DIY printed face masks

For this year’s Group Camp hostess gifts, I decided to make custom cloth face masks. I got this idea when I was at Walmart and saw a package of cloth masks for sale, which shouldn’t have been such a shock to me to see at the store. But during this entire pandemic (so far), everyone I knew was either making or buying handmade masks, and so it hadn’t occurred to me that you could simply go to the store and buy one. 🙄

The revelation—and the price—were the inspiration. I wouldn’t have thought to do this otherwise because I didn’t have enough spare homemade masks on hand. After searching the internet, I landed on this technique because it was easy and utilized things I had at home.


  • Organza
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Mod Podge
  • Sharpie
  • Small foam brush
  • Cardboard
  • Double stick tape
  • Fabric paint
  • Blank masks
  • Graphic template

Make the screen

First, create your design. You want to make sure it’s sized to fit on the mask itself and also inside the hoop.

Don’t use printer paper like I did, because the marker bled into it as I worked and it made it harder to be precise. 🤷🏻‍♀️ You can see the marker bleed in the original template in the picture below.

The design included the words “Group Camp 2020” and the shape of Grand Isle, where we were camping.

Next, insert the organza into the hoop, pull right and trim down. Make sure to leave enough material outside the hoop in case you have to adjust or retighten the material.

Center the hoop over the graphic, raw edge up, and trace the design with a Sharpie. I used an ultra fine tip to get the detail of the island. The picture above shows the design traced into the organza.

Use the foam brush to apply Mod Podge to the organza. In this case, I wanted the words and image to be painted on the mask, so I applied the Mod Podge around it.

Screen drying between layers of clumpy Mod Podge. I applied it straight to the edge to avoid any accidents.

I had a very old container of Mod Podge, which had separated, and so was watery and clumpy at the same time. It took me several coats to get a layer that I felt the paint wouldn’t penetrate. Luckily for me it was a hot day, and the hoop quickly dried outside in the sun between layers.

Close up of finished screen. It held up through 20 printings.

Prep the canvas

It took me a while to figure out how to set up the masks in order to get a production line. I needed the masks to be stretched flat without wrinkles, and on a stiff surface.

I settled on affixing the masks to cardboard with double sided tape. These masks were a t-shirt material and so stretched easily. I attached all blanks to cardboard backing before printing.

I tried clothespins first before settling on double sided tape.
These Amazon boxes are finally coming in handy! Got all the masks in place before moving on to the next step.

Print All The Masks!

I didn’t have enough hands to take a picture or video of this step. Basically squeeze a small bit of paint onto the screen and use a square of cardboard like a squeegee to drag the paint across the stencil. Make sure the paint is evenly applied.

Of all the paints I had on hand, there was only one that was not water soluble, so I chose that one thinking it would last after a few washings.

Printed masks drying in the sun

I had forgotten that this brand of masks have adjustable metal for the nose bridge, so there definitely is a “top” edge. Make sure to align your graphic accordingly. I messed up and printed five of them upside down. 😬

At camp, wearing my mask
I’m wearing one of the less pretty ones, where some of the black paint seeped through the screen. You can see some of the gray splotches.

Not bad, for my first time! It was a fun, simple, low-cost project. I enjoyed seeing everyone wearing their masks during the trip.


The only things I had to buy were masks and foam brushes, as I had everything else at home.

  • Hanes brand cloth masks $7.99 for 5
  • Foam brushes $5 for pack of 4

The hoop and organza had been previously acquired at the ReSource shop for 50¢ and $5 (lot of 50 bags) respectively. The paint was a gift from a friend and the Mod Podge is so old at this point, I should just toss it 😜.

Added up, that totals $45.54 for 25 masks, or $1.89 per mask.

Birthday Staycation 2020

Every year we take a weekend trip away for the July 4th/my birthday weekend. We’ve gone to places like New York City, Boston, Portsmouth. This year, we had planned a trip to Warren, RI. We hadn’t yet visited that state, and my requirement was to be near the beach.

By mid-June though the viral outbreaks still were not contained in New England. It seemed like leaving Vermont was too risky, so we canceled that reservation and looked closer to home. We chose Quechee, which was far enough away to feel like a trip and also touristy enough for us to go exploring.

Self portrait of a birthday girl during the pandemic


We stayed at this cute renovated library in the center of town. There’s a mini fridge and microwave but no stove. A fireplace inside and a fire pit outside. It was surprisingly light and airy, with lights and mirrors strategically placed to make it seem big. The windows though have light blocking curtains if you, like Dan, need an afternoon nap.

We  used the fireplace !


It’s a short walk to the falls, where we saw many people sunning and swimming—one family actually diving from the rocks into the roiling water, which was too nerve-wracking to watch for long.

While most folks enjoyed the falls, it was too crowded for our taste. We discovered more private swimming upstream. If you walk the town green past the community garden, you’ll see some mown paths that lead to the river’s edge. We snuck into one of those and climbed the muddy bank down to the water, which was warm, still, and shallow. Perfect for me!

Community garden at the front of the town green

We could hear muffled voices of people on the other shore playing golf, but they were screened from us by shrubbery. It was relatively private and calm there. So while it’s not technically a beach, it gave me the sunny water access I craved.

The green itself is a wonderfully peaceful place, well maintained and spacious. There’s a gazebo and also a small playground nearby. We saw folks walking their dogs, jogging, and relaxing with a book there. We went down at night to watch the fireflies once and then on the 4th we drunkenly watched a bunch of folks light off fireworks there.


We brought a cooler and a dry bag with drinks and food, since we weren’t sure what would be available. We ate out of the cooler for breakfast and snacks, mainly. Here are three restaurants we ate from and recommend. I am especially glad that we could find delicious local food that had vegetarian options.

  • Angkor Wat – we ordered take out our first night from this Cambodian/Thai place in nearby Woodstock. Dan asked them to make my meal very spicy, and 🥵🥵🥵 they did not disappoint! There was enough to breakfast on leftovers.
  • Mon Vert Café – we ate in the upstairs, which was deserted (while outdoor dining was packed) at this farm to table café. There was a lobster roll on the specials board, which I couldn’t resist and don’t regret. The menu is lengthy and there’s something for everyone.
  • Simon Pearce – fancy birthday dinner was amazing, with delicious locally-sourced food, great service, a long wine list, and atmosphere galore. Low lit candles bouncing off copious amounts of glass and windows that opened out to the roaring falls.


The head of the parade as it entered downtown

Woodstock’s downtown is a cute, compact and very walkable retail space. The merchants had sidewalk sales and the streets were crowded with visitors, some wearing masks, some not. We got to watch a very brief parade as well. There were some really great shops, so if retail therapy is your thing, this is a good day trip. We went into so many that I don’t recall all the names. But here are two that we liked:

  • Yankee Bookshop – very well stocked with the latest titles, and interesting catalog and bookish sidelines.
  • Who is Sylvia – a vintage clothing shop that Dan’s friend Jess runs. She was there and we got to visit a bit too.

Raptors and forest walk

Neither of us had been to VINS before, so decided to check it out. It is a nature center with trails, a raptor rehabilitation center and a canopy walk, all of which incorporates sculptural art pieces and informative signage. I learned a bunch.

I have mixed feelings about zoos because I don’t believe that animals should be kept in cages for our enjoyment, but I do also appreciate being able to learn about the natural world this way. 🤷🏻‍♀️ For this reason, I approached the raptor enclosure with some trepidation.

There, I got to see birds up close that I would never have seen in the wild (I’m not much of a birder) and learn about each species. There were owls, falcons, turkey vultures, and eagles. Each bird had a story that told why it was housed there. All of them were too injured to release into the wild, and most had injuries that were caused by human interference: car accident or shotgun.

As cliche as it sounds, the bald eagles were stunning up close. I left with a greater appreciation of the raptor enclosure because of the wildlife rehabilitation.

What we really came to experience though was the forest canopy walk. This is an elevated series of wooden paths about 50 feet above the forest floor. It felt safe, even for someone with some height anxiety like me.

I appreciate how much art is incorporated into the entire nature center experience, which is carried through into this area as well, with a couple giant metal bird sculptures. We skipped climbing the treehouse because they were limiting the number of people at a time and there was a long line of mostly kids waiting to enter. There will be a next time. after descending, we walked along some trails.


We did other things too, of course: played games, read, walked the town center, went to the antiques mall, and looked out over the gorge. There was, quite surprisingly, lots of ways to fill the time.

There was a full moon that weekend. We were on holiday, and we needed this kind of slowdown where we could be away from the news and be in nature together. It was not a bad way to turn 45.

The Barre Blurr

Inspired by a cocktail-in-a-jar gift we found on our holiday weekend in Woodstock, I decided to make my own concoction as a hostess gift for this year’s Group Camp outing.

I didn’t have time to dehydrate the components, but figured fresh ingredients I had around the house would be just fine. Components are:

1 generous tablespoon of fresh picked blackberries
1 cherry, split, pit removed
3 whole cardamom pods
1 thick slab of ginger, peeled

I’m calling it The Barre Blurr because that’s what it feels like these days, a big purple blur. Anyways, steep in a liquid of your choice for 1 day, strain and enjoy.

I added handwritten labels to my mason jars because I was feeling extra crafty. My fellow campers enjoyed it very much!

Cheers! (Photo by Preya Holland, who steeped her Blurr in vodka and mixed it with seltzer.)