Introduction: Mask Masks

Picture of Mask Masks

In honor of swine flu season, here is a project for all those face masks!

Usually I am pretty good at planning for Halloween, it being my favorite holiday, but on occasion I have to throw something together last minute. This was the case last year when I took an extra face-mask  I had hanging around to make a quick costume! By re-using things around the house this project is cheap and easy on the environment. The skill level required is low, ranging from kindergartner with marker to amateur seamstress/tailor and the final product is a cute and comfortable Halloween mask.

Step 1: Gather Materials

Picture of Gather Materials

Face-mask: you can use anything from the nicer cotton ones people wear all over Asia to the ones used in hospitals or even the paper-like ones used in construction and painting.

Eye-mask: The ones for traveling are the kind I have in mind - there always seems to be one somewhere in the back of a cupboard that came from some international flight's complimentary toiletry bag.

Permanent markers are ideal if you plan on drawing, but all I had to use was the cheapest quality water-soluble kind, and my mask still came out all right. No matter what there will probably be a little bit of bleeding around the edges, so don't try to draw anything too detailed.

Material Scraps of any kind will work, depending on what you want to make. Nylon is especially useful for eye-masks

Step 2: Drawn Face Mask

Picture of Drawn Face Mask

Drawing: For this part I suggest looking at pictures of whatever it is you want to be for Halloween before drawing it and then practice a few times on paper.

Example Dog Face-mask:
I took a black face-mask that was laying around and flipped it over to make a white surface for this one. A cheaper, disposable paper mask would probably work better with markers than my cloth one did, but cloth is what I had. Next I looked at pictures of dog snouts online and practiced drawing them until I got a desirable picture to put on the mask. Afterward I used my ridiculously bleeding markers to draw my pattern on the fabric. Because the markers bled, it gave the mask a fuzzy look, which is actually appropriate for a dog's face, but the teeth didn't come out very well. In order to make the fang's more pronounced, I went over them with white out, which seemed to do the trick.

Step 3: Drawn Eye-Mask

Picture of Drawn Eye-Mask

If you can find a light-colored eye-mask, coloring it can be a simple way to attend a low-budget masquerade.  Like I did with the dog face-mask, I went online and looked at pictures of dog eyes - not too difficult, they eyes look a lot like ours! Next I drew them on and then I cut out they eye part. I then colored the eye-mask to better match my dog face-mask.

The eye-mask pictured below isn't as interesting as it could be because I made it to match the dog face-mask. If you don't have a face-mask to match it with you could come up with something much more creative,  especially if you are handy with a marker.

Step 4: Sewn Face-Mask

Picture of Sewn Face-Mask

Sewing: After you figure out what kind of mask you want, i.e. shark's mouth, look around for scrap material in the colors you need.For the shark's face I used a black face mask, an old white t-shirt and an old grey t-shirt. It doesn't take much!

Once you gather the right colors you just need to cut them in the shapes you want, layer them in the correct order and sew them on to the mask. If you are working with felt-like material you might even be able to use a hot glue gun, which would be especially useful for detailed areas like teeth. **If you use glue make sure it is clear colored and try it out on some of the scraps to make sure it holds before using it on your mask!

Example Shark Face-mask:
For the shark's face I cut the t-shirt into two strips that matched the length of my face-mask, then I cut jagged little notches along the length of one side of each of the two strips. Then I pinned the teeth onto the black face-mask.

Next I cut a piece of grey material to match the shape of the entire face-mask, adding a 1/4 inch extra space along the edges. I cut this piece in half to form the upper and lower jaws and placed the grey material over the mask.  As I removed the pins holding the teeth in place, I folded and pinned the grey material along the edges and around the teeth, making sure plenty of the teeth were showing. Sew along all of the edges and your mask is complete!

Step 5: Sewn Eye-Mask

Picture of Sewn Eye-Mask

By far the trickiest part of the ensemble, the sewn eye-mask requires lots of pinning and patience at the sewing machine.

First I lined up all of my materials, including a gray piece of fabric, a piece of black nylons and the eye-mask, and cut them leaving about half an inch around the edges of the eye-mask.

Once I had all the material properly sized, I figured out where the eye holes should go by putting the mask on, feeling where the center of my eyes were and marking those two spots. I then drew circles around those marks (if you want round circles I suggest finding something round to trace) and cut the material within the circles out of the eye-mask. After cutting out the eye holes I placed the face mask flat over the gray material and traced the outlines of the holes and cut a cross shape into the circles of the gray material.

***Cut your outer eye-hole a little smaller than the one in the eye mask because the outer material will stretch to make a bigger opening when you are sewing.***

Lining up the three layers and pinning them together is both important and tricky. It is easiest to sew the nylon into place before you pin the outer material on. With the nylon material already sewn in-between, try to make sure your outer eye holes match up with the eye holes of the eye-mask by feel. Next I tucked the edges under and pinned all the layers together. After securely pinning around all of the edges I sewed the border with about 1/2 inch away from the edge.

Hopefully your eye holes line up at least somewhat, mine weren't perfect, but it wasn't too big of a deal. Regardless, I pinned each of the four flaps of the gray eye hole under the gray fabric to make the outter eye holes. Take special care when sewing the eye holes to get really close the edge of the gray material, but not to miss it.

This is where I stopped to complete my shark/monster costume, but I would encourage people to add whatever else to their mask as they see fit!


jesseca (author)2017-08-10

everyone, PLEASE remember to remove your mask BEFORE you enter a bank. Just saying.. Safety first!

This is do really right.

mdebrizzo (author)2016-03-17

everyone, PLEASE remember to remove your mask BEFORE you enter a bank.

Just saying.. Safety first!

black eye (author)2011-09-20

Where did you get the the face mask from that you used on the sack man looking one? Im a 15 year old kid who was never taught to sew and I tried making one but cant. Hah, So it would just be easier to buy one. I'm just hot gluing it.

spark master (author)black eye2016-03-17

This is 4 years too late, but not for new users. You can buy fabric
glue or use fabric glue strips, (fusable?) put it between 2 fabrics and
iron it , done.

unexpired (author)black eye2011-09-20

Hot glue should work just fine on a paper face mask used in construction or one of those medical ones. You can pick up the paper kind at any hardware store. Good luck!

Linkin_J_Knex (author)2015-09-19

The hoodie one looks like sackboy from little big planet :D

vman3 (author)2011-08-31

You are a genius.

Voot (author)2010-11-17

That tooth'd hoodie reminds me of the description of the Innsmouth look from the HP Lovecraft tale. Looks great!

Chewy2634 (author)2010-10-28

THANKS SO MUCH MAN!!! i just finished my mask a couple mnutes ago, it took about 3 hours, and it turned out AWESOME!. great instructable man. i use one of the masks that doctors use, and just put black material over it. for the eyes, i used some old gym shorts, and for the rest of the materials, i just used shirts. i used hot glue for everything. THANKS A BUNCH!!!!!!!!!!!!

collins1997 (author)2010-10-28

hey guys thanks for the great ideas
I couldn't find a sleeping mask so I used an old clarinet cleaner and a some felt, some hot glue, a hat i had and some sharpies. Its not done.

Darthscout (author)2010-10-28

It's pretty clear. I'm going to try to make this before Halloween.(HA like thats going to happen)

ntraft (author)2010-10-17

The mouth component of the shark monster sorta looks bigger when you're wearing it; are you wearing anything else under there to support it and make it puff out like that? Like a surgical mask or something?

unexpired (author)ntraft2010-10-17

No, I just have a really big nose. That and the pointy ends of the teeth are not attached to the black background, so they stick out a little.

tiriosh (author)2010-10-14

Hi, I'm really interested in trying to make your shark mask! However I'm not sure where to get a cloth mask like that; I can't seem to find any.

Any suggestions? Is it possible to make one (though I think buying one would be easier than getting the elastic string part...)?

unexpired (author)tiriosh2010-10-15

You could also use a mask used for construction or for in the hospitals, you know the throw-away kind. They would still be sturdy enough to sew fabric to.

Otherwise you could just make the mask and find some kind of thin elastic band to use for the ear strings. It might actually be easier to find black material instead of sewing on top of the mask material, you could also size it to your face better. It shouldn't be too tricky.

canida (author)2010-08-31

Wow, these are creepy!

NickIQ (author)2009-11-11

Where did you get the masks? I'm poking around online, can't find a decent black one like you have there. Can you recommend somewhere?

unexpired (author)NickIQ2009-11-11

That's a tricky one. I live in China right now and that is the most common face mask on the market. If you can't find one like that I suggest just covering whatever mask you have with some black material, perhaps an old t-shirt or something. Just cut it out in the same shape, fold it over the edges and run the machine around the edges.

NickIQ (author)unexpired2009-11-12

Thanks! I'll keep looking, eventually I'll find/make something that will work. This is going to by my winter face mask, for when it gets really cold. Thanks for the instructable!

boomowthathurt (author)2009-11-10

 Just face mask: Cute.
Just eye mask: Unsettling.
Face mask with eye mask: Straddling the line between cute and terrifying. 
Love this.

wyrwolf (author)2009-11-02

uh, Don't use markers (esp. Permanent) - The toxic smell NEVER goes away. LOL

unexpired (author)wyrwolf2009-11-09

Ugh, I didn't think about that when I suggested it. I used kiddie markers so it bled a bit, but it didn't smell!

sk8er6 (author)2009-10-23

did anybody else think evil domo?

masonrulz (author)sk8er62009-10-27

lol, no i didnt, but i love domo:P icant believe how much there exploiting him now tho....

thepelton (author)sk8er62009-10-24

Reminds me of the shark from the "Jaws" poster of the mid-seventies.

masonrulz (author)2009-10-21

i think the first 2 pics were pretty cool... the first one especially, but i wouldent get cought dead in the 3rd one...sorry. but the 1st one was AWSOME

goddessathena3 (author)masonrulz2009-10-22

 Umm, the first and the third are the same..

masonrulz (author)goddessathena32009-10-24

the first and fourth are the same

Jdark88 (author)masonrulz2009-10-25

the first third and fifth are the same

hobzez (author)2009-10-24


bstevens (author)2009-10-22

On the bottom mask part of this one, how did you get it to look like it does in the cool pic?  Is that just slit with extra black material sewed inside, then pulled up over your nose?

I love this idea, got a few additions ideas but would love to know how you did that.


unexpired (author)bstevens2009-10-22

Okay, I just uploaded new pictures and a few extra suggestions to the face-mask and the eye-mask. Hope that clears things up!

unexpired (author)bstevens2009-10-22

I started out with a black face mask, so I didn't need to add any extra black material to cover the mask, but that would be a relatively easy addition if you are working with a mask of a different color.

And I didn't bother slitting the gray material, I just cut it in two, lengthwise. I then tucked the edges under and pinned it on top of the teeth and black face mask.

I will try to add a few more photos to make it more clear.

phant0m_sp00f3ra (author)2009-10-22

 this made me recall how people specially doctors here in mexico used to decorate their face masks back in the swine flu hard time, in may. It was a little of happines and prank in the middle of the über Chaos and fear... 

zeke34 (author)2009-10-21

The first picture almost looks like an evil sackperson

unexpired (author)zeke342009-10-21

Yeah, I think it also bears a striking resemblance to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Perhaps a creepy cousin named Davinci...

masterochicken (author)unexpired2009-10-22

There's already on named Leonardo, as in Leonardo Da Vinci.

unexpired (author)masterochicken2009-10-22

Ack, good point. Maybe Giotto then?

H3xx (author)masterochicken2009-10-22

Hey LOOK!!! There goes the point! :P

PKM (author)2009-10-22

The sharkmonster looks like something out of STALKER... if I met someone wearing that at night I'd probably stop and try to remember where I walked into a Lovecraftian horror o_O

The dog, on the other hand, is excessively cute (though the floppy fringe and floppier dog-ear-hoodie help).

weswert (author)2009-10-21

hiw do you see in that?

unexpired (author)weswert2009-10-21

Actually, I found it to be easier than some commercial masks. It's not too difficult to see through the mask's eye holes because they are a little bigger round than your eyes and the stalking material is fairly thin.

=SMART= (author)2009-10-21

I love the shark one in the hoodie, great last-minute costume !!

Molten Boron (author)=SMART=2009-10-21

Yah, love it unless you meet it in a dark alleyway in real life. EEP!

About This Instructable




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