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12 Face Painting Tips and Tricks for Beginners

In this article, we will delve into the world of face painting and explore 12 essential tips and tricks that every beginner should know. These insights will help you gain confidence and improve your skills,...

In this article, we will delve into the world of face painting and explore 12 essential tips and tricks that every beginner should know. These insights will help you gain confidence and improve your skills, ensuring a successful journey as a face painter.

Tip #1: Master Perfect Teardrops and Swirls

Teardrops and swirls are fundamental techniques in face painting, yet many beginners struggle with them. To enhance your skills, focus on achieving the right consistency of paint on your brush. Some paints require more water than others, so make sure to test the opacity on the back of your hand before applying it to the face.

When creating teardrops, press down with a round brush and lift it slowly off the skin to form a thick-to-thin line. For swirls, follow the same technique while curving the line. Remember to vary the thickness of the lines for a more dynamic effect.

Teardrops and Swirls Teardrops and swirls add depth to face painting designs. Source: Star Event

Tip #2: Steady a Shaky Hand

As a beginner, you may experience shaky hands while face painting. To overcome this challenge, rest the pinkie finger of your non-painting hand on the forehead of your subject as you paint. This technique not only helps stabilize your hand but also allows you to react quickly if the child moves suddenly.

Tip #3: Organize Your Table

A cluttered workspace not only affects your efficiency but also gives off an unprofessional impression. Invest in a face painting palette that can accommodate all your paints neatly. Alternatively, consider smaller face painting kits that are cost-effective and look professional.

When arranging your supplies on the table, keep in mind the accessibility of each item. Avoid placing water containers between you and your face paints to prevent accidental spills. A well-organized table setup will enhance your professionalism and speed up your face painting process.

Face Paint Table Setup A neat and organized face painting setup is essential for a professional look. Source: Star Event

Tip #4: Use Professional-Quality Face Paint and Accessories

Investing in good-quality professional face paints is crucial for creating stunning designs. Look for brands like Wolfe, TAG, or Diamond FX for reliable and durable results. While professional paints may be more expensive, buying larger quantities can help you save money in the long run.

Tip #5: Let the Base Layer Dry Before Layering

Before adding detailed line work to your design, ensure the base layer is completely dry. Applying lines or swirls over a damp base can result in bleeding lines or smudged paint. Allow approximately 30 seconds for the base layer to dry before proceeding to the next step. This waiting time can be utilized creatively by adding face glitter for some extra sparkle.

Tip #6: Keep Customers Still

Face painting active children can be challenging. To minimize movement, gently place your non-painting hand on the top of the child's head. This technique helps comfort them and acts as a warning signal if they suddenly move. Additionally, engaging them by asking them to look directly at you or their parent can help distract them and keep them still.

Tip #7: Spritz Your Sponge, Not Your Paint

When activating face paint, it's better to spritz water on your sponge rather than directly on the paint. Spritzing your sponge minimizes the risk of mold or bacteria growth in your face paint containers. It also prevents colors from bleeding together when using split cakes or one strokes.

Tip #8: Ensure Glitter Sticks

To make glitter adhere to dried face paint, use a small water spritzer to gently mist the child's face from a distance. This method ensures that the face paint doesn't smudge while providing the perfect dampness for glitter application. Remember to ask the child to close their eyes and avoid the eye area when applying glitter.

Tip #9: Decide Between Sitting or Standing

Experiment with sitting or standing while face painting and determine which position is more comfortable for you. Standing allows for more freedom of movement, while sitting can help prevent backaches during long painting sessions. Practice with different chair and table arrangements to find the setup that works best for you.

Tip #10: Remember to Smile

Maintaining a positive attitude and a friendly demeanor is essential when face painting. Smiling not only helps put your little customers at ease but also leaves a lasting impression on their parents. Even during challenging moments, a smile can boost your own mood and remind you that face painting is meant to be a fun and enjoyable experience.

Tip #11: Believe in Yourself

Confidence plays a significant role in your success as a face painter. Trust in your talent and skills, even when faced with requests for unfamiliar designs. Remember that many animal faces have similar features, with the ears being the key defining element. With practice and self-belief, you'll become a versatile face painter capable of creating impressive designs.


By following these 12 face painting tips and tricks, you'll be well on your way to becoming a skilled and confident face painter. Remember that practice is key, and with time, you'll develop your unique artistic style. Enjoy the journey and let your creativity shine!

Vanessa Tsumura is a highly experienced face painter based in Milwaukee. She has delighted customers across southeast Wisconsin with her remarkable skills. When not painting faces, Vanessa enjoys expressing her creativity through other artistic mediums and making homemade ice cream with her three children.