Selfie-mask: instructions


Use our Selfie-mask image generator to allow for a better wrap-around mask effect!

The best thing about all the masks people are wearing is that it saves our lives. The worst thing is that we can't see smiles anymore! The Selfie Mask solves this problem by taking your smile from in back of the mask to the fore! You can help us get this mask idea trending on your favorite social media app by giving us a public mention, using our #Smiles2the4 hashtag.

So let's get started, shall we?…

Jack Gillis sports his selfie-mask Jack sports his selfie-mask

First, take a selfie as close to your face as possible. If you wear glasses, make sure to remove them. Keep your head as straight and level as you can. Try not to tip the camera because you might end up with an enlarged or distorted nose. Then crop the image such that each cheek is near each edge, the bottom of the chin is near the bottom and the top edge includes the bridge of your nose.

Don't forget the great big cheese-saying smile!

You might have to do a little trial and error, but if you size the image so that it's between 3.8 and 4.2 inches from the bridge of your nose to the tip of your chin you should be in the ballpark.

We have three different methods for creating your Selfie Mask:

  1. Printable Fabric
  2. Diagonally-Folded Bandana
  3. Double Folded Bandana


Image showing the ideal crop for a selfie-mask The ideal crop for a selfie-mask


We have designed a version of the Selfie-mask which functions as an overlay of most surgical masks. See the end of section 1 for further details. *


1. Printable Fabric

Upload the properly cropped image you created to the Selfie-mask image generator app, then save the stretched image to your device. The Selfie-mask image generator app creates the illusion of the curvature of your face from the flat image you started with.

For this method you need the type of fabric that crafters use to make memory quilts. Do not use fusible fabric or fabric that has adhesive already attached. (If you have tee shirt heat transfer sheets or fusible fabric you can use those on the diagonal bandana below.) Use the kind that has a removable paper backing and that you're supposed to sew or glue yourself. We used the June Tailor, but the Jacquard appears to be similar.

Joann: June Tailor Computer Printer Fabric 10 Pkg

Michaels: Jacquard Inkjet Fabric Sheets

Using whatever application you prefer for printing 8 ½ x 11 pages, insert your cropped and stretched selfie into a file. We used MS Word, rotating once so the chin was to the left, then positioned it flush to the left margin in the center of the page.

Image showing before/after using the stretching app Before & after using the stretching app

Set the left margin to as close to 0 as your application or printer will allow. Follow directions on your package of fabric for printing. Don't worry if you mess up the first one, everyone does that.

After the ink is dry and set with a hot iron (or not, depending on your brand of fabric), remove the backing paper carefully. Fold lengthwise across the top of your image.

Image showing a stretched selfie, printed and folded Stretched selfie, printed and folded

To improve effectiveness, sandwich a half-width paper towel between the two layers of fabric. Tape a twist tie or a short length of pipe cleaner to the top edge of the paper towel to act as a nose piece.

Image showing how to add paper towel to improve effectiveness

Image showing how to add pipe cleaner to the top edge

Make sure the rubber bands are attached to the front of the mask as shown.

Pay attention to the washing instructions. We very carefully handwashed ours in warm soapy water and it came out fine.

Also, since we do not sew or have a sewing machine, we've based all these on no-sew methods. If you do sew, you can obviously modify these directions (and greatly improve the project!).

Image showing rubber bands attached to front of mask

Image showing rubber bands attached to front of mask

Tip: Hemming Your Mask


Angela Kostritzky Haws, a seamstress sewing caps and masks for New York City hospitals though the Facebook Group Coast2Coast Makers Collective, noticed the problem of fraying and developed this no-sew method of hemming the masks wrote these, which apply particularly to the overlay method below.

You'll need scissors, fusible tape, elastic string and an iron.

Items required for no-sew hemming: scissors, fusible tape, elastic string and an iron Items required for no-sew hemming


First, iron your mask flat.

Image showing printed selfie, ironed flat

Following instructions on the package, iron on the fusible tape near the edges on the reverse side. Then trim the edges.

Image showing fusible tape, applied to edges

Images showing mask, ready for cutting holes for elastic bands

Cut small holes on each side for an elastic band. Attach the elastic using method 1 (two knots) or method 2 (a single bow-tie knot).

Image showing where and how to cut holes for the elastic bands

Image showing how to tie-off the elastic bands

Snip all four corners, then fold… and iron flat.

Image showing how to snip the four corners of the mask

Image showing the mask, folded inwards to create the hem

Here's the finished product…

Image showing the hemmed mask final product

Image showing the hemmed mask final product, as worn on a face



Follow these modifications.

Instead of formatting and laying-out as above, use these specifications:

Maximize your printable area while setting up your document or file. My version of Word attached to my HP Officejet printer allows me a to use a printable area with .13" margins on the left and right… but your system may be different.

With that layout, you can fit two masks on a page. After using the Selfie-mask image generator app, lay out the generated image like this, one flush left, one flush right, both centered-aligned. The width doesn't matter much, but if you go over 4 inches high you might not be able to fit two selfie-mask images on a single page.

Image showing and example of a manufactured-type mask Manufactured-type mask

Follow directions on the fabric package for printing the masks and setting the ink. Then cut along the top of each image, and flip the masks over to reinforce the right and left edges with duct tape.

Image showing printed selfies being trimmed

Image showing printed selfies being reinforced with duct tape

Next, cut a slit in each piece of duct tape to slip the ear pieces through slits.

Image showing where to cut slits in the printed selfie

Image showing how to incorporate printed selfie with manufactured mask

And your mask is done.

Now you're ready with a smile AND keeping protocol!

Image showing completed selfie-cover for manufactured mask

Jack Gillis wearing his selfie-mask covering for manufactured mask


There may be an issue of cleaning or decontamination. And the printed fabric may be difficult to acquire. So alternatively, you can simply follow all the directions above but for printing off on cheap paper.

Reinforce the edges with clear tape. Depending on the kind of paper you have, breathing may be harder, so cut a slit under the nostrils, as pictured below.

When your shift is over, simply discard the mask and use a new one for your next shift.

Image showing inexpensive paper version of selfie-cover for manufactured mask

Image showing completed paper selfie for manufactured mask

Image of Jack Gillis' cat, Ruby, relaxaing and pretending to help Ruby-the-cat lends a paw


2. Diagonally-Folded Bandana

(easy-peasy bandana selfie-mask)

The brilliance of this project is that you can use a full selfie. After this pandemic is all over it'll make a great wall-hanging for your significant other.

Start with a plain white bandana, handkerchief, or a piece of old tee shirt, approximately 20" square. Find the true-center of the fabric. To find the center, we suggest using two strings, like this:

Image showing how to find center of bandana using two strings

Make a t-shirt transfer using any product you like, carefully following the package instructions. We used Avery Transfers #3275. However, you can also use fusible fabric for this project.

Image of packaging for Avery #3275 fabric-transfer Avery #3275 fabric-transfer

Set the transfer face down with the bridge of the nose at the center of the bandanna. Iron following package instructions.

Image showing how and where to place the iron-on transfer

Image showing selfie after it is transfered

Fold it at the bridge of the nose, and… Voila!

Jeanne Gillis wearing the easy-peasy selfie-mask final product

Alternative method…

You could also use the Selfie-mask image generator app for this project to maintain the 3-D effect. Print a heat transfer or fusible fabric selfie, cropped according to the directions above EXCEPT position the image, so the bridge of the nose is flush to the left margin (rather than the tip of the chin as above).

Align the left of the sheet, centered, so the bridge of the nose is touching the center point in line with one of the strings.

Apply the image, fold on the diagonal, tie it in the back and you're done!

Image showing the alignment required for the easy-peasy alternate method

Image showing the fold required for the easy-peasy alternate method


3. Double Folded Bandana

(a fun project for you and the kids!)

For our third project we have the double-folded bandana. In this project, your half-selfie is an overlay. It's constructed out of a 20 x 20 bandana and ordinary paper, although you can use white card stock or construction paper as long as it your printer accepts it. One of the good things about this project is that the bandana can be any color or style. You won't need the stretcher app for this.

Start by making a double-folded bandana mask. You can learn how to make the underlying mask here:

JapaneseCreations: No-sew face mask (webpage)
How to make a pleated, no-sew face mask (YouTube video)

Image showing an example of a double-folded cloth mask double-folded cloth mask

Insert your cropped selfie into a file, centered to the bottom of an 8 ½ x 11 document.

Image showing placement of selfie image on standard-sized page

Print on plain paper. Fold along the top of the image so the image is showing.

Image showing where to fold the page

Cut a couple inches from the top down following the outline of your face. Then cut across from the right and left edges to the cut you made going down.

Image showing how to trim away excess from the printed page

Unfold the paper and finish cutting out the face. Then cut across the paper to make a tab about an inch high (and 8 ½ inches wide).

Image showing how to unfold the selfie-mask printed page

Image showing how to make the tab for the paper selfie-mask

Now tuck the tab into the bottom flap of the double-folded bandana.

Image showing how to tuck the tabs into the bottom of the bandana

Depending on the stiffness of the paper you used, you may or may not want to secure the top edge with a bit of clear tape.

Now you're ready to walk around again with that big ol' grin on your face!

Image showing the double-folder bandana selfie-mask final product


Sewn Masks

Unfortunately, we have zero skills when it comes to the sewn cloth masks and no sewing machine even if we did have the skills, but it seems like it should be possible to adapt this idea to sewn masks as well.

But we'll leave this section open for now so that if we get any plans or patterns that work we have a place to post them.