Video: Face Paint Equipment for the Halloween Mom

The Halloween mom generally wants to create some fun, simple designs for her children to complement their costume. Below is a list of basic supplies you'll need to do some basic face painting, depending on the designs you choose for your children. 

So today we're going to go over the bare basics that you need to do some designs. So it's going to depend a lot on what designs you want to do on your children, but I've got a few things here that are my real basic things.


So one thing you'll already have in your home and that you'll need is paper towel. You're also going to need wet wipes. In addition to that, things that you'll need to find are face paints. The quality of the face paint is going to help determine the quality of the work that you do.

Face Paints:

Some face paints are easier to use than others, the professional level are definitely easier to use and will give you better results. If you've tried off-brands in the store, I really don't suggest those. There's a reason that professional face painters don't use them - because they don't work well.

So I have a couple of palettes here. It's a good idea to get a small palette. You don't need to do hundreds and hundreds of faces, so I would suggest getting a small palette. This one here has 12 colors, a Kryvalline palette. There are other brands like Wolfe,  Diamond FX, or TAG, and these are all really good brands to use.

If you're going to be doing a design like a tiger, you need orange, yellow, white, and black. So this palette has all of those things. If you're going to be doing a princess design, you may want to invest in a different kind of palette. This one is a split cake palette. You don't need one that has as many as this, this one has 12. You definitely need the white and black face paints, but you can pick up just one split cake.

Brushes and Sponges:

Something else you're going to need is equipment to actually put the design on the face. If you're doing a tiger for example, you would use a sponge. So here I have a half circle sponge, and you're going to load the side edge usually with your paints of orange, yellow, and maybe a white at the edge. You can load the colors onto the sponge individually or you can use a split cake that has all of those colors.

You'll probably need a couple of sponges, unless you want to wash between them. Then, after you do your design, what would be left would be black. Do the tiger stripes using a round brush. You might have some of these at home, but again, the quality of your brushes will make a big difference in the quality of the line that you are able to produce.

I use the Loew-Cornell gold handle when I'm doing tigers. I use them a lot for my line work, but this is a #5 brush. So you'll need a #5 or a #6 to paint tiger stripes. It's a good middle-of-the-road brush size. I really suggest practicing on paper a little bit so you can get better at the design.

Say your child wants a princess design. I already talked about the small split cakes. You can buy them individually, or you can buy them in a palette, and you can also buy them in a smaller palette. You don't have to get the really large palette with all the different split cakes. But if you're going to use a small split cake, you're going to need a large flat brush.

Either a 3/4 inch in width, or a 1 inch in width. It will take a little time to learn how to use it on the face, but usually when you're using this kind of a brush, you're making your princess design on the forehead, and then you're also loading it really well with face paint. It's really important with this kind of brush, to have the face paint all the way onto the brush, and be sure that it's properly loaded.

If you're a little concerned about using the brush near the eye, you can always load a sponge and put some color over the eyes to make it look a little more like eyeshadow.


So if you're going to be making princess designs, you're probably going to want glitter. I would highly suggest that you make sure that your glitter is cosmetic grade glitter - craft glitter is not safe to be used on the eyes. It's made of materials that you don't want in or around the eye, and it's cut differently. So make sure that if you are going to be doing face painting and using glitter, it is cosmetic grade.

Butterfly Design:

Another design that is very popular with children, especially girls, is a butterfly, although I do a fair amount of these on boys as well. If you're going to be doing a butterfly, I would suggest getting a tear drop shaped sponge. It's much, much easier to do it with a tear drop because these sponges are shaped very much like a butterfly wing.

You can use the palette that has several different colors on them, but it's also a lot easier if you have a split cake. So if you know what the child wants, then you can just purchase the correct color split cake. Then you load your sponge from that split cake, and then you put it on the eye (the small part goes in the corner), and then you go around the eye, and you can do a smaller butterfly shape underneath the eye.


For your outline, I suggest using either white, black, or metallic. My first thought would be white, because it's the most forgiving. If you do all of your outline and design in white, it usually shows up really well on virtually every skin tone, and it's forgiving. If you make an error, it's very easy to wipe off with a wet wipe real quick, and make a quick change. Black is a lot harder to get off, so it all depends what you prefer for your design, or you can use colors for the outside too.

Pirate and Superhero Designs:

Finally, I'm going to talk about two other kinds of designs that are pretty popular, especially with boys, although again, they are pretty popular with girls as well. This would be pirates and superheroes.

If you're going to be doing a pirate or a superhero, I suggest getting a half inch brush. You can use a half inch Filbert, which has a curve on the top, or you can use a half inch flat brush. I like the flats, I use them a lot, but I do use Filberts as well.

If you're doing a pirate, you're going to want to load with red from your color palette, and you're going to do the part above. You can use a sponge to do the black over the eye. If you don't want to get near the eye, you can just draw the patch around the eye. You can also do a mustache and a beard.

If you're doing superheroes, you're going to again, most likely use a half inch brush or sponge to apply the base of the mask. Then you're going to do the outline with a small round brush. This is a #2 round brush that I use for outlining superhero designs. A lot of times I'll use a liner which has longer bristles, but I don't suggest that for someone who doesn't paint normally, because the advantage for me as a professional, is it'll hold a lot of paint and I can get a lot more done without having to go back to my palette.

For someone that's a beginner painter, or doesn't paint regularly, it's easier to use a shorter bristle brush, because it's easier to control. So for your outlines and details, you'll use a short bristle brush, and for the base paint, you'll use a flat brush or a sponge.

Depending on your budget, if you're going with a very small budget, you'll probably want to stick to a palette, a brush or two, and maybe a sponge and possibly some glitter.


If you want to take it up a little bit more and make it a little bit more special, you can use stencils. This is a stencil with little dots, and I use this stencil a lot for superheroes. Because after I do the mask design, I'll take black, I'll put it on a sponge or a dauber, I'll hold the stencil in place, and you want to make sure that you do not have the paint very wet on that sponge, it needs to be very dry when you do this. Hold the stencil in place and add some black dots. Then you carefully pull the stencil away and let it dry and it adds a little cool texture, which looks great on superhero masks.

If you're doing a princess design, and your little girl like swirlies, there are several stencils that are similar to the one I have, but I really suggest these. You can put it on the forehead, you can add it around the cheekbones, the temple area, etc... 

If you're going to do anything reptilian or monster-like, you would need just your regular color palette, and greens, and maybe some yellows for highlight. But if you want to add some texture, and make it really cool looking, this is the reptile stencil. These are probably the three most used stencils that I, as a face painter use. I've got tons of stencils, but these are the ones I use a lot.

Basic Supplies:

• Paper towels 
Small round brush (#2 round brush)
Larger round brush (#5 or #6 round brush)
1/2-inch flat or filbert brush 
Sponge (half-circle)
Petal sponge
Small face painting palette of basic colors
Small split cake (single or palette)
• Water container for rinsing brushes
• Small spritz bottle
Cosmetic grade glitter

Face Painting Tutorials:

• Superheroes


Beth MacKinney is the owner of and primary face painter for Face Paint Pizzazz in Elgin, Illinois, and her artwork has appeared in The Colored Palette and SkinMarkz magazines. She services the western and northwestern Chicago suburbs, Chicago’s north side, and the eastern and southeastern suburbs of Rockford. Stop by to enjoy more of Beth’s face painting tutorials.