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.

SuperHero Super 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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