PLAYguide: Birthdays

DIY Face Painting

A Step-by-Step Guide to Fun Face Paint

Who hasn’t hung out in an hourlong line waiting to transform her kiddo into a tiger or butterfly? Try your hand at DIY. Following are some professional tips so you can earn some major brownie points with your kiddos. It will take time and practice to get the look you want. Just remember, this is art, keep it fun, and it never has to be perfect.
Words by Tifinie Boutot

The supplies can be bought online or at your local craft store. Please make sure that the face paint you use is hypoallergenic, non-toxic and safe for use on the face. DO NOT USE ACRYLIC OR CRAFT PAINT! These paints are not safe for use on the skin and can cause an adverse reaction or a rash on the person being painted.

I used the following supplies to paint the faces shown:

  • Round brush #4
  • Water-based, hypoallergenic, nontoxic face paint 
  • Round pottery sponge, cut in half
  • Fresh tap water
  • Paper towels
  • Baby wipes


Princess : You can change the colors or add different elements, such as flowers or snowflakes, to make a different princess for each kid.

  1. Start by making a heart in the center of the forehead between the eyebrows using the sponge. Apply some pink to the cheeks.
  2. Use a darker color and a different sponge to apply the color to the top and sides of the heart, forming a triangle.
  3. Using the round brush, outline the heart in the middle and add three teardrops to the top, swirls to the sides of the heart and a starburst to the cheeks.



  1. Start by applying white with the sponge above the eyebrows in a triangle. These are the cat’s ears. Then, add white down the middle of the face to the nose and below the nose for the muzzle.
  2. Add pink to the tip of the nose and the center of each triangle.
  3. Using the brush and black paint, create a half circle around the pink in the ears; then outline the ears. Use a few connecting lines in the middle to create a tuft of fur. Outline the muzzle, and add whiskers and dots to complete the kitty face.



  1. Start with the sponge, making two white triangles above the eyebrows, and apply white under the nose to create the muzzle.
  2. Still using the sponge, fill in the space on the forehead between the white triangles; apply down the nose to the cheeks with orange. Add yellow highlights to the middle of the forehead and cheeks.
  3. Using the brush, outline each white triangle, adding staggered lines to create fur. Then, outline the muzzle, and add black to the tip of the nose.
  4. Add thick, bold lines to each cheek and to the top of the forehead to create the tiger’s stripes.

SuperHeroSuper Hero: You can change the color or add elements, such as lightning bolts or stars, to create different super-hero faces. 

  1. With the brush, create an X in the middle of the face between both eyes using your choice of color for the mask. Draw a half circle from the top part of the X to the bottom. Do this around each eye on both sides.
  2. When you’re done, the line work should make a mask that resembles a sideways figure eight.
  3. Now that your basic layout is complete you can make the mask thicker by tracing over your lines. Add small triangles to the top of the mask and the bridge of the nose, along with highlights for finishing details.


  • Use very small amounts of water. The paint is water-based, so if you have too much water on the sponge or brush, the color will not apply to the face.
  • Have children sit on a tall barstool. This will prevent a backache and, of course, give you a better view of the face.
  • Use baby wipes and Q-tips to clean up lines and sponge work.
  • Only dip the corner of the sponge in the water; then rub the wet edge in the makeup to get the paint color on the sponge.
  • When using the brush, it’s all about the pressure you apply. Little to no pressure will create thin, wispy lines; heavy pressure will create thick bold lines.

Tifinie Boutot has been a professional face painter for over 12 years. Tifinie got her start in the theme parks. She currently teaches face-painting classes at the Florida Film Academy in Winter Garden and also has a face-painting booth at the Central Florida Zoo. Eye Candy Face & Body Art,

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Yappy Dog-Themed Birthday Party


Party planning by Chrissy Allen  •  Photography by Jessica Friend

Guest of Honor:  Thomas Cohen
Age:  6
Family:  The Cohen Family (Credit for family photo)
Theme:  Dogs
Location:  Seasons 52 in Orlando

For the little Fido lover in the family, a yappy dog-themed party is the perfect way to celebrate his or her special day. This party, held at Seasons 52 in Dr. Phillips, came complete with custom dog tags, dog bone cups and a take-home stuffed dog. This party is PAWsitively going to get a lot of little tails wagging — no bones about it!


Party Details:

  • Custom bone table signs (free download) by PLAYGROUND Magazine
  • Balloon bending ($150 for 2 hours) by Twisted Critters (407-738-2912)
  • Food and beverages ($8 to $10 per child; $29+ per adult) from Seasons 52
  • Doggie cake, cake pops and cupcakes donated by Samantha Mincer
  • Black, white and paw print balloons ($10 per 10 balloons) from Publix
  • Build a stuffed doggie ($10 for small dog; $15 for large dog) by The Beartique
  • Take home treat station (items ranged from $1 to $5 each)



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Candy Land Birthday Party


This isn’t your grandma’s candy land; we’re talking supersized sugarlicious fun, the world’s best candy table and a to-die-for chocolate fountain wrapped in a pink tutu. Did we mention the larger-than-life lollipop and gumball machine balloon sculptures, a kiddie drum circle and personalized gumball place mats for take-home gifts? Yep, we told you … OMG!

Party planning by Chrissy Allen  •  Photography by Jessica Friend

Amaya Papaya Play Lounge was the perfect location for this tiny tot’s special day. Catering to the under 6 crowd, Amaya Papaya has age-appropriate toys, such as train tables, a coed dress-up station and even an indoor sandbox! With a built-in sound system and an iPod loaded with the latest kiddie bop, this venue is sure to make your baby boogie! Party packages start at $100.


All hail the kingdom of candy: Sassafras Sweet Shoppe in Winter Park. Nobody does a candy table like the ladies at Sassafras. From cotton candy and candy necklaces to chewy Sweet Tarts, the self-serve candy table was a sweet success. As an added bonus, Sassafras enhanced this table with oversized faux lollipops and retro soda pop décor. Candy tables start at $5 per person.


Two words: chocolate fountain! Seriously, folks, no matter your theme, add a chocolate fountain to your next party, and the kids will freak out! We partnered with RW Chocolate Fountain Rentals to create the mac daddy of all chocolate fountains, embellished with candy necklaces, rock candy, mega candy dots and a hot pink tutu. Kids and adults had a blast dipping gummy bear skewers, fresh strawberries, bananas and marshmallows into a flowing river of yummy chocolate. And if that wasn’t enough, check out the edible pink glitter hearts — adorbs! Chocolate fountain rentals start at $295.




This next detail won’t blow your diet, but it will blow your mind: oversized candy land balloon décor! American Balloon Decor transformed Amaya Papaya into a whimsical playground with ice cream cones, cupcakes, a 7-foot gumball machine, an apple tree, a lifesaver arch, lollipops and candy cane sticks … all made from balloons. The attention to detail was impressive — the apple tree had “apples” that the kids could pick off the tree. If you’re looking for a way to make your next party pop, think balloon décor! Balloon structures start at $75.






As our tiny tribe of toddlers made its way around the party, we created a drum circle pit stop so each kid could rock out. Our lead drummer, Mark DeMaio, owner of 3rd Wheel (drumming) led the jam session with the crew and ended the night with a drum line straight to the cake for the “Happy Birthday” song. Drum with Me Baby (drum circle) is $75 at Amaya Papaya.






The Sweet Details:






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Vintage Carnival Fun


What do you get when you mix old-fashioned root beer floats with bumper cars, a roller coaster and cotton candy cupcakes? Only the hippest vintage carnival-themed birthday party ever! Old Town in Kissimmee is the perfect location. Just throw in an amazing face painter, a balloon bender and Rooty the All American Root Bear, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for vintage fun.

Party planning by Chrissy Allen  •  Photography by Jessica Friend

Guests of Honor: Brady, Delaney and Riley Allen (triplets)
Ages:  6
Theme:  Vintage Carnival
Location: Old Town Theme Park in Kissimmee










Party Details:

  • Cotton candy cupcakes, popcorn cupcakes and snow cone cupcakes ($2.50 to $5 each) by Anna Cakes.
  • Popcorn cupcake printable wrappers (free to download) by Ewehoo!
  • Vintage carnival table signs and gift tags ($45) by Luc & Lilah Events
  • Face painting ($175 for 2 hours) by Amazing Face by Amanda Nelson
  • Balloon bending ($150 for 2 hours) by Twisted Critters (407-738-2912)
  • Food and beverages ($5 per child; $7 per adult) from AW Restaurant at Old Town
  • Unlimited pass ($10 per child; $20 per adult) for Old Town rides
  • No. 6 party favor cookies ($3.50 each) by Cookie Cousins


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