Patterned fabric face masks are a great option, but if you want to let your mask do the talking, a custom face mask using a freezer paper stencil is the way to go.
With face masks being worn on a daily basis across the world, there are a variety of patterns and designs that people are using. For those dedicated to using fabric face masks, it means having at least a handful of them on hand.
So this face mask tutorial is a fun way to customize your face mask with a saying or mantra of your choice.
The project is straightforward and needs less than a handful of materials. If you don’t have to search your work space for supplies, this project should take less than an hour from start-to-finish.
The most pressing question you’ll have to ask yourself is, “what do I want my face mask to say?”
While you contemplate the answer, why not run through the tutorial below and use the FREE SVG file available for you to download?
Materials You’ll Need
The materials you’ll need to create a custom face mask are:
100% white cotton fabric. Quilting cotton or muslin are both good options.
Freezer paper. I recommend the Reynolds brand because it is the easiest to find. It can be found at all of the big box stores and most supermarkets. The most important thing about the freezer paper is the plastic coating which is used as the adhesive so the stencil will stick to the fabric.
Fabric markers. A fine tip fabric marker will give you the best results with the stencil because it’s easier to do small details. For the purpose of this tutorial, however, I used the Crayola brand markers which are great in a pinch. They are also one of the most affordable options on the market.
Silhouette or Cricut machine. To create a custom message easily, use a Silhouette Cameo or Cricut machine.
An SVG or PNG file. This SVG or PNG will be used by the Silhouette or Cricut as the cut file for your saying.
A non-corrugated, thin piece of cardboard. The side of a cereal box or insert from a shirt will do the trick. Cardboard like this can also be used to create custom business cards.
Painter’s tape The tape is used to secure the fabric to the cardboard so you have a flat surface to color in the stencil. If the markers bleed at all, the cardboard also keeps your other surface safe.
Why Wear A Fabric Mask With A Custom Design?
I’m not sure that anyone truly enjoys wearing a face mask.
And for those who really don’t like them, they are fairly vocal about why. Here are some of the reasons:
– Face masks aren’t very comfortable to wear – especially as the summer heat intensifies.
– Face masks are one more thing to remember to bring along and, if you have a family, you’re responsible for more than just your own masks.
– Disposable face masks add to the landfill.
– Fabric face masks should be washed every day.
– People can’t see my face…
And yes, #5 is kind of a “no duh,” but it really gets to the heart of the matter.
After all, one of the easiest ways we connect with other people is through our facial expressions. We use our facial expressions to connect with others at the grocery store, at the park, in the line at takeout.
Most importantly, we use our expressions to connect and share moments with our friends and family.
So as an alternative to seeing someone’s entire face, a face mask with a custom message is a fun way to let our masks easily express what we cannot.
Make Your Fabric Face Mask
To make a fabric face mask with a custom message, cut two pieces of your cotton fabric using the following sizing:
– Adults – 7.5″ x 9″
– Tween/teen – 6″ x 9″
– Child – 5″ x 8″
This is a two-layer mask so one piece of fabric will be used for the stencil and the other will remain blank and be used as the backing fabric.
You can also use a patterned fabric for the back if you want to add a little more flair.
Prepare and cut your freezer paper stencil.
To get the proper spacing for your stencil, cut the freezer paper the same size as your mask.
In your design program for the Silhouette or Cricut, you’ll also want to create your page size to match the size of your fabric.
By doing this, you can design your file to place your text exactly where you want it on the mask.
PRO TIP: When working with freezer paper, it’s easier to use a mat that isn’t super sticky. It makes peeling the paper away from the mat a lot easier.
Place the freezer paper with the plastic-coated side face down.
You may find the freezer paper is a little bit finicky (because it is). So, when you peel the stencil away, not all of the design may be fully cut. The second and third pictures above are what I experienced with my own design.
To complete the stencil, you just need to pull at the pieces gently to remove them.
Attach the freezer paper stencil to the cotton fabric.
The next steps in creating the custom design for your mask is to iron the freezer paper stencil on to your fabric.
To do this, set your iron to high heat and make sure it won’t release any steam while you’re ironing.
Lay the stencil down flat on to the fabric and then place the iron down flat onto the stencil.
Pick the iron up and set it back down again on a different area of the stencil. Continue doing this until the whole stencil has been tacked down to the fabric.
You don’t want to move the iron back and forth on the stencil because it could catch one of the design or letter’s edges.
Catching an edge might be good while your skiing, skating, or snowboarding, but when you’re working with freezer paper stencils? Not so much.
To keep the stencil seal as tight as possible, you don’t want the edges to curl or bend which is why setting it down straight on the fabric is best.
After making sure the whole stencil is tacked down to the right side of the fabric, turn it over and iron the backside as well to help truly ‘seal the deal’. (Yes, I’m feeling punny.)
Color in the stencil using fabric markers.
Once the stencil is tacked down to the fabric, attach the fabric to the cardboard using the painter’s tape.
Then, color away!
Once you’ve finished coloring it in, peel the stencil away from the fabric to remove it completely.
Depending on the markers you use, there may have been some bleed or you may notice some spots still need some work. Touch up the design as necessary.
PRO TIP: Read the fabric marker’s instructions carefully to see if you need to heat set the design and the best methods to use.
A Finished Face Mask
With the front piece of the mask finished, it’s time to construct and finish the mask.
I typically make a channel/casing on the side of the mask so that the ties can be inserted based on the wearer’s preference.
If you haven’t yet made a mask, here is a tutorial on how to make a fabric face mask with ties.
Also helpful are these ideas on materials you can use for face mask ties and insights on the best length for face mask ties.
The sewn mask above will be finished with t-shirt ties, because they are easy to make and easy to wear. The bulk of the masks I’m making these days, however, are for everyday folks.
For workers in a healthcare setting, it’s best to confirm which type of face mask fastener they prefer. Many still want elastic because they are easier to put on and remove in a pinch.
FREE SVG Designs For Fabric Face Masks
To get you started with a custom design, you can download my “Love is my legacy” for FREE.
Links For Download
Click here to download a PNG file.
Click here to download a ZIP file with the SVG and PNG file.
If you’re looking for additional designs, the Whimsical Walney shop on Etsy offesr sassy, sporty, and inspirational SVGs.
Share The Goods
What mantra or saying are you considering for your custom face mask? Please share your ideas in the comments below!