If you've been face painting for any amount of time, you've probably managed to accumulate more equipment that you ever thought possible. While many of those wonderful supplies make what you do easier and better, too much stuff can become a hindrance to your efficiency. If clutter has become a problem for you, check out this video with two strategies for keeping kit clutter under control. (Also, take a moment to check out the Craft N Go featured in the video.)
The two main culprits of kit clutter are either carrying too much stuff with you, or not having an organizational system that will help you keep what you do have with you, organized. So I'm going to give you a brief tour of how I keep organized in my Craft n' Go.
You don't have to use a Craft n' Go. I like it because it has its own built-in legs, which makes it really easy to get to events, and I can just roll it in, pop the legs down, and I don't need a work surface. So that's one of the reasons why I decided to get a Craft n' Go. But there are many homemade systems that are very similar, and that work similarly that you can also use.
Basically, the Craft n' Go is just a place for me to work and to keep everything organized. My Craft n' Go has metal plates, and I also have one on the back, because I like to use magnets to keep my stuff in order. In having the magnetic back, I'm able to carry more things, and even though I have all these extra paints on the back area, they aren't out of order. They're all in order, I know where they are, I can get them when I need them, and they're easily available, but they're up and off my work surface when I'm not using them.
Same thing with my brushes. I have a homemade holder - it's made with foam, and foam core pieces which I painted black, and then I use magnets to hold it in place. It's totally out of the way - I don't have to set it down on my work surface, it's just in place, and when I need the brushes, I can get them out. Even my water bottle has magnets on it, as well as my adhesive - everything that I'm not really going to use a lot, or want out of the way, I can put it up here. My stencils are in a bag with magnets, hand sanitizer, business cards, all that stuff is magnetized and up on the back. So it's accessible, but it's not going to be in the way.
I reserve the work surface for things I use a lot. I put my water wells up, the split cakes, and other solid colors that I use. I have an area where I can lay brushes down, so I have plenty of work space, and thing that I need, I can always just get out. This is a great organizational system.
I've got a lot of stuff here, but because it's all organized, it doesn't look chaotic and everything's in its place, and because I use the system all the time, I know exactly where everything is, and I go straight to it if I need it.
Now not only do I have things up on my work surface, but I have things beneath my work surface. So if I look underneath, I have things like paper towels, dirty sponges, a spare light (which is also magnetized), emergency headlamp, ear plugs, my ingredients list, extra glitters and things. These are not things I'm going to use at every party. Some things I'll just need to take out every once in a while, so I keep those things underneath.
On the other side, again, I have more storage. Here I have things like gems that I use, menus that I frequently use, visual references, lipgloss, some soap for cleaning my brushes, and a couple of extra brushes just in case. Those are not things I use all the time, but I want them accessible.
Now there are times when a large kit isn't going to work well, depending on what you are trying to do. For example, one year I had to go downtown on the train and I thought I'll just bring my Craft n' Go. The Craft n' Go works on the train, but not easily. It was just too big and I should've taken a smaller kit. It was hard to get it through Chicago, so in rethinking that, I would not do that again. I would take a minimal kit, so I have a setup for that.
I have this kit, which is a wooden case, which I love, and inside, I could take that big tray that I have inside, and put all my paint in here, but I don't need to do that. I also have some smaller palettes that work well too. So here I have a Global split cake palette - it's got 10 splits and white and black, and so that's very versatile. I also have some foam dividers. On the other side, I have a mirror for kids to look in, a little package of my most used stencils, a Kryvaline palette, and I also have three of my most used split cakes. I have my water spray bottle, and some glitters, and a water well. I could take a second water well with, but if I needed to, I could just go with one as well. I'll probably also have a backpack as well with sponges, towels, and some wet wipes. But this is really it, and it's much smaller and much lighter, and I can even put it in my backpack and carry it instead of carrying the Craft n' Go with me.
After you finish an event, think in terms of "what do I actually use at the event?". When it really comes down to it, you probably just use your regular colors, a few large split cakes, and maybe some stencils. I also have a folding container that holds all of my brushes and I've got a second set that I carry for emergencies in my car. The brush holder folds up flat, and it doesn't go in this wooden case, but it does fit in my backpack.
The truth is, we carry a lot of stuff that we probably don't actually use or need. When you're trying to minimalize, just go with it!
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 Clownantics.com to enjoy more of Beth’s face painting tutorials.