How to Do Homemade Face Painting with Your Kids

As soon as your child starts school, life becomes a never-ending cycle of homework, learning activities and parent-teacher meetings. As a parent there is constant pressure to come up with creative activities for children – and children love trying out something new every day, too! So, here’s an activity that looks good, is creative in nature and is cheap on your household budget: homemade face painting. It is suitable for children aged 3 to 12.

Don’t worry – you do not have to be a great artist to do this with your child! The designs can be as simple or elaborate as your imagination allows you to be.

When to Face Paint

Face painting as an activity can be done in multiple set-ups. You could organise a fancy dress competition for your toddler, a Saturday afternoon when the neighbour’s children have come over, or a more elaborate paint game set-up for a special occasion like your child’s birthday party.

Another avenue for this activity is during high-profile cricket and football matches. Paint the team flags that the family supports on your child’s cheeks or forehead. It brings in a fun element when watching the match at home.

An Easy Recipe for Homemade Face Paint

You can purchase ready-made face paints, but the recipe for do-it-yourself face paint is simple, involving just a handful of ingredients. Create your base in any of three ways: unscented lotion; safe, fluoride-free toothpaste (avoid mint flavors, as they can make skin tingly); or a combination of cornstarch, flour, and petroleum jelly. For colour, use natural food colouring that you can get at most supermarket stores. You will also need number 2 and 5 paintbrushes and a small round scrap of sponge.

Small brushes help to outline your designs or draw simple tribal designs, while large brushes help you colour a large area of the face quickly. Sponges help you to put colour or foundation on the face and neck quickly – especially important if you have an impatient child in front of you!

Face Painting Designs and Ideas

You might want to do a trial session before actually trying the face paint on your child. Prepare the mixture in a small bowl, look at face painting ideas or designs that you want to try, and draw them on paper first. Try the paint on the back of your hand to check for colour, consistency, and skin reaction. If you are feeling brave after a successful first session, you could try adding glitter powder to add an element of shine for certain characters. Girls just love glitter! Glitter powder is easily available at most stationery stores.

Three girls with faces painted as animals.

Picture by InPhonic.  

A good place to start would be looking at the simple linear designs like tribal paintings as an inspiration. The designs can be sets of three lines across the forehead, cheeks and chin or sets of three bindis at the corner of the eyes and the chin.

After you've had some practice, you can try some more challenging designs. Animals are always very popular, especially butterflies with their brightly coloured wings – ask your daughter to pick two or three of her own favourite colours! Another fun example is this dog:

So, pick up the brush, mix up some paint and have fun face painting! Remember that you don’t have to worry about any possible stains from the face paint with Surf excel!