Pirate Face Painting
Younger kids love to have their faces painted like fearsome pirates, boys especially. It’s up to the adults whether to press-gang the services of a professional face painter or do it themselves. Either way the effects can be fantastic resulting in happy little swashbucklers ‘ooh-ing’ and ‘aarh-ing’ to their heart’s content!
If you do it yourself, here’s some handy tips to follow:
1: Keep your paints in a safe place Don’t allow kids to randomly play with the paints as it can get a little costly due to unnecessary wastage
2: Sponge Don’t Brush If you’re wanting to cover a large area or put on a base color, use a sponge to apply the paint rather than a brush, it’ll be quicker. Having a different sponge for different colors eliminates the necessity of washing out the sponge during a painting session (the same applies to brushes).
3: Be Patient and Think Thin Let the first color dry before applying a second. If you don’t, they’ll mix and you’ll probably have to wipe it off and start again. Also, rather than applying one thick layer of paint, which may crack, apply a thin layer, let it dry, then apply another.
4: Work from a design Know what you’re going to paint before you start, don’t make it up as you go along. Kids aren’t known for their patience and won’t be able to sit still why you ponder what to do next. Have a basic face design fixed in your mind; you can always add special touches to this once you’re finished.
5: Special Effects The paint you’re using will work as a basic glue. To create bumpy noses or big eyebrows, soak a bit of cotton wool in the paint, place on face, cover with a piece of tissue, and paint. Puffed rice or wheat make ideal warts; simply cover with a bit of tissue and paint. For an extra-ghostly effect, apply a light dusting of flour once you’ve finished painting the face (be sure to get your subject to close their eyes tightly).
6: Use Stencils If you’re not confident painting freehand, or are short of time, why not use a face painting stencil? Stars, hearts, flowers will all stencil onto a cheek. Have stencils in a few sizes to hand, to allow for small and larger faces.
7: Add little touches
For a bloodthirsty pirate you can add a cut, scar, eye patch and moustache.
8: Getting a Decision If you’ve got a row of kids lined up to have their faces painted, ask the next kid in line what they’d like a few minutes before you’ve finished the face you’re currently painting. This way they’ve a little time to try to decide and you don’t lose painting time. You should allow them to choose only from a prepared menu of different pirate faces. It makes it much easier for the kids to make up their minds.
9: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Most Beautiful of All? Remember to take a mirror so the person whose face you’ve just painted can see the result. Also bring a high stool for the kids to sit on; not having to bend over for so long will save you from back ache.
10: Tissues You’ll probably use more tissues or wipes than you think for wiping your hands, brushes, etc. Face painting can be messy, but it’s fun! Baby wipes work fast and easy for ‘mistakes’; you can also be assured they are safe to use on faces.
Pirate Face Painting Safety Tips
• Use suitable non toxic no acrylic paints, such as Snazaroo, Grimas, and Kryolan
• If using glitter, use polyester not metallic products
• Do not use alcohol to clean sponges and brushes as it can promote the growth of bacteria and cause pain to sensitive tissue
• Do not paint kids with a scar, acne or a contagious illness
• Wash or wipe your hands with a baby wipe or sanitiser between each child
• Check for head lice
• Make sure you and the child are sitting comfortably to avoid back ache
• Give yourself a regular break if there’s lots of kids to be treated
• Make sure the adults responsible for each child have given their OK
• Explain to the adults how the paint should be safely removed.
If you prefer to hire a professional face painter you’ll find plenty via a Google search. However, check reviews and comments before making your selection. For example, Mumsnet offers a directory of face painters, broken by location. The face painters should also provide evidence they are adequately insured.
Face painting products from reputable sources such Snazaroo, Grimas, and Kryolan are widely available on the high street and in specialist arts and crafts stores.