Tips for Volunteer Face Painters & Helpers

Even the most experienced face painter can’t paint more than about 20 kids per hour. At a big event, this leaves too many kiddos waiting in a long line. But, with a little planning volunteers can make a big difference. Here’s what you need to know and obtain to get the most out of your volunteer face painters.

The Line Manager

A line manager can make a huge difference in how many people get painted quickly in an orderly and joyous environment. The line manager keeps track of who’s next in line and helps them decide what design they want before they get in the painter’s chair. Every minute counts at a school fair or festival! This brings us to another time saver, a menu.

Face Painting Menus

menu of face paint designs

A menu of face painting options can be made using clip art. Designs such as hearts, flowers, spiders, and basketballs are quick and easy to paint. Using the same menu for all of the painters streamlines selection. More experienced artists can embellish or alter the simpler designs while newbies can fulfill the basics. Of course, the quickest designs are those that the artist has practiced.

If possible, laminate the menus or put them in plastic sleeves so they last all day.

How To for Volunteer Face Painters

With a few high-quality supplies and on the “job” practice, volunteer face painters help ensure that everyone who wants face painting receives it in a timely manner. If you have the budget, it’s better and safer to hire several face painters. Professionals carry liability insurance and have extensive kits bursting with colors, brushes, stencils, sponges, and other supplies which they use to efficiently produce designs with a “wow” factor. But, for schools or fundraisers, teenagers or parents can do a decent job. Just be sure to:

  • Use high quality supplies that are made for use on the skin (non-toxic does not mean skin-safe!). Snazaroo and Klutz both make kits with cosmetic grade paints and glitter. (Don’t use craft glitter! It could hurt someone’s eyes.) 
  • Stick to water activated paints. The grease crayons are hard to work with. 
  • Purchase two or three art quality brushes (one #4 or #5 round, one ½” filbert) rather than seven cheap ones.
  • Maintain hygiene. Provide plenty of fresh water. Clean any brushes that are used near the mouth with 99% alcohol.
  • Plan for burnout. Face painting takes a lot of concentration. Most volunteers will not be able to paint for more than an hour or two. 

Additional Face Painting Supplies

Frozen Princess face painting by Auntie Stacey,

In addition to quality face paints and brushes, be sure to have baby wipes (to clean faces and erase mistakes), hand sanitizer, 99% alcohol (for cleaning brushes), two containers for clean water, and at least one mirror for each table. I’m always amazed how many people forget the mirror! Kid safe ones —acrylic rather than glass—are best. 

With a lot of planning and a moderate investment in supplies, more children can receive safe and fun face painting at your next big carnival or school party. But don’t forget to hire a pro to produce quick and beautiful designs that will impress older children, parents, and teens. I offer discounts for schools and non-profits. 

I hope to paint fun for you soon! —Auntie Stacey

Monster face paint by Auntie Stacey,

Published by Stacey

writer, editor, media creator, tech geek, graphic artist and instructor

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