The best face paints to use are products that have been specifically made for the skin. It’s best to use water based paints made for the skin as they’re easy to wash off. If you use paints other than those specially formulated for the skin, you may run the risk of your model having an allergic reaction to the paint. Not a good way to start (or finish) a party.

Creams glide onto the skin easily and are also good to use as a base.

Liquids or paint in tubs can be used with a paint brush. Liquid paint is good when you are drawing fine details.

Cakes of paint are good for base painting when using a sponge dipped in water.


  • It’s a good idea to use a white base coat under any bright colours as this will prevent it from staining skin.
  • If you want a full colour, start with a thin layer. When it’s dry, apply a second coat. You’ll need to wait until the first coat is dry before adding another colour as they will mix and then you’re back to the drawing board.
  • I don’t like to paint the kids’ mouths as it just gets in their food when they eat (not to mention messing up the artwork!).
  • When you first apply the face paint, it will also work as a glue. If you’re after some special effects, Rice Bubbles make good warts. Just stick on the chin and paint over with a brush. If you apply flour lightly (when the paint is dry) with a dusting brush, you can achieve a real spooky effect. (Just make sure your model has their eyes closed when you do this.)

Face Painting Tools

Mirror Very important: Remember to take a mirror so your model can admire the result.

Sample Pictures Have a display for children to choose from. Kids aren’t big on patience and will start to fidget if they’re kept waiting while you think about what you’re going to paint. Include simple and popular drawings such as butterflies, spiders or flowers. You can get some great Face Painting Designs here.

Moisturiser I always like to put a moisturiser on the skin first. Sorbolene works well. It acts as a barrier against any skin irritations, stops colours staining the skin and seems to make removing the face paint that little bit easier. It also stops the paint from cracking.

Sponges Use flat edged sponges to cover large areas of the face. Have a separate sponge for each colour.

Brushes Use brushes for the finer details. Again, have a separate brush for each colour.

Bowl and Bucket of Water Filled with water to rinse sponges/brushes.

Tissues and wipes You’ll need lots of these for wiping your hands, brushes, etc. Face painting can be messy, but it’s also fun! Baby wipes work fast and easy for ‘mistakes’. You can also be assured they are safe to use on little faces.

Cloths At least two – One damp and one dry.

Stencils If you’re not confident painting freehand, stencils are a great idea. You can paint stars, hearts, flowers, even bats onto your model’s cheek. Have some stencils handy in your face painting toolbox. This link has a free selection of stencils to print and cut out.

Article originally published at Source by Mary-Lou Halvorson