How to Start a Face Painting Business

June 23, 2018 768 views

Image of someone painting the face of a child

Starting a Face Painting Business, Here’s What to Know

Face Painting Business Overview:

Body painting is a form of art, considered by some as the most ancient form of art. The paint is temporary and lasts for a few hours.

Actors and clowns around the world have painted their faces and bodies for centuries.

Face and body paintings are typically worn at football matches, at parties, and at certain festivals. In recent years, this has become very popular among children at theme parks, parties, and festivals throughout the Western world.

Small designs are easy to paint and require little more than basic supplies. If you want to venture into the world of face paints, small designs are the easiest place to start.

Without formal training, it is still possible to create simple designs that are also eye-catching and beautiful. Cheek art is the best way to accomplish appealing designs.

One of the biggest benefits of developing simple (or cheek art) is saving time. In a fraction of the time, you can paint a small design or character on a child’s cheek or arm and generate the same kind of “wow” that you would if you spent longer painting an elaborate full-face design.

Versatility is a big advantage with simple small designs. These can be adapted and painted on the face/cheek, neck, shoulder, legs, and arms. A simple snake looks fantastic slithering up the arm. A rose or other flower looks beautiful on the shoulder.

The skill needed for this kind of business does not require complicated designs. Since the paint will last until the patron chooses to wash it off, the designs should be simple yet fun and attractive. It can be as simple as stars, butterflies, flowers, or patterns that are colorful.

Skill Set:
  • Setup and takedown of tents/awnings
  • Artistic skill
  • Patience
  • Great with children
  • Marketing and promotion
Employee and Job Consideration During The Start-Up Phase or In The Future:
Approximate Daily Hours Needed:

General Hours of Operation – Variable hours during the week, weekends, and holidays. It all depends on the events that take place.

Equipment, Supplies, & Services During Start-up or In The Future:
  • Small, angled paintbrushes of various sizes with soft bristles
  • Face paint
  • Vinegar to clean brushes in between uses
  • Hair clips
  • Sanitizing hand wipes (to remove mistakes and cleanse the face prior to painting) and/or baby wipes
  • Color wheel
  • Glitter
  • Cotton balls or pads
  • Sponges
  • Paper towels
  • Chairs
  • Tables
  • Awning or tent
  • Money pouch or lockbox
  • Design Portfolio
  • Mirror
  • Liquid sanitizers in containers for brushes and sponges
  • Small trash can or bin
  • Stencils
  • Stamps
  • Digital camera/SmartPhone
  • Portable fan
  • Portable printer (can charge extra for prints)
  • Office Equipment
Monthly Expenses and Operating Costs To Consider:

In addition to our list of common business expenses, your face painting business will require a budget for the ongoing cost of acquiring various Supplies, fuel, tent or awning/table/chairs rental, permits, etc.


See Our Page on Licenses and Permits

Tips & Considerations:
  • When you have mastered some of the more popular designs and have booked your first job, you need to make a great impression. Show up on time. Be prepared. Dress casually, yet not inappropriately.
  • The first thing to do when using face paint is to visualize the finished face before actually starting to paint. Children are not very patient and will not appreciate it if they have to hold their face still while you stop to think. It is also difficult to correct yourself if you change your mind while painting.
  • Find something nice to say to every single child. Do not skip a single child. Mention her outfit, his hair, cool shoes, or whatever else you can find. Parents love it when people notice their child. You need to make every single child smile and feel good. Do not just sit silently and paint like a robot; you can put an end to your business quickly by not making a connection with each child. Many people would never hire someone like that, but they would hire someone who made their child feel good. It is amazing how many face painters don’t seem to enjoy children. Your business will explode if parents find out you were nice to their child.
  • Face painting design supplies should include good paintbrushes. Good paintbrushes will have the bristles securely fastened into the brush end so that the bristles don’t fall out and become part of the face painting design.
  • Most places that you perform will require proof of liability insurance in case something happens. If you are painting a child, explain to him or her the necessity of remaining still. A child who is constantly moving, or makes rapid movements, can muddle the design. Worse, the paint may get into their eyes, or your painting tools may cause bruising or cuts. You will need to position yourself comfortably before you start. If you are in an uncomfortable position, you can injure the person while moving.
  • It is an excellent idea to use a white base coat under any bright colors; it will avoid staining the skin. If you want full color, then begin with a thin layer and apply a second coat when it is dry. Use a thin layer of paint, as a thick layer can crack and spoil the design.
  • Avoid symmetrical designs such as butterflies until you are more experienced. Animal designs make good ideas for beginners, as it is not necessary to have both sides on the animal face matching perfectly.
  • Supplement your basic skills by using temporary tattoos and stamps. They are available in a wide range of designs.
  • Clean your hands to avoid infections, and germs transferring from one child to the next. You can use soap, water, or hand sanitizers in between sessions.
  • Remember all face paints should state on the labels that they are face paints, and they are safe to use on skin.
  • Start out with two or three paintbrushes, and a small range of colors. Most basic palettes have white, black, green, red, yellow, purple, and orange.
Pros and Cons:

The Pros:

  • Easy to get into
  • Low-Cost Start-up
  • You have the advantage of being your own boss and setting your own hours
  • If you like children, You get to work with kids of all ages
  • Fun and lucrative job
  • Expandable

The Cons:

  • Children might be unreasonable to deal with or not sit still
  • You could be working outdoors in all types of weather
Type of Customers:

If you are a mom or a dad, you are in a good position to start building your customer base. All you have to do is hand out your card and tell everyone you come in contact with that you are going to start offering services for children’s parties and other gatherings.

Parents that you know will already have a sense of familiarity with you that will help you to get work. This is your advantage over other face painters that they don’t know. And remember, if you do a great job, mommy marketing can spread the word about you faster than anything else!

Also, your customers can be found at fairs, church events, carnivals, festivals, sporting, and Fourth of July events.

Design Ideas:

Face painting continues to be one of the most-requested birthday party events for children as well as for other events and holidays such as Halloween.

The most popular, designs are simple:

  • Hearts: Whether the symbol of love is worn on Valentine’s Day or just because a classic painted red heart is a simple design that requires little skill.
  • Balloons: Balloons are a very popular small face paint design. Balloons can be painted alone in a group and can be painted in varied colors. A simple white string painted beneath each balloon or bunched together makes this design perfect for a clown, circus or festival dress-up theme or celebration.
  • Race cars: Race cars are a popular choice for boys of all ages. While a specific car may require extra detail and ornament, a basic car can be represented by drawing the body, wheels and a bumper. Adding flames to this simple design takes the whole design up a notch!
  • Smiley: Although often overlooked, a timeless smiley face is one of the easiest and most cheerful small designs. A round yellow circle gets paired with black eyes and a black curved smile and represents not only happiness. A smiley face is a great choice for 70’s inspired costumes and parties, especially when paired with the beloved peace symbol.
  • Stars: Yellow stars can look very feminine or magical, depending on the placement and the number you paint. A single star makes a bold statement when painted solo on the cheek, while a flurry of stars sends an enchanting message. No matter the recipient, stars are always a winner.
  • Sports: For active kids, a sports-themed design is an obvious choice! A soccer ball, basketball, football, or baseball can be painted on the cheek to show off the recipient’s love of a sport. Each of these athletic balls is easy to paint and require little more than a few select paint colors.
  • Spiders: A simple black spider is a fast face painting design that can make a big impact come Halloween. Witches, goblins, and zombies can all wear a painted spider to add to their costume design.
  • If you’re at a loss as to what designs to start painting, look for the popular kids’ shows, & movies. What is the hottest kids’ movie playing right now? What about the funniest animated show? Classic children’s television programming is also a great place to start. Particularly for preschoolers, the characters are very simple in nature and therefore fairly easy to replicate.
  • A clown face is a simple design. Since clowns can be happy, sad, silly, or goofy, this one simple design with a few adjustments around the mouth is a great design to have in your arsenal. A bright red nose, a larger-than-life red mouth (paint around the outside of the lips), a large white area surrounding the red mouth, oversized eyebrows and some eye lines that extend from the outside of the eye toward the temples altogether make a simple clown design that will get rave reviews.
  • Turning a little girl into a fairy princess is as simple as a few feathery lines around the eyes, with starbursts at the end of each line and a bit of glitter.
  • Painting a pretend bracelet or necklace is a simple design yet very unique. Start by painting pearl-sized dots around the wrist or neck and “dangle” a painted heart, peace sign, or other “charm” from the painted “jewelry.”
  • Try a simple rainbow… a classic, but always popular. Paint red, yellow, green and blue ‘horseshoe’ shapes and add two little white puffs for clouds at the end of each side of the rainbow.

Once you start, you may find your love for the craft takes over. While a career in face painting can be a lucrative one (about $150 per hour per event), and you can also find steady work (even if just volunteer) at churches, festivals, and school functions.


Business Articles and Tips:

5 ways to make money face painting |

Face Painting Business Tips on Pinterest | Pinterest

Face painting tips, tricks, and tools | Nelliebellie.com

A Face Painter’s Professional Tools and Tricks Lilly | Face Painting

Facepainting Top 10 Tips | Buddingstars.com

Life, Art, and Face Paint | Looking Glass Painting.blogspot.ca

Face Painting Books:

Face Painting: Over 30 faces to paint, with simple step-by-step instructions

Extreme Face Painting: 50 Friendly & Fiendish Step-by-Step Demos

Fun Face Painting Ideas for Kids: 40 Step-by-Step Demos

The Usborne Book of Face Painting (Activity Books)

Extreme Face Painting: 25 Friendly Step-by-Step Demos (Enhanced Edition) eBook

How You Can Make Money From Face Painting eBook


Face Paint Forum | Face Paint Forum.com

Advice starting my own facepainting business | Netmums.com


Face painting supplies Canada | Face Painting Supplies.ca

Professional Face Painting Supplies with Name Brands for Less | Face Paint.com

Silly Farm Supplies Inc | Silly Farm.com

Face Painting Supplies & Stencils | Professional Face Paint


FACE – The International Face Painting Association

Established Businesses & Websites:

Painted Kids | Janice Paterson’s Face Painting

Joyful Face Painting – Val Martens Face Painting Services

Party business magic face painting & balloons | Party Business.net

Froggle Parties | Kids Parties

Franchise Opportunities:

Own a Cats Whiskers Face Painting Franchise | Cats Whiskers.biz | UK

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Face Painting on Youtube:

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