37 Most Fun Face Paint Ideas for Kids & Adults in 2024

Last Updated on May 29th 2024
face paint ideas

There’s no party that can’t be made more exciting with an array of face paint ideas included on the agenda. Having motifs and designs that suit the occasion helps make your celebration go much more smoothly while letting you practice your face paint ideas to perfect your skills ahead of time.

With such a wide range of possibilities, there’s almost no limit to what your collection of face paint ideas can include — the sky’s the limit!

As the Harvard Graduate School of Education points out, imagination and imaginative play are crucial to the enjoyment of life. While it may seem like a simple solution, queuing up an array of patterns and styles to add a whimsical touch to your get-togethers can be the encouragement your guests need to remember their playful sides!

To help you get started, we’ve gathered our 37 favorite face paint ideas that can make any festive moment brighter, whether you’re planning a children’s birthday blow-out or gathering friends for sip and paint ideas that take you beyond the canvas!

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Unique Face Paint Ideas for Adult

1. Alien

If sci-fi is the theme of your party, then face paint ideas featuring aliens and outer space creatures are a must for your menu.

Go with a green base layer to create creepy skin and add enlarged black ovals around the eyelids and upper cheeks to create quintessential alien eyes hypnotic enough for your guests to mesmerize one another.

alien glowing face paint
via Canva

2. Cosmic Vibes

Simple face paint ideas like trippy planets and groovy nebulas are some of the easiest and most effective designs to execute on adults.

Add a black background to your subject’s cheek, then tap in vibrant fuchsia, teal and turquoise in loose washes with a soft brush to create the background. Then, take a fine-tipped brush and apply white stars in various sizes to complete the scene.

3. Extra Eyes

Add a touch of surrealism to any occasion with an extra or two added above or below the two you already have! To achieve this face paint idea, draw out the almond shape of the eye an inch or two below the real eye.

Then, fill in the white space and create a realistic pupil and iris that matches your guests’ coloring. This is an easy answer for adults wondering “What should I paint on my face?”, and a design that’s sure to get a laugh.

4. Leopard

Recreating leopard patterns for jungle cat face paint provides face paint ideas that are easy and effective with relatively little practice.

All it takes is a broad brush to create black splotches and a smaller brush to add golden spots inside the blackened area. Make it easier on yourself by referring an online photo of a real leopard as a guide as you work. 

5. Dia De Los Muertos

The answer to the question “What is the most popular face paint?” may be the traditional sugar skull masks of Dia de Los Muertos.

These delightful designs start with base coats of turquoise, yellow and pink with black circles around the eyes, a black triangle on the tip of the nose for the sinus cavity and a top and bottom row of skeleton teeth. Add flowers, dots and vibrant flourishes to finish off the look.

day of the dead face paint ideas for adults
via Canva

6. Jeweled Tiaras

Looking for face paint ideas to jazz up your bachelorette painting party? Why not encourage your guests to decorate each other with fun jeweled tiaras?

Simply add a line of circles, ovals or squares in white paint across the forehead with various sized brushes and add touches of pink and purple as highlights. Finish off with a bit of glitter and the blushing bride and her besties are ready to celebrate!

7. Masquerade

Romantic Renaissance designs or glitzy Mardi Gras mask patterns provide elegant options that can take your gala to glamorous new heights.

All it takes is a mask shape painted with a flat brush over the forehead, crossing down over the cheeks and across the center of the nose. Add dots of color to represent beads or jewels, or try decorative feather-like stroke work down the cheeks for a grander effect.

8. Flames

Flames are one of the most workable and easy-to-execute ideas for face paint artists of all abilities. Choose a location like a cheek or temple and draw a loose, free-flowing outline featuring flickering flame shapes.

Then, fill in the outline with yellows, oranges and reds and blend to create the impression of blurred fire.

9. Bold Butterflies

No need to get elaborate with your plans when butterfly face paint ideas offer simple designs that capture the colorful party spirit. Simply create black wings leading from the corner of each eye to the temple with a broad brush. Then, create patterns in your guests’ favorite colors and sprinkle white dots to finish your creation. 

For a smaller version of these face paint ideas for girls, paint two black hearts with the points touching on the apple of the cheek, add a vertical black line between them, touch in some colorful spots and add curly antenna for a tiny butterfly face paint idea that’s sure to fly!

woman with face painted with butterfly
via Canva

10. Witches

There’s a vast array of possibilities in having witches among your selection of face paint ideas! Go traditional with a vividly green evil visage and dramatic creases around the mouth and eyes or opt for a pretty take on good witches with glittered cheeks, pastel swirls around the eyes and forehead jewels. 

11. Stitched Zombie

Put together a fun version of the undead for your treasury of adult face paint ideas, starting with a layer of pale white paint covering the entire face.

Then, use a thin round brush to add gray lines like seams leading from the ears across the nose, ending at the corners of the mouth. Cross every seam with shorter lines resembling stitches. Get fancy with a lighter edge above the seams to create dimension.

12. Anime Eyes

Adding anime eyes to an ordinary face is a whimsical option that doesn’t require a great deal of skill to pull off. Have your subject close their eyes, then draw the outline of oversized cartoon eyes from the eyebrow to the middle cheek on each side.

Draw a large black oval in the center to create a colorful outer ring for the iris. Fill in the empty space with white and watch your guest become animated!

13. Avatar

Tap into cinematic pop culture with blue-faced space creatures similar to those in the Avatar films among your list of ideas for adults to enjoy.

With a full ocean-blue face, some lighter blue stripes leading downward from the forehead to the nose and white speckles on the nose and cheeks, you have an instantly recognizable face paint idea for the ages.

avatar face paint ideas for adults
via Canva

14. Dragon

For fantasy-themed parties or extra-spirited RPG game nights, dragon designs offer ideas that are sure to heighten the atmosphere. Paint the black outline of a ribbed, bat-like fin leading from eye to temple on either side and fill it in with your favorite dragon color.

Add the outline of scales on either cheek and add a complementary color to complete the image. A dusting of glitter powder will add a magical sheen for an otherworldly touch.

15. Face Tattoos

When your grown-up paint party ideas call for face paint ideas to make the celebration a bit wilder, applying cool face tattoo ideas to your friends and family isn’t the worst way to go! Create tribal-like combinations of lines and arcs that replicate familiar tattoo patterns.

Start with a black outline to get the design right before filling in the centers with black, too. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can use a thin brush to write in script across cheeks and foreheads and turn your guests into rock stars!

16. Spider Webs

There’s nothing like easy-to-draw spider webs to keep the face paint ideas at your celebration moving right along! Start by drawing six straight lines crisscrossing at the center of the cheek.

Add inward scallops that connect the lines in concentric rows to achieve the classic web pattern.

17. Evil Clown

Give your grown-up friends a reminder of their worst nightmares with evil clowns on your menu of face paint ideas. Go simple with just eye and mouth designs that strike fear into the hearts of circus-goers or get elaborate with a full white mask and terrifying teeth for a more repulsive effect.

man in evil clown costume
via Canva

18. Mendhi

The loveliest motifs often come from traditional face painting practices like the Indian practice of Mendhi. Instead of using henna, which creates a long-lasting stain on the skin, use umber tones to replicate the intricate designs over cheeks, across foreheads and along the lines of the nose.

This more complex design may require consulting an online how to face paint guide for inspiration. Don’t be afraid to research your ideas!

Simple Face Paint Ideas for Kids

19. Heroes

What hero-loving kid wouldn’t love finding out the face paint catalog at their birthday party includes masks and helmets like their favorite comic book characters?

Even simple black masks around the eyes and over the nose can be decorated with stars and lightning bolts for makeshift hero face paint ideas that don’t require too much detail.

20. Robot

A coat of silver paint over the entire face, a few black lines from the corners of the mouth to the chin and some black dots for bolts along the cheek, and voila — your face paint ideas now include simple robot designs kids will adore.

21. Fairies

When your face paint ideas transform your little partygoers into magical beings, the fun really begins! Fairy face painting can take many forms, including a bit of color and glitter over the cheeks, curling vines and pretty flowers at the corners of the eyes and floral crowns across the forehead. Ask your subject which they prefer!

young children with pink fairy face paint
via Canva

22. Hearts and Flowers

Sometimes the easiest face paint ideas are the most promising, like a basic cluster of hearts and flowers that anyone can do simply and quickly.

Create a few flower shapes in repeating patterns using a round brush to paint yellow centers and white petals for an easy bunch of daisies or swirl pink and purple spirals to create a bouquet of roses with a few hearts in the corners!

23. Unicorns

Unicorn face paint is a popular motif that let partygoers tap into their unique spirit. They’re also some of the best cute painting ideas for guests who can’t decide on a more elaborate design!

An easy outline of a horse’s head applied to the cheek can be filled in with white paint. Drag colorful strokes of pinks, blues and purples down from the horse’s neck to create magical mane. Draw a simple dot eye and add a golden horn for a unicorn face paint that’s sure to enchant.

24. Sports

The world of sports supplies your kid’s party with a seemingly endless variety of options! Add thick black stripes under each eye and you have an easy football player face that’s finished in no time.

Go bigger by recreating team logos or stay simple with sports equipment like bats, helmets and balls. And while sports subjects make great face paint ideas for boys, girls may ask to show off their team spirit, too. Be ready to accommodate!

25. Tiger

Bring one of the world’s favorite face paint ideas to the party by adding tiger face paint to the line-up. Use a broad brush and follow a photo to create the familiar stripe pattern and features over the forehead, nose and cheeks and around the eyes.

Add orange in between the lines and accent with feathered white strokes to represent fur and your tiger face paint is ready to roar!

tiger face paint ideas for kids
via Canva

26. Mustaches

One of the most hilarious face paint ideas for kids ever devised, you can entertain a whole party from start to finish simply by painting fun mustaches on every child in attendance!

Show them a catalog of options, from curling handlebars to bushy push-brooms to groovy chops-and-goatee combinations. Try to use colors that match their hair and eyebrows to give the effect of a real mustache, and offer to add a beard and side burns for a fuller effect. Then, watch the laughter ensue! 

27. Skulls

Skull designs provide paint-on masks that are universally recognized and loved by almost everyone. With a face covered in white paint adorned with black eye sockets, triangular nasal opening and teeth, you’ll have a full-fledged Halloween face paint option to amuse and delight your partygoers.

Or skip the white paint and paint only the black details for a quicker skeleton face paint design. Be sure to add cracks and grooves that highlight the creepy skull quality!

28. Pirates

Create a red bandana across the forehead, paint a black patch over one eyelid and stipple dark stubble around the mouth and chin, and your pirate-themed face paint ideas come to life to delight your little guests! You can also draw a basic skull and crossbones on a cheek or forehead for an easier design.

29. Dinosaurs

Kids of all ages love dinosaurs, which means incorporating these prehistoric beasts into your plans will be a surefire hit! Create a full-face effect with browns, greens and tans with pebbled texture drawn on and add highlights to create dimension. Get even more sophisticated with ridges over the brow line and under the eye. 

young boy with green dinosaur face paint
via Canva

30. Mermaids

It’s time to get pretty with mermaids joining your selection of face paint ideas! Similar to fairies, you can create a variety of lovely results ranging from colorful cheek fins to glittering scalloped scale shapes along cheekbones and foreheads.

A strand of seashells across the forehead as a crown makes a stunning detail kids will love.

31. Panda

What is the easiest thing to face paint? How about an adorable panda? To make these simple face paint ideas work, apply oversized black spots around the eyes and halfway down the cheeks, then cover the rest of the face with white paint.

A triangular black nose and a midline from nose to lip completes a look cute enough to draw “Awwwws!” from the crowd.

32. Glamour Wings

Glamour wings offer perfect face paint ideas for girls who love fantasy designs. The easiest method entails drawing a wing-shaped outline that extends from the corner of the eye and runs down the cheek and along the temple.

Draw interior lines that follow the same shape to create folds in the wing. Then, fill in the outline with bright, blended colors and dust with glitter, and you’ve created a beautiful wing without batting an eye!

33. Rainbows

Face paint ideas may not get any more workable than rainbows! A simple stack of stripes in spectral colors make easy face painting ideas for cheeks, foreheads or noses. It’s a clean and vibrant way to get young partygoers in the spirit.

Remember to follow the Roy G. Biv sequence for accuracy by ordering your colors red, orange, yellow, blue, green, indigo and violet.

34. Moons & Stars

Including moons and stars in your face paint ideas gives you a universal motif with a gentle presentation. Try a yellow crescent moon and few white stars on hesitant partygoers who might not be up for a more extensive design. You can even add sweet faces for a tender storybook-style touch.

35. Cats & Kittens

Kitten and cat face paint ideas have to provide some of the cutest opportunities for your littlest party people! An easy pink nose, two white, gray or black lobes above the mouth as cheeks and long, white whiskers can be added simple and successfully to brighten up revelers too young for more complex designs (though they also work for older children and adults).  

cat face paint ideas for kids
via Canva

36. Jack O’Lanterns

Jack O’Lanterns rule the selection of Halloween painting ideas, and luckily, they’re easy to create! All it takes is orange paint covering the whole face, two black triangles around the eyes and one over the tip of the nose, and a black smile and the design is ready to roll. Make this Halloween face paint pop by adding grooves and texture for more detail.

37. Camouflage

With face paint ideas like camouflage that require nothing more than blocks of color, your face painting task gets a whole lot easier.

Overlapping free-form shapes in browns, greens and black create a face paint idea for boys and girls that take little effort and almost no time to complete. It’s a party win for the face painter in you! 

Level Up Your Painting in Art Classes

When you learn to paint with expert-led art classes near you, you develop an eye for executing your most fanciful face paint ideas. Every session helps you sharpen your skills through practice and enlightening lessons in color, form, composition and more.

You’ll find art classes in Atlanta, art classes in Seattle, art classes in Chicago and more, including sessions that provide a how to face paint guide to help you bring your most enchanting face paint ideas to life. 

women painting in art classes
via Classpop!

There’s almost no party that can’t be made more exciting with face paint ideas on the agenda. Whether you’re bringing magic to a child’s birthday celebration, giving your teen’s get-together a touch of wonder or jazzing up a holiday gathering with the family, you’ll find face paint ideas that turn your joyous occasion into a full-fledged art fest.

For even more fun art ideas, check out other experiences happening on Classpop!