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Face painting 101

Face painting 101

Children love having their faces painted, and so do football fans. Please both groups by setting up a face painting station for the big game or your next children's party.

You have two choices depending on your ambition or level of expertise:

  1. You can buy black paint to apply "eye black" to everyone, just like the football players wear.

  2. You can paint your favourite team's colours on all attendees.

Before you start

Whether you're painting kids at a party or adults at the big game, your subjects will tend to get fidgety. So, try and get the painting done as quickly as possible. As well, some of your guests may suffer from allergies. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Use only water-based paints for the face. Snazaroo, a brand available at DeSerres, is rated highly. A kit with all the essentials (paint, glitter, sponges and brushes) will cost you less than $25 and can be re-used – if there's anything left over!
  • Use brushes of different sizes with soft bristles. Artist or cosmetic brushes will also do nicely.
  • Favour makeup sponges found at any good drugstore. Avoid latex sponges as these may cause allergic reactions. Always dampen and wring out your sponges before soaking them with paint for even results without streaks.
  • Don't forget to bring along unscented baby wipes (such as those sold by Pampers), which are handy for cleaning faces before applying paint, correcting any mistakes or removing paint already applied, if needed. You don't need to protect the skin with a moisturizer.
  • Bring along some small barrettes to keep a person's hair out of his or her face, if needed.
  • Have a small towel on hand to wrap around your subject's neck to protect his or her clothing.
  • Keep a small bottle of water nearby to dampen your sponges, wash your brushes between colours, etc.


  • Just because a water-based paint claims to be "non-toxic" doesn't necessarily mean the product is safe for the skin.
  • Only cosmetic glitter should be used in order to protect the eyes.
  • To determine whether your guests are allergic to the face paint, apply a small amount on everyone's skin when they arrive, then check for any allergic reactions an hour later.
  • If you don't have much experience applying face paint or your subject has difficulty sitting still, avoid the sensitive area around the eyes.