How To … Face paint your child

Face painting is a really popular form of entertainment at children’s birthday parties. It is relatively inexpensive to hire a professional face painter and for parties, brightly painted faces can really bring events to life.

“I have painted all different types of faces, it never fails to amaze me what children will ask for,” says face painter Debbie Smith from Creating the Way.

“I could start with a flower fairy, move on to Spiderman, create a tiger before ending up with the TARDIS flying through the time vortex.

“Simple face painting is also a great activity to entertain children with on a wet, boring Saturday afternoon. I often get asked by parents how to get started so have put together some tips for them to follow.”

1 Always buy a good make of face paint. Snazaroo are great because they are skin friendly and are fairly easy to source. I have seen them in the Early Learning Centre.

2 Paint can be applied with a simple bath sponge that is cut into small triangles. I have recently discovered that small foundation sponges are great for painting very small faces.

3 Don’t apply the paint too wet. If you do this the paint either runs or the colours look very washed out. Wet the sponge and cover the sponge in paint. If it is too wet you can blot the sponge with some kitchen roll before applying the paint to the face.

4 Start with the basic colours using a sponge. Eighty per cent of the faces I paint can be achieved with the majority of the work being done by sponge. This instantly gets the face done a lot faster, is easier for the face painter and safer as there is less likely to be any poking with brushes.

5 Start near the centre of the face and work outwards. Blend colours, so if you are painting a tiger, blend the yellows and oranges. This gives a better overall finish.

6 Use a new sponge for each person. I sometimes find it easier to use a new sponge for separate colours.

7 Use a paintbrush for details. I have found that a very thin paint brush is perfect for black lines and painting on details such as whiskers or defining eyebrows.

8 Through experience I have found that painting the face in a style of a mask where below the nose of the face is not painted looks better. This is because the child is less likely to dribble, or smudge it through eating and drinking. The design stays nicer for longer and also it is less likely to get on clothes.

9 Face paint can come off with a wet cloth, baby wipe or a flannel in the bath. Through experience, the best way to get face paint off without a temper tantrum is to put the child in the bath, give them a face cloth and to get them to wash their face without you reminding them they have it on,

10 Glitter always finishes the face. I have found out from experience that glitter paste always seems to dry out very quickly and costs a lot of money. I use what is know as fairy dust which you can either sprinkle over the skin, or I have found that you can paint it on by dipping a clean brush in some water, dip it in the bottle and paint it on very gently. The second method of painting it on is also good for children that don’t like closing their eyes. Always make sure glitter is kept well away from the eyes and always use skin friendly glitter.

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