Decorating Face Covers

April 23, 2020

It’s pretty much inevitable. With so many people covering their faces, eventually someone is going to want to enhance the look and add some decoration to it. We’re already seeing some fun examples of creative ideas out in the wild. These face covers are an important way to help slow the spread of the coronavirus – they’re also a perfect opportunity to get more visibility for a customer logo or message.

SanMar’s Face Coverings are made of a single-ply 50/50 cotton/poly blend fabric that is breathable, comfortable and designed to cover the wearer’s nose and mouth. This is similar to a blended t-shirt fabric and will be familiar to most decorators, but there are a few things to keep in mind when decorating these unique items.

The main techniques to use are:

  • Pad Printing
  • Heat Transfer: Use a cap press and/or a small platen
  • Screen Printing: Use water-based inks, a facemask clamp or a pocket pallet with light tack
  • Embroidery: Seal the backing with a laminate seal, such as Madeira’s E-Zee Heat Lamination
  • Direct-to-Garment (DTG): Check with your equipment manufacturer for recommendations

As a general rule it’s best to keep temperatures as low as possible while decorating face covers to prevent shrinkage.

Two-ply masks, which offer more protection than their thinner counterparts, require a special clamping pallet for holding the mask in place while it’s being decorated. It’s also recommended to use a clamping pallet while decorating a single-ply face covering to avoid glue residue on the final product. If a clamping pallet is unavailable, we recommend using a very light pallet adhesive.

Action Engineering has developed a face mask pallet system which allows decorators to customize the entire front of a single-ply or two-ply face mask. This system includes interchangeable plates to accommodate a chin seam if one is included on the piece being decorated.

Decoration Placement and Logo Tips
Breathability is the most important consideration when deciding where and how to place decoration on a face covering. You want to make sure that the person wearing it can continue breathing comfortably. Here are a few ideas to help keep the air flowing while still protecting the wearer’s face:

  • Remove background color fills. Printing only the logo outlines will prevent hampered breathability when the logo is placed front and center on the mask.
  • Off-center placement. If a background fill color is required for the logo, placement on the left or right sides keeps the breathable area open.

Face Cover Decoration AreasThe most common printable area of the SanMar face covering is about five inches high and eight inches wide, but its unique shape when worn means that whole area isn’t equally available for decoration. These measurements account for clamping systems, hooping areas and heat press platen sizes. Depending on the equipment you’re using, you may be able to achieve a larger decoration area.

Depending on the shape of the logo, there are a few options that work well:

  • Square/small rectangle (4”x3”): Place on the left or right side
  • Wide rectangle (8”x3”): Place centrally across the width of the face cover
    • Alternatively, make it half the size along the lower edge of the covering
  • Circle/oval (4”x4”): Place centrally over the nose and mouth area

Download our decoration placement PDF to see how these line up on the decoration area.

Face coverings may become the most in-demand wearable accessory in 2020, and there are sure to be new developments in decorating them as more people wear them at work, while shopping or just walking around the neighborhood. If you’d like to explore your ideas, contact our Decorator & Digital Solutions team. We’ll be happy to help you find the best answer for this particular decoration dilemma.

If you’ve seen or helped to create a unique decoration for a face covering, share it with us and join the conversation on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.