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Starting a Face Painting Business

Updated on August 22, 2017

Let's get started!

Being a face painting is an absolutely wonderful business for me. One, I get to paint and be creative. Two, my designs make children smile - and really there is nothing that compares to that feeling of joy. Besides the intangible benefits of being a face painter, there is a monetary benefit as well.

Face painters can bring in a range when it comes to hourly wage. I know of some who go as low as $50 an hour upwards to $175 an hour and even above. Where you fall in this scale depends on your skill level, the area you serve and your understanding of your actual costs. Either way, being a face painter can be rewarding financially.

Let’s look at what it takes to get started.

Tips for starting your own Face Painting Business.
Tips for starting your own Face Painting Business.

“Every face painter is an artist, but not all artists are face painters.”

— Astrid Sage


I always say, “Every face painter is an artist, but not all artists are face painters.” What I mean by this is that face painting is a different medium, just like water colors differ from oil, and oil differs from mixed media.

The paints blend differently, react to water (or to much water) differently from other paint mediums. You are also painting on a different canvass each time. Every face is different in shape, texture and where the hair falls on the face. Not only that - you canvass moves, a lot!

In face painting, there is no substitute for practice. This more than anything increases your skill level besides inherent talent. Between gigs, it’s easy to just pack away your brushes and paints. Yet to get really good and increase your skill - you have to practice everyday.


I’ve read articles online where they state how inexpensive it is to start a face painting business. And while it may be less expensive than other businesses, there is still a cost involved. To buy quality paints and brushes, you will need some start up capital.

Buying cheap paints and brushes will not give you quality stellar results that will lead to more bookings. Your designs may be mediocre at best. So don’t be tempted to buy the cheap stuff.

Brands like Global, Tag, Wolfe and Paradise for paints are the way to go. Brush brands such as Mark Reid and Loew-Cornell are good places to start.

Never use acrylic paints on a child’s face! This may be a cheap option but it’s never acceptable. Only use FDA compliant paints.

Personally, I get my face painting supplies here. They provide great prices, super fast shipping and everything has always arrived perfect!

The Biz Side

Insurance - You will need liability insurance to cover both yourself and your business. Some gigs will require you to show an insurance certificate. Always display you are insured at your gigs. This adds more credibility and is needed.

Contracts - Having contracts in place are important so you clearly understand your clients needs. Vice versa that your client understands what you are there to do, the time frame and how many kids you are expected to paint.

Contracts also outline if a deposit is needed, the cancellation policy and date of the event. Clearly outline what you will and will not do and if a deposit is required, that if none is received you will not hold their date.

You can find a variety of contracts online if you are unsure of where to start.

Marketing Strategy

All the practice and supplies won’t do you a bit of good if you have no clients. You will need a marketing strategy in place so you can make money from your venture. I know many face painters use craigslist, google ads and even Facebook ads. While these are excellent ways to go, I feel there is nothing that compares to referrals.

If you are starting out, offer to paint at a friend’s childs party. Have business cards available and always have either a website or a facebook page on your cards so people can see more of your work.

Always put out business cards at any gig you paint at. Paint your kids or friends kids and put these pictures on your website and anywhere you can over social media.

Pricing Your Services

Here is the tricky part. Knowing what to price your services at. Keep in mind you have expenses outside of just your time. Such as, the cost of your paints, your insurance, gas to get to the gig, prep time for the gig and any special supplies you had to purchase for that specific event.

If you are just beginning, you may be included to set your prices low to either reflect your skill or because you are desperate to start getting gigs. Resist this temptation to go too low. You will end up not being able to recoup your expenses and it may be harder to raise your prices in the future.

Find what the average going rate is for face painters in your area. Find a comfortable spot in there and then practice, practice, practice so your skill reflects your higher rates.

In Conclusion . . .

These are just a few things to keep in mind when starting a face painting business. At first it may seem a bit overwhelming, but all the practice and prep work are so worth it. While money will definitely come for you in your business, there is no price for that smile of a child when they look in the mirror at the beautiful creation on their face!

© 2017 Astrid Sage


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