to create “trim”.

Step 7: Create 3D Mask Shape

A.     Fold the bottom corner of one of the sides up to create a right triangle that intersects with the top edge of the “trim”.
B.     Tuck the top edge of the triangle (step 7A) under the ¾” flap created in step 6A. Hold the flap in place over the triangle with a clip (yellow in photo).
C.     Repeat for the other side.
Fold Each Corner Up and Tuck Under "Trim"

Step 8: Sew The Final Seam

A.     Expand mask into 3D shape.
B.     Sew the “trim” in place, securing the trim and all the pleats in place. This trim will create the seal to the face along the cheeks and chin line. Extend the stitch line over the the attachment loops to reinforce the stitching
Sew Bottom Pleat Into Place

Attach Headband

Step 9: Attach Headband

A.     Thread silicone band through the attachment loops, adjust to desired length (~18 inches) and tie knots in the ends to hold in place.
To ensure that the band is held securely into place, loop the band through the attachment loop before tying (see photos).
Attach Silicone Band to Mask

Step 10: Expand Pleats and Enjoy the MakerMask: Origami!

Expand Pleats and Enjoy the MakerMask: Origami!

Quick Reference Guides for 3 Different Origami Mask Sizes

Click the individual images below to enlarge them or click here to download the pdf.

Additional Pattern Variations

Click on the gray boxes below for additional information about pattern variations for this origami mask.

Mask Sizes - Large and Small

For Small/Kids Masks

For Extra Large Mask: Start with a 10″ x 10″ square and use 3/4″ pleats. This variant is popular with people with beards.

For Small/Kids Mask: Start with an 8” x 8” square. Use ½” pleats instead of ¾” pleats. NOTE: Coffee tin nose ties may be too large/stiff for children’s mask. See notes in the cheat sheet for the “Extra Small” for improving fit to the face in absence of nose bridge. For “extra small” smaller masks consider starting with a 7” x 7” square and two layers of lighter weight material.

Kid-sized Version of the MakerMask:Expression

Size Adjustments

Size Adjustments: The length of the silicone ties can also be shifted to improve the fit.

To create a roomier mask and/or to decrease the number of layers to sew through for thicker materials, consider using one pleat instead of two (Step 3); otherwise follow directions as written.

Images of materials gathered for the MakerMask: Origami, including coffee tin ties, attachment loops, and nonwoven polypropylene fabric

The size of the mask can also be adjusted by using ½” pleats instead of ¾” pleats or changing the fold at Step 4 from folding 2 ½” back to folding 2 ¼” or 2” back instead. Other folding variations include changing the depth and angle of the pouch-like breathing area by changing the amount of material folded over in Step 4, and altering the angles of the folds (steps 4 and 5).


Mask Layers:

Standard layering combinations include 3 layers per the WHO guidance on masks. For increased particle filtration, additional layers may be added as long as the mask remains breathable. For increased comfort (decreased filtration), especially during summer months, some people may decrease the layering to two layers, which increases the duration of time that masks can be comfortably worn correctly.

  • Standard – 3 Layers. Either 3 Layers of spunbond nonwoven polypropylene (NWPP) OR 3 Layers (e.g., 2 Layers of spunbond NWPP as the outermost layers and one layer of cotton as the innermost layer – closest to the face)
  • Summer-weight – 2 Layers (less filtration, higher breathability). Either 2 layers of spunbond NWPP (e.g., one heavyweight [80 – 100 GSM] and one lightweight [40 – 50 GSM]) OR 2 layers: an outermost layer of spunbond NWPP (80 – 100 GSM) and an innermost layer (closest to the face) of cotton.

No-Sew Window Mask

The basic pattern for the MakerMask: Origami was adapted to accommodate a window, and is illustrated (both instructions and video) in the “MakerMask: Expression”.

Ear Loop Adaptation

The MakerMask: Origami can be adapted for use with ear loops (in cases where headbands/straps are not appropriate) by adding a second pair of attachment loops to the mask. These attachment loops should be located on the trim of the mask below the bulk of the second pleat (approximately 2.5″ below the top set of attachment loops). The preferred ear loops configuration includes an embedded lanyard, which allows the ear loop tension and fit to be adjusted with a single cinching element either behind the head, or under the chin. The preferred material for the ear loops/lanyard is a single strip of T-Shirt material (100% cotton jersey knit). See ‘cheat sheet’ below for details.

MakerMask: Origami, ear loop adaptation, creates a combined ear loop/lanyard with a piece of cotton jersey knit.



— The video below shows the fit of the mask, as well as doffing the mask with one hand without touching the central mask area (Note, there is no audio associated with this video). —

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