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Project Sheet

Face Painting with Custom Stencils

Make your next costume stand out with your very own designs.

  • Difficulty Level: Beginner/Intermediate
  • Completion Time: 1 hour

Watch a video overview:

Whether you're getting geared up to express your school spirit, supporting your favorite team, or getting into character for a costume party, these face painting tools offer customization and quality for repeated use. The Creative Versa-Tool makes cutting original stencil designs fast and easy on your hands as it takes a light, smooth touch. Enjoy the benefits of speed and consistency by transferring your initial design and use the stencil impression as a guide to add outlines, highlights, and embellishments.

What you'll need

Before you begin, make sure you have all the supplies you'll need. The list below contains all the products we used to create the example shown in this demo. Materials are optional based upon your own design.



Optional Embellishments:

1. Prepare Your Stencil Designs

Print a pattern or design with a Creative Commons or Royalty Free License or draw one of your own on paper. Keep in mind the intended area of application to determine the appropriate size. The design needs to connect interior areas securely to the outside edge - like maintaining the masking for the inside of the letter “O.” Include at least a ¼ inch border around the outside edge and areas to help you hold the stencil during painting. Think of the design like a group of windows; whatever is cut away will receive paint.

For our mermaid design, we created a seashell crown piece. We placed the 3 center shells together on one stencil and chose to create separate pieces for the surrounding details. This makes the stencil arrangement adjustable to accommodate different facial features and sizes.

2. Assemble Your Workspace

Tape the paper design onto the frame backing board, beneath the glass of the clip frame.  The paper drawing/printout stays protected by the glass covering.  Cut a piece from the stencil film that is at least ¼ inch larger than the design area.  Tape the stencil film on top of the glass.  Reattach the clips to the frame.

Tip:

  • The MCS Clip Frame has smoothed edges making it safe to handle.  If using a different sheet of glass from other sources, consider applying a layer of tape around all four sides for protection from sharp edges.

3. Cut Your Stencils

Attach the tapered point to the Creative Versa-Tool and preheat.  Smoothly trace the design into the stencil paper.  Caution: The metal components cause serious burns if mishandled - not for use by children.

Tips:

  • Keep moving along the design to avoid burning away more of the film than desired. 
  • Have a damp paper towel/baby wipe handy to remove any stuck on plastic from the tapered point while you work.  If melted plastic sticks to the tip, quickly drag it along the damp surface.  Never touch the hot tip with your fingers.
  • Optional: use a fine grain sandpaper to smooth any rough edges from the stencil.  This may be useful if planning to flip the design for mirror image applications and helps with paint removal from the stencil during cleanup.
  • Stencils made with this film may be reused for face painting or other mixed media applications on paper or other absorbent surfaces.
  • Optional: test your stencil or practice on scrap paper.  Make any corrections with the hot knife prior to facial application.

4. Prepare Your Sponge

Dip the face painting sponge into water and wring out the excess.  Rub the sponge along the face painting cake repeatedly to fully load the sponge and avoid runny application that can seep underneath the stencil pattern.

Tip:

  • Cut the sponge in half and load each side with a different color.  It makes application easier and allows for quick blending of colors.

5. Apply Paint Using Stencils

Tape or firmly press the stencil onto the skin.  Gently dab the sponge over the stencil design while holding the stencil up against the skin.  If there is open space between the skin and the stencil, the paint bleeds behind it.  More than one color may be layered within the stencil patterns. 

Tips:

  • Use the back of your hand to test paint consistency before applying to the stencil.  If too wet, either dab on paper towel or load more paint.
  • Optional, apply a soft background layer of color prior to stencil application. This will add color to the outline edges of the stencil.
  • If a specific shade is desired, use the glass clip frame as a palette to premix colors.
  • Work in different areas across the face to allow previous areas to dry.

6. Add Detail

Wet the universal brush and load the bristles with the desired color.  Apply highlights, details, and outlining. 

Tip:

  • If the colors of the paint cakes get dirty, use a baby wipe or damp paper towel to gently wipe away the surface layer to clean.

7. Final Touches

Add embellishments such as glitter gel, acrylic gems, or rhinestones.

 

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