Surge – Pleated Mask

Download MakerMask: Surge Instructions
Download Care and Use Label

The MakerMask: Surge is a three-layer pleated mask designed using spunbond nonwoven polypropylene (NWPP) for the mask body, latex-free ties to secure the mask to the head, and a flexible nose bridge for improved fit. Criteria for mask material selection for MakerMask designs, including breathability, water-resistance, filtration, and compatible with cleaning/disinfection procedures is described in “The Big Four: Criteria for Community Mask Material Selection for COVID-19.”

MakerMask: Surge Instructions

Photo: The MakerMask: Surge, a three-layer pleated mask made with spunbond nonwoven polypropylene and cloth ties, shown on a mannequin head

Required Materials:

  • Sewing machine
  • Freshly washed spunbond NWPP bags ( 3 sheets, 8″ by 9″)
  • Bias tape or other latex-free ties (e.g., cotton ties or silicone ties)
  • Coffee tin ties, pipe cleaners or coated paper clips
  • Scissors and pins
  • Measuring tape or ruler

Photo: three layers of spunbond nonwoven polypropylene for use in the MakerMask: SurgeDIY mask. Outermost layer: 90 gsm red and white striped NWPP from a reusable grocery bags, middle layer 80 gsm white NWPP from a reusable bag; innermost layer 50 gsm NWPP from a garment bag

Gather your materials

Sheets should be 8 inches high by 9 inches wide.

Photo: 3 layers of spunbond nonwoven polypropylene, stitched together to hold it in place

Top stitch three mask layers

Sew 1/4 inch from the edge all the way around.

Photo: Showing hemmed edges of the 3 layers of spunbond nonwoven polypropylene with the top unstitched

Turn both sides and the bottom in

Fold three sides in approximately 1/2 inch, as shown, leaving the top open for the nose band. Stitch a seam on these three folds, approximately 1/4 inch from the edge.

Photo: Image of pipe cleaners twisted together for the nose piece, with the 3 layers of spunbond nonwoven polypropylene in the background

Twist three pipe cleaners together

This will allow the mask to be pressed down over the bridge of the nose, forming an acceptable seal.

Note: Instead of pipe cleaners, coffee tin ties or coated paper clips also work well for the nose bridge.

Photo: a pair of scissors showing the pipe cleaners being cut to the length of the top of the spunbond nonwoven polypropylene materials

Cut the pipe cleaners to length

Trim your nose bridge material just shorter than your mask is wide. If sharp ends remain, consider folding over the tips to prevent injury to users.

Photo: showing the pipe cleaner being placed into the fold of the spunbond nonwoven polypropylene channel

Fold the unstitched top over the twisted pipe cleaners

Lay the pipe cleaners 1/2 inch from the top edge, fold the fabric over them, and stitch this in place. Stitch the channel closed on both ends.

Photo: showing the placement of the pleats in the spunbond nonwoven polypropylene square. The MakerMask: Surge should have three pleats cascading down and away from the nose (waterfall pleats)Make three folds to pleat the mask for expansion

Pleats should be approximately 1/2 inch wide. After pleating, the mask should be approximately 3 1/2 inches long.

If it helps, mark lines on your fabric at 1 ½, 2 ½, 3, 4, 4 ½, and 5 ½ inches from the bottom of your mask. Fold the 1 ½ inch line up to meet the 2 ½ line, crease, and if helpful pin in place on each side.  Repeat by folding the 3 inch line up to the four inch line.  And finally, the 4 ½ inch line up to the 5 ½ inch line.

Stitch these in place by sewing both sides 1/4 inch in from the edge again.

Photo: Completed MakerMask:Surge pleated mask with three-layers of spunbond nonwoven polypropylene fabric and cloth ties to firmly affix to the head

Measure cloth ties for a snug fit

Ties should be long enough to tie behind the head (~12 inches) and hold the mask comfortably to the face. Sew ties to the front of the mask, 1/4 inch from the edge.

Ensure breathability before use (for details, see 3 Easy DIY Mask Tests )

Wash/Disinfect mask before each use.

While autoclaving is ideal, home users can simply submerge the masks in boiling water for 10 minutes. Details about the Care and Use of MakerMask: Surge mask designs is available in the example Care and Use User Label (pdf) and in our post the FDA’s face mask labeling requirements, “Label Me a Face Mask.”

Illustration of the MakerMask: Surge Care and Use Label, including body contacting materials (spunbond nonwoven polypropylene), cleaning and disinfection instructions, and the intended use as source control to help contain droplets and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Additional information about mask cleaning and disinfection, and the science behind the MakerMask recommendations see: “Fabric Mask Cleaning and Disinfection.

Fabric Substitutions

In accordance with the  WHO Guidance on Face Masks, a three layer mask where the two outer layers are constructed from spunbond NWPP (hydrophobic) and the innermost mask lay (the skin contacting layer) is constructed from an absorbent material (e.g., cotton) may also be acceptable.

Where do I donate my masks?

Where do I donate my masks?

It’s really important that in our efforts to get masks delivered quickly, we also do it correctly. We are working with agencies to create a solid distribution network for the MakerMask project so we can provide clear direction on what to do with the masks you produce.

In the meantime, we ask that you work responsibly within your communities to get the masks to a group that can distribute them where need is greatest.

Please follow the guidelines below:


Do verify that the healthcare providers and other front line workers want what you have to give.

Better yet, before you make, check with them, and make what they want.

Do include labeling information with all face masks.


DO NOT DROP OFF MASKS RANDOMLY at medical facilities. It does more harm than good.


Before you start, check with your local and social networks, as well as the resources below to find out what facilities and groups are asking for:

Additional Information

For the latest information about mask materials, research, and designs, visit the our blog at:

For more information about mask materials see: The Big Four: Criteria for Community Mask Materials

Spunbond nonwoven polypropylene sources; do use 100% NWPP grocery bags or conference bags. Don't use landscaping fabric or materials with coatings.

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