Introduction: The Great Space Face Mask

About: Geeky artist. MUST. MAKE. STUFF. More stuff at:

As a decade-long Instructables member and author, I'd like to ask a favor before I get to the tutorial. If you're planning to buy face masks, please consider getting them from me. I've been locked down since early March and my jewelry business is decimated. I've turned to making masks, and if I do say so myself, they're pretty nice :-) Thank You!

Here are the links - Selections and patterns will change:

General Mask Orders (adult, youth, & child sizes):

Men's Masks:

Women's Masks:

Hand Dyed Masks:


Now on to the Great Space Mask!

Now that I'm pretty much a face mask making expert, I've been looking for fun variations to try. And being the sci-fi nerd that I am, when the Space Contest came up, I thought that would be a great mask challenge for me. Hence was born the Great Space Face Mask. (As I write this I haven't started yet, so I hope this works!)

Note After Making Them: This is an involved process, so leave yourself plenty of time!


Sewing stuff.

Bleaching stuff.

Dying stuff.

Details follow :-)

Step 1: The Mask Objective

Rather than going through all the mask making steps in this tutorial, I'm going to give you some good mask making links and the techniques to turn whatever style you choose into an awesome one-of-a-kind space mask. Please note that if you're making a mask for a very young child (no masks for the under 2 crowd!), use elastic ear loops, not ties!, and don't glue or sew on any choking hazards.

Note: Look through this tutorial before starting your mask making so you have the right materials for this project, and can stop sewing at the right times.

That being said, here are some good mask making instructions:

My favorite is by CraftPassion. She shows you how to make a fitted mask. The pattern I use is very similar, but I designed it to suit my style and don't have actual plans for it. CraftPassion's face mask pattern has a number of variations, so look through and see what you like.

CraftPassion face mask patterns:

If you prefer a simpler mask, try one of these easy styles from the CDC:

Remember that the smoother your mask surface is, the more involved the sewing will be, but the better your space design will look.

Step 2: What You Need - Mask Basics

Masks are meant to be washed a lot, so make sure all materials you choose can go through the washer and dryer many times and still be very durable.


You will need a piece of black (or dark navy) cotton fabric. Check your chosen pattern to find the size you need. You only need enough black for the front panels. You can get enough for the front and the lining, but I like to use a different fabric for the lining. It's up to you.

Want to recycle? Great. You can use an old black cotton tee shirt (that's what I'm using) or pillow case. Can you use dark jeans? Sure, as long as the denim isn't too heavy. You have to be able to breath through it. Make sure the fabric is in good shape. No holes!

If you're using a different fabric for the lining, see how much you need for that. It won't be much. Pick a soft, smooth fabric for the lining. It will be against your face.

Ties or Elastic

Check your pattern for the material and length you need. If you can't get elastic, but that's what you want, you can strip some out of an old fitted sheet, or make stretchy cord out of tee shirt material. For ties, you can use anything from ribbon to shoelaces. I use suede cord. I use this for some of my jewelry projects, so it was a natural choice for me.

Thread and Sewing Supplies

I do a lot of top stitching and like to use a contrasting thread to show the stitching. It's up to you.

Step 3: Space Mask Making Supplies


Spray bottle for the bleach

Fabric dyes, 1-3 colors

Soda ash


Old toothbrush or paintbrush

Plastic bag

Gloves & dust mask

Sewing supplies: scissors, thread, pins, iron, etc.

1 hand sewing needle

Seed beads and/or sew-on sequins

Step 4: Begin

Cut out the black front panel(s) of the mask using your chosen pattern.

Step 5: Sew the Front Panel

You can sew a mask by hand or machine.

Sew the front panel only, using your pattern's directions. If you're making a fitted mask, you'll end up with this fabric thing that looks like a bat.

Add any required topstitching that goes on just the front panel(s).

Step 6: Twist & Tie

You'll want your bleaching to be off-center so you don't have a galaxy smack on the center of your nose.

Lay the mask front as flat as you can.

Pinch a bit of the fabric off-center and twist.

Keep twisting so the fabric spirals in on itself.

When you have a spiral disc, secure with a rubber band.

Use more rubber bands to cross at the center and form a flat ball.

Step 7: Bleach

Put your spiraled mask front on a protective surface - something you can get bleach on. Wear gloves.

Put 50% water, 50% bleach solution in a spray bottle.

Spray the tied mask pieces.

Stay extra in the center.

Keep an eye to watch the black lighten. Add more bleach if there's too much black still and wait some more. I have an Instructable on bleach dying if you want more detailed info.

Step 8: Rinse & Dry

When you have pale areas, but still some solid black, take off the bands and rinse very well in cold water. Squeeze out the water.

Open up the panels and see what you've got.

Dry completely before the next step.

Step 9: Dry Bleaching - Artistic Bleach Painting

This step is optional, but adds a lot to the galaxy look of your design. You must do this step in a very well ventilated workspace. Wear gloves.

Lay open your mask fronts on a surface that can handle straight bleach. Pour a small amount of bleach on a spoon or into a cup - just a tablespoon or so. Drip the bleach into the lightest areas to make them even lighter. Then (carefully!) splash on some more bleach in a random pattern. You can shake the bleach on, or use an old toothbrush.

Watch as a new depth of stars emerge. If you like what you see, it's time to rinse out the bleach. If your artistic sense tells you to bleach paint more, go for it. This part of the design is controlled by you.

When you have the space scene you want, stop the bleach reaction with cold water.

Rinse well. Then dry.

You can air dry, but I throw them in the dryer so I can get to the color dying.

Step 10: Dye

I'm using Dharma Fiber Reactive Procion Dyes. If you use a different kind of dye, please check the manufacturers instructions before you begin.

Dharma's complete dye instructions. Ignore the tying part for this project.

Wear gloves!!!

When your masks fronts are dry, soak them in a soda ash solution for at least 20 minutes. (Mix soda ash and water according to instructions. The basic proportions are 1 cup soda ash to 1 gallon of water, which is way too much for this project. I make a quarter of this amount and save the rest in a sealed plastic container.

Mix your dyes while waiting for the soaking. (Mine were already mixed.)

After 20 minutes or more, remove the fabric and squeeze out as much soda ash solution as possible.

Put down some plastic to protect your work surface.

Lay the mask fronts down on the plastic.

(Sorry no dying photos - just too messy!)

Squeeze dye onto the pale areas in the black. Let your artistic sense guide you. Apply a little at a time so you don't end up with pools of dye.

You can squeeze out some of the dye into the sink if it's getting soupy or muddy.

You can also try sprinkling a little dry dye powder onto the mask.

When you're done applying dye, roll the mask(s) up in the plastic you were working on.

Put this in a plastic bag and set aside for 24 hours. A little less, or a lot more is fine.

Step 11: While the Dye Is Setting

Prepare the rest of the mask.

Cut and sew the lining according to your mask pattern instructions.

Cut the ties or elastic.

Step 12: Rinse

Wear gloves!!!

Remove the dyed mask fronts from the plastic.

Rinse really well - until the water runs clear. Then wash, preferably in the washing machine.


See what you've got!

Iron if needed.

Step 13: Plan the Stars

Assess the patterns and decide where you would want to add stars and space dust. It's best to stay away from the black, unless you still have a lot of black and want to add more color. If you don't want to change anything, skip the next step and move on to beading.

Step 14: Bleach II

This step is going to add depth and brightness. And give you clusters of stars.

Dip your old toothbrush into undiluted bleach. With a gloved finger, carefully brush over the bristles to spray droplets on your mask. Aim for the colored areas that you want to add stars and space dust. This will lighten very fast, so watch and be ready to rinse in cool water.

Run through the washer and dryer again.

Step 15: Iron

Iron the fabric smooth to prepare for beading.

Step 16: 3-D Stars

Decide on the colors and sizes of beads you want based on how your dying came out. See where you want to add stars, but don't go close to the edges since these will be sewn in. Also, leave the last 1.5" on either end (toward the ears) empty.

Pick a thread that either matches the beads or the fabric. Make sure you have a needle that fits through the tiny beads. Avoid large beads because these will get heavy.

Sew your beads and/or sequins to the front of the mask by hand. Go around each bead and through the fabric at least two times.

The back won't show at all, so begin and end your knotting on the back. You can change thread colors as much as you like and your mask front will still be neat.

Note: I used glass beads so I didn't need to worry about ironing.

Step 17: Inside and Outside of Front Panels

Step 18: Complete Sewing

Follow the rest of the mask pattern directions for sewing.

Complete sewing the panels together.

Add your ties or elastic.

Step 19: Time to Wear!

Space Challenge

Participated in the
Space Challenge