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Belly Painting at Carver County’s Community Baby Shower

I had SO much fun painting bellies today!!  This was the first ever community baby shower put on by Carver County Public Health, in Chaska, MN.  I was honored to be asked to come and provide belly paintings to any of the moms in attendance who were interested.  Here are a few photos from the event!

My banner and table

 I thought this was a VERY well done and well organized event, which was especially impressive after hearing that they only had a few months to plan it.  I loved that they even were thoughtful enough to place me in a room RIGHT next to a sink, and also provided me with a table and some fabulous privacy screens.

My FatMax all set up and ready to paint!

For this event I bought a brand new zero gravity chair (for the moms), a rolling mechanic’s stool (for me), and a memory foam pad for when I had to kneel.  It really all worked great!!

I found this fun fabric at the thrift store that I used for a tablecloth.  To the left is my binder of design ideas, to the right are my brochures/business cards, and a sign-up sheet for 15 minute time slots.  I only used that at the beginning when there was a crowd and it worked great!

This was very fitting for my beautiful friend from Hawaii!

Two sisters who were both expecting girls!!

Cute little stork for a mommy expecting a baby boy!

This was my first one and favorite one of the day!  So fun!!!

Tropical flower using some TAG one stroke split cakes!
Yeah, this one isn’t a belly, but toward the end of the event when things slowed down, I had a blast doing this on one of the lovely volunteers!!  She told me where to paint but let me do whatever I wanted, which is every face painter’s dream, right?!

Although the crowd did dwindle quite a bit in the last hour or two, overall I’d say this was a super awesome event.  The location was great, and all the moms were so sweet and loved their paintings!  There were so many fun things for everyone to do, including kids.  I hope they do this event again, and I really hope I get the opportunity to paint at it again!! A huge thank you to all the moms who stopped by to get painted today!

For more information or to schedule your own personal baby bump painting (in the Twin Cities, MN), check out my belly painting page!

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Fun Summer One-Stroke Idea: Flip Flop Feet!

I was over at my sister’s house the other day, painting her girls to get some photos for my new book, when we stumbled upon this fun idea…painted flip flops!  Gotta love it!  Perfect for barefoot kids running around the house…or maybe a summer pool party!

The straps are just two simple swoops using my TAG one stroke cakes and TAG one stroke brush!  The flowers were also done using one stroke techniques.  I did these super quick but could totally elaborate more with more details, gemstones, etc!

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On your Mark! Get Set! GO!

My little 5 year old loves to pretend he is running marathons like his Daddy.  So after he finished his latest marathon (which was 3 laps around the front yard), he asked me if he could have a medal like Daddy.  I proceeded to hang an imaginary medal around his neck.  “No! I want a REAL medal this time!” So I said, “well, how about I PAINT a medal on you?!”  To my delight he answered with an enthusiastic “YEAH!!!!”

And so…here you have today’s super fun and unique kids’ body painting idea: medals!

He looks pretty happy with it, don’t you think?

I used my TAG Red, White and Blue Pearl one-stroke cake for the ribbon which was beyond perfect.  The gold is TAG pearl gold, and the black and white are Wolfe.

Step by step!
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HAS vs BAM … Scale, Coverage, Dimensions, Etc!

It can be hard for visual people like we face painters to purchase things online without seeing and touching them ourselves, which is why I try so hard to include great visuals in my shop!  Seeing a stock shot of a paint container, for example, doesn’t tell you much.  I usually try to show a hand holding a container to get an idea for scale, give product dimensions, and swatches of it on skin whenever possible!  So, for this reason I thought I’d do a more in depth post on the new HAS (Half Ass Stencils) that we are now carrying in the shop!

HAS “Design” Set in the package – a zip-closed plastic bag.

The stencil sheet removed.  Each set has a different colored chain so you can organize your stencils!
When you get them, you have to pop each one out of the sheet

The “Design” set chained together and in my hand for scale.

So the question everyone asks is, are the designs simply cropped smaller or are they shrunken down? I took the design BAM 1035 and the corresponding HAS 4035 for example, being that it is one of the most popular designs with face painters!  While many of the HAS stencils have the BAM designs simply shrunk by 50%, that is not the case for ALL of the stencils.  As you can see here, with this design it is shrunken but also cropped off a little.   Some of the designs with a lot of fine detail, like this one, probably wouldn’t work well shrunk at 50%, so it is not really correct to say they are the same exact design at 50% scale.  It depends on the stencil.  But it seems as though they have scaled most of them by 50% if it still resulted in a useable stencil.  

HAS next to it’s corresponding pattern in BAM, to show the difference in scale.

I tried out these stencils on top of a swatch of Wolfe white, using some blue powder from the INtense pro “Wind” set applied with a lollipop blender.

Sample swatches made using corresponding BAM and HAS stencils

 You can see the size of coverage area here with the ruler.  The HAS stencils make an oval about 2.25″ long, while BAM is about 4″.

I hope this helps answer your questions about the size and scale of the HAS designs!  Feel free to post any questions you have, and I would love to help!  If you have questions about a specific pattern, let me know and I’d be happy to post or email you a photo comparison of that design in BAM vs HAS!

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Neon, Fluorescent, UV, Dayglow…What Does It All Mean?! (And LOOK like in terms of Face Paint?)

 So, we know that neon/fluorescent/uv makeup colors glow under black light.  But many people have trouble figuring out the difference between terminology and just how to determine if something they are buying will actually glow under black light. The face and body painting industry uses all sorts of terms for products that really have a lot of artists confused.  Split cakes, rainbow cakes, one-stroke cakes…what’s the difference? Just another example we’ll cover that another time! But it’s the same in the neon paint category!  So this is my attempt to explain things!

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    Ruby Red UV/Neon Makeup
    Ruby Red UV/Neon Makeup
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    Ruby Red UV Makeup Kit
    Ruby Red UV Makeup Kit
  • Global Neon 6-Color Palette
    Global Neon 6-Color Palette
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    Cameleon Neon Makeup 32g
  • Global Neon 32g Makeup
    Global Neon 32g Makeup
  • Fusion UV 32g Makeup
    Fusion UV 32g Makeup

What is the difference between Neon, UV, Day Glow, Fluorescent…?? 

Most people use these terms simply as a way to say they are “super bright colors.”  If you want to make sure a product glows under a black light, the only question you need to ask is if the product itself reacts to UV light (like a black light) by fluorescing phosphors.  Or in other words, “does it fluoresce under black light?” A paint labeled with any of these terms doesn’t necessarily mean it reacts to UV light.  I mean, usually it does in the face and body painting world, but not all products, colors, and industries use these words the same.  So if you are doing a gig where your paints must glow under black light, make sure to ask the right questions before making a purchase.

Let’s start with a mini lesson in the source of these terms…lights!

Neon Light

Neon is what you see in signage like the “open” sign above.  They are made of long tubes that are bent into whatever shapes or letters are needed for the sign.  These tubes emit actual colored light.  Inside the tube is a low pressure gas.  When a high voltage of electricity is run through the electrodes at each end of the tube, the gas “ionizes,” and the electrons get all excited, in turn freaking out the atoms which emit colored light.  The gasses inside the tube vary, since each gas emits a different color light. Neon, for example, emits red light.  Argon creates an electric blue-green color, and so on.  The light itself is colored!

Fluorescent Light

Fluorescent lights are similar to neon lights in that they have a tube filled with gas with electrodes on each end.  However, fluorescent lights have a mercury vapor inside, that emits UV (ultraviolet) light when ionized, instead of the colored light that neon lights emit.  Well, if that is the case, then why aren’t people in office buildings coming home with sunburn, you ask?!  Well, the inside of fluorescent tubes are coated with a phosphor, which is able to soak up the UV rays, fluoresce (glow) when energized, and then emit those rays as visible light.  So the light you see coming out of a fluorescent tube is actually the light that is given off by that phosphor coating.

So neon face paint is obviously not really “neon” literally.  And neither is “fluorescent.” Companies just uses the term “neon” to describe the fact that the colors are “really bright like a neon/fluorescent light.”

Pigments and light are often used to help describe each other, but they can get confusing if you don’t understand their origins.  The brightest, whitest light is made up of every color of the spectrum.  However, in terms of pigments or paints, white is the ABSENCE of color, and black is the presence of every color.  So you can see how things can get very confusing very quickly when using light’s terms to describe pigments, because they are opposites!  But it makes sense that someone would use a bright light term to describe the brightness of their pigment/paint.

Black Light

Not to be confused with a “party light” which is simply a normal bulb with a colored coating on it…A black light produces UVB light.  Phosphors are what we actually see glowing under a black light.  When they are exposed to radiation (like UVB), phosphors emit a visible light.  So what they do is they pick up the UV rays that we normally can’t see, and make them visible.  Which is why other things look dark while the phosphors glow in a dark room with a black light.

So then why does your white shirt glow under black light? White naturally reflects light, so you see the reflection of the normal light itself, PLUS, many of the detergents used today have phosphors in them to make your shirts look super white in daylight.  The two combined (daylight plus phosphors picking up the UV light) make your white shirt look super white.  And the phosphors in your detergent make it glow under black light.  And yes, many bodily fluids fluoresce under black light too…but we will try to avoid the gross hotel room images and move on to more pleasant things!

Now on to some fun face paint examples!!

I went out and bought a black light last night so that I could do some experimentation and share some visuals with you lovey people!!  Now, like I said earlier, if you are looking for a black light, don’t get a “party light” that looks like a purple or black light bulb.  All that does is make the incandescent light look purple. You want an actual black light that produces UVB rays, not a light painted black, or it won’t work.

I started out by making a new “glowing” header graphic for my neon paint section of my website .  This was done with a swipe of my Wolfe Neon Rainbow cake (no longer in production…boo!), and then the black was all done using Wolfe Black. Here is a comparison of the Wolfe paints as they look in both normal daylight and under black light:

From there I decided to make some swatches for comparison between Wolfe, Ruby Red, TAG, Global, & Kryolan’s neon paints.  All fluoresce under black light.  The two swatches on the far right are clear UV makeups.

Neon makeup brand comparison under normal daylight
Neon makeup brand comparison under blacklight

A few interesting observations:
– The Wolfe paint looks like a light blue under daylight, but a dark blue under black light. 
– Kryolan’s blue looks like dark blue under daylight, but light blue under black light. 
– Most of the yellows actually look more green under black light.
– Ruby Red doesn’t have a lot of color differentiation, but they are the only ones that are FDA compliant.

Here are a few samples of the TAG neon split cakes when applied in their intended blended variations:

TAG Neon Samples

What Does “Day Glow” Mean?
This is the term that describes pigments that appear really right under normal daylight.  Kryolan calls theirs “UV-Dayglow.”  The “UV” part of the name means that it glows under black light.  “Day Glow” means they appear to glow under normal daylight…why they look so bright!

Kryolan UV-Dayglow Aquacolor

Wolfe Clear White Neon Paint

What about “Clear White Neon.” What’s the deal…is it clear or is it white? Wolfe, Global, Fusion and Ruby Red all have UV clear neon makeup.

Wolfe Clear White Neon

It looks white in the container, but check out the images below. This paint goes on virtually clear, yet glows white when under a black light. 

One other little side discovery… After absolutely scrubbing the heck out of my arm to clean off the paint swatch samples, (and I mean scrubbing…with a Lysol wipe with the scratchy stuff in it) the Wolfe Clear White square remained.  While it was nowhere to be seen in broad daylight, it stayed clear as day under black light.  I think the longer you leave it on, the better it will “stick,” but something interesting to note!

My arm after SCRUBBING off the earlier swatch samples…Wolfe Clear White remains

Ruby Red also makes an “Invisible” UV makeup. See below for an example of some swirls and teardrops painted on my arm under normal daylight and black light:

It really goes on pretty invisible, which you can tell from how sloppy my lines are…it was hard to see what I was doing!

I had heard that you could lay down Ruby Red’s invisible UV makeup over the top of other standard colors to make those colors glow.  So, I tried it out…

A stripe of Ruby Red “invisible” painted over other standard colors from other brands (Global, Paradise, Kryolan)

As you can see, you can’t really differentiate the colors once it’s held under blacklight.  So, if you think you can just add this over the top of your normal colors to make them glowing colors, you may be disappointed.  However, this makeup could be really fun for some applications, especially on Halloween.   You could paint a skull for example that is not visible during the day, but shows up under blacklight.  Or, you could paint something like a happy clown face, and then use the invisible UV to create a scary clown over the top of it, revealing a change when under black light!

Dayglow = Bright, but UV Reactive ≠ Bright Necessarily!

Another important thing to note, is that while all of the UV reactive paints glow under blacklight, not all UV reactive paints will appear to be bright and neon looking in daylight.  To appear super bright under daylight, the makeup must have the day glow pigments, which are not FDA compliant for cosmetics.  This is why you will see warnings on the packaging of other brands’ neon paints.

In their effort to offer only FDA compliant UV paints, Snazaroo and Ruby Red offer a line of paints that react under black light, however, they do not appear fluorescent looking in daylight.  Here is an example of Ruby Red’s UV makeup shown under daylight vs blacklight:

Ruby Red UV makeup

 If you are buying these expecting to see bright, neon colors under normal light, you will be disappointed.  Ruby Red does not appear super bright under normal light…they are not “day glow.”  They DO glow under black light, but the color variation is not super distinct.  The huge plus side of Ruby Red UV makeup is that they use only FDA compliant pigments. 

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    Ruby Red UV/Neon Makeup
    Ruby Red UV/Neon Makeup
  • Product on sale
    Ruby Red UV Makeup Kit
    Ruby Red UV Makeup Kit

For more in-depth information on neon paints and FDA compliancy, check out my next blog post, coming soon!

I hope this has helped to clear some things up for you and help you visualize exactly what these fluorescing paint products can do!  And please note that I am no scientist…so feel free to correct me in any of my light descriptions.  I’m learning as I go too!  🙂

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Introducing our NEW BAM Stencil Package Deal: The Patriot Package!

We have just added 5 new BAM stencils to our selection, and are offering them both individually ($4) and as a package deal (5 for $18; you save $2).  Introducing our new “Patriot Package!”

There are two things that I have decided to to in my online store that I have yet to see at any other online face painting supply shops! First, I offer these 5-stencil package deals, enabling you to sample a handful of stencils of a particular theme and save $2 vs. purchasing them individually!

Second, I myself try to purchase one of every product I sell, so that I can create actual paint sample swatches for you and also answer your questions about every product with personal experience.  Below are photos of the stencils available in this new set (and individually if you prefer!), along with one example of how it can look on skin!

So, despite the snow that is STILL covering my front yard, I am determined to think summertime thoughts!  These stencils are perfect for your upcoming Memorial Day and 4th of July parties!

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New Hand-Painted Headers!

If you know me, then you know that once an idea strikes I just can’t stop until I execute it!!  The last couple days I came up with the idea of actually painting new website headers on my arm.  Here are the ones I have done so far!  You’ll now see these in their various corresponding sections of my web shop, but check back as I plan to do these for every section eventually!  🙂

The bling one is definitely my favorite…and I really want to get a black light so I can re-do the neon one and make it really glow!!  Oooh, ideas, ideas!  Happy painting everyone!

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Thinking Warm Thoughts!

Since the huge mega snowstorm started yesterday, I have been trying to cheer myself up by painting some summer-y things!  Here are some photos of my experiments this week!

Beach chair! Wish I were here!
Step by Step beach design

 Beach Tools used:
– Home-made split cake for sunset using Mark Reid Signature Body Brush
Foam dauber with Wolfe white using a BAM stencil for waves
TAG one-stroke Ocean for the chair canvas
Wolfe Black and White


Pinwheel tools used:
No 12 TAG one-stroke brush and TAG Rainbow one-stroke cake
Wolfe Black and White for all linework
5mm round acrylic rhinestone in the center, attached with spirit gum

one stroke face painting book

Want to learn more about how to use One Stroke makeup? Be sure to check out my book, “One Stroke Face Painting, which you can purchase here!

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Book Inspiration: “Happy Kitty Bunny Pony: A Saccharine Mouthful of Super Cute”

What are your favorite face painting books?  I actually don’t own many books that are specific to face painting, but I have quite a few other books that I love to use for inspiration.  I’ve found that if I only stick to face painting books and images of others’ face paintings for inspiration, I’ll just be repeating the same style of painting that you see in the face and body painting world.  So, I am constantly in search of non-face-painting books that can inspire my work.  I hope to share a few of my favorites with you in the following weeks, because I have some really great ones!

Today I thought I’d start with a really funny book that pokes fun at the super cutesy illustrations from the past.  It’s called “Happy Kitty Bunny Pony: A Saccharine Mouthful of Super Cute.”

Now that I see there is a whole series of these “Pop Ink” books, I might have to get a couple more! A fellow designer friend of mine got it for me for my baby shower, after her and I had previously stumbled upon it and were caught giggling over it in a local art museum gift shop.  The descriptions are really funny, and I never thought I’d use it for face paint inspiration…but then again that’s the best kind of inspiration…unexpected!! And who better to use over-the-top-cutesy art on than cute widdle kids?!

So this week I thought I’d try creating some designs inspired by the art in the book…

And yes, of COURSE I put together a bunch of free step-by-step instructions for you!  You’re very welcome!!  🙂

I know, some of these might have been nice for Easter, but now you have some new ones to work on for next year!  Happy painting!

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Chapstick Sushi: Empty Tubes Now Available!

Sounds fun, doesn’t it?!  When I was searching the web for sushi cake tutorials, I stumbled upon yet another awesome video by the most-incredible Denise Cold.  I think it is safe to say that Denise “invented” the Chapstick sushi!  What a fabulous idea.  If you haven’t seen these, basically you create a long, skinny sushi cake and then slide it into a chapstick container.  Then, you are able to use the paint itself as the applicator to create small, round imprints for things like bubbles, gems, etc, without the need for a dauber or brush.  Just pop the cap off, mist with water, and press against the skin! No messy sponges to clean afterward.  I think the idea is ingenious. 

Rather than just hogging the fun to myself, I took the liberty of placing a large order of these empty chapstick containers to make available to YOU in my shop for just $1.00 each!!  So stop on by the shop to pick up your Chapstick tubes, and be sure to check out Denise’s great video for a step-by-step tutorial on how to make them.  Here are a few photos of my first attempt….I think it’ll take a few tries to really get the size and method down, but these still turned out great!

Paints ready to combine for a red gemstone chapstick sushi cake

Paints combined

 (next you spear it with a toothpick or bamboo skewer, and freeze until it hardens enough to put in the tube)

I don’t think I let mine freeze long enough, but eventually got it all in there.

Compressing the paint as I turn up the base

The finished chapstick sushi

Just mist…


…and you have some cool red gems! Maybe I’ll try adding gold around the edges like I did in my red gem sushi cake.
My “bubble” chapstick sushi
I used my paint pens to label the containers!