DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater Masks
Am I posting a holiday article at the end of September?
Am I also a logistics person who doesn’t want to see anyone in a time crunch because I didn’t post this til it was more seasonally appropriate?
So, mea culpa on the timing, I hate Christmas Creep as much as everyone else. However, some things require a bit of planning ahead... and never has that been MORE the case, than since Covid hit.
Fabric shortages, elastic shortages, entire sections of supplies being sold out at craft stores, long wait times for delivery...
So, I’m putting this out there now.
These DIY ugly Christmas Sweater masks are tacky, ridiculous, totally unnecessary... but a fun project to make, and will be sure to brighten some days when you eventually wear them.
I’m totally planning to wear ours grocery shopping - assuming that’ll be a thing, come December - to maybe bring some cheer to the grocery clerks who are having to deal with far more crap than anyone could ever pay them to.
I’m guessing they’d enjoy having a laugh (Or smile - even if you can't see it!) at someone with strands of fake Christmas lights draped off their (MY!) nose as a brief break from the stream of... not exactly being given a reason to smile.
Dark times require some moments of ridiculous levity, IMHO.
Anyway... If ridiculous DIY Ugly Sweater masks are TOTALLY up your alley, but you’re all set for craft supplies and are WAY too busy enjoying the fall leaves and PSLs / Apple Cider... I hear ya!
Bookmark this and revisit when you’re ready!
However, if this is right up your alley and you’re NOT set up for the supplies for it... take a couple minutes to get that sorted, any orders off.. And THEN set it aside till you’re ready to face the holiday season!
Another thing to consider...
DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater Masks Parties
I’m all for finding creative ways to be social - from a distance - catching up with and having fun with friends. It’s been a weird year, and this holiday season is going to be challenging for some people.
I think getting together on Zoom with some friends to have a long distance craft night would be FUN!
Pour some drinks, break out the glitter glue, and have at it. Share in some ridiculousness, compete for ugliest mask, share some fun masked selfies the next day, after the paints and glues have dried.
Alternatively, it could be a fun distance project for kids, too - of pretty much any age.
Doing Ugly Christmas Sweater Face Masks as a craft night or school project lets you get a bit more efficient with the supplies, if you’re willing and able to plan ahead.
Logistics: One person can pick up the supplies, divide them out into kits, and mail them out to everyone else.
This is great, because a packet of any one type of supply is going to be WAY more than any one person needs for this. The little pack of tiny Jingle bells, for instance, comes with HUNDREDS of them.
I used 11 of them on the one mask where the jingle bells were the whole point!
Personally, I’d invest in a pack of small jewelry baggies, divide everything up, and mail em out a few weeks ahead of time.
I’d probably make a couple extra kits for last minute joiners, too.
While none of the supplies cost much on its own, they can definitely add up if you don’t have it on hand and would like a variety. If purchased and divvied up, you could each be paying more like a couple dollars for craft supplies.
... but you’ve got to plan ahead, and allow time for shipping, both to receive any ordered supplies, and to get packages out!
THAT is why I’m holding my nose and posting about Christmas stuff in late September. Logistics and efficiency above all else, IMHO!
Let’s get to it!
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A Note on Use
Depending on how you decorate it, these masks are likely to be either be hand wash only, or non-washable.
Shouldn’t be a deal breaker - who’s going to have the opportunity to wear something like this more than a couple times, right? - but figured I should mention that up front, so you can plan accordingly!
What You Will Need for Ugly Christmas Sweater Masks
First of all, you’ll need face masks to decorate. You can make them from scratch (How to Make a Comfortable Wired and Pleated Face Mask), or buy Ready Made Face Masks - Plain or Holiday Print
Personally, I like starting with a basic, solid colour in something holiday-ish, or holiday adjacent. Red, Green, White or Black (as a neutral background), or a pale blue for my snow design background.
Just, you know, if you’re making it from scratch and have the inside and the outside the same, make sure you’re actually decorating the outside of it.
We didn’t pay attention when we were decorating, and the folds on a few of our Ugly Christmas Sweater Masks are facing the wrong way. Whoops!
When it comes to decorating these masks, you can really do whatever you want - just go wild with it!
These are the things we used, with handy links to purchase so you don’t need to go on a wild hunt. (Let me tell you, finding appropriately sized jingle bells was annoying!)
Christmas Bulb shaped beads
Mini Holiday Stamps
Pom Poms (We found these locally, and I was unable to find the same sizing on Amazon 🙁 )
Foam or Other Stuff for Making Stamps
I used some scrap upholstery foam to cut some makeshift Christmas Tree and Bell stamps out of, but you could use (clean!) sponges or other types of foam.
You could even take a page from kid crafting back in the day, and cut up a potato to make stamps.
The equipment you’ll need will vary based on what kind of decorations you’ll be doing, but as a basic idea of what we used:
Needles - A variety pack like this is great, to cover your bases - thread and/or fishing line.
8" x 4" Styrofoam Cake Dummy
- I use these to hold the masks in place, pin folds into place - or out of the way - etc. Not a necessity, but I had some on hand and they’re cheap & useful!
While using fabric paint bottles to doodle on your mask is fairly straightforward, I do have a bit of advice for a few of the techniques here.
If you're going to applique - sewing a cut piece of fabric onto the mask - I recommend doing it BEFORE assembling your mask. This is for safety, comfort, and aesthetic reasons.
Safety: No sense poking holes - however miniscule! - through two layers of cloth mask, when only one is needed! Additionally, having the two layers be free from each other may allow for a little more protection, both for yourself and others.
Comfort: Masks with appliques sewn through both layers won't be as comfortable as those sewn to a single layer.
Aesthetic: Masks with appliques sewn through both layers won't necessarily lay right or move right / as freely as those sewn to a single layer.
Because you're planning to breathe through this mask, I highly recommend NOT using fusible interfacing, or any form of adhesive aside from Washable Glue Sticks - and those should be used sparingly, around the edges only.
To safely applique fabric to your Ugly Christmas Sweater Mask
Design your applique. I like to use medical exam table paper (I use this for pattern making in general), but tissue paper is another great option.
1. Trace your mask pattern, then mark off plenty of border for your seam allowances. Design your shape to fit within those borders.
2. Use the pattern to cut out your fabric design from the fabric you’ll be sewing to your mask.
3. Place the fabric right side down over a piece of paper (this will protect your work surface).
4. Lightly dab your washable glue stick around the edges of your cut piece of fabric, wiping / picking off any clumps that may transfer to it, while doing do.
5. Place the applique right-side up on the right side of your mask fabric, allowing plenty of room around the edges for seam allowance
6. Allow glue to fully dry.
7. Use a wide zig zag stitch to sew the applique in place, sewing around the entire raw edge and backtracking a few times at the start/finish to secure the seam in place.
8. Assemble your mask
9. Wash the mask before proceeding with decorating.
1. Secure your mask to a firm styrofoam surface - like a 8" x 4" Styrofoam Cake Dummy - if desired.
2. Use Fabric Paint, Glitter Paint, or E-6000 Fabri-Fuse to draw out your intended glitter pattern
3. Pour a generous amount of glitter over your wet design
4. Allow to dry fully before shaking excess glitter off.
If you're doing more than one colour of glitter, do one colour at a time. I like to start with the colour that has the most coverage, and work my way down to the colour that will be in the smallest amount.
Christmas Bulb Beads
These Christmas Bulb shaped beads are super cute, and we used them in two different ways:
Either way, be sure to only sew through one layer of fabric, if at all possible. Also, you'll want to knot them on the outside of your mask - a few times, tightly - before trimming. Having the knots on the inside of the mask would be uncomfortable!
Mini Jingle Bells
These Jingle bells are not only cute, they make a *little* jingle. Enough to be festive, not enough to be obnoxious - especially so close to your ears!
(And this is coming from someone who loathes SA Bell Ringers with a passion - trust me, these mini jingle bells do NOT set off any sensory issues for me!)
We used these with the same techniques as the Christmas Bulb Beads.
Use E-6000 Fabri-Fuse or Aleene's Tacky Glue to make a small bead of adhesive wherever you would like a sequin. Push the sequin into it, so the glue pools up through the center a bit - that's what anchors it in place!
Use E-6000 Fabri-Fuse to make a small bead of glue wherever you would like the crystals to go. Carefully place a crystal on each bead of glue - I LOVE the Crystal Katana tool, and highly recommend it to anyone who works with a lot of rhinestones.
It's what I use for my custom figure skating dresses.
Use a Crystal Katana or toothpick to gently press the crystal down into the glue, allowing a bit of the glue to come up around the sides of it, forming a bit of a cup around it. This is what holds each crystal securely in place!
Looking for More Homemade Gift Ideas?
We have a few DIY gift tutorials, with even more coming! For now, be sure to check out:
Booze Bouquet Tutorial.
DIY Citrus and Cedar Bath Set
DIY Cutting Board Tutorial - Colourful Squares
DIY Mustard Bath Gift Set
Homemade Cutting Board Tutorial - Log Cabin
Homemade Hop Spa Bath Set
Homemade Peppermint Eucalyptus Spa Set
How to Sew A Cute Makeup / Toiletry Bag Travel Set
Mop Doll Air Freshener Covers
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Well, the published nonsense, anyway!
So... now that I've virtually "talked your ear off" ("Typed your eyes off"? LOL!) about how to do these, let's get to the SUPER simple Ugly Christmas Sweater Masks tutorial!
Have fun, come up with something wild... and maybe baffle some future historians some day!
DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater Masks
- If you are appliqueing your mask, that should be done first - ideally before the mask is made.
Prepare your Mask
- Use pins to affix your mask to a styrofoam round, if you’re using one. How you do this will depend on your design - either open and around an edge, or flat and straightened out.
- If you’re using glitter, it’s *usually* best to start there.
- Pipe or paint your design on the prepared mask, cover with glitter, and allow it to dry before shaking off ALL excess glitter.
- If you’re using a second colour of glitter, make sure all excess glitter is gone, before repeating the last step.
- Make sure all excess glitter is off the mask before moving on to other embellishments.
- If you’re using stamps, it’s usually to do that after the glitter, as glitter may stick to some fabric paints, even when dried.
- Either cut your own stamp - from foam, a potato, or .. Whatever! - or use a purchased stamp. It’s best to stamp into fabric paint. I like to re-stamp after each instance.
- You will usually want to allow stamped design to dry before proceeding, but if you’re careful, you don’t necessarily need to.
Fabric Paint & Glitter Paint
- Fabric paints and glitter paints should definitely be done after glittering, and will usually be done after any stamping.
- You’ll likely want to allow the paints to dry before proceeding, but if you’re careful - and depending on the design - you may not have to.
- Use the paint applicator or a paint brush to draw your design on the prepared mask.
Sequins, Pom Poms , Crystals
- These items will usually be best done after any glitter, stamping, and painting.
- I like to use E-6000 specifically for crystals, and Aleene’s specifically for pom poms, but either one works well for sequins.
Jingle Bells & Christmas Bulb Shaped Beads
- Generally speaking, Bells and beads are best left for the last step, after all the design has been done, dried, and shaken off.
- You can sew the beads and bells directly onto the mask, or string them on fishing line and sew THAT to the mask.
- Ideally, aim to only sew through the outer layer of mask, and tie your knots on the outside of the mask.
- Be sure to take a photo of your Ugly Christmas Sweater Mask project, and share it with us on social media!