Free Face Painting Ideas for Carnivals

by Julia Fuller
Children love getting thier faces painted at carnivals.

Children love getting thier faces painted at carnivals.

Jen Siska/Lifesize/Getty Images

Free face painting, along with clowns making balloon animals, is an indispensable activity at hometown carnivals. Just the word carnival evokes images of children with characters painted on their cheeks holding balloons. To prevent long lines display 10 to 20 simple designs for children to choose from and about five colors. Concerns over communicable diseases necessitate the use of disposable application tools. This requirement does not have to make face painting expensive though. Disposable household items can be used for face painting.

Water-based Paints

Use water-based, nontoxic paints for face painting. Simple children's paint sets can be used for face painting. While the professionals may use henna and silk screens, children at carnivals are looking for something quick and fun and their parents are hoping to wash their faces clean the next day. Children presented with too many choices often have trouble deciding. That can contribute to long lines and waiting. So save money and time by choosing just a few primary colors for the carnival.

Disposable Application Tools

Find items you have at home such as cotton ear swabs, tissue and sheets of paper to serve as disposable application tools. Cotton swabs can be disposed of after each child. Tissues can fix smudges, help define lines and clean up drips and then be thrown away. Small squares of paper or card stock can serve as your disposable palettes. Place a small drop of each chosen color onto the paper palette. Dip your cotton swab into the drops on the palette. Use a new palette for each face.

Simple Designs

Locate and print simple designs off of the Internet that are not copyright protected. If you have children's stencils or cookie cutters at home these work great too. Be sure to choose designs within the ability level of the person painting the faces. Paste several designs or trace the stencils onto a poster board. Seeing the designs will help the children choose how they want their faces painted. The visual will also help the face painters work faster so the children do not get restless.

Free Lessons

Train your volunteer face painters for free. Many professional face painting websites offer lessons for face painters without experience. The free lessons are often simple designs that can be painted quickly with step-by-step directions. This is just what you need for volunteers working at your local carnival. Allow your volunteers to practice before the carnival. Practicing on each other or on fruit that can wiped off and used again such as grapefruits or watermelons will improve their skills.

About the Author

Relief rural mail carrier (RCA) for the United States Postal Service for 3 years. Homeschool mom for 10 years. Operating beef and crop farm as well as bookkeeping for the farm. Sit on the board of directors of Foster Adoptive Family Resource and Support Center a United Way Program partner. Parent for 26 years, operated a licensed daycare in my home for 10 years as well as licensed foster care. Provided care for over 100 children. Director of Vacation Bible School of our church for 7 years. Previously employed as a cost accountant and at the driver's license bureau.

Photo Credits

  • Jen Siska/Lifesize/Getty Images