Nailed It! DIY Lace Masks

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Nailed ItWelcome to my new blog series, where I will try supposedly simple, pretty, and fun DIY tutorials across the internet.  I will show you –  the reader – the fruits of my efforts, and will let you know if they are as they seem to be. My first installment is a DIY that I have been wanting to do for a while now: Lace masks.





These appear to be lightweight – many are attached with mascara glue or other, skin-friendly adhesives – can be customized in many ways, and come in any color you can get your hands on.  After perusing many websites that list this as a DIY, I found the following website:

The author has a template on this page that I am using.  She uses puffy fabric paint to make her DIY mask… so let’s get started. According to the author, all you need is: a printed template, plastic wrap, tape, mesh (I used red tulle, because I have tons of it), puffy fabric paint (again, in red for me) and a clear space of desk.  In hindsight, I will also add to this list strong squeezing muscles in your hand.  This template is intricate, and after a while my hand felt like it wanted to cramp because I was holding it in squeeze position for such a long time.

First steps

Print the template.  Mine came out a little light, so I went over it with my trusty Sharpie, but messed up a bit, hence the orange scribbles in one corner.  Now, I taped this to the desk, smoothed and taped plastic wrap over that, and the tulle (cut only slightly bigger than the mask) on the very top.  NOTE: TULLE DOES NOT LIKE TO BE TAPED.  If you are like me and unconsciously drag your hand, your tulle will slip and slide no matter how carefully you taped it down.  Also, don’t stretch the tulle, because it will NOT be kept in place by tape at all and will shift to one side or another.  So just be very careful with the tulle.

First Steps
Tape down the template, then the plastic wrap, then the tulle

Now, onto the paint.  Slowly trace the black lines of the template with puffy paint, creating the eponymous lace mask.  There is really little instruction on this, and here is the most important part.  Her traced mask is flawless… mine was definitely not.  My first mask (yes, the perfectionist in me made me do two) flattened out so much there was no “puff” at all.

Paint the mask
Trace the mask with puffy paint, going left to right, making sure not to bear down on the tulle

I eventually figured out why.  NOTE: DON’T PRESS DOWN WITH THE PUFFY PAINT NOZZLE.  I fell on coloring habits and pressed down onto the template as I was tracing it.  This forced the paint underneath the tulle, where it then had slick plastic to spread out on.  The result of this are very flat, chubby lines that resemble red plastic bag cut into interesting shapes.  On my second mask, I made a point of being more careful with the paint and trying to lightly squeeze the paint onto the TULLE above the template, and the end result was a lot more puffy and a lot less mess.  As you can see, I wasn’t perfect… but I never really am, am I?

Second Steps

Let dry overnight.  This was disappointing, but should have been expected.  It is rare that anything painted is quickly usable.  So, the next day, carefully grasp the mask and pull up slowly off of the plastic.  NOTE: DON’T PULL ON THE TULLE, IT RIPS QUITE EASILY.  This should be a no-brainer, but I did it, so I am passing this information along.  It lifts away from the plastic wrap easily, which is nice.  This is because the tulle doesn’t stick to anything, and the paint should be attached to the tulle, not anything underneath it.  Paint that was pressed down onto the template had a tendency to leave dried paint on the plastic.  Cut around the mask, as close as you can.  If you have managed to make a messy edge, just cut it down now.  It is basically acrylic plastic, the mask can be easily trimmed.  Cut out the eye-holes also.  Just puncture the tulle with the scissors and slice away.

Second Steps
Let dry overnight. Pull mask slowly from plastic. Bearing down on tulle results in leftover paint.

Here is my finished product.  And beside it are my two red masks: the second one (the better one) is on the bottom.

Painted Masks
Finished mask; two different tries at the same template

I was not very happy with the way my mask looked, but that could be because I need more practice keeping the paint from seeping under the tulle.  I will make more of these, but using my own templates, because this pretty lacy concoction is not really my style.  The author uses more paint in lieu of glue to attach two 20″ pieces of light ribbon to the mask, and then her face (and has great photos of this).  In another post she has on more masks, she states these are light enough to attach with a few strategic dots of mascara glue.  I don’t have any of this glue, but the mask easily just stuck to my dummy  head.  It may not last the whole night like this.

Determined to look for a better and quicker mask, I perused YouTube and found this nice video by Aodhamair:

Instead of puffy paint, this uses one of the most trusted tools of the DIY crafter: a glue gun.  While Aodhamair doesn’t explicitly state it, she uses a hot glue gun.  For those of use that have a tendency to drop that heated nozzle on your leg (don’t ask), we use a cold glue gun.  It isn’t cold, but it is a heck of a lot less hot than her gun.  She gives descriptions of the glue “becoming too runny” and spreading out, and how to overcome this.  I assume this is true, because I had no trouble with runny glue with my cold glue gun.  Anyway, let’s get started.

First Steps

The beginning is the same as for the other mask: tape down template, tape down plastic wrap, tape down tulle.  Then, use the glue gun to begin tracing the template.  Leave a little extra tulle at the ends of the mask, this will come in handy later.  Aodhamair recommends not going over every single line, because the small ones are hard to simulate with semi-liquid glue.  The important thing is that the lines touch each other here and there to create a cohesive mask.  This helps the mask go uniformly and easily around the face around the end.  I recommend going top down, working the largest lines first, and after they dry (it doesn’t take long), filling the in-between with select smaller lines.

Glueing the Mask
Lay glue lines down, top to bottom, holding gun away from template. Fill in smaller lines last.

Aodhamair also recommends putting a loop of thick glue at each end to attach the ribbon to the mask.  This mask is much heavier than the paint one, which is no surprise because it is many loops and lines of plastic instead of dried acrylic paint.

Ribbon Loops
Make glue loops at either end of the glue mask for ribbon attachment

Also, with glue guns you will get a plethora of strings and strands.  Aodhamair suggests removing them after you are done, but I overlapped many of these strings that are now stuck on the tulle portions of my mask.  Remove them as they come along.  With the cool glue gun, this is fairly easily done.  If you can, grab the string close to the mask with your thumb and forefinger and count to five, you can snap the string off before continuing.

Second Steps

After the mask is completely dry and cool, peel from the plastic wrap.  Much of the plastic wrap will adhere to the back of the mask.  It melts onto the glue lines, but when cool is still separate and can be peeled away.  Again, cut around the plastic, and again you can smooth out any ragged areas along the edges to make the mask look better.

Remove and cut mask
Peel mask from plastic wrap; remove plastic from back of glue; cut around mask and in holes

Now for the interesting bit.  Because hot glue sticks are basically easily meltable plastics, it can be molded to your face.  Go to your nearest faucet (I chose the bathroom) and get the hot water going.  Hold the mask under the water for a few moments, and it will become more pliable.  Don’t worry, it won’t completely melt and blob up, that is unless your hot water taps run near boiling.  Aodhamair then slaps the mask right onto her face to hold for a few seconds, molding the mask around her nose.  And she repeats for each side of the mask, creating a nice 3D mask when she is done.  I found this uncomfortable, and resulted for me in just the smallest bit of shaping around my nose.  So I used a heavy mask I purchased a while back from Michael’s (and never used).  This was great, because you also can see where you are putting the mask easier than if you suddenly smacked a wet mask onto your face, near your eyes; dripping down your neck and on your shirt; and try to maneuver it before it cools too much.  That being said, it didn’t mold for me too much.  This could be because I didn’t hold it under the water enough, or I need a better mold.  But Aodhamair didn’t specify how long to leave it underwater.


Molding the Mask
Run under hot water to soften, hold onto face or mask to mold to nose and temples

Now, to color this mask, you need to paint it.  So… still not the fasted mask.  But, you can spray paint this bad boy, use acrylic paints, or even glittery nail polish; whereas the other mask is the color of the puffy paint you use.  I haven’t painted my glue masks yet, because I honestly can’t decide what color to paint it.  Here is my glue mask so far, on my very patient model.

Glue Mask
Glue Mask so far…

Pros – Painted Mask

I love the idea of the painted mask.  The author does them so beautifully that they look like they are almost painted right on her face.  They are very lightweight, and can be attached right onto the face, making it feel like there is nothing there.  Because this is such a thin mask, it looks a lot more like a lace mask instead of the plastic ones you can purchase at most stores this time of year.

Cons – Painted Mask

I say that it can feel like there is nothing there, because there is no escaping the smell.  This is acrylic paint, and it smells like it.  Yuck.  Maybe after you have left it to air out for a few more days it wouldn’t smell, but I have had my first mask for almost a week and it still reeks too much for me to wear it long.  Also, even with my practice of not touching the template with the paint nozzle, the paint spreads, blending many of the lines together.  I hate the smushed way it looks, so I think this technique would only look good with few lines.  It takes forever until it is wearable, and it takes hours until it is even moveable.  This means, unless you have a huge table space, you cannot really do assembly line manufacturing.  It would take quite a while to make many of these for, say, a party.

Pros – Glue Mask

This mask is much faster to make than the painted mask.  It dried fast, mere minutes after planting the last line, so it can easily be made in an assembly line in a single evening.  This mask can be molded around the nose and to fit closely to the face and temples.

Cons – Glue Mask

This mask is heavy, so it must be tied on instead of glued on.  The molding takes a while, depending on how good you are.  And it still has to be painted, so it can take a long time until it can be worn.  Depending on the type of paint that it, it also can leave an unpleasant smell, although that can be more regulated than the painted mask can.  While it does sport a great amount of decoration with its lines an swirls, it really doesn’t look like lace, does it?  I think it can 0nly be called lace on a technicality, because it has tulle, which some people call lace.

Results: Nailed it! with mediocre success on both.

I think with practice, the painted mask could be gorgeous.  There is a big difference between my first and second ones.  But the mold-ability and speed of the glue mask lends itself to more uses other than the painted mask, so I will probably use this technique more.  None were 100% accurate, but neither were they unusable.

So, if you want a thin, pretty mask, go with the painted one.  If you want a three-dimensional mask, molded specifically to your own face (or my mask, as I did) then the glue mask is for you. I hope you found this interesting and helpful, and see you for next week’s Nailed It!

Nailed It One
The two masks for today’s Nailed It

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