Art Of War For Face Painters: The Emergency Kit

Problem: The forgetful performer

While face painting for a small birthday party, the other performer, a balloon twister, approaches you with a problem. She has an event right after this one, and she has forgotten her small face painting kit. While her next client may not ask for face painting as well as balloon twisting, she’s worried that if he does, there’s no way she’ll be able to provide the service which was mentioned in their original agreement. There is no time for her to go to a store and buy supplies, even if she could find a store which carries the professional paints she’s accustomed to. Can you spare a few items to help her out?

Solution: Carry a small, basic emergency kit

We’ve all forgotten a part of our kit at one time or another, whether it’s brushes, sponges, or even chairs (my personal oops). We all know that dread that hits an artist right in the pit of the stomach when she realizes she’s forgotten an important piece of equipment, and she’s concerned she’ll look like an amateur rather than a professional because of her mistake.

While it’s a good idea to go over a checklist right before you run out the door, it’s also a smart plan to carry a small emergency kit in your car, just in case. The checklist will help you keep from forgetting important equipment, but the advantage of the emergency kit is that it can help others as well, because if you have one with you, you can lend or sell it to another performer without having to deplete supplies you will need for your next event.

Emergency kit components

If you’re the kind of person who brings everything with you, remember that the kit is just a lifeline to get you through an event. It doesn’t need to be huge to be effective, and it doesn’t have to have every piece of equipment you normally use for an event. At the least, it should have the following items:

Small round brushes (1 or 2)
Medium round brushes (1 or 2)
Large round brushes (1 or 2)
Small filbert
Large filbert
1/2-inch flat brush
3/4-inch or 1-inch flat brush
Ten to fifteen sponges
Holographic white cosmetic glitter
A small palette of face paint colors
White face paint for lining (such as Cameleon, Diamond FX, or Wolfe)
Black face paint for lining (such as Cameleon, Diamond FX, or Wolfe)
One large rainbow split cake
One small rainbow split cake
Two or three of your most used small split cakes (like green for snakes and blue for dolphins)
• Two or three paper towels
• A water bottle
• A collapsible water container

Your emergency kit doesn’t have to have brand new supplies in it, either. This kit is a good place for rainbow cakes or split cakes which are close to running out. The most important thing to keep in mind is that face paint generally has an expiration date, so you should replace the emergency kit materials each year so they don’t get too old to use.

Consider powders

Another great option for an emergency kit, now that Mehron has introduced it’s Intense powders, is to use a palette of these powders combined with your lining white and black. If you choose a powder palette, you’ll need to add some smoothie blenders to the list above.

Don't leave glitter tattoo adhesive in your car in freezing weather

If you feel you need an emergency glitter tattoo kit as well, remember that if glitter tattoo adhesive freezes, it must be thrown out. For those of you who live in cold weather climates, you won’t want to leave the adhesive in your car once the temperature drops.

It could happen to anyone

While it’s true that you aren’t responsible for setting things right when other performers forget equipment, you’ll probably make some good friends if you’ve put yourself in a position to help others when they need it. Also, for those times when you are forgetful yourself, you won’t be at the mercy of other performers and what supplies they happen to have available if you need them. Either way, you’re sure to be thankful at some point in the future that you assembled a small emergency kit for those forgetful days.

Beth MacKinney is the owner of and primary face painter for Face Paint Pizzazz in the NW Chicago suburbs. Stop by to see other face painting tutorials by Beth. 

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