Face masks are a hot topic of discussion right now, but you can’t really tell by looking.
Although masks prevent infected droplets from spreading to a degree, they’re not great for showing emotion. And let’s face it: so many of them look almost exactly the same, it gets a little boring after a while. You can’t see a person smile, frown, or really show any kind of emotion through the mask.
To bring emotions back into the equation, mask makers are using the popular emojis we all know and love from our favorite messaging platforms. Maybe a face mask emoji sounds weird, but if you think about it, it’s a wonderful way to get people smiling around you, even for a little while. Now you can express yourself without having to take your mask off.
Remember as you shop around that your face mask, no matter how cute or funny, should also be functional. It should cover both your nose and mouth with it securely, with no gaps. You should also be able to breathe comfortably, even through multiple layers of fabric.
Here are some places to check out when you’re ready to find your own emoji face mask:
These masks from CustomMania on Etsy are adorable. Made using cotton, they’re breathable and protective. You can wash and reuse them many times without degrading the fabric. Although the masks don’t have several layers, they will work well enough as long as you observe safe social distancing practices and good hygiene.
These masks from Comfy Tshirts don’t have emojis, per se, but they definitely show emotion. Since the mask resembles the color of your skin, it’s sure to grab attention. From a distance, you’ll seem like a person flashing those big, pearly whites at strangers while you go about your business.
This emoji face mask not only spreads a smile, but it also does its bit to protect you from COVID-19. The outer layer is made of polyester while the inner layer consists of cotton. The ear loop straps are adjustable, meaning it can comfortably fit all sizes. These emoji face masks also come with a hidden nose clip that can be adjusted for a secure fit.
The best part? There’s a filter pocket inside the mask. The seller even includes two filters just in case you don’t have any, and you can purchase more if you like.
Can’t settle on one emotion? Here’s a variety by FEDDIY in a bandana mask style. Although this style isn’t as effective as a fitted mask, it could be a fun option for anyone who feels claustrophobic wearing traditional face masks. Just be sure to keep a little extra distance in your social distancing!
Start with the fabric and go from there
Spoonflower has several emoji-themed fabrics available, like this cotton print of everyone’s favorite sunglass-wearing happy face. Your local fabric store may also have some emoji fabrics out, like this one from JoAnn that features Mickey and Minnie Mouse emojis. (Just make sure to wear your boring mask to the store to go and buy the materials for your fun one!)
If you’re handy with a sewing machine (or want to pick up a new quarantine hobby) this would make for a cheerful project.
Ready to give it a shot? Try this tutorial by Grapesoda:
This isn’t a no-sew mask, but you don’t need to be a sewing expert to make it. You’ll need fabric, freezer paper, a printer, a sewing needle or machine, and a flat iron. If you don’t own a few materials mentioned, you can always order mask kits from the same site to make your life easier. They won’t be emoji-themed, per se, but they’ll definitely put a smile on your face.
The idea behind the mask is very simple. First, you take a piece of fabric that fits your printer. Or take an A4 sheet of paper and cut the fabric accordingly on the sides so you don’t struggle with the printer. Now, since the fabric cannot be placed inside the printer by itself, it needs some kind of paper, and that’s why you’ll need a freezer paper.
This means that you’ll have to stick the freezer paper and fabric to each other. You can do this easily by ironing them both together. Just remember to stick the fabric on to the waxy side rather than the plain side. (Also, iron the pieces together on a flat surface so you don’t have issues later with the print.)
Once both the pieces are stuck, it’s time to move on to the next step – printing an emoji on the fabric. You can choose any character you want and download it online. There are various websites offering emojis to download for free. Try the App Store, for example!
Next, place the piece of fabric plus freezer paper (it should look and feel like a single piece now) on the printer and print the image. Once that’s done, remove the freezer paper and you’ll see the imprint on the fabric.
The only thing left to do is treat the fabric so it can be washed and reused again. Don’t skip this step! You don’t want the ink to run. If you don’t have a special rinse wash to treat it, you can look for a recipe that uses the vinegar sitting in your pantry.
Cut out the fabric around the emoji or character you used and peel away the freezer paper. Now, you’re left with a piece of fabric that will work as a face mask. At this point, the cloth is probably on the thin side, so cut out an identical piece of fabric. Stick two pieces of elastic in between the two pieces of fabric and sew it all together. Ta da! It’s ready to wear.