Face painting shortcuts?
May 24, 2014 6:24 AM   Subscribe

In a couple of weeks, my sister wil be running a charity face painting booth at her small town fair. I am too busy with work to help but want to contribute in some way. I'm wondering if somebody here has any "hacks" or tips that might boost her facepaint throughput rate.

Her face painting booth was very popular last year but she found it hard to keep up. I'm wondering if anyone here can think of fast and easy technique/products that they've seen at other face painting booths. I was thinking that pro-quality supplies might help and am considering getting her some decent looking stuff at Hokeypokeyshop.ca but otherwise feel overwhelmed at the amount of internet info available.

She's tried the local highschool and her Facebook network but hasn't been able find a helper. She's in the Hamiton, Ontario area.
posted by bonobothegreat to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Answering as a parent, not a painter: The main thing that comes to mind is to limit the number of different pictures that can be painted (5 or 6 simple images, colorful but manageable, maybe no more than 3 colors?), and to have them all displayed on a (laminated) sheet that a little kid can point to - so she doesn't have to try to interpret baby talk.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 6:43 AM on May 24, 2014 [5 favorites]

Making the larger design using a stencil, and adding personalized detail with a brush.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:10 AM on May 24, 2014

Having enough staff wins over any time hacks. While getting "done" the child (and parent)want to feel special with lots of individual attention, praise, jokes etc. just like going for a personal service as an adult like a haircut, you don't want to feel rushed by a clearly overwhelmed person doing the service.

Buy some large temporary tattoos for hands/arms for the kids that don't want facepaint. Make sure to have superhero and videogame themed pictures. When I do facepaint a creeper from Minecraft is always a hit. Have a few pictures Tweens and teens might like (so, include mature videogames, one direction symbol, something "tough").

Have lots of supplies and duplicates of colours for each staff member. If this is outside, have it shaded and chairs for each staff and client. If you anticipate a lineup, have a table with colouring sheets for the kids to do - especially if you have a butterfly or Minecraft outline they can colour and then you will use that same design/colour on their facepaint. If you do that, don't put out crayons you don't have the facepaint for.

I know a three responsible teens in Hamilton that would work for money, I don't know any teens that work for free : )
posted by saucysault at 7:54 AM on May 24, 2014

Oh, and tattoos/facepaint of Geronimo and Thea Stilton are still popular (make sure they don't look like Mickey Mouse). Goosebumps logo is hit or miss with boys. Anything from Frozen is a hit and I would include Malificent as well since the kids would have seen it in a couple of weeks. MLP is still popular. Sport teams logos are popular too, especially if this fair is during playoffs or whatever.

I'd throw in a few Best Dad Ever or Best Mum Ever arm tattoos/facepaint for kids to pressure their parents into. Always try to upsell the parents into getting a matching paint on their hand or arm - kids usually love their parents to have the something that matches (so, if the child has a butterfly I try to get the mum to have a daisy on her upper arm for the butterfly to "fly" to). Get a stencil for the maple leaf, it is a pain to do freehand.
posted by saucysault at 8:09 AM on May 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Parent turned semi-pro face painter here. There are a few things she can do to manage her line.
- Make a board with 6 or so faces that she can complete in 3-4 minutes. These are the faces she offers. Period. If she breaks down and gives a kid a full tiger then every other kid there will want a full tiger.
-That board should be facing the line with a stool next to it. Tape a sign to hang off the edge of the stool that says, "Only Clean Faces Please" and put a pack of baby wipes on top of the stool. This way the parents will wipe the little faces before they plunk the kid in front of her.
-If she is right handed, her set-up should be on her right. Try to set up so that she can see the line. That way she can motion the next kid over and keep an eye on the line.
-Do Not Hand The Kids A Mirror While They Are In The Chair! Biggest time suck ever. They get up, move out of the way (other side of the table?) where there is an unbreakable mirror available to them. They are admiring, she's on to the next face.
-As for set up, I use a small 2-3gal bucket and put it under my table for dumping my dirty water. I use an opaque cup with only about 1 1/2" of water in it so no one has to see the muddy water. I dump it every kid, every other kid or so.
-Cash handling is a pain. If there is any way at all to have someone else handle cash, do it. Better yet, if the school function is selling tickets for games/rides/whatever, have her accept tickets too. So, so much easier. If it's cash only, use a fanny pack- ugly but functional. Waitress aprons never really work because since you're sitting, everything falls out every time you reach in.

Professional supplies are very much worth the investment. www.sillyfarm.com carries everything you could ever want. (I live an hour away and it's like Christmas Morning every time I go.) I've wasted WAY TOO MUCH money on useless supplies and brushes, so I'll give you my personal list of what's worth it.

Loew-Cornell Gold Grip 795 Round in sizes 2,4,6 - 2 of each. Use one for white and one for black so there's no need to wash them each kid.
Prisma Brush 841 Flat 3/4 inch -2 of them
Foam Sponges. Get one pack of the green ones and cut them in half. Get one pack of the butterfly sponges. Easiest butterfly faces ever. Sorry I don't know the brand names.

Wolfe Bros. black and white are the gold standard. I particularly like their white because it will go over other colors (once the other colors are dry).
The FAB paints have good coverage, are fairly inexpensive and smell good. Get a sampler palette of pink, purple, red, green, yellow and orange. This will give you monsters, dragons, spidey, flowers, butterflies, princesses and a million other designs.
I recommend on rainbow cake of girly colors to make easy butterflies with the butterfly sponges I mentioned before. Obviously you can make other designs, but girls love butterfly and fairy eyes.
Get a true rainbow Arty Cake. Use the flat brush I recommended and make beautiful rainbows in seconds. Super easy.

Only use cosmetic grade glitter. Craft glitter can scratch the cornea if it gets in your eyes. Get the poofer bottle of iridescent glitter- it goes with everything.

For designs I would recommend doing a butterfly, fairy eyes, rainbow/double-dip flower forehead, Spidey (one eye half mask), snake and pirate. If you'd like I can send you images of what I mean.

YouTube is chock full of instructional videos, set-up ideas and line control talks. I love the work of Ashlea Henson from Mimics and Lisa Joy Young. Both are great. There are also a ton of great videos at Silly Farm.

As you can probably tell, I LOVE to face paint!! If you have any other questions, feel free to MeMail!
posted by PorcineWithMe at 11:31 AM on May 24, 2014 [6 favorites]

Oh!! And a brush holder. I love my little sponge gecko!
posted by PorcineWithMe at 11:47 AM on May 24, 2014

You people fantastic! Thank you.
posted by bonobothegreat at 1:02 PM on May 24, 2014

Agree with above suggestions, especially having a board with designs to choose from.

Also there are some previous face painting questions (including one by me) to check out.

This may vary depending on where you live, but if there is a popular sports team, kids may be really into designs based on that. It can be super simple - i.e. a football on and their fave player's number in the team colors.
posted by radioamy at 1:17 PM on May 24, 2014

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