Introduction: Super-cool Self-made LED-mask

To start: This Instructables shouldn't be used as medical advise, the mask is not tested in any way. Please don't replicate it as protection gear, it is more of a costume.

So inspired by @wow_elec_tron on Instagram, I decided to make my very own LED mask. On many places, you are asked/required to wear a mask these days, so why not make it a bit fun! I already made a T-shirt with LEDs (which I also wrote an Instructables about) so I had a bit of experience.


You will need a few things, but you should be able to buy it for around 50€:

  • WS2812b LED strip
  • some sort of Arduino, I used an Piksey Atto
  • USB to breakout cable
  • protoboard + basic soldering stuff
  • 3D Printer for case
  • fabric and sewing machine + basic sewing stuff

Step 1: Making a Mask

This is just a prototype to test the dimensions, my sister helped me to sew this 🙌. I designed a measurement sheet in Fusion360, simply because I am the most familiar with it 😅. I think for the first sewing since years, it is okay😀. For hygienic reasons this will be only an additional mask, so over the normal one. And also: yes, the color is not very suitable - but it is just a prototype! 😅 You can also see a WS2812b LED strip, I ordered some more with 60 LEDs/m.

Step 2: Microcontroller and Enclosure

I supported my first Kickstarter a few month ago and my reward came in! I supported the Atto project from my buddy 🙌 it is a tiny, really tiny microcontroller board based on Atmega 32U4 which is the same as on the Arduino Leonardo. Key features are - obviously - its size which is extremely tiny and the USB support (just like a keyboard for example). I also made a case for Atto to use it in my mask 🤩. It has castellated holes, so it can easily be soldered onto a protoboard. The case is printed on my Creality Ender 3 with this nice neon green PLA from Redline Filament 👏. The overall height is only 12mm (!) so it can easily be integrated directly into the mask. I choose 60 LEDs/m because I want to have a smooth effect 💯 but not too much power consumption/wasted LEDs.

The programm is just the demo sketch from the Adafruit NeoPixel library, because I didn't manage to make a good code to show nice animations.

Step 3: Wiring

I went ahead and wired everything up. The LED strip already has some nice wire ends, however the wires had really thick insulation, but not much core 😅🙈. So I used smaller wire, crimped a JST connector to plug it into the controller and soldered it to the thick wire. Also the wire to bring the power from the powerbank to the mask was soldered onto the cable 😀. I bought some insulation tape 🛒 to put over the heat shrink. Generally, I am very happy with the wiring, because I took great care with everything.

I made a custom connector case for the USB breakout. 🙌 Very happy how it turned out - perfect fit and great look 😀🤩 it is also very stable.

Step 4: LEDs

Here you can see the LEDs. I used WS2812b LEDs and I soldered wires to connect every row. Those are really nice to use since they only require a single Data Pin.

I highly recommend using heat-shrink, because it protects the solder.

Step 5: Sewing the Mask

After changing the sewing template a bit, I was happy with this design. The trick is to sew small "tunnels" to slide the LEDs in. But feel free to read more in my T-Shirt Instructables! 🤪 I also printed a small cable holder, so that there is not so much tension on the fabric.

Additionally, I added a small pocket to open/close where I can insert the controller.

Step 6: Result!

Here is the result! 😃 I am quite happy with the outcome, but there is one problem: the wire to the powerbank is quite heavy and that makes the mask difficult to wear. Maybe you could use a small battery inside the mask. Also, the rubber is a bit loose, but I might print a "ear saver" to prevent it from falling down.

I hope you enjoyed this Instructables, maybe vote for it in this contest if you liked it! Thanks for reading and have a nice day. 🤓

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