Today I’m going to show you how I made a face mask with a LED display that show warning text, images, and voice display that is controlled from your phone.
How are you guys all doing? I’m going to say it’s been a touch fewweeks with everything that’s been going on in the world – it’s been hard to be motivated to do the types of projects I normally do because it seems pretty trivial at times like these and nobody is really thinking about going out in light up costumes at the moment.
I was out running errands yesterday and was wearing a medical mask – this is a mask that one of my suppliers in China sent me for free with some materials for my panel dress project, which was really kind of them and just shows you how people come together across the world and support each other right now.
I’m grateful to have a few of these masks-but the style wasn’t really matching, and a few commenters mentioned they expected me to make something that lights up, and of course I got the idea for this project.
Now as a disclaimer, this mask is really more of a novelty mask – it is obviously not the most efficient way to breathe through electronics – so this isn't something you’d really be wearing out for a long time.
That beingsaid I could still breathe fine since the panel doesn’t cover everything.
The LED panel used here is some new tech I’ve talked about in an earlier video that I’m using for my new fashiontech designs and also have available for sale for your DIY projects.
The link to get it is below, and for thisproject it is re-usable so you can repurpose it for other projects later.
I started with a COVID mask pattern from Sugardale, a friend sent me this and it’s a really nice pattern that she’s made available for free, I'll link below so go check it out.
I essentially followed the pattern with afew differences.
One is that I used stretchy straps and theother is that the fabric you need for this is specific – I used one layer of solid cotton fabric, and a second layer of semi-sheer fabric.
Having the sheer fabric is essential to letthe LEDs show through.
They are quite bright so a lot of differentfabrics will work.
She has a great tutorial on her site thatI followed, essentially you fold the fabric in half, sew darts for your chin and nose, and stitch everything together.
Normally I use a serger and do a better job on the detail and quality, but I was going a bit fast on this one for a proof of concept.
When making the pattern you need to ensure that the semi-sheer layer is the top outside layer.
Another difference is we need the pocket to be accessible to take the panel in and out.
So for my version I left one side open, andstitched the elastic only on to one layer so it can still be opened and closed.
I used a safety pin to pin in the battteryand edge of the panel, which worked quite nicely.
With these LED panels you can add text, images, and equalizers through a free app for android and iOS.
I originally had the idea of doing a warning message – like “6 feet away”, and then I drew this weird little mouth thinking it mightbe funny.
And I was right, it’s pretty hilarious.
There is also a microphone function with equalizer graphics which is pretty cool to have it respond to your voice – this definitely gave a dystopian post-[pocalyptic vibe which maybe doesn’t cure my anxiety that much but here we are.
That’s really all there is to it.
It’s a very simple project and took me about 30 minutes total.
I’ve also been s ewing lots of normal non-tech masks and distributing them, which is making me feel a bit more productive and motivated than I was last week.
Let me know if you try this or any other tech masks in the comments, or if you have other ideas for drawings or text I should try outon this mask.
Stay safe everyone.