Lycra Sun Mask / Hood




About: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output devices. His detailed drawings of traditional Pacific...

If I'm in the sun all day long I'll get sunburned no matter how much sunscreen I put on.
If I wear SPF 50 sunscreen it helps, but it just means I get burned in 50 minutes instead of 1 minute :)

So I made myself a floral lycra sunhood. Like a ski mask, but to protect you from hot sun rather than cold wind.

I chose a colorful floral pattern so as to not scare people.
I haven't been shot as a fleeing robber yet.
In Mexico people smiled and yelled "Marcos!" at me because my mask reminded them of the Zapatista leader.

Looks like It's time to make some new ones.
This hood has been on some trips, it's no longer so elastic and the eye hole has gotten too big.
That's the effect of the UV that otherwise would have done the same damage to my skin.

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Step 1: The Pattern

Here's the pattern. Cut two pieces like this from your cloth. Flip it over for one piece to make a left and right with the outside of the cloth facing out on both halves.
This pattern includes seam allowance of 3/8 inch all around the edge for a seam, no seam allowance around the eyehole.
The holes in the background mat are 1.25" apart for scale.

Lay the cloth flat, not stretched out, it's very elastic.
Mark it with a pencil. Cut to the outside of the paper.

The eyehole can be hemmed or not, or you can do a zigzag stitch around the edge. Lycra isn't terribly eager to unravel.

When doing the straight stitch for the seam, stretch the cloth out a lot, or your sewingmachine will bunch it all up and it'll be uncomfortable.

Plan to make a couple of these hoods, you'll change the pattern to fit your face better.

Step 2: In Action

Here I am in my sun gear in Kenya.
I'm at an island near Lamu near the Somali border.

No one complained that I looked weird.
If you're not a local you already look so bizarre it doesn't much matter what you've got on.

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    14 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    if you'r planning to make winter mask, i suggest not to use wool because it will scratch your skin


    10 years ago on Introduction

    ""If you're not a local you already look so bizarre it doesn't much matter what you've got on"" lol!!!!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Very cool (except for the flowers.) I live in a desert, and on hot days with sandstorms, I use a shemagh, which works VERY well. It also works very well in cold climates, like snowboarding on cold days, for example.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    excellent. i live in thailand, work in the states. the thai's who work outside always wear something like this. they sell them in the shops, already attached to a hat, in all kinds of colors. and they wear long sleeve shirts and gloves if they are in the sun all day, like the road building workers in front of my house. Thai people don't like to get any darker than they are and it IS cooler when you're covered up- the sun heats your cloths, not your skin. see:

    and they don't care about wearing flowers or not. jeez.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    it may keep you from geting sunburn, but how hot is it, can you even breth with that thing on? i work out side too, so i know what it takes to try to keep cool and not get sunburn, good job through

    1 reply

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    I usually wear it with a wide brim hat. I wear it when there's hot sunshine, and it seems to be better than sun on skin. I'll dip it in water if it's really hot out, and then it's nice and cool. I wear it over my nose like in the picture when I really want to be sure not to burn, but sometimes I pull the eyehole open down to my chin and use a lot of sunscreen on my nose and the other exposed area. Then it protects my neck and sides of my face. I wear it that way if I need to talk to people, but usually people are more comortable with it than I am, it's pretty obvious that I'm working on something, I'm pale, and it's sun protection.

    Chris Bilton

    12 years ago on Introduction

    I like it, though in the short term it could be more dangerous than sunburn if you are near any security sensitive areas.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Very good in terms of technicality, but as adrewmc stated, it completely ignore political climates. If you are using it as part of a costume, though, seems to be good


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Oh, that looks perfect to go with a rash suit at the beach. Maybe I could actually come away without a sunburn


    oh nice! i would use it for fishing on hot days i get burned so bad in the face from fishing! lol but i would be far away from anyone cause these kind of look terroristic (if it was black) :-P