Face Painting Techniques Tips

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Are there any danger areas when face painting?

Careful Around Eyes

Red and green colors have a tendency to sting around the eyes. Both have a tendency to slightly stain the skin. When painting full faces, end the design about 1/4" to 1/2" away from the eyes.

How young can I face paint kids?

How Young

You can make a general rule that nobody under two gets face painted. Many babies want to eat the brush, the one-year-olds squirm and think they are going to get hurt, and many times they start screaming.

What tool can I use to apply glitter?

Applying Glitter

You can apply glitter to a face painting design with q-tips. Dip the tip in water, wring it out on the side, dip in very fine glitter, and roll onto the design so you don't smear it.

Do I always use black to outline a design?


Vary your outline color, depending on the design. If it's a feminine design, try a darker color from the main color, like outlining a pink heart in red.

How do I get a good outline?

Outline Is Key

Facepainting designs should be clean and crisp and have a definite outline. Eyeliner pencils may work, and there are facepainting markers. A good craft outline brush is best. Practice on your hand.

How can I customize a design?

Customize the Design

You will almost guarantee a happy client if you customize the design to match what they are wearing. If they are wearing reds and yellows, for instance, incorporate those colors into the design. Or pick a design that matches what they are wearing. If a boy has a gigantic pikachu on his chest, he would probably love a matching pikachu on his cheek. Plus, if the design is on the shirt, then you have something to copy!

How do I start a design?

Outline First or Last?

You can outline the design first, but you need to go back over the outline again once you have applied the color. The outline will look faded unless you crisp it up with a final outline application.

Can I use Markers?


You can find temporary face painting markers at the drugstore and at sites on the internet. DO NOT USE PERMANENT MARKERS from any source if they are not endorsed for skin use. They could be toxic.

How do I get my designs to look three-dimensional?

Dark for Shadow, Light for Sun

Add a little dark to one side of a face painting design to add a three-dimensional aspect. To highlight take a light color, like white or yellow, and add some brightness to the opposite side of the design from the dark color. Practice with a circle and a cylinder shape. Make the circle look more like a sphere, and the cylinder should start looking like a can.

When I´m using glitter, what should it be in?

Storing Glitter

Baby food jars are perfect for storing the glitter you use for face painting. You can also use the lid for custom mixes.

When face painting, how should I apply glitter?

Ways to Apply Glitter

There are glitter gels for face painting, but they have a tendency to smear the design, so just use around the outside. Don't choose any kind of glue or adhesive, beyond gel. You can use Q-tips dipped in water and slightly wrung out. Another way to apply glitter is to use a big loose powder brush, dip it in extra fine glitter, and apply.

Do you have any design ideas?

Find Design Ideas

You can find design ideas in coloring books, comic books, cartoons, animated features, fabric patterns, doodling, how-to-draw books, talking with kids and adults about what they would like to see. Then try them first on paper. If you like the design, practice it until you are comfortable.

When facepainting, what colors should I put on first?

Light Colors First

When you are "building" your design, have a mental image of what the design will look like when it is completed, and start with the light colors first. Then add darker colors. The last part is usually the outlining, to make the design "pop" out and really look bright.

What supplies do I need for facepainting?

Basic Supplies

To start face painting, you need paint, brushes, and water in a jar with a lid. You should have a mirror to show your clients their designs. Then you can add glitter, baby wipes, toilet paper, a brush holder, business cards, a sample book, a menu, and a tip jar. Keep it in a bag that is easy to carry and quick to set up. A fishing tackle box works too.

Can I realize a profit from my hobby?

Hobby or Profession?

Face and body painting can begin as a hobby doing it for yourself, friends, and family. If you like it, look for opportunities through school or church, and then when you're ready, get a booth at a weekend craft fair.

What kinds of paints are used for face painting?


Always use water-based, non-toxic, real theatre make-up for face painting. You will be working with all kinds of skin, including some that's very allergic. Water base comes off with soap and water, it usually dries very quickly, and it looks good. Never ever use magic markers, or pastels, or a product not designed for skin.

Can I mix brands when facepainting?

Mixing Brands

Try mixing brands of face paint in a small quantity before you try it with the whole pot.

What do you think of facepainting with crayons?

Face Painting Crayons

If you like the feel of a crayon for face painting,make sure they are for the face. They usually work by dipping one end in water and applying the color. You will get big bold color lines, but not much detail, and the designs look child-like. To help refine, use a detail brush, dip it in water, and load up on color from the crayon, then apply it to the skin from the brush, not the crayon.

What´s a hot tip for good full face designs?

Base for Full Faces

To make full painted faces look brilliant, you need to master the art of applying base with a sponge. It needs to be smooth, even, not streaky.

Do you use a different product for outlining?

What To Use for Outlining

For outlining when face painting, use a very thin outlining brush with regular paints. Alternatives are liquid eyeliner tubes or liner pencils.

What kind of glitter should I purchase for face painting?

What Kind of Glitter?

Try pure glitter, in the ultra-fine category, for face painting. Look in the crafts section of fabric stores.It does not come in a gel base, which you can find in most cosmetic sections now. It is very finely-ground, won't hurt skin or scratch, and comes in many color combinations.

What about water when facepainting? Do I bring it?

What About Water?

When using water based face paints, take your water with you. Snazaroo includes in some of their professional kits a wonderful water container with a snap-on lid. You can bring clean water with you and take the dirty water away. A jelly jar with a nice lid works too.

What would be the benefits or the disadvantages to mixing brands?

Mixing Brands or Colors

Some black colors don't apply as "black" as others, so by mixing, you can get a richer black. Some greens are funny-looking alone, but add a little blue or yellow, and the color pops out. You can mix for custom colors.

Where can I get information on facepainting?


Face painting books are great for ideas and tips. Be careful if you take them with you when painting, though, or people may always choose the hardest design.

How much does it cost for a face painting design?

How Much Should It Cost?

Face painting will usually start around $3 or $4 for a basic simple design, and increase from that base to some expensive designs: the more detail, the more time, the more cost.

Do you have any ideas for full faces?

Full Face Ideas

These are successful full faces--exotic tiger, magnificent leopard, batman, spiderman, t-rex, fairy princess, wicked witch, vampire (male and female), fantasy cat, flower garlands, butterfly. Keep the time to no more than 10 to 15 minutes per full face.

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Jolyn Wells-Moran