Want to have a fun party activity at your kid’s next birthday or costume party? Then face painting may be the right option. Face painting is a fun way to keep kids entertained. It can also quickly turn grown-ups into fun-loving partygoers when they get the paint on their faces too!
The best part is that face painting doesn’t require any intricate techniques or skills. Professional face painters are only required for movies and theatre shows, but for quick and easy face painting conducted at birthday parties, you can do it yourself!
What are some supplies you need for face painting? Face paints, brushes, sponges, and stencils are just a few things you need to get. There are also other supplies that will make the experience much more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Let’s take a look at this ultimate guide to help you find everything you need for face painting.
1. Face Paints
The first thing you need to get is, of course, face paints. However, with everything you can find in your local arts and crafts stores or online, it can be quite daunting to find what works and what doesn’t.
As with everything that goes on your skin (and the skin on your face is especially sensitive), the first thing you should check is whether the type of face paint you have is non-toxic and comply with FDA regulations.
We also recommend getting water-based paint from a special effects makeup store rather than at a craft store. This is because low-quality face paint tends to crack and peel after it’s dry, which won’t look great, especially if you want to take photos of your party.
Water-based paints are often non-toxic and easy to wash off your face with just soap and water. You definitely don’t want your face paint to still be on your child’s face for school the next morning!
Here are some recommendations:
- Diamond FX 12 Color Palette – Check Current Price On Amazon
- Wolfe F/X Mini Appetizer Pearl Palette – Check Current Price On Amazon
When it comes to colors, there are a few basics that you should get:
- White paint, which is great for line work and outlines
- Black paint, which is good for detail
- A palette with primary colors will work wonders in most instances and usually saves you some money.
- Metallic colors to make your design pop.
- Neon colors are fun for themed parties and evenings.
- Split cakes, which are basically palettes without the dividers between the colors. There are split cakes that you can use with sponges to create fun multi-color designs or smaller split cakes that will work with a flat brush using the one-stroke technique.
Brushes are not just tools to transfer the colors from the pan to your face; they are also quite useful to help you create different designs and textures as well. You can also use thick, thin, and fan brushes to create different designs.
For face paints, brushes with synthetic fibers are usually the most popular choice since they are affordable, won’t irritate your skin, and won’t absorb too much paint.
Note that you should never use regular painting brushes for face painting. Residue from other types of paint can easily irritate your skin, so it’s best to use clean brushes!
As for brush shapes, here are a few basic brush designs that can come in quite handy for face painting:
- Detailing round brushes in various sizes
- Flat brushes for filling in large spaces
- Angled brushes for big strokes (such as rainbows)
- Filbert brushes to build up layers of paint and create big washes
- A petal brush to create flower designs easily
If getting all of these brushes seems daunting to you, you’ll be glad to find that there are plenty of face painting brush kits that cover all of these brushes.
Here are some recommendations:
- ARTIFY 12 PCS Snap Paint Brushes – Check price on Amazon
- IRO Artist Paint Brush Set of 15 – Check price on Amazon
Besides brushes, sponges are also useful in various ways, including:
- Creating textures by using a low-density sponge
- Filling in large spaces with a high-density sponge
- Using as stencils to quickly ‘stamp’ shapes on the skin
- Use with split-cakes to apply multiple colors at the same time
Besides checking the sponge densities, there are also various sponge shapes:
- Circular sponges and half-circles are useful for filling in large areas and working with split-cakes
- Wedges are useful for blending and creating straight edges
- Petal sponges for stenciling
- Finger sponges for working with split cakes and stenciling
In addition, you can also get sponges in various shapes, which are great as stencils that you can use to ‘stamp’ a design onto the skin. This is a great, error-free, and time-saving way to create basic designs with ease.
If you are not artistically gifted, there are still ways that you can create amazing designs yourself – using stencils!
There are so many stencils out there that allow you to create complicated designs in just a few minutes. These stencils are great to have if you are hosting a themed party,
Here are some great sets of stencils that work well with children’s parties or themed parties:
Glitter is a beautiful, magical addition to any face painting design, especially if you have a princess or fairy-themed party. If you want to use glitter in your design, make sure to use cosmetic glitter rather than craft glitter.
Craft glitter can seem more attractive because they are more affordable and there is more variety of them, but they are made of small pieces of plastic (or even metal) that can irritate your skin or eyes. This is a no-no, especially if you are applying them to children.
There are a few varieties of cosmetic glitter available. You can get glitter gels, which are easier to apply and control, or loose glitter, which is more fun to apply but can get everywhere if you are not careful.
Glitter also comes in hundreds of different colors, shapes, and sizes, so depending on the effects that you would like to achieve, you can find the perfect solution for yourself.
6. Tub (for Water)
Like any other type of painting, keeping a tub of water near your painting station can come in handy. This can be used to keep your hands clean, rinse your brushes and sponges, or anything else.
To keep the work area clean, it’s best to work with a tall tub (rather than a bowl) to prevent splashes. Plastic or metal will work well since glasses can easily be tipped over and broken if you’re working with hyperactive children!
7. Spray Bottle
Most types of face paints will require activating with clean water, so keeping a spray bottle with clean water will also be quite useful in this case.
You don’t need a very large spray bottle; something that can handle around 7 – 10 oz of water would be sufficient for this purpose.
8. Wet Wipes
When working with face paints, having wet wipes available can be a quick and convenient life-saver in many instances. You can use wet wipes to clean up your design and fix any mistakes, in which case you can use alcohol-free makeup remover wipes.
You can also use a disinfectant wipe to clean up your working area, which tends to get messy with all the glitter and paint that you have.
You can also just use any other types of wipes, such as this biodegradable wet wipe, to conveniently wipe your hands after you have finished painting a child’s face to avoid staining your clothes or the next child’s face.
In any case, wet wipes can be quite drying, so you should also keep some moisturizer with you to keep your hands from drying out.
9. Makeup Remover and Q-tips
For perfectionists, having q-tips and alcohol-free makeup remover on hand will prove very useful. These are great if you want to clean up edges and lines so that you can always achieve super sharp edges in your design.
Besides the tools and supplies mentioned above, there are quite a few accessories that you can have in your kit to make your life a lot easier.
The first thing you should have is hair clips and headbands to keep long hair away from the child’s face when you are painting. You definitely don’t want to get paint on the hair, so keeping these handy can be quite useful.
In addition, having a mirror around to show your final artwork to your client can be quite fun. For safe travel, make sure to use a mirror with a plastic case so that it doesn’t break if you want to carry it around with you.
Speaking of travel, having a makeup case to store all of your face painting supplies is highly recommended.
Even if you’re not traveling with your face painting supplies, having a case to keep them all in one place will keep your home quite tidy and make the supplies more accessible for the next party!
How Do You Get Started With Face Painting?
Once you have all your supplies gathered, you’ll probably be looking for the next steps to get started. Below are a few tutorials that will help you learn the best tips for face painting.