Face Painting - Getting Started
You will need: Getting ready to paint
Sit close, facing the child and
position your knees outside
theirs. Bring the child forward
and let them rest their hands
on your knees for steadiness.
It is important that both of you
are sitting comfortably.
Water based face paint Keep your hands clean and
–won’t harm most skins, but dry and make sure the child’s
test for allergies by painting a face is clean and dry before
small patch on each child’s starting to paint.
hand 1 hour before painting. Provide all face painters with
Old plate or saucer for their own palette of face paints
mixing paint and brushes. Place paint, water and brushes
Brushes at least one thick
on table near your painting
(size 6), thin (size 2) and a
medium flat–ended brush
Clip back any hair that falls
Make-up sponges or bath
sponge cut into pieces (at over the face.
least 2 or 3) Place your free hand lightly on
Cotton buds for applying the head to keep it steady and
spots of colour allow you to move it from side
Wet cotton balls and mild to side when painting.
soap to removing face paint Have a bowl of soapy water to
Wear old clothes, so it clean brushes between faces.
doesn’t matter if you get paint
on them (though it does wash Safety
Never paint a child’s face
A jar or tub of water for
unless they are happy to have
cleaning your brushes
A mirror for children to see it done. Generally under 3’s
the results don’t like their face painted.
A towel for covering the Ask children to close their
models clothes around the eyes when painting around or
shoulders on their eye lids).
Paper towels, tissues and Don’t paint in a crowded area
baby wipes for wiping hands. where there could be a danger
Face painting book – useful of someone bumping into your
for ideas. Sketch 3 or 4 faces arm whilst painting.
to provide children with a Use short handled paint
range of options from which brushes.
they can choose Don’t rub or paint the face too
Never paint a child’s face with
a skin complaint or a cold
sore. As an alternative paint
arms, hands or feet.
Steep brushes and sponges in
Detox to sterilise them.
Face Painting - Designs
For the base coat wet a Paint with the brush at right Animals - black nose split
sponge and squeeze it hard angles to the face. upper lip and whiskers will
before rubbing it lightly in suggest the features of many
circles over the paint. animals. Always sponge the
middle of a cat face a lighter
shade than the outside to
produce a muzzle effect.
Look at animal features and
develop your own designs,
avoid too much detail.
White streaks next to black
whiskers help them stand out.
Details - lay the bristles flat
Apply the paint evenly over on the face and draw the
the face dabbing the sponge brush along to achieve a thick
onto the face with a twist of continuous line, use the tip
the wrist (not long continuous to produce a fine lines. Use
strokes). If the paint streaks it cotton buds to do fine spots.
is too wet. Work carefully and Stippling – dab a dry or just
gently around the eye area. damp sponge into the face.
When painting the detail dip This is good for beards and
Blending – try blending
colours on the face for exam-
ple creating green from blend-
ing yellow and blue.
Wash the brush before going
onto the next colour. You can
paint one colour on top of
another but wait until the first
Scary Faces - paint monsters
witches vampires and
the brush into water and roll skeletons for Halloween. Start
it around in the face paint, with creepy base such as
continue to do this until you white, green, yellow or mauve
have a watery paint puddle. and paint the brow bone with
Hold the brush like a pencil a contrasting shade, sponge
and rest your little finger on down the side of the nose and
the child's face to keep a shade hollows in under the
steady hand. cheek bones to look scary.
Add detail from the top down,
eyebrows and mouth last
although if you have paint on
your brush it’s a good idea to
use it where it is needed. For
example, do all the red parts
first and so on to avoid rinsing
the brush too often. Load the
brush with paint and dab the Ideas - look for inspiration
brush to make detail such as for your designs from face
petals. painting books.