DIY Facepainting

Face painting is almost always a hit with the 3-8 year old set. Hiring a face painter can be expensive, but they bring all the equipment and it's good stuff. You can also decide to try your own hand at making it happen.


It's actually easier than you might think, as long as you buy good facepaints and good brushes. The professional paints can run you about $65, but they can be used over and over for Halloween, rainy days, and for good ol quality time!
If you have time to buy online, go to (You can also go to Abracadabra in the city by Union Square but much more expensive)

What you need to have it all:
From Silly Farm (
- Buy the Mehron basic and pastel pallet
- Buy some Detailz (white and black)
- Glitter (the holographic silver is great)
- A separate black and white paints Brushes (spend a bit of money here-- better brushes make all the difference)
- If you can spulrge, get a few rainbow cakes, lots of colors all together-- makes it really easy
- Sponges: you can get those at the dollar store, no need to buy the expensive ones.
- Here is the section we have that outlines different How Tos and Faces as examples

Your Supplies:
- Use Good Paints and Brushes (see list above of where to get them)
- Value Your Paints and brushes
(Don't store on bristles down in a cup, clean supplies immediately after you're done)
- Q-Tips can be great-- use them to make dots!
- Use wipes/tissues sparingly
- Use hair clips that kids can take with them if their hair is in the way. (For lice safety let them keep them)
- Have photos/drawings of what you feel comfortable doing. (Don't make them too great or your model may be disappointed.)

The model:
- No snotty kids! Give their parents/caregivers a wipe and avoid that area. Keep it as germ free as possible.
- Have them pick out what they want BEFORE they sit down
- Superheroes don't have to be just (Spiderman/Batman, etc.). Ask if they could have any power what would it be, draw a little mask in a color of their choice and let them be something “more powerful than Batman!”
- Hold their head to keep them from wiggling.

The Application:
- Visualize the Finished Face
- Jewels on clean skin (not on top of make up or they will fall off)
- Apply lightest colors first.
- Not too much water on the sponging (not drippy)—think shoe polish texture.
- Use DEDICATED Black and White brushes-- then you don't have to rinse all the time
·- Move your whole hand to create lines
- Use one stroke rather than stop and start.
- Avoid under the nose (if kids eat it will smear)
- Be Patient and Think Thin. Let the first color dry before applying a second. If you don't, they'll mix and you'll probably have to wipe it off and start again.
- Don’t do all around the eyes (unless you feel really comfortable)
- Glitter makes everything better (it's also a great way to cover up some oopsies).

- Apply lightest colors first.
- Unless you feel really comfortable, don’t do all around the eyes.
- Not too much water on the sponging—think shoe polish texture.
-  If you mess up a bit or do something that seems like something outside what they want be creative. “this is a magical pumpkin that is square and can change shapes!”
- Consider doing a SUPERHERO face other than so many “characters” (Spiderman/Batman, etc.).
- Ask if they could have any power what would it be, draw a little mask in a color of their choice and let them be something “more powerful than Batman!”
- Feel free to tell someone that you can’t do a face.
- Let the child pick out one color (if it’s a multi-color design) but you pick out the rest.
- Glitter is not just for girls and is also a great way to cover up some oopsies.


Tip 1: Value Your Paints
Professional face paint and stage makeup can be expensive, particularly if you're painting a whole kids party's worth of faces. Don't leave them around where people can get hold of them and try them out for themselves. Try out different types of paint to see which you find the best for working with, such as paint in tubs or paint in stick form. (See Safety Tips for facepainting)

Tip 2: Sponge Don't Brush
If you're wanting to cover a large area or put on a base color, use a sponge to apply the paint rather than a brush, it'll be quicker. Having a different sponge for different colors eliminates the necessity of washing out the sponge during a painting session (the same applies to brushes).

Tip 3: Be Patient and Think Thin
Let the first color dry before applying a second. If you don't, they'll mix and you'll probably have to wipe it off and start again. Also, rather than applying one thick layer of paint, which may crack, apply a thin layer, let it dry, then apply another.

Tip 4: Visualise the Finished Face
Know what you're going to paint before you start, don't make it up as you go along. Kids aren't known for their patience and won't be able to sit still why you ponder what to do next. Have a basic face design fixed in your mind; you can always add special touches to this once you're finished.

Tip 5: Special Effects
The paint you're using will work as a basic glue. To create bumpy noses or big eyebrows, soak a bit of cotton wool in the paint, place on face, cover with a piece of tissue, and paint. Puffed rice or wheat make ideal warts; simply cover with a bit of tissue and paint. For an extra-ghostly effect, apply a light dusting of flour once you've finished painting the face (be sure to get your subject to close their eyes tightly).

Tip 6: Use Stencils
If you're not confident painting freehand, or are short of time, why not use a stencil? Stars, hearts, flowers will all stencil onto a cheek. Have stencils in a few sizes to hand, to allow for small and larger faces.

Tip 7: Temporary Tattoos
Even faster than stencils are temporary tattoos. But some people's skin reacts badly to them and they take longer to remove. Glitter is also great for a quick, dramatic effect, but it gets everywhere and is very hard to get rid of! (Also check that the glitter is suitable, see Safety Tips for Face Painting.)

Tip 8: Getting a Decision
If you've got a row of kids lined up to have their faces painted, ask the next kid in line what they'd like a few minutes before you've finished the face you're currently painting. This way they've a little time to try to decide and you don't lose painting time. You may suggest a few faces, to try to limit the choice to one you're confident painting. Consider creating a chart of designs for kids to choose from; it makes it much easier for the kids to make up their minds. Include simple things such as hearts or balloons, as many kids love these.

Tip 9: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who's the Most Beautiful of All?
Remember to take a mirror so the person who's face you've just painted can see the result. Also bring a high stool for kids to sit on; not having to bend over for so long will save you from back ache.

Tip 10: Stock Up on Tissues
You'll probably use more tissues or wipes than you think for wiping your hands, brushes, etc. Face painting can be messy, but it's fun! Baby wipes work fast and easy for 'mistakes'; you can also be assured they are safe to use on faces. (See also: How to Make Your Own Baby Wipes.)


Resources from around the web:

YouTube has a TON of Face Painting Tutorials

The Perfect Witch - advice from the National Theater