Flexible 3D Print Masks

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About: Instructables Community Manager - I am powered by sugar and rainbows! For realz!

Intro: Flexible 3D Print Masks

Learn how to make lightweight, flexible 3D printed masquerade masks! These are great masks as they make it look like the design is tattoed on your face or floating on your face. Because they are made out of tulle and plastic they, honestly, aren't the most comfortable masks, but they look good :)

This project utilizes the 3D printing on tulle fabric technique I posted about previously. I came up with this mask idea not long after posting that Instructable but didn't really delve into it until recently.

Etsy

Check out my shop on Etsy! I'm trying something new! For the first time, I'm also selling these masks on Etsy. So if you love them but don't want to or can't make them, please support me (and my filament and yarn buying obsession) and consider buying a mask :)

Instructable 280

Step 1: Supplies

The necessary supplies are about the same as my previous Instructable. A 3D printer, tulle, and tape are the basics and from there it's up to you!

Supplies:

  • 3D Printer - I'm using a Prusa MK3, but most printers should work as long as the bed is big enough and filament in colors of choice, here are the ones I used:
  • Slicer - I use Simplify3D but there are many out there, you just need to be able to pause the print and move the head out of the way so you can put down the tulle
  • Tulle - You are going to want it to blend in with your skin tone so it looks like your mask is just floating on you. I'm using a 6" roll in Ivory.
  • Painters Tape - binder clips might also work well for holding the string tight so it doesn't shift
  • Scissors and/or Exacto - I find each is helpful for a different task when cutting out the masks
  • Ribbon - I'm using 100% polyester 1/8" wide ribbon
  • & E6000 Glue - if you glue the ribbon on
  • Double Sided Tape - this is optional and is helpful when wearing the mask so it conforms to your face better. I use a little piece on each side of my nose to hold the mask down.

Step 2: Designing a Mask

I'm going to provide a couple designs for you to use, but they have been fit to my face and may need slight altering to fit you right. Otherwise, here are some directions for creating your own mask design. All of my masks were created using Tinkercad which I find really easy to use. Just saying :)

Before you start, you should figure out the possible dimensions of the mask. For this, measure the widest you would want the mask to be, how far apart the inside corner of your eyes are from each other, and lastly how wide you would want the eye holes to be. Create a faux mask outline to design your mask inside. The mask doesn't conform to your face, so you can get pretty basic measurements, it doesn't have to be exact. I would say the most important measurement is how far apart your eyes are as you don't want the design to interfere with your vision.

When designing your mask, think about the thickness. You want it thick enough to have substance, but not too thick that it gets bulky or heavy on your face. It is meant to be light. For reference, here is the thickness of my masks:

  • Leaf: .035" (this came out to 4 layers when I sliced it)
  • Dash: .035"
  • Stars and Moon: up to .09"
  • Sun: up to 0.122"

The stars and moon mask and sun mask both had more depth to them so they were thicker in parts. Whereas the leaf and dashed mask were solid parts, so I made them fairly thin.

Something to keep in mind when designing your mask is how you will attach the ribbon if you are adding one. For the Sun, Stars & Moon, and Dash masks I added a special part to the design specifically made to attach the ribbon. Since the Leaf mask had holes in it already, I just attached my ribbon to the leaf.

Consider the size of your printer bed when designing your mask. It needs to fit and you need to be able to put the tulle on with the design, meaning you'll probably need room for tape around the edges.

Step 3: Slicing and Printing the Mask

Time to slice your design and prepare to print it. Since you probably won't be using a lot of filament I recommend using 100% infill. Just to give the mask some substance, though, this is not necessary.

And like my previous 3D printing projects, you need to add a pause to the slicer so you can add the tulle. If you have the ability to add script (like you can with Simplify3D) you can use the following:

{REPLACE "; layer 2," "G28 Y0 X0\nM0\n; layer 2,"}

Now, with these masks, I highly recommend pausing after the first layer and putting the tulle down then. This is partly because the design isn't that thick anyway, so you don't want the tulle to show through the top layers, and also, if you have a design that has dimension (like my Sun or my Stars and Moon masks) you want to make sure you nicely sandwich the tulle so it is better to do this before the design gets smaller.

On to the skirt of the print. I recommend using one as it helps hold the tulle in place. So I think you should make it so it goes one layer higher than your pause. Since I pause after the 1st layer, I had my skirt be 2 layers tall. When it comes to offsetting it from your mask, you have two options. One is you offset a few mm away from your design (like I did for the Leaves and Dash mask). Make sure it is far enough away so you can safely cut the mask out but not too far that you don't have room to tape the tulle down on the printer bed. Your other option is to create a border in your design that kind of acts as a skirt. I did this for my Stars & Moon and the Sun mask because they weren't uniform and since they were kind of chaotic in design, the skirt kept getting in the way of how I wanted to cut the design out. So, instead, I created my own skirt. I also used a skirt that was offset by 0 so that I could guarantee the skirt was printed first when the printer started up with the 2nd layer.

Another reason the skirt is helpful is that your filament may ooze out of your printer head while it is paused, if that happens you'll have a glob that needs to go somewhere. The skirt will hopefully catch the glob so it doesn't interfere with your design. I made my skirt 3 outlines but just 2 is fine. I would do more than one to give it some substance. So, again here is a breakdown of the skirts I used:

  • Leaf and Dash masks Skirt:
    • 2 Layers
    • 3 Outlines
    • Offset 5mm
  • Stars & Moon and Sun masks Skirt:
    • 2 Layers
    • 3 Outlines
    • Offset 0mm

I also increased the Outline Overlap because the leaves were small but not filling in enough. Mine is automatically set to 20% and I increased it to 35% for the Leaf mask and 30% for the others.

Step 4: Printing and Adding Tulle

Time to print!

Get your printer going as normal and if you added in the pause, it should stop and move the head out of the way after finishing the first layer.

Carefully add the tape but make sure it won't interfere with the print. I found it easiest to start by putting down a long piece along the top and then adding a long piece on the bottom while pulling the tulle slightly taut. Then I added a long piece to each side. To finish it off, I added tape to anywhere left so the head wouldn't catch on it.

Look at it from the side and make sure it doesn't bubble up anywhere or it could catch and ruin your print.

Now start your printer back up and let it finish. You don't HAVE to stick around but I usually stay at least for a little bit to make sure it doesn't catch. It should continue by printing the skirt first so as long as that doesn't catch, it should be able to finish as normal. Sometimes the head will bump the tape, but that's fine as long as it doesn't stick to it. If you need to, you can carefully remove pieces of tape after the skirt has printed on top of it to get it out of the way.

Step 5: Finished Print

Yay! Now your mask should be all printed.

Time to take it off the bed. Be careful as the tulle can tear fairly easily. My husband has this paint scraper and I use it to carefully push at the print underneath the tulle and dislodge the pieces. Don't go too quickly. It isn't worth tearing the tulle because if you tear it in the wrong place you can completely ruin the mask.

Step 6: Cut Out Mask and Add Ribbon

Like with removing it from the bed, be careful when you cut as you can't uncut it. My recommendation when cutting out your mask is remove as much of the tulle as you can without compromising the mask. If the design gets too close, and your sections are cut too close to each other it could end up tearing and ruining your mask. The best example I can think of is near the nose and eye for my leaf mask. It gets a little thin and I try to not cut it too close so it won't tear.

The dash mask seen above is pretty straightforward to cut out but ones such as the Stars and Moon one can be difficult because the design is chaotic and bits of it are sticking out everywhere.

Don't forget to cut out inside wherever you are adding your ribbon.

Now, one way to wear a 3d printed mask is to use double sided tape and tape it right to your face. It won't be that comfortable but it will look fitted to your face really well.

As that isn't completely realistic, I've added areas to add a ribbon.

You can tie your ribbon on or attach it any way you want. I folded it over and glued it to make it as unnoticeable as possible.

Step 7: Tape

Like I mentioned previously, you can just tape the mask to your face if you want. If you do this, I recommend adding tape right to the mask and put it against 3d printed parts of it so it has something to stick to. It won't stick just to the tulle very well.

Also, if you are going to tape it, make sure you tape important areas (which are almost everywhere) including: above and below the eye, each end of the mask, and on either side of the nose. Really, you need to tape the mask to your face and see if any areas of the mask are flopping away from your face.

In the last two images, you can see an early version of the Moon and Stars mask and how it is completely taped to my face, no ribbon.

Step 8: Final Masks

Here you can see how the design for the Leaf and Dash masks are one height, while the Sun and Moon and Stars masks have some dimension to them.

To give you an idea of mask sizes here are mine:

  • Dash - 7 3/4" wide and 3" tall
  • Star and Moon - 8 1/2" wide and 3" tall
  • Leaf - 8 1/4" wide and 3" tall
  • Sun - 7 3/4" wide and 3 1/2" tall

Step 9: Leaf Mask

I also printed this one in blue :D

Step 10: Dash Mask

Step 11: Moon and Stars Mask

This is my very first design that has evolved over time. I have spent the most time on it and would say it is the most uncomfortable to wear.

Step 12: Sun Mask

I liked this mask but didn't love it so I've only printed it in bronze so far.

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    29 Discussions

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    BGCrafty

    Question 7 weeks ago

    Love these! Quick question: When you were programming the pause, did you have the printer skip the next level to make room for the tulle, or did you just have it pause and lay the tulle out?

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    Penolopy BulnickBGCrafty

    Answer 7 weeks ago

    Thanks! And just pause and lay the tulle, no skipping layers, it's thin enough that you don't want to skip :)

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    dpeach

    8 weeks ago

    Fantastic! I've enjoyed these printable fabric ideas you've been doing.

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    Penolopy Bulnickdpeach

    Reply 8 weeks ago

    Thank you :) It's fun to experiment to see what I can do!

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    cybercapri

    8 weeks ago

    Awesome project, you are a very clever young lady...

    1 reply
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    jsecondo

    8 weeks ago

    I imagine you already tried putting the tull as the base. Like printing ON the tull. How did that go.

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    Penolopy Bulnickjsecondo

    Reply 8 weeks ago

    I've thought about doing this but haven't tried it yet simply because you need to make sure the tulle is lined up from the beginning and I just haven't planned it out enough to do that :)

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    sgbotsford

    8 weeks ago on Step 12

    This is very cool. Could you do this on a stretchy fabric, like nylon stockings?

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    Penolopy Bulnicksgbotsford

    Reply 8 weeks ago

    That might be possible :) As long as it is thin enough you should be able to at least try it and see what happens :) You just don't want the printer to catch on whatever fabric you use.

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    Israeld7

    8 weeks ago

    Very impressive! I would never have tought about pausing the printing and putting the toulle in between layers. Congratulations.

    1 reply
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    Penolopy BulnickKink Jarfold

    Reply 8 weeks ago

    Thanks! Yeah I am happy with the moon and stars in black too :) Do you like the style, color, or both?