Frequently Asked Questions

How do your masks compare to N95 respirators or surgical masks?

  • Masks made at home out of found materials are not as effective as medical grade Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). These are not surgical masks, N95 respirators, or any form of approved medical PPE. They have not been tested or approved by any relevant institution. They are only to be used as a “better than nothing” alternative when no approved medical PPE is available.

  • N95 respirators are far more effective. N95 respirators form a firm seal against the face, forcing all airflow through a filtering material which captures at least 95% of .3 um particles. Our masks have not been tested for filtration and cannot be compared to respirators.

  • Our masks are not surgical masks. Surgical masks are manufactured in tightly controlled environments with materials not readily available to consumers. They are not designed to be washed. Similar to surgical masks, our masks cover the nose and wrap under the chin, and can have some gaps around the edges which reduce effectiveness.

What is the Mask Cover? Does it impact the effectiveness of an N95 respirator?

  • Our Mask Cover is designed to fit over an N95 respirator, and should not interfere with the seal of the respirator if worn properly. The N95 is worn as usual, with the Mask Cover tied over it. The Mask Cover is NOT intended to improve filtration.

  • Extreme shortages have forced reuse of N95 respirators. When respirators are visibly soiled, they must be discarded. The Mask Cover is intended to protect the N95 from droplets and hopefully extend its usable life. It is designed to fit over cup-style N95 respirators, but it will fit over a variety of styles.

Who has been your primary point of contact with the CDC? What is their technical background? What aspects of your designs were determined by CDC recommendations?

  • Created for Crisis has been in conversation with the CDC, including Dr. Michael Bell, the Deputy Director of Division of Healthcare Equality Promotion. He is an expert in drug-resistant pathogens and hospital-acquired infections. His career has focused on investigating and preventing transmission of healthcare-associated illnesses, for hospital patients and staff alike. During these conversations, he has provided meaningful feedback which directly contributed to our Three-Layer Mask.

  • The CDC specifically requested a 3-Layer Mask in two sizes, with cotton outer layers, nonwoven middle layer, and cloth ties.

What kind of research or testing has gone into your designs?

  • These are not surgical masks or a form of approved medical Personal Protective Equipment. They have not been formally tested or approved by any relevant institution.

  • We have limited access to research facilities and materials. In lieu of formal testing, we are starting with materials known to be safe and to withstand repeated washing. Each pattern has gone through a rigorous iteration process to streamline construction and clarify instructions, but this is an ongoing process. We make no claims about the efficacy of our designs, particularly when constructed at home.

  • If you are an expert with relevant knowledge or a lab willing to help us conduct research, please contact us at

Where can I find video tutorials for CFC masks?

Your patterns are more complicated than some of the others I’ve seen. Why?

  • All the patterns circulating online can be overwhelming, so we developed a few more refined designs. Rather than sacrificing quality for simplicity’s sake, we decided to focus on providing high-quality designs which put functionality and providers’ needs first.

  • We are working to develop more beginner-friendly patterns, but for the time being, give our existing patterns a try. Some of our patterns have instructional videos and illustrated guides, and all the written instructions assume limited experience.

Can I make masks out of _____?

  • Our material recommendations are based on review of existing research. If you are making masks for healthcare facilities, we ask that you follow our recommendations.

  • If you are making masks for personal or community use, we recommend the same materials. If nothing else can be found, other materials can be used as a last resort.

Should I add wire to the mask at the nose bridge?

No. Many of the materials available to home sewers for a metal nose bridge are not suitable for repeated washing and drying. Wire can rust over time or poke through the mask itself, posing a safety hazard to the wearer. The decision to eliminate wire came from healthcare provider feedback.

What if the manufacturer recommended laundering temperature differs from your instructions? Will the materials recommended for the middle layer of the 3-Layer Mask withstand high temperatures?

Disregard conflicting manufacturer instructions. High temperatures are necessary to sanitize fabric masks, so when hospitals clean masks, they will wash and dry them on high heat. All materials must be washed and dried on high heat before sewing, including interfacing, because they will shrink after the first wash. Not prewashing materials could compromise the integrity of the finished mask. Cotton and polyester can withstand this treatment, as can the specific interfacings we have recommended.

I’m having trouble finding the correct interfacing. Is there a limited supply of that material?

Obtaining non-woven materials may be difficult due to supply chain disruption, store closures, and shelter-in-place orders. We are working to learn how much sew-in non-woven interfacing is available for distribution. For those without access to appropriate interfacing, we developed the Created for Crisis Pocket Mask and Mask Cover. Both require only cotton or a cotton/poly blend.

Why can’t I use fusible interfacing?

Fusible interfacing contains a heat-activated adhesive, which can interfere with breathability. Our primary concern, however, is toxicity. Not all materials are safe to breathe through for an extended period. Because information about which adhesives are used is proprietary, we don’t know what chemicals we’re dealing with. Until a thorough investigation of heat-activated adhesives is conducted, we cannot recommend any fusible interfacing.

How can I help?

  • To volunteer in mask distribution, sewing, or community organizing, visit

  • For donations of material, visit

  • To provide feedback, get involved with our design process, or join CFC, please join us in our Discord channel

I found a mistake in your instructions or came up with an improvement to your design. How do I communicate with you?

Please email us at Thank you for your feedback!

I’m a healthcare professional and would like to provide feedback. How should I do that?

Thank you for all you do! To provide feedback on finished designs or those in the works, please join us in our Discord channel If you have one-time feedback or are unable to join Discord, please email us at