Face Painting Stencils | 5 Tips to Get The Best out of Them

Face Painting Stencils

Face Painting Stencils are either loved or hated by face painters, and I am one that believes it is all a matter of learning how to use them, and preference, of course.

Although some artists think using stencils is cheating, the reality is that stencils can help you add a great level of detail and textures that otherwise you just wouldn’t be able to do freehand. The sharp textures that stencils can produce are very pleasing to the eye and can help you sell a design. If you learn how to use face painting stencils properly you should love them!

“I need to invest in more stencils” – Martha Vanloo

Remember, as we explained on our previous blog post, The Business of Face Painting, that the first thing you should do before you go and by face painting templates is ask yourself: will this help me achieve my business goal? If your goal is to increase your profits, stencils can really help you since they can speed up your line while still creating detailed designs that look great! Also, if you are a beginner face painter, using stencils with an airbrush can get you going in just a few weeks once you have learned the tricks to using them successfully.

Five Tips to Get the Best out of your Face Painting Stencils

1. Get the right tools. Find Stencils that are well sized compared to the area you are painting. If you are doing face painting, we recommend choosing smaller stencils like TAP Stencils or BAM Stencils. Larger stencils are harder to manipulate and you will struggle to get a clear print. Stencils specifically design for face painting are always better because they have the right thickness and usually come with rounded corners to prevent poking someone in the eye.

2. Keep it clean.  You should always wipe clean and dry the back of your stencils so that when you apply it to a new customer you don’t transfer any other colors or smudge the paint underneath. Paper towels are the easiest way to clean your stencils.

How to use Face Painting Stencils

3. The dryer the better. When loading the face paint for stenciling, you should always aim at having an almost dry sponge; make sure you test the paint on your hand or a towel before stenciling to prevent using a sponge that is too wet and will ruin your work. A sponge that almost has no paint or water will give you a soft airbrushed look.

4. Stencils First. More often than not stencils are used as backgrounds, but even when used as a focal point, your stencils should be applied before your line work to make sure that the stencil design doesn’t go over your lines making the designs hard to read. If you want to have some color in the background, apply your background color first, let it dry, and then add the stencils work. Finally, finish your design with some line work.

5. Mix and match. Combine different stencils to make your face painting designs even better! Try using different textures, or one focal point and a textured stencil. Have fun playing around and discovering the endless possibilities that stencils can offer you.

Bonus Tip. Use a small sponge to apply the paint to prevent paint going over the edge of your stencil.

Thank you so much for reading. Please leave us a comment regarding your experience with stencils and don’t forget to subscribe!


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