Building the Ultimate Face Painting Kit!

ultimate face painting kit blog post by anna wilinski

Are you a new artist trying to figure out a plan for your dream face painting kit? Are you a pro who has redesigned you kit 10 times and still thinks there has to be a better way? I have been face painting for 30 years and I have had more kit set ups than I can remember. I know that I struggled with keeping my kit clean and organized while on the job and kept trying to come up with ways to have everything I needed in my kit, but not so much that I would break my back lugging it into a gig. We are going to go over what you really need in your kit, how to keep those things organized and I will show you some real face painting kits of all sizes!

WHAT ESSENTIAL ITEMS SHOULD I HAVE IN MY FACE PAINTING KIT?

Every face painting kit will need the basic paints and tools so that you can paint a variety of designs and keep things clean and organized. Here are the bare bones items that you will need to get started spreading smiles with your talent and high quality face and body paints!

Primary Colors and More 

Fusion body art primary colors Jest Paint

You need to have black and white! Believe it or not, these two colors are the most popular ones that we sell at Jest Paint! Why? Black and white run out the fastest in most face painting kits because they are used in almost every single design.    You will need white for mixing in with other colors to lighten them up, for highlighting your designs and for bases, like skulls, vampires, and muzzles of animals, spidy guy eyes and so much more. Black is the go to color for bold outlining. You will also use it for shading and painting tattoo style designs, tribal designs, animals and super heroes like venom, batman and ninja masks.

   If you decide to just get a small palette with a variety of colors please consider getting extra black and white so that you don’t run out of those vital colors while the rest of your color pots are still half full.

   You will want a selection of colors that can create any color in the rainbow when combined and that are in containers big enough that you can load a 1” brush or face painting sponge. 

   Don't stick with just Red, Yellow and Blue, even though art class may have taught you that you can paint any color in the rainbow with them.  In general, hand mixing red and white or red and blue to make pink and purple will be less vibrant than the Pink and Purple that you can get already made. Mixing Fresh Blue with Bright Yellow makes a nice green, so if you are trying to save money you can skip out on a green. Just remember if you want to paint fast, hand mixing takes extra time, so only be skimpy with colors if you have to.

   Here is an example of colors you can make with just red, yellow white and blue compared to the Fresh Green, Fresh Blue, Magic Magenta and Pink Sorbet. You can also see how the primary colors look if you try to lighten them with white by looking at the bottom half of the large circles. 

Mixing face paints fusion body art anna wilinski

   My favorite red is Cardinal Red by Fusion Body Art. It is perfect in my opinion! Cardinal Red is super bright, easy to wash off and looks great on a range of skin tones.

   My Favorite Blue is Fusion Fresh Blue. Santi actually hand-mixed this color to create the bright blue we were dreaming of and Fusion Body Art produced it! It is perfect for superheroes and it really pops when you apply it with a sponge or brush! 

   Yellow is one of the trickiest face paint colors. Finding a super solid yellow that is happy and opaque is a difficult task. I love Fusion Bright Yellow.  It has such punch and makes my tigers pop! 

   Fusion Magenta Magic and Fusion Prime Royal Purple are my favorites. I also love Pink Sorbet, but you can make a nice light pink by mixing white with the Magenta Magic too. 

   Another color to consider is Pearl Fairy White by Fusion. You can mix this with your matte colors to give them a pearly sheen. You can make silver by mixing in a little black, or a light gold by mixing it with yellow. 

   If you only work with split cakes then you can pass on these solid colors, except for the black and white, which is essential, but be warned, some designs...like a zebra, witch, zombie or vampire might be hard to do with just split cakes.

 

1 STROKE SPLIT CAKES & RAINBOW CAKES

Small Split Cakes for 1 Stroke Face Painting

one strokes by fusion body art must have rainbow cakes

   To get started in the amazing world of 1 stroke face painting, choose a split cake palette or 8 or so small split cakes that have all of the basic color combos that you will need for boy and girl designs. Think about the most popular designs and get some cakes that match. If you are looking for a simple palette to just test the waters,  the Fusion Rainbow Burst Face Painting Palette has the best color range to meet your needs! If you want larger cakes and more options check my list of must have cakes below. Face Paint Strokes

Basic Rainbow – When a little kid or adult asks for a rainbow, split cakes come to the rescue! The days of applying each color one by one are long gone! This gradient will have an overall ROYGBIV (red, orange, yellow, green, blue Indigo and violet) rainbow look but could have slight variations and still work! You are going to use this for super fast rainbow cheek art designs that could end up flowing all around the face for bright eyes masks! My two favorite basic rainbow style cakes with some neon colors are Leanne’s Neon Rainbow (pictured above and below) and Leanne’s Lollipop! If you want a cake without neons go for a cake like Leanne’s Rainbow in regular colors. I love Leanne’s rainbows in both styles because they have wide stripes of yellow in them. Yellow can get eaten up by the surrounding colors, so the more yellow the more it will pop once you swipe it off of your brush. Here is a sample of a design done by Leanne herself using her neon version of the cake. 

Leannes Neon Rainbow face paint butterfly Fusion body art

Design by Leanne Courtney using Leanne's Neon Rainbow 

Pink/Red or Pink/Purple Gradient – You will find out that a lot of little kids are going to ask for pink flowers, fairies, crowns, unicorns, butterflies, kittens and more! This is a top color choice, so you want to make sure that you have a cake with pink and red or pink and purple in it. I use Fusion Rich Orchid and Bold Rose a lot when I get that pink request! 

Toya Murtaza

Design by Toya Murtaza using Fusion Flower Fields

 

Blue Gradient – Ever since the movie Frozen came out, the demand for magical ice queens has increased astronomically! You are going to save a lot of time and impress a lot off princesses if you have a nice blue gradient cake for quick crowns and eye designs! The blue gradient is also perfect for dolphins, sharks, flowers, butterflies, dragons, snakes, waves, flames, superhero eye masks and more!  I love Fusion Frozen Queen the most! The dark blue edge works as an out line color since it is so bold. 

Design by Banana Gum - Mai Park

Flame Gradient – You are going to use this cake for flames behinds sports cars, balls, skulls, or just  a bunch of flames running up the arm. You will also love this cake for full face tigers, super heroes, and your usual cheek art designs like flowers, fall leaves, dragons, butterflies, hearts etc. Fire Flames by Fusion is one of my favorites. The black edge means no outlining needed!

Laura Oliver Dragon Face Paint design fusion body art

Design by Laura Oliver using Fusion Fire Flames

Green Gradient – This is a MUST MUST have cake!! You will use it for leaves, snakes, frogs, dragons, vines, lizards, superheroes, feathers and garden fairy eye masks. You can get them with a black edge, like Fusion Jungle Snake, or you can get other styles with a green edge. Click here to see all of our green gradients!

Green gradient monster

Design by Anna Wilinski using Fusion Sea Creatures

Black Gradient – This is not an essential color combo, but if you have it in your kit you will find that you use it a lot for one stroke dragons, robots, sharks, animals, and Gothic floral designs.  Magpie by TAG is one option, though we have many  black gradients is to choose from at Jest Paint!  

laura oliver flower face paint tag magpieDesign by Laura Oliver using TAG Magipie

Brown Gradient - If you plan on painting one stroke animals like bears, dogs, cats etc.  I also use it for palm tree trunks, sandy beaches and full face animals. Furry Critters or Nat's Gold Collection in Tigress are perfect!  

Nats Gold collection face paint fusion

Design by Natalee Davies using Nats Gold Tigress

Large Rainbow Cakes for Face Painting Full Faceslarge fusion rainbow cakes

 

(Fusion 50 gram cakes pictured above, Unicorn SparksGlowing Tiger, Frozen Shimmer, and Power Princess.)

If you plan on sponging on bases for rainbow butterflies and animals pick up a variety of large 50 gram rainbow cakes. Think of you most popular designs and get a few gradient and rainbow cakes to match. One of the most popular gradient cakes we sell are orange and yellow ones for tigers, butterflies and lions.

Orange gradient face paint Fusion body art Tiger face painting design     

 Coming in second place is blue gradients for Frozen princesses, mermaids, sea monsters, and super heroes. You can get blue gradients in pearl colors or matte colors!  

   fusion frozen shimmer face paint cat

Design by Anna Wilinski using Fusion Frozen Shimmer

You will also want one with pink and purple for pretty kitties and butterflies. Beyond gradients, kids will point at any super bright traditional rainbow cake for their designs! The Fusion Bright Rainbow cake below is very versatile because you can use one side for blue/green designs too!

jest paint fusion demo bright rainbow face paint

Design by Anna using Fusion Bright Rainbow

If you would like some extra cakes the sunset gradients look amazing on all skin types, and a green gradient is great for super heroes, ninja turtles, dragons and monsters!

Elodie Ternois lodie up summer sunset fusion rainbow cake

Design by Elodie Ternois using Fusion Summer Sunrise

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED IN MY FACE PAINTING KIT?face painting kit tools

You will need to keep your brushes, sponges and water easy to access in your face painting kit. I have tried everything for my brushes, and I finally got a TAG Brush Wallet and I don't need anything else. It is perfect for keeping a good range of brushes organized and at hand. If you need bigger loops for bigger brushes you can pop the stitching and have bigger loops in no time. Just make sure to get in the habit to of putting your brushes back in the wallet and not setting them down around your kit. I keep them organized by size and I talk to myself while working to help keep my things in order. When I am done using a brush I say out loud...Okay the little brush goes over on this side so that I can find it next time. The kids seem to like to listen to my mix of funny patter and reminders to keep myself organized.  

Beyond the brush wallet get some mesh bags for your sponges. You can have a different bag for each style of sponge so that you don't waste time digging through a mixed bag trying to find a specific sponge. The mesh bags are great because you can wash your sponges later in soap and hot water and let them air dry in the bags in the sunlight or next to a heater or fan. 

You will need some wash tubs to rinse your brushes. You can use sturdy opaque cups, Loew Cornell brush tubs with ridges on the bottom to help loosen the paint faster, or you can use something like the Masterson Rinse Well, which gives you clean flush of water for each client. You will also want a dump bucket to put your dirty water and sponges into while working and a mist bottle to spray your sponges, paint or brushes to get things moist. 

face painting sponges jest paint splash petal sponges

I use Splash petal sponges and half moon sponges, and I also have a bag for small round daubers for stenciling. I also use a lot of Bolt Face Painting Brushes in all shapes and sizes.

face painting brushes what ones to buy Bolt Brush

You will at least want some round, flat and blender brushes to get started. A Blooming Brush is perfect for double dip flowers!

Blooming brush double dip flowers bolt brushes

 Flowers by Anna Wilinski using the Firm Bolt Blooming  Brush
Face Painting Stencils aren't an essential item in your face painting kit, but if you learn how to use them correctly they will open up your design options and help you paint things that you have struggled with for years. They are also great for quickly adding textures like scales and stars!
Stencil TAP Fairy face painting design by Anna Wilinski
Design by Anna using the Sitting Pretty Fairy TAP Stencil

Don't forget the face painting glitter! Here are some samples of the different glitter we carry at Jest Paint. We have loose glitter and glitters suspended in gel and a wax base. Holographic White glitter like Jest Glitz Fairy Sparks is a must, but you can also expand with all sorts of colors and sizes. After white, glitters in pinks, purples and blues will sure to be the the biggest hit in your kit! Click here to see our glitter gels and cremes . Click here to see our dry loose chunky glitters. Click here to see our dry loose fine cosmetic glitters.  Always be careful using glitter around the eye area. We recommend applying dry glitter to wet face paint to help it stick to the skin. 

types of glitter

The last thing I recommend is any type of sanitizing spray to keep your kit clean and hand sanitizer. Parents and will appreciate that you are taking steps to keep your hands, paints and kit sanitary. We carry a large variety of sanitation supplies at Jest Paint, along with masks and shields. 

HOW SHOULD I SET UP MY FACE PAINT KIT?

When you design your face painting kit, the number one thing to consider is how big do you want it to be. Think about the size of your car, how much weight you can easily lift, and how you will transport it to the places you need to set up at. Do you have room in your car for just a few tote bags or do you have a van where you can load up a Mac Wagon, Craft and Go and directors chair? Many face painters have two different cases so that they can go big for festivals or locations that they can drive right up to the place they need to set up, and then they have smaller kits for tight spaces in a room at a private party, or if they have to carry their kit by hand up a large stair case to get to a collage event etc. Make sure to always ask your clients how far the parking is from the place you need to set up, and the size of the set up area so that you know what kit to bring. Otherwise just always have a small kit like the one below that you can take anywhere.

The kit above is what I use for most events. I set it up on a folding tripod table covered in a bright table cloth. I keep my purse, coat and dump bucket under the table cloth. For transport I use a directors chair that I take on my back using the Back Strap, and I carry the folded table in one hand and the tote in the the other with all of my supplies. I can take this kit anywhere since it is pretty light weight. If I have to go a really long distance walking I load it all into a grocery bag on wheels.  Since I have a lot more face paints than what is in this kit, every week I switch out the rainbow cakes to keep things interesting for me! 

face painting kit sophia vega

Sophia Vega's husband found this large case with wheels and a handle for free! She gutted the lining and added sheet metal to the lid and magnets to her paints, she bought Ikea bags for her sponges and a letter holder from Ikea to hold her brush wallet. For about $40 she had an amazing kit! Always keep your eyes open, you never know what you will find to build the kit of your dreams!

You can save some weight by re-potting your large single colors into some compact kits like Sophia did. If you keep your colors organized so the warm colors are together and the cool colors are together it will be easier to find the color you need while you are working. One benefit of these styles of kits is that as long as your paints are stuck in their containers really well, you don't have to lid them between gigs. This saves a lot of time setting up and closing down. 

lily santoya face painting kit

This fabulous Craft-N-Go set up by Lily Santoya has less face paint than the previous kit and a lot more stencils and glitter! These cases come in a few styles and most have legs attached and wheels so that you just need to close the lid, bag up your extra stuff and you are ready to go.You can pack a ton of paint in them, so load it up depending on how strong you are feeling and how much paint you have.

 Lily used velcro to attach her most popular stencils to the the inside of the lid so that they are easy to find. If you are interested in adding face painting stencil to your kit, make sure to check out blog post of face painting with stencils.

Lily re-potted her solid colors in a silicone ice cube tray.  She also snuck the Color Me Pro Palette by Elisa Griffith and some split cake palettes in her kit!

Every face painting kit should have a dark colored towel to wipe paint off of your finger tips and to clean up any spills that might happen when you are changing your water, or using liquid products. Baby wipes or paper towels are also great for cleaning off little faces or cleaning your hands. You will also want some type of hand sanitizing liquid to use between clients. Now a days having a kit and makeup sanitizing spray like Graftobian Makeup and Surface Sanitizing Spray  In the wake of Covid-19 it will help kill the germs in your kit and create peace of mind for your clients and yourself. 

face painting kit ideas jest paint

Professional Tip: Be aware that re-potting your paints voids the manufacturers warranty, and some containers are made of plastics that do not work well with face paint and they may alter the face paint, or the face paint may alter the plastic.Also, re-potting might not work well with dry brittle paints or super soft paints. Check with your Entertainers liability insurance to see if they will cover you if you re-pot your paints. If you choose to re-pot look for food grade plastic containers that you know other artists have had success with. We also have inserts by the Art Factory that are made of a plastic that is perfect for the job. Click here to see their Rainbow Inserts

WHAT ARE SOME BASIC FACE PAINT KITS THAT I COULD BUY AT JEST PAINT?

If you are a new face painter, or you want face paint for a Halloween design or a child's birthday party, you can check out our beginner face painting kits here. Below are some samples of the basics you will need, depending on your face painting style. They are perfect for a few birthday parties or many Halloween makeovers. These small kits makes perfect gifts for young budding artist as well!  The professional face painting kit with full size solids is great for body painters or face painters who are working a lot of events every weekend. If you are just dabbling in face paint, check out the smaller kits. 

Basic set ups face painting kits

Whew! I hope you found this blog post about face painting kits helpful. Please email me with any questions at anna@jestpaint.com . I am super happy to chat over your dream kit ideas!  Happy Painting!

Next article Face Painting Classes: Free and Paid

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