Introduction: Identity Preserving Balaclava (all the Warmth With None of the Anonymity!)

Picture of Identity Preserving Balaclava (all the Warmth With None of the Anonymity!)

It's pretty easy to wear warm clothes on just about every part of your body except for your face. As far as I can tell, the main reason that cold-weather facial attire is somewhat socially taboo is because it generally obscures the identity of the person wearing it. Despite all of the progress our society has made towards accepting and treating all people fairly, we are still yet to escape the notion that a person in a balaclava (or ski mask) is generally up to no good. The "Identity Preserving Balaclava" is my solution to the social stigma associated with the identity concealing effect of the average balaclava.

Here is the method and pattern that I used to make my own "Identity Preserving Balaclava." Hopefully other people will be able to use this to liberate their cold faces from social repression!

Step 1: Stuff You Will Need

Picture of Stuff You Will Need

Ok, here's a list of all the stuff I used to make this project:

-Digital Camera
-Photo Editing software (pretty much any program that you can crop images with)
-Inkjet printer
-Inkjet Iron-on transfer paper (at least 6 pieces)
-Light-colored sweatshirt material (from a cut up sweatshirt or from a fabric store, 1/2 a yard is more than enough)
-An iron
-A good pair of scissors
-Needle (or a sewing machine if you know what you're doing)
-Straight pins
-A flat surface to iron on and a pillow case to lay on top of it
-A ruler or tape measure

Step 2: Take Pictures of Your Head

Picture of Take Pictures of Your Head

The pattern I came up with uses 6 digital images that are 8 x 10 inches. Each image is taken from a different angle of the head, so that when they are sewn together properly they will make a mask that displays everything that it is covering up.

Here are the angles that need to be photographed:

1. Face straight on
2. Left profile
3. Right profile
4. Back of the head straight on
5. Top of the head straight on
6. Neck and upper shoulders straight on

Step 3: Editing Your Images

Picture of Editing Your Images

Once you have images of all the different angles of your head you will need to edit them so that they will print properly on to iron-on transfer sheets.

Probably the best way to do this step is by trial and error. Take a ruler or tape measure and try to measure the dimensions of your head.

Crop your images to a ratio of 10 x 8 inches which will fit easily onto the 8.5 x 10 inch Inkjet iron-on transfer sheets.

Try to match the printed out images to the dimensions of your actual head, keeping in mind that they will probably need to be a little bigger than your head in order to fit over it.

You will probably want to print test images on scratch paper to make sure that the images are the right size before printing on the inkjet iron-on transfer sheets.

Remember to reverse all of your images before printing them onto the inkjet iron-on transfer sheets.

Step 4: Ironing on the Images

Picture of Ironing on the Images

Just follow the directions that come with the Inkjet iron-on transfer sheets.

note: it may help to wash the fabric after the iron-ons have been applied, I didn't do it because I was worried they might shrink a little and I had them measured to just the right sizes. You can try it though. I might work better because the iron-ons can be kind of tough to sew through and washing them is supposed to soften them up.

Step 5: Sewing the Pattern Together

Picture of Sewing the Pattern Together

I made my own pattern for this project, and even though it seems to have worked pretty well, it can only be used as an approximation of what it should look like because everyone's head is different. So you will probably need to adjust this pattern to fit your own head, but here is what I did and here is what it looks like.

Starting with the straight-on image of the face cut out the eye hole and the mouth hole and make sure they line up with your eyes and mouth. To do this cut a cross-shape and sew down the flaps.

Then line up the profile images with the straight-on image of the face. To make sure you get it right, first line up the jaw lines on either side, then use the straight pins to pin them together at the seams.

Stand in front of the mirror and try wrapping the pinned together pieces of fabric to make sure they accurately line up with the features of your face and head.

This process will probably take a lot of trial and error.

Try and line up the images of the face straight-on, the left profile, the right profile, and the back of the head, so that they make a straight line that can been eventually sewn into a tube.

Once those images are lined up and sewn together, cut the fabric with the image of the top of the head into thirds the long way. Then cut the middle third in half, like a hamburger. Line up the four pieces with the strip of images you have already sewn together so that the image of the top of the head is the same length as the rest of the strip. Make sure to line up the image of the hair from the top of the head with the hair from the other angles of the head (see picture).

Finally cut up and sew the image of the neck and shoulders onto the bottom of the images that you have already sewn together. This part will take a little more judgment calls than the rest because the main purpose of this is just to add enough fabric to the bottom of the strip of images so that later you will be able to make an even hem at the bottom of the balaclava.

Step 6: Fitting

Picture of Fitting

At this point it's pretty much all trial and error.

Pin the pattern you have made into a tube and make sure it fits over your head properly.

Once you have the right fit, sew the seam that you have pinned together.

Go through the same process sewing together the seams of the fabric that cover the top of the head.

Once you have everything sewed up and fitting well enough you should be able to hem the bottom of the balaclava so that it is all even and none of the back side of the fabric is showing.

Finally, you can trim all the left-over fabric from the seams you've stitched together.

Step 7: Liberate Your Face!

Picture of Liberate Your Face!

Now you can go out in public without having to worry about people thinking you might have criminal tendencies just because your face is hidden behind an average balaclava. Tell convenience store clerks not to worry, the police will still be able to identify you if you do decide to commit a robbery. And maybe if you are walking down the street a friend of yours will recognize you and offer to give you a lift, knowing that you are not just some creep walking down the street in a ski mask. Nope, you will not look creepy at all.

But before you go out, don't forget to brush your teeth.


AndyH31 (author)2016-08-15

OMG!!! - What a complete and utter waste of
Sorry but it is.......

Greasetattoo (author)2011-12-07

Creepy, morbid...but, very cool.
GREAT instructable!

I think you should have left the eyes and just cut pinholes where the pupil is.

lpobiak (author)2011-09-29

I love this idea! :-D

whoisKMO (author)2011-01-30

That's awesome. Next project: Identity preserving body suit! OR Identity enhancing body suit!

Biggsy (author)2011-01-02

This is creepy.... but fun :D

JacSpark (author)2010-11-02

Leatherface from texas chainsaw massacre...... D:!

AstralQueen (author)2009-04-13

Silece of the lambs, much? XD

Clayton H. (author)AstralQueen2009-11-08

"It puts the lotion on the skin or else it gets the hose again."

TheFawns (author)Clayton H.2010-08-20

OMGG!!! hahahahaha joe dirt

carpfluff (author)TheFawns2010-10-09

Life's a garden. Dig it.

mg0930mg (author)TheFawns2010-09-24


exactly what i was thinking  :D

quantumkittty (author)2010-09-25

time to wear my friend's faces

BeccaUndefined (author)2010-09-16

This will haunt my nightmares for a while. I have to say it looks pretty awesome though.

5tar (author)2010-04-29

instead of sewing it is better to glue them together. makes it more seamless

driesyo (author)2009-12-27

can som1 send me the pictures of obama

RavingMadStudios (author)2009-11-26

I'm totally going to try this, except on mine I'll make an extra triangular nose piece, cut out a slightly smaller triangular hole where the nose in the main front piece is, and sew the two sides of the extra nose over the hole, leaving the bottom unattached. This should add a little extra realism, plus make it a little easier to breathe.

depotdevoid (author)2009-11-25

That is awesome . . . and scary as hell!

sk8er6 (author)2009-09-29

this scares the hell out of me. it reminds me of Ed Gein.

Notbob (author)2009-03-01

This, is truly epic! I just wonder how long before someone make one of these with a TF2 characters face on it, and plays spy....

Fizzxwizz (author)Notbob2009-08-23

Grr... I'm trying to think up a TF2 joke but I cant.. :(

greenwink (author)2009-04-13

Dude - You look like a creepy blow-up doll. LOL! -shivers-

DiamondBack (author)greenwink2009-08-09

LMAO!! EXACTLY what I was thinking!

cb25cb (author)2009-06-07

i realy want to do this for halloween, just be my sel;f for halloween

Ouchimoo (author)2009-02-20

Hehe! That looks just like a N64 Golden-eye character.

gfella (author)Ouchimoo2009-05-28

So I'm not the only one....

cros13 (author)gfella2009-06-02


Juklop (author)2009-03-01

Best luchador ever.

matroska (author)Juklop2009-05-23

Hell yeah!

matroska (author)2009-05-23

With this balaclava, you're sure to get known in the area. Hell yeah.

pvcstreetgang (author)2009-05-23

the balaclava in action. Thanks for the inspiration.

Wow. This is pretty much the best thing that could possibly happen.

driesyo (author)2009-05-15

great but pleas somone ples can you send me pics of obama or ww bush

wi-fi astronomer (author)2009-05-12

The reason the "ski mask" is so taboo is because virtually everyone identifies each other by means of the FACE. Your invention could be used to frame others of a crime. The only real solution to the face quandary is a clear fishbowl of a space helmet with heated ventilation. (which also defogs the "windshield") The drawback to that is extreme geekiness.

ninjin_miojo (author)2009-04-25


Bisquick the ninja (author)2009-02-14

NICE!!!! Perfect for ninjas!!!!! This was a great idea man!

dosent it defeat the purpose if they know who you are. Ninjas are supossed to be healthy

Goodhart (author)sharkstun972009-04-15

When someone sees your face on an obvious mask, they wouldn't think that you would be behind it :-) It's the perfect mask

im3733 (author)sharkstun972009-03-16

Well, they could always put someone ELSE's face on couldn't they...if...however....they got that person to let them take a bunch of pictures of them....might be a little difficult....but they're ninjas...they probably don't need cameras.

i mean Stealthy

Juklop (author)sharkstun972009-03-01

Not to say that they couldn't be healthy as well.

neopirater (author)2009-02-09

YES!!! Now I can go rob those banks looking like all the people I'd like to frame. PERFECT!

Dman125 (author)neopirater2009-02-12

Even better, get a picture of the bank manager, then rob his bank as him... 5 bucks says you get away with it... for the first 15 minutes er so

Derin (author)Dman1252009-03-27

And steel 5 bucks

Haha! Thats why me hade it probly. He threw that legal garbage on there to be safe.

bjababy (author)2009-03-23

thats cool bit ot would scare the hell out of me lol

keggo24 (author)2009-03-07

you, my friend, are a genius.

tuhcoolyuh (author)2009-02-26

HaHAHAHAHA! This is such a great idea - I want to make a bunch of these of my own face for Christmas gifts next year.

abnor (author)2009-02-26

now you can pose as other people --

KillerPanda (author)2009-02-24

If someone showed up on my doorstep wearing that, i'd probably call the cops! Kind of creepy, but nonetheless interesting. 4 stars

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