How-To Pretreat Face Masks

How to Pretreat Face Masks

After last weeks video and blog about how to print custom face masks with the Epson F2100, we received lots of questions about pretreating face masks. Here we will highlight four methods you can use. Keep reading to see how it's done!

1. Use a Pretreat Machine

This the best option if you want to run a batch of face masks. Start by laying a shirt down on the platen to catch all the excess pretreat and then lay your face masks over the shirt. Then run your pretreat cycle like you would for a shirt. Afterwards, grab a paint brush and flatten the fibers and smooth out the pretreat on the face mask. 

2. Use a Spray Bottle

For this method, fill a spray bottle with pretreat and shake it up. Spritz your face mask to coat it with pretreat and then get a paint brush and flatten the fibers and smooth out the pretreat. Make sure you spread the pretreat evenly over the print area in one direction. Spritz extra pretreat on any areas you may have missed.

3. Use AlbaChem Spray

This stuff is pretty cool. Start by shaking up the spray can and spraying from left to right in a smooth continuous motion. Spray the face mask 2-3 times to get good coverage over the print surface area. We recommend brushing down any fibers on the mask afterwards.

4. Use a Wagner Spray Gun

This is a very popular way of pretreating for DTG. You definitely want to lay down a shirt where you're going to pretreat for this one. 

Fill your spray gun reservoir with pretreat and make sure the pressure on the gun is set for the face mask; you don't want to over spray and waste pretreat. Spray from left to right in a smooth fluid motion. Start and stop before and after the edge of the mask to make sure you get full coverage. Afterwards, brush down the print area and flatten any fibers for a good print.

Conveyor Dryer

This is a great tool to dry your face masks with. Pretreat a few and run them through the conveyor dryer to get them to the point of being dry to the touch. Then follow with a hit from a heat press for 5-10 seconds for a smooth, flat print surface area. Test out your belt speed and temperature settings to make sure you don't damage your face masks. Begin with your typical conveyor settings for shirts and drop the temperature down about 10 degrees to start--adjust until the temperature is just right for your face masks. 

Heat Press

The most popular way to dry/cure face masks is with a heat press. Lay your pretreated face masks on the platen with the pretreated side up. Space out the face masks so they don't touch each other or overlap. Then ensure the face masks are flattened so they don't crease when you heat press them. Apply medium-light pressure and start at 280-330 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-45 seconds to test for the right settings--adjust as needed. The most important thing to remember is that you don't want to damage the face mask or the draw strings. As long as you are able to dry/cure the face masks without damage, you are set!

Watch our latest video to see the in-depth, step-by-step processes to pretreat your face masks:


Leo Martinez

Print shop owner and founder of Key Print Co.