Make your own face paint

diy face painting

If my kids could have their faces painted every day, they would. Jackson would rotate between a pirate, Spiderman and a fierce tiger. Clare is torn between butterflies and princesses. Melissa over at Green Owl Art shared a clever way to make your own face paint— using lotion and washable paint. All you do is mix equal parts lotion with paint. Simple, fun and creative. That’s my kind of way to spend an afternoon.


face painting at home

You can use a paint tray to mix the colors, or even an ice cube tray.

face paint

Melissa’s daughter, Emma, showing off her beautiful flowers.

face paint

Why not let your kids paint each other or a baby doll? This picture of Emma is such a good one— I love how focused she is on painting her doll.

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28 Responses to Make your own face paint

  1. April Parkhurst February 14, 2012 at 10:46 am #

    Love this! I had never thought about painting doll faces either! My daughters are going to love doing this!

  2. Victoria Langley February 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    Bless looks like she is having a fun time. I always loved having my face painted as a kid. xx

  3. Victoria Langley February 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    shared the link on fb about Pintrest … still not fully into it myself do have an account but it’s still going a bit over my head lol x

    • Victoria Langley February 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

      oops wrong blog post ha ha … I left this one open to read … I was enjoying it but wanted to finish entering the comp lol xx

  4. Maggie Christy April 8, 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    Hello. I am a professional face painter for seven years and preschool teacher for thirty. I love face painting, and think it is great to see kids have fun with it. I do want to say that you can buy professional quality face paint at a good price, and it is formulated for safe use on the skin. If you write to Crayola company, they will tell you that their “washable” art products are not designed or recommended for use on the skin. If your children enjoy face painting I encourage you to spend a few dollars on the real thing, designed for skin and in compliance with FDA regulations.

    • Karen November 28, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

      Hi there – Can you please point me to the brand/site you use for your face painting? I’m looking for something less toxic for kids’ gentle skin. Thanks in advance. =)

      • Maggie Christy November 29, 2012 at 4:41 am #

        Hi Karen, I use Snazaroo paints which have the highest safety rating you can get in face paint and a child toy safety rating. You can buy a starter palette at Michael’s craft store; watch the paper or go online to find a coupon for 40% off one item at Michaels and get them for less than ten dollars. You wet the paints to activate just like water colors and they wash off easily with a baby wipe or gentle soap and water.

  5. Mya Windell May 13, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    Using lotion and eye shadows work as well there is no need to buy expensive face painting sets. However, I love the idea of washable paints with lotion and they won’t crack due to the lotion. Great ideas for kids!!!

    • Family Sponge May 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

      Lotions with eye shadow- I like it! And could totally see my daughter enjoying mixing it together. Thanks Mia for sharing.

    • Maggie Christy November 29, 2012 at 4:44 am #

      Try real face paint. Write to crayola and they will tell you that their products are not designed for use on the skin. Snazaroo is FDA compliant and a starter kit from Michaels will last a very long time.

      • lisa January 5, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

        Maggie Christy…. I have to ask,, why are you pushing for people to buy real face paint under a post on how to make your own? The whole point is to make from stuff around the house as well as on a budget. I read the comments hoping that parents who have tried would add additional thoughts, or tweaks to the recipe ( like the great one about adding eye shadow)..

        • Maggie Christy January 5, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

          Because parents who come to sites like this one typically want what is best for their kids, while still being within their means. I tried to keep my comments polite and non-confrontational while still providing information that many parents may not already know.

          • Kris January 21, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

            I think this recipe is wonderful! My kids love face paintings but usually only get it done once or twice a summer due to the unfortunate high cost of it. Some fairs offer it for free, and that’s always a huge hit!!! But being a SAHM, which means only Dads income, I love hearing about cheap and fun homemade recipes, especially one that includes items that are very reputable, like Crayola… And to me, Crayola is just fine with me to be used on my child skin. I don’t ever see them break out with a rash when they’re painting and it gets on their hands fingers, and arms…some times even their faces too!!! So relax, you shared your opinion, by saying it twice you do come off as rude… Are you trying to reassure us or yourself that it’s not good for the skin…???! And if you are truly interested in leering parents know not to use Crayola in face paints, post something on your own!! Any way – this homemade recipe is greatly appreciated in this home :-) thanks!!!!

          • Karla Vasquez May 21, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

            Maggi Christy,
            I completely agree with you about the paint. Parents should really do a little research about professional face paint. Non toxic doesn’t mean it is for the skin.

            Anyhow, I also do believe that you are pushing the whole Snarazoo brand. Although it is the cheapest and most safe paint IN STORE, there are other brands such as Diamond FX, Wolfe, Paradise and many more that are safe for skin.

            Karla Vasquez
            Professional Face Painter

          • Maggie Christy May 22, 2013 at 5:23 am #

            Karla, I’ve tried to back off here so as not to cause a ruckus, but I only mentioned the brand I use because someone asked for it. I agree that there are many good quality brands out there.

          • Kaley May 24, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

            I think Maggie’s post is completely on point, your post is the one getting rather confrontational. As soon as I saw the link on Pinterest, I thought ‘what a great idea, but I wonder if it’s safe’. I appreciate Maggie’s reply, as it makes my concern legitimate. If Crayola themselves doesn’t recommend it, why would you put it on your skin, or you childs!? I realize that kids get messy while painting, but intentionally putting it on them to save a buck or two when there are completely safe products at reasonable rates is silly.

      • Amila April 16, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

        I was wondering, how many children can you paint with the starter kit? I’m doing a face painting booth at a carnival and when I looked online some of the face paints were a bit too expensive…

  6. Karen January 15, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    Last time I tried white toothpaste mixed with food coloring and it worked like a charm! It’s all edible too! =)

  7. Amanda March 27, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

    Hey mums and dads! I love this recipe, so simple!! I am on an extremely tight budget and just found recipes online for ‘washable paint’. So I’m going to use this recipe with that one an save even more money! (After I’ve tested on myself that there are no issues). But the paint recipe I’ve found uses no harsh chemicals just a combination of salts and flours, which I know for a fact my son is not allergic to :)

    • Mary February 17, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

      What sites did you find for HM washable paints?

  8. Melissa Morgan May 29, 2013 at 6:03 am #

    craft paint is not fda approved for cosmetic use around mucous membranes and the thin skin of the face. craft paint, while non-toxic, has formaldehyde or other undesirable preservatives that at less that .02% do not need to be included on the ingredients label and have not been evaluated as to their absorption rate around the face – through the thinner skin and mucous membranes as it is not intended for use on the skin. using craft paints on the skin can cause uncomfortable reactions! including red, raised, itchy skin in the design you painted that can last for days and days and days and can badly irritate eyes! not to mention you cannot predict how the chemicals in the two ingredients may affect the skin when combining paint and lotion. please be careful and DO NOT EVER USE craft paint for face paint! same goes for craft glitters – there are metals used in craft glitter and it is a hard, pointy shape that can badly damage eyes! only polyester glitters are safe for use around the face.

    • Pastor Marvelle September 21, 2013 at 7:58 am #

      I am a cosmetologist. While craft paint is not a great product to use everyday. and should not be used other than meant for. When children use it to paint I sure you know that they eat it, get it on their skin and yes sometimes get it in their eyes. I have seen non toxic craft paint used so much in our school that my child comes home covered in it some days. When it comes to make up some make up is made of ground metals also. and some use to be bake of Glass, but now they use man made product to make glitters and such. If it is not natural, and man made then there will always be some form of unsafe ingredients in the product no matter what it is.. I am also a professional make up artist. And while it is better to use the face paint made by industry, for those who have a lot of eye make up laying around or face make up and food coloring it is a great way to make a rainy day more exciting. Or have had a lot given to them for the children to play with this is a great Idea.. I like the Idea of the lotion a lot better than the lard and cornstarch which can also be harsh on the skin. And I have seen some use talc in the mixture which is also harsh on the face. Rule of thumb if you can eat it, It is unsafe for the face.

  9. Charity June 13, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    Thank you for this great, inexpensive idea! I will be happy to use it on my children at home. If I may weigh in on the safety issue, it is good to take note of these things, even if it’s only for the safety of others. If I had read this post and not investigated further, I would have used the lotion and paint mix this weekend for a public event. Although my children do not have sensitive skin or allergies (believe me they have worn a lot of paint in their craft days!), other children, especially at a public event may be susceptible to rash or allergic reaction from paint that is not FDA certified for skin. I do love the idea for my own children and doll babies!

  10. Hannah Appleby July 6, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    I have seen the wonderful effects that the original recipe shared can give – and have used it (only using a tiny trace of paint is sufficient to get the fantastic colour.
    I have also seen the pictures and heard the tales about the damage done by people who have misused even crayola washable paint when painted neat onto skin – and left for an extended period of time; the formaldehyde trace at that stage too high not to do some damage.

    However, when heavily diluted by the cream, and perhaps even the water when you are actually using them after they have dried (I add melluca tea tree oil to my water which kills germs and protects from skin complaints); it is so diluted that I have never had any problems personally.

    The ingredients in the crayola washable paint seem to be identical to the crayola bath paint which IS designed for close body contact! Such trace amounts, should be fine; and I am not pushing anybody away from using home made paints if your children seem to be OK with it – but the fact remains that whilst no lasting damage is done when kids get it on them during painting pictures – one would usually clean it off fairly soon after?? Exposure to formaldehyde for any lengthy period – like a whole day could be dangerous to those susceptible to it.
    Again, I use home mades myself, as well as professional companies, but I make sure I keep afloat of any risk factors to health. Food colouring is another alternative (only natural and avoid green – it stains the skin for a few days!)

    Another tip is to invest in a pro brand and use the above recipe with the wet paints to expand your stack – at least then you know it will still meet with FDA AND remain budget friendly!

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