Bubblehead Iron Man tutorial

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My daughter suggested I try some bubbleheads this week. I wasn’t sure what she meant when she first suggested this until she explained that she was talking about a character with a perfect circle as a head, made from using a round sponge or pouncer. As it turns out, they were pretty easy to do, so here’s the first in a series of bubblehead characters for you to try out on your own. I like superheroes, so I decided to give Iron Man a go.


Paradise red face paint
Paradise brilliant gold face paint
Diamond FX white face paint
Diamond FX black face paint
Mehron gold powder
Round sponge or pouncer
#5 round brush
#3 round brush
#1 round brush


1. Start with your Paradise brilliant gold, which is an excellent gold when it comes to coverage, and load your round sponge. Before you do this, if you have it, you could spritz some water on your brilliant gold face paint cake and add a little Mehron gold powder if you want for an incredible metallic effect. Always add the water before the powder, because the powder is very light and will fly everywhere if you reverse the order. You’ll also have to work the powder into your face paint a little with your brush before loading your sponge. In the pictures you see for the tutorial, I used the Mehron powder to enhance the gold for my Iron Man

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Using your #5 round brush, create two hand shapes on either side of the bubblehead circle. These will have thumbs on the inside and be facing palm out. Even though you’re going to cover most of the hand with red face paint, it’s easier to establish the shape first with the forgiving gold color rather than the more vibrant red.

2. With the #5 round brush, place a small white dot in the palm of each hand for the repulsers. Load your #3 round brush (or the tip of the #5 round brush) with red and fill in the Iron Man details. He’s going to look a little more chubby than his normal lean, mean Iron Man self since he’s a perfect circle, but he’ll still be recognizable because of the details. On the hand, leave the piece at the base of the thumb gold for this version.

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Once the main details are in place, use your #3 or #1 round brush to fill in two rectangular glowing eyes.

3. Now it’s time for the outlining with your Diamond FX black. Load your #1 round for this and carefully add your details. There are other face paints which work equally well for outlining, such as Wolfe or Cameleon, but I’ve had excellent results from Diamond FX.

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4. As a last step, load your #1 round brush to add highlights to the Iron Man head and hands. To make it extra-dramatic, pick up white with your #3 round brush and pull quick, short strokes from the white dot in the center of each hand to show a powerful surge of charged particles emanating from the repulsers.

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Beth MacKinney is the owner of and primary artist for Face Paint Pizzazz in the NW Chicago suburbs. She also writes for as the Chicago Face Painting Examiner.