If you take a closer look, there are so many ways to attach a face mask to your ears or head! After looking into masks in great detail over the past couple of weeks and having all these little sketches for mask tying techniques on my desk, I finally drew an infographic that shows all the different ways to tie a cloth mask with ear bands or head ties.
Tying Techniques for Face Masks
Depending on tying techniques, masks can fit differently. Most masks fit well when the ties are pulled straight back, above and below the ear, f.e. with a simple ear loop or head tie – and even better when the lower tie is pulled up, f.e. by crossing ties. If both ties are worn under the ear, the center of gravity shifts and the pattern should be adjusted.
Mask Tying Techniques with standard Ear Loops
By now, we all know the classic ear loops – and we also know that they rarely fit so well that the mask does not slip down or make elf ears. But for short wearing, ear bands are unbeatably fast and easy to put on and take off!
A variant of this are the adjustable ear loops, which can be adjusted much better to your size. You just need a little more elastic or jersey ties, which you then fasten with a simple sliding knot, pony bead or a cord stopper.
The crossed ear loops are very tight around the ear, but drastically improve the top and bottom fit of many mask shapes. If the mask might show a lateral gap, the material protruding there can simply be pushed inwards.
Mask Tying Techniques with longer Ear Loops
Very long ear loops can be worn crisscrossed around buns, pony tails or pig tails, as bun-crossed ear loops. Masks with this tying method fit really well, stay in place all day and are very easy on the ears, glasses and hearing aids!
Alternatively, bun-attached ear loops can be attached to hairbands or scrunchies, with the help of a small clip.
For longer wear or when the ears hurt, the connected ear loops can be a true ear saviour! With the help of a short button band or just a simple extra piece of ribbon tied together, the elastics stay away from the back of the ears.
The buttoned ear loops work in a similar way, with two buttons attached to a hair band (or, with the help of a rubber band, even to glasses!). Here, the ear bands are led around those buttons instead of around the ears at all.
To completely relieve the ears, you can also double the number of buttons for the double-buttoned ear loops.
Mask Tying Techniques with Head Ties
The classic head ties are tied in the neck and on the back of the head, for people with long hair usually under their ponytail or bun. Head ties take a little longer to fasten, but are ideal for longer but rather comfortable wearing.
A variant of this are the high head ties, which are closed in the neck and on top of the head, for people with long hair usually over their ponytail or bun. Those ties can also be worn very comfortably for an extended period of time.
Neck-crossed head ties help the fit of most masks. The crossing can be simulated by attaching top and bottom tie!
Low head ties look like a nice solution to all ear problems, but they shift the center of gravity of the mask, and therefore rarely fit well. It is recommended to use a special pattern or adapt / change the mask accordingly!
Double-high bun ties relieve the upper ear and are therefore easy to wear with glasses and hearing aids.
Combinations of Ear loops and Head Ties
The connected high bun ties relieve the upper ear and are easy to wear with glasses and hearing aids. To make this, you thread a pony bead behind the ear and then fix the ends of the upper and the lower tie with another pearl.
The crossed high bun ties relieve the ear, fit extremely well and can be worn realy well with glasses and / or hearing aids too. In this tying method, the upper tie is worn under the bun and the lower tie is worn over the bun.
Just like the crossed ear bands, the crossed head ties ensure a better fit with masks that protrude too far above and below. Lateral gaps can also be avoided here by simply pushing the protruding fabric to the inside of the mask.
I tested all these techniques and invented some, and my personal recommended favorites are adjustable ear loops or crossed ear loops for short wearing and double adjustable bun ties or side crossed bun ties for longer wearing!
Furthermore, there are various techniques to double tie a face mask so that you can take it off inbetween and wear it on your chest, while it is held by a tie behind your neck. I assume that most people just don’t have the self discipline to keep their hands off their face, neck and clothes – so for them, this is not a safe thing to do! I left it out on purpose.
If you possibly know other (safe) ways to fasten a mask to stay in place, I’m looking forward to read your comment!
Optimized Hybrid Cloth Mask
The mask shown here is my Hybrid Cloth Mask! For my own production, I optimized cut and processing of the face mask so that you don’t have to straighten it out while wearing. The mask has a snug fit around nose, cheeks and chin, does not slide into the eyes or down the nose – and even without a nose piece, it keeps most glasses from fogging up! Individual parts such as wire, filter or ties can easily be replaced and the mask is quick to sew, to maintain and to iron.
In April, I first published instructions, pattern and templates for sewing the Hybrid Cloth Mask and started writing an extended FAQ, in May I added detailed step-by-step picture tutorial, and in June, I followed up with instructions and pattern for a No-Sew Instant Hybrid Mask and pattern adaptions for several combinable Customized Hybrid Masks.
Conditions of Use, Rights and Sharing
This infographic is protected by German copyright laws (© Iris Luckhaus | All rights reserved). I hereby agree to strictly non-commercial use, which means that you may embed my graphic on a non-commercial website or print it out and enclose it with your mask donations, given that my copyright, name and website are always included!
Without my prior written permission, you may not commercially use, reproduce or distribute any of my material.
For updates and further developments (which are sure to come!), please follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Xing, LinkedIn, Pinterest or YouTube. If you’d like to share my illustration with your friends, feel free to use my posts!
I’m spending a lot of unpaid time on elaborating and explaining those instructions, helping the helpers to help. If you’d like to encourage this, I’d highly appreciate if you could buy me a little time via Paypal (email@example.com)!
If you’d like to use my infographics commercially (i.e. with the intention of making a profit in any way), f.e. by displaying it on a commercial website, enclosing printouts with your mask sales or publishing it in any other way, please contact me, introduce me to your business, location and ideas, so I can make you an offer for usage rights!
Great thanks to Matthias for his always awesome support – and to the members of the fantastic Open Source Medical Supplies group on Facebook, who first introduced me to some of the tying techniques shown here! Special thanks go to Annie for the high head ties, to Sunny for the low head ties and to Brandie for the crisscrossed ear bands! ❤