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“Ka-Ching! Face Paint Your Way to Extra Cash!”

I recently was quoted in a magazine article. Normally I’m really excited when this happens, but this particular article I had some mixed feelings with.

I was contacted back in February 2015 by a reporter from Woman’s World. She stated,  “…I’m doing a piece for Woman’s World on how to make extra money as a face painter and wonder if you’d be available for a brief interview….”

Hmm…”extra money?” These words made me fear that this article may go in a direction that I and other professional face painters may not like.  I had two reactions. First, “Don’t reply…you do NOT want your name attached to this.”  Then, “Hey, this might actually be a great opportunity to build up the credibility of our profession and really give aspiring face painters good advice.”

First, let me mention that I have NO problem with competition…good, healthy competition makes us all better!! The other artists in our area will even tell you that I LOVE getting to know my “competition,” love to jam with them, learn with them, and LOVE to help out new face painters! That itself is clear from my website too, which may be why I was contacted.  So, my reaction has nothing to do with that aspect…but about building up my fellow painters and our profession.

What I did NOT want to encourage are the ideas that:
– Face painting is easy
– It doesn’t cost much to start face painting
– Anyone can face paint and earn extra cash
– Face painting is something people just do “on the side” for “extra cash.”

My response was a really lengthy email that I will paste below so you can see my attempts to spread the word about our profession.  I actually had to think about this for 2 days before I finally replied because I wanted to be really careful that I wouldn’t come across as endorsing the above points and make it clear that my participation hinged on how things were presented. But more importantly, I wanted to make sure to take this opportunity to actually educate the public about what it really takes to be a good face painter without making a lot of local enemies! This is why I said that I would agree to an interview ONLY if they were not portraying face painting in this “extra cash” light.

“…I would be super honored to be a part of your article! However, I’m afraid my participation will depend on how you’re handling the subject. Let me explain…

There are many, many face painters out there who have a solid career in this field, and even support their families on face painting alone.  I know you’re aiming you article at moms who want to do it on the side, which is great, as most professional face painters start in this way!  But, it’s really important to dot some i’s and cross some t’s along the way….

In my opinion there are two types of face painters who do it “for extra money” while also working other full time jobs or full time motherhood:

1 – Those who paint for free or cheap for charity, school & church functions, and may charge a little money to paint for some birthday parties here and there…they buy a set of paints, whatever they can find cheap at the craft store, and do it more as a hobby for some extra cash…in our area these artists are anywhere from free to $50 per hour.

2 – These are artists who also do face painting on the side for extra cash, but treat face painting as a legitimate business, not just a hobby. At a very minimum, they invest in FDA compliant face paints and cosmetic glitters, and they purchase liability insurance for their business.  If they really want to do well at it, they invest time and money in publications, conferences, workshops, certifications, and subscriptions to online learning (like  These artists typically charge as low as $75 for a brand new artist, to $200 per hour.  Most in my area are around $100-$175 per hour but it depends on the market somewhat.

…[inserted the story of my face painting career here]…

As professional face painters we are constantly struggling to educate our clients about our worth as professionals and face painting as an actual profession.  Those who fall in the 1st category are extremely damaging to our business and our market, and unfortunately can cause us to back track a lot in this “education.”  We work very hard to explain the fact that this is a profession, that there are certain standards that should be followed, and why we are worth what we charge.  There is also a lot of time involved in events outside of the hours that are spent actually painting, and most new painters don’t think to consider all of this time and expense. Here is a post I did explaining how a $100/hour rate doesn’t mean the artist is pocketing $100/hour:

Many who fall in category 1 simply don’t think about these things. They aren’t aware that by charging so little, their “extra cash” is actually eating into someone else’s only paycheck.  They don’t make much at it, so they can’t justify putting in the needed investment in quality, safe supplies and insurance. Sadly, many even use homemade face paint with things that are not meant to be worn on the skin for a long period of time, or worse yet, they use tempera, acrylic or other “non toxic” craft paints which can cause horrible reactions.  Here’s a blog post with more info on that topic and why it’s SO important to use the right products:  Our kids’ health and safety is worth a little research for sure! Over time they can learn, of course, but in the meantime, we are left to pick up the pieces, get our clients back, and remind them why they get what they pay for.

SO, all of that being said (sorry so long…you can tell I’m passionate about this!), I would absolutely jump at the opportunity to be in your article if the intent is to not just encourage moms to do this on the side, but encourage them to be sure to at a minimum:

– Purchase ONLY FDA Compliant face paints
– Use ONLY glitters that are FDA compliant for cosmetic use (metallic craft glitters can scratch the cornea!!!)
– Research what the going rate is in their market and charge in that range. If you want to be cheaper because you are new, let your clients know that this is an introductory rate while you get some experience, and then raise your rates as you get better.
– Purchase liability insurance as soon as you can afford it, at least if you expect to keep face painting, because many larger events actually require this for you to paint.

(I could give a lot more tips for beginners and things to do, watch out for, etc, but these are the bare minimum anyone should consider)

I absolutely love to help out beginners to get them the right start!!  In fact, years ago when I opened my online store I put together a little starter set that has a small palette of quality, FDA compliant paints (that can be re-filled, unlike the cheap ones at the craft stores), brushes, a sheet of designs, and a book I wrote full of tips for those who have never painted a face. It was meant as a solution to those who either couldn’t afford to hire me, or had been asked to volunteer at their kid’s school and didn’t know where to start. It gives them a great start with safe supplies and helpful instructions:  If you scroll down to the next package deal, this is what I recommend for those really wanting to turn this into a real business.  Beginners also will find a wealth of FREE information on my “learn” page, …and by subscribing to my free monthly e-newsletters.

Anyway, if this sounds like the direction your article will be going in, I’d love to do an interview! …..”

I thought I was pretty clear and thorough, and had my bases covered! Just 10 minutes after I sent this email, I was sent a reply that stated she had already interviewed another face painter, and she no longer needed to talk to me as she had enough information to use between the two of us. I was told that she would “focus on being a quality face painter,” and that was that.

2 months later I saw a photo of this article show up on Facebook, shared by SillyFarm, since they too were mentioned in it.  I was excited at first, and then saw the headline…I fount it to be really a punch in the gut to professional face painters in general.

Since my name and my company were quoted in this article, I felt it important to clarify MY position on some of the things mentioned in the article:

  • “…you can earn up to $100 for the first hour and $40 to $50 for each subsequent hour…”  I’ve been painting professionally for 20 years, and not only have I never heard a price structure with a 60% discount for the 2nd hour, but on another note, I didn’t even charge $100 per hour until I was going on 18 years of experience.  Most painters actually require a 2 hour minimum, and I’ve never met an artist with such a strange structure as this.  Secondly, a beginner face painter shouldn’t be charging $100 per hour.  While under-cutting is seriously frowned upon in our industry, a new painter should get to know her local competition and the going rates.  She should start out at a rate that matches her experience and skill, make sure clients know that this is an introductory rate while she gains experience, and then work her way up to the going rate. It really does help EVERYONE in the market this way.
  • “…buy a simple face-painting kit at Party City…” I would never recommend Party City for face paints.  This is probably the place your most likely to find those super cheap “Made in China” sets that can’t be refilled, which a little research will show you are less regulated and more likely to cause reactions.  And the word “craft store” should not even be mentioned without clarifying that you should only buy actual face paint…too many beginners use tempera or acrylic which is dangerous! I WOULD recommend that if you go to a craft store, you look for Snazaroo because it at least is a legitimate, safe face paint.  I often suggest that newbies and volunteers take their 40% off coupon to Michaels for a set of Snazaroo if they are on a super tight budget. Not the best, but still safe!
  • Do street fairs and “get a lot of exposure.”  There it is, folks…the “e” word that makes us all throw up in our mouths a little bit.  If you’ve been a professional face painter for a month you’ve gotten requests to work for “exposure.” Unpaid gigs get you more unpaid gigs.  There is nothing wrong with gaining exposure, we all need that! And I know the article mentions paying a booth fee to do this, it does not say we should paint for free which so many clients ask us to do.  But, I suggest that you attend events yourself first and make sure they are actually well attended, and a place where people go intending to spend money on their kids, before you can even think about making a profit.  Also, make SURE there are not already artists there painting!! Taking an established hourly paying gig from an artist who is there every year by offering it for free or offering to pay for a booth will gain you one mediocre gig and many local face painter enemies.  Play nice, it really does pay off!!

Okay, that about sums up my rant. I mainly just wanted my original email to get out there so that everyone can see all of my recommendations, not just the tiny snippet that was published. 

As you already know, I LOVE to help out new artists!! If you are a mom looking to start up face painting on the side, please feel free to email me any time. I would love to give you any advice and help needed, recommend a place to start with products, etc. Also, feel free to peruse my “learn” page which is FULL of sound advice and step-by-step’s!

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New Items Just Added: Invisible Glove and Belly Blessing Gifts!

We have a few unique, new items added to the shop! Check them out and click on the links below to go right to them in the shop…

Invisible Glove, $7.75

Invisible Glove works just like it’s name describes! Apply it to your hands like a lotion before your gigs, and it will protect your skin and nails from being stained by paint. Finally a way to protect your hands without wearing an actual glove! When you’re done, simply wash it of with soap and water, along with any paint on your hands.  Comes in a large 5oz tube for $7.75.

Pewter charm, $3.00

 Have you ever done henna for a belly blessing, and seen each of the guests bring a charm for the mom-to-be? These little henna hand charms are the perfect little thank-you gift for your belly henna clients! We have an assortment of designs now available in the shop, ranging from $1.50 to $3.00 each

Gold toned charm, $3.00

 These charms are also perfect to turn into earrings to wear to your henna gigs!

Hand charm, $1.50

 Looking for a cute way to package your henna client gift? We now have these little silver organza bags for just $1.00 each.  These are just the perfect size to hold a tube of henna balm, a charm, and a business card or personalized note!

Organza bags, $1.00 each

Thanks for stopping in! Happy painting!

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Face Painting Client Contracts…What Do I Write?

It’s that time of year when quote requests are coming in and your inbox may be filling up with leads from gig sites.  If you’re still new to operating as a business, this time is exciting but also scary, as you realize you need to get your act together with a contract!

Face painting is a fun and colorful profession…I try to make even my contracts reflect that! 😉

You start out face painting and give all of your clients the benefit of the doubt…you trust that they want you when and where they say they want you, and that they will pay you for your work.  Then comes the day you learn your lesson the hard way that you should have gotten a contract and deposit because:

  • You show up and the event has been cancelled.  
  • You do an event and then never get paid.  
  • The client found someone cheaper at the last second.
  • The client hired someone else and forgot to tell you.
  • You’ve turned away several other gigs for this one and now have none.  
  • The venue has changed and nobody informed you.
  • It started to rain so they rescheduled the party.
  • The client told you there would be 10 kids and there are 30 but they still expect you to paint them all in 1 hour.
  • The client told you there would be 10 kids and only 5 showed up so now they want to pay you half.
  • You think you have landed a gig but then can’t seem to get ahold of the client and they stop communicating with you.
  • The client argues that you didn’t do what you promised them and now they’re refusing to pay.

Yes, ALL of these things have happened to face painters that I know of!

If you’ve already had one or more of these things happen, don’t let it get you down…it’s happened to just about every seasoned professional painter out there, and it’s what nudges us all into that next step of requiring contracts and deposits, and one of the factors that will differentiate a job from a hobby. My hope is that this never has happened to you, that you read this, and learn from our mistakes.  It’s never too early and you’re never too new as a face painter to start using contracts!

First, I must note that I am in no way a legal professional.  Nothing I say here is meant to be taken as legal advice, and you and only you are responsible for what you decide to do with your business. I personally have no idea what exact terminology is best for legal things…I am only collecting and assembling verbiage from other contracts I have seen and used.  I highly recommend that you have a legal professional look over your final contract and answer any legal questions you may have, to make sure you are covered!
That said, I thought it might be helpful to just post some ideas on verbiage that people put into their contracts. This post is meant to be a starting point in deciding what you’d like to have in your contract. This is essentially a list of different ways to word things, taken from contracts that other artists have shared online, and my own.  By the way, if you have your own verbiage that you’d like to share with others, please comment below or email me! My plan is to keep adding to this post as a resource! My hope is that this will not only help you think about what things are important to you in your contract, but will enable you to easily cut and paste to get a start on your own contract.  Remember, your contract doesn’t have to be set in stone either…you may find things that you didn’t think were important, later become important, so you adjust it for the next client.
What to call it:
Booking Agreement
Event Contract 
Service Agreement

Basic Event Information:
  • Date of the contract
  • Your business name, address, email and phone
  • Client’s name, billing address, email and phone
  • Client’s contact number for the day of the event (in case you get lost or run late)
  • Event name, address & phone (if different than client’s)
  • Alternate Location in case of inclement weather
  • Event Date
  • Artist(s)
  • Time slot of your performance
  • Fees (hourly fee, flat rate, travel fees, etc)
  • Type of Event (birthday, company picnic, grand opening, private session, etc)
  • Theme of Event (Frozen, circus, super heroes, etc)
  • Number of children expected
  • Services to be provided (Be clear here, if you are agreeing to painting a certain number of kids, for a certain amount of time, etc)
  • Artist Requests (table, chairs, shelter, access to a sink, anything required by the artist to paint. Don’t assume anything! You could end up outside on a cold, rainy day with no shelter and your chair legs sinking into the mud…yes, this has happened!!)

Booking Requirements: What you require to consider the gig booked
  • A completed contract must be received ____ days prior to the event or client runs the risk of losing that date.
  • A completed contract must be received in the office at least 14 days prior to the event along with a _______ non-refundable booking fee/deposit. 
Fees: What you are charging the client
There are various fees to consider in your contract. First, there’s the fee for your work, which might be per hour, per child, or a flat rate for the party. Be clear about this in your contract, so that the client knows exactly what they are paying for, and what they are not paying for.  If you’re charging by the hour, make sure you’ve allotted enough time to paint all the expected kids. If there end up being more kids than expected (which happens a LOT), make sure you outline a plan so that you either get compensated for extra time, or the client is aware that you won’t get the extra kids painted.

Then there are travel fees. Most artists have a certain mileage radius or amount of drive time that is included, and they don’t charge a travel fee if it’s within this range.  I tend to charge by the drive time, not miles, because my time is money! If you are having to turn away other gigs closer to home to accommodate the additional drive time to an event, you may want to charge a travel fee.  Some clients won’t realize how far you are from them, especially if they found you online. But don’t assume they aren’t willing to pay for your travel time. I have had events that are 2-3 hours away one way who have paid my full hourly rate just for the drive time on a busy summer Saturday.  Make the rate whatever is worth it to you for your time and gas. Travel fees are also a great place to offer a discount for customers looking for one. I often waive the travel fees if it is a long gig, say 3-4 hours or more.

The other fee is your deposit. Some artists call this a booking fee, or a retainer. The deposit has to be a high enough amount that it would hurt the client a little if it were forfeited…otherwise there is no point. What good will a $20 deposit do you if they later find someone who costs $30 less per hour and hire them instead? The deposit is there to ensure that you are not setting aside a busy summer weekend, turning away other paying events, only to later be cancelled on and make $0.  If for some reason it’s cancelled still, you at least make something for blocking out your time and all the time you spend in communication with the client, preparing your designs and equipment, and writing up contracts.

Here are a few lines you might use to outline your fees:

  • Travel fees apply when the event is more than ____ miles from _____.  
  • An additional travel charge of ____ will be applied for each mile beyond ___ miles 1-way.
  • A travel fee of ____ is due along with the deposit no later than ____.
  • If your event exceeds the time booked and we are available to stay, any additional time will be charged in ____ minute increments at a rate of ______ per _____ minute increment.
  • Client will pay for the time booked plus any time run over.
  • Artists who arrive and are ready to paint at designated start time are not responsible for late arrivals or late start to the party.   
  • The client will reimburse artist for any parking fees, which must be paid on the day of the event.
  • A ____ Deposit/Booking Fee (percentage or flat fee) AND signed contract is required to reserve your date.
Payment: When your fees are due and what payment methods you accept

Make sure it is very clear to the client how and when all fees are due.  If accepting personal checks for deposit, make sure you require them far enough out to confirm that they clear.  Accepting fees via Paypal is a great way to get paid quickly! However, they do take a percentage. Some artists charge an extra few percent for Paypal payments or credit card swipes.  I require Paypal payment of deposits for all last minute events which are within 2 weeks of the event date.  If the event is within 2 days of the original request, I require 100% up front via Paypal.  I am not a fan of procrastinating as it always causes extra stress and opportunity for mistakes.  Some artists offer a small discount if the amount is paid in full before the event, to encourage getting all the payment done up front.  Here are a few lines you might use to describe payment:
  • All charges are due on the day of the event.
  • The client agrees to pay the full amount contracted once the artist(s) have arrived at the event location.
  • We accept cash, cashiers checks, personal checks, credit cards, Paypal… 
  • Checks can be made payable to [Your company here].
  • The client agrees to pay for any accidents or injuries caused by pets or guests, and/or any damage to artist’s equipment or supplies caused by pets, sprinklers, or guests.
  • The remaining balance of this contract is payable to [Your company] upon the artist’s arrival, prior to the designated start time.  
  •  The remaining balance is due upon the artist’s arrival on the date of the event.
  • The remaining balance due must be postmarked no later than ___ to avoid late fees.
  • We can accept Paypal payments or credit cards for an additional 3% processing fee.
  • Late payments are subject to a 5% finance charge per month or fraction thereof.
I’ve heard many stories of personal checks bouncing, but have not had this happen to myself yet.  Some artists call the bank first to make sure there are sufficient funds before cashing a check, to avoid fees. Some simply do not accept personal checks. This is entirely up to you!
Services To Be Provided:

They’ve hired you to paint faces. You’ve agreed to paint faces.  However, the two of you may have a totally different definition of this service.  Maybe the client assumes you’re going to just hang out and keep painting until everyone is painted, regardless of time or how many people show up.…while you know you have to pack up at a specific time to make it to your next event on time.  SO many issues can be avoided simply by managing your clients’ expectations. Make sure that you both understand exactly what you are providing, whether it be a certain amount of time, specific number of kids, etc.  Do you paint all of the adults who ask to be painted too?  What happens if you go over your agreed upon time? What if they want you to stay but you can’t? Does the client know that you may need a break or two to change your rinse water & use the restroom?  Do they know how much room you need for your setup?  Are you expecting them to provide you with a table and chairs? What if nobody shows up for the party? What if the party starts a half hour late? Here are a few lines to cover some of these things…

  • Artist will provide ___ hours of face painting, starting at __:__ and ending at __:__.
  • Artist will arrive ___ minutes early to allow time to set up.
  • If more guests attend the event than are expected, and the artist does not have another event to attend, the artist may stay longer and will bill client at the agreed upon hourly rate for additional time.
  • Artists cannot be held responsible for the number of attendees at your event. 
  • The artist may take a ____ minute break every ____ hours, for events that go more than ___ hours. 
  • Estimated number of children painted per hour is dependent upon all of the guests being present at the start time and ready to go one after another. For a more casual schedule, please factor in additional time.

Don’t forget the services you are NOT providing:

Sometimes artists show up and find out that they are going to be in a room alone with 20 wild children while the adults sip beverages in the other room. Are you responsible for babysitting?  Are you expected to keep fixing designs that are repeatedly ruined because it is a pool party?

  • Artists will not be responsible for supervising children. Their behavior and safety is the Client’s and/or Parents’ responsibility, and client agrees to provide proper supervision for all children.
  • Artist is not responsible for any adverse effects that other entertainment might have on the face painting, such as sweat (bounce houses), water (swimming pools), etc. Your quoted time frame does not include time required to re-do faces so please plan accordingly.
  • Client is responsible for providing _________. (table, chairs, tent, etc)


Working Conditions

I’ve heard quite a few horror stories about painters getting caught up in fights, being subjected to angry, drunk, inappropriate and unruly party guests, and even having their paints ruined by sprinklers.  While it’s sad that we even have to spell these things out, sometimes it is necessary and nice to give yourself an out if you feel unsafe!  Other conditions also may come into play such as parking, apartment buildings with no elevators, etc.

  • Artist reserves the right to stop painting and leave without refunding any monies if there are extreme adverse working conditions and the client fails to remedy the situation after it has been brought to the client’s attention.  Adverse conditions include but are not limited to destructive, violent, or inappropriate behavior of a child, pet or adult, illegal activities, or otherwise dangerous conditions including lightening and severe weather.
  • Please either leave a space open in front of the house on the street, the driveway, or a loading dock so Artist can unload equipment.
Indoor Events:
  • Artist requires access to bathroom facilities, and a minimum of ___’ x ___’ space to work.
  • Please ensure that location has adequate lighting but we can bring lights if necessary – please let us know.
Outdoor Events:
  • Client is responsible for providing an alternate indoor location in the event of inclement weather.
  • Client must provide Artist with sun/wind/rain shelter, table, 2 chairs per Artist, and adequate space (___’ x ___’) and lighting to paint.
  • Artists are not able to paint outdoors when the temperature is below ___ degreees.
  • We can bring our easy-up shelter, table, and chairs for an additional charge of $____ . We will need to set up 25 minutes prior to start / after completion of event in this case.  We require a minimum of 10’L x 10’W x 11’ H of level space, adequate lighting, & access to a rest room.  Please avoid watering your lawn on the day of your party, or soak it heavily the previous day if possible, to accommodate our tent, table & chair legs.
  • While Client can choose to pay for the Artist to bring an EZ Up shelter, for the comfort of your guests and our artists, the client agrees to provide an area with protection from extreme temperatures, sun, rain, snow and excessive wind.
  • The client agrees to pay the full amount contracted once  the painter has arrived at the event location, even if it is raining.  Please note that we do not offer refunds for inclement weather.
Rescheduling: In the event of a cancellation, rain, etc…

You’ve done your part by securing your event with a deposit. But what if they still want to cancel? Sometimes things happen that are out of the control of you and the planner and things change. Make sure you have a plan if this happens so that you don’t end up without a gig on a normally busy weekend.

  • Should you need to reschedule your event, please do so at least ___ days prior to the event and we will do everything we can to accommodate your needs.
  • We do not offer refunds for inclement weather so please secure an alternate indoor location for your event in advance.
  • If you need to cancel your event, you must do so at least ____ hours/days in advance or pay the full contract amount.
  • Should you need to  reschedule  or cancel your event,  you must provide us with an intent to cancel or reschedule notice at least ____ days in advance, in order to receive your deposit/booking fee back.  If notice is not given with those seven days you will only be allowed to reschedule.  
  • Cancellations given within  _____  hours prior to the cancellation date will be held responsible for the remaining balance of the contract.  Remember no refunds will be given due to inclement  weather so please secure an alternate indoor location for your event in  advance.
  • Deposits are non-refundable and required to hold event date. For events cancelled no later than ____ weeks before event date, the deposit may be applied toward a future date.
  • Should our Artist get sick or have to cancel, we will find a replacement artist.

Limits and Liability:
Allergic Reactions, Health and Safety
  • Artists are not liable for allergic reactions to paints.  People with skin allergies or sensitive skin should either not participate, request an ingredient list, or have artist perform a patch test at the beginning of the event.
  • Artist can provide ingredient lists for those guests who have allergies, if requested at least 24 hours before the event.
  • Artist will not paint anyone who is or appears to be sick or suffering from cold sores, conjunctivitis, ringworm, sunburn, eczema, any infectious skin condition or open wounds.  These determinations are at the artist’s discretion.
  • Artists are not liable for damage sustained from allergic reactions to face paints, products used for glitter tattoos or Henna stains.   
  • Client understands that darker face paints will linger and must be removed with mild soap, water and washcloth.
  • We strive to use only the safest materials, however, no product can guarantee that they will not cause a reaction on anyone. It is the client’s responsibility to be aware of ingredients that they may be sensitive to, and ask for an ingredient list if desired. 
  • The artist reserves the right to refuse to paint any attendees with signs of infectious diseases at any point in the event. 
  • Although we only use paints that are safe for use on skin, allergic skin reactions can occur and paint should be removed immediately.
  • For safety reasons, artist will not paint children under the age of 2 or anyone who is unwilling.
  • If the client knows beforehand of any attendees who have infectious/contagious diseases such as chicken pox, pink eye etc, the artist must be informed at least ___ before the event and the event is subject to cancellation without a refund of the booking fee. If the client does not inform the artist beforehand, and the artist’s equipment is subsequently contaminated, the client will be invoiced for the appropriate decontamination or if necessary, replacement of any affected equipment.
Subject Matter
  • Artist will not paint subject matter that he or she deems offensive or disturbing.
  • At public events, artist will not paint on any part of the body that is not legal to expose or any place he or she does not feel comfortable painting.
Photo Release

You may want to take photos for your own website, Facebook page or advertising.  I like to share photos online and usually just ask the parents if it’s okay if I take their child’s photo.  Some people bring a photo release and have the parents sign them.  You can include verbiage about this in your contract too. I don’t normally include this,  just because at birthday parties you may not have all of the parents there to get permission from and the host may not have the authority to grant you permission to take photos of other people’s children.  I do put this in my contracts for belly paintings and private sessions though, as it’s easy being only one person painted.

  • By having your guests painted and photographed, permission is thereby granted to use images for our portfolio and marketing materials, such as printed brochures, social media or website gallery images.  No names will be revealed.  If you do not agree, please inform us and you and your guests’ privacy will be respected.
  • Artists may take photos of their work. Artist retains the right to use these images for promotional purposes on the company website and social media pages. If you do not wish for photographs to be taken, please inform us in writing prior to your event.
Acceptance of Contract
  • Include a place to sign, print name, and date.
  • “I have read, understand, and accept the terms of this contract.”
  • “By signing this, you have read and agree to the above terms and conditions”
  • “By signing my signature above/below, I affirm that I have read, understand and accept the Liability Statement and terms of  this agreement.  I agreeto pay  the  total amount due  unless  I give notice to reschedule within ____ hours/days of the event date.”
  • “[Your Company Name] will contact you _____ days prior to your event to confirm all details. In the mean time, please feel free to contact us with any questions at __________.”
  • “Once agreement and deposit are returned, this event is considered booked and you will receive confirmation by _[email or phone]__. Please retain a copy for yourself.”
  • Have a line to sign on and date! If I have to send a Paypal invoice for a last minute gig, sometimes I’ll note on the invoice “Payment of this invoice constitutes agreement of the terms outlined in service contract” so it can count as their signature in a pinch.
I hope this has been helpful for you in starting to form your own contracts! Getting anything in writing is better than nothing, and it really helps to ensure that you and your client are on the same page. If you’ve left out anything important or that you just didn’t think of, chances are you’ll learn and revise the next time around.  Most professionals revise and refine their contracts many times as different situations come up, to avoid them happening again, so this is a natural process! This blog post is a living document, and I do plan to add more verbiage as I come across others. Thanks for reading and happy painting!! 🙂
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Springtime Happenings at Paintertainment!

It’s been busy around here lately!  Here are a bunch of random happenings…

New Products

We now have Cameleon Silver makeup in stock! Find it here!

We also have some fabulous new Global FunStrokes! Find them here!

Easter Egg Hunt
Earlier this month a friend and I painted at an Easter egg hunt! I probably spent way too many hours creating a whole new design menu of Easter designs but love how they all turned out and had a lot of fun doing them. Here are a few of them…

springtime package deal
Preparing for Easter and springtime gigs? We have a great package deal full of springy goodies! Check it out!

I’ve had several requests to create a laminated Easter cheek art design menu to go along with my other design menus, so this gave me a great start exploring designs!

Recent Press for Paintertainment

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by my local paper about my new book…it was pretty fun for my boys to see Mommy on the front page! How fun!

I was also really excited to have this article published in April’s issue of Skin Markz magazine about my new book as well…

New e-Newsletter
Our free April e-newsletter went out recently and features some fun boy designs, as well as tips and suggestions for painting boys! 

New Design Experiments…
Here are a few designs I’ve done recently…

This fist concept is inspired by Corey Morgan, definitely one of my favorite face painters!! He does some awesome super hero designs with his fist. I’m not huge into super heroes, but have always been a huge fan of Inspector Gadget! So, I just had to try this idea out today!
I’ve also been working on a lot of new boy design ideas…

I’ve just started getting into my new Graffiti Eyes stencils, and I am really loving them so far!! I came up with this fun Lego man design a couple weeks ago and the little brick stencil really added a LOT to the design!

Looking for more great boy designs? Find step by steps of some of these and many more in my book, “Painting Boys!”

“Painting Boys” by Gretchen Fleener
Get a Step by Step of this design in my book: “Painting Boys!”

For this rocket ship I used 3 of the patterns in my Graffiti Eyes stencils…hexagons (on the left you can’t really see in the pic), stars, and a spattering pattern coming out of the jet!

Get a Step by Step of this design in my book: “Painting Boys!”

 This robot was really fun and my TAP gear stencil really added to it! I love to use fingertip daubers when I’m using paint with stencils. The small amount of sponge doesn’t take on too much water, making the paint much less likely to bleed.

Get a Step by Step of this design in my book: “Painting Boys!”

 My boys LOVE monster trucks and this design really went over well!  These tire track stencils really make it too…and they go on so easily with a little black Starblends and a lollipop blender in seconds!

Get a Step by Step of this design in my book: “Painting Boys!”
This airplane design was a hit too, and doesn’t require any sort of special equipment…just your paint and brushes!

Other than all of this, I’ve been busy booking face painting, balloon twisting and henna for gigs as far out as August! If you’re looking to book an entertainer, definitely contact me soon as those summer weekends fill up fast and early!

Thanks for stopping in! 🙂

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Face Painting and Hygiene: The Nitty Gritty of Keeping Clean!

Hygiene in face painting is one of those topics that constantly resurfaces online.  How do you ensure everything is clean and you are not spreading germs while face painting?  The USA has no  laws regarding hygienic practices to adhere to while face painting, so it is really up to face painters to govern themselves and parents to avoid artists who appear to be using unsanitary methods.

The #1 rule for cleanliness in face painting is to use common sense!  Does your water look nasty? Change it!  Does the child have a gaping wound on their face? Don’t paint over it!  Sometimes we have a tendency to over complicate things.  The one rule that pretty much encompasses all you see below is to use common sense. However, I will outline a few good practices that I like to follow, to keep in mind when face painting.

First Things First…

Do NOT add alcohol or bleach to your rinse water or your paints!  Anything added to your water will be so diluted anyway that it will be totally ineffective for sanitizing purposes, and in turn may end up causing reactions to sensitive skin. 70% alcohol is only 70% alcohol if used right out of the bottle. As soon as you dilute it, it’s not disinfecting anything.

Adding any sort of chemicals to your paints will most likely void their warranty and leave you liable for any reactions.  The safe, reputable makeup brands that professional face painters use already have antibacterial agents in them, and the manufacturers advise against adding anything to them. If you are a person who is planning an event and are looking to hire artists, your best bet is not to go cheap or get volunteers…hire a professional who will use the right tools and practices for the job, because their livelihood depends on them doing so!

Before you start painting

If you see a child with an open wound, don’t paint over it. Choose a different spot or paint around it.  This is as much for the other kids as the child themselves, as we don’t want to agitate it further.  Same goes with severe acne or any other kinds of open sores.

If the child is visibly sick, runny nose, coughing up phlegm, don’t paint them. (or in the very least, don’t double dip, set aside the brushes or sponges you used on them so they can be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before your next gig, and sanitize everything around you before the next child)

If your little canvas has a crusty face, ask the parents to clean them and then come back. You should not be expected to paint over dried boogers or dried on cotton candy sugar drool! You should not be expected to clean off other people’s children either, but if you feel comfortable cleaning faces yourself, great!

Your Work Station

A good rule of thumb is to look at your setup through the eyes of a parent.  Would you allow someone to paint your own child with water/paint that looks like that?  If not, take a pause for a quick cleaning.  With the right setup it only takes a minute to change your water and wipe down your hands and surfaces. Can’t get up from your chair for a break? Some artists bring along a “dump bucket” that is kept under their table, to dump out dirty water and refill with a clean bottle.

If your rinse water looks gross, change it!

If your paint kit looks like a mess, clean it!

You may not be able to kill every germ in sight all the time, but appearances go a LONG way to ease people’s minds. Keeping your water clean also helps keep your paints from getting muddy as well, so it improves the quality of your painting too.

Wipes: Do not use baby wipes on faces. There are just way too many reports of these things causing reactions on kids’ faces, so why chance your paints getting blamed for a reaction?  There are plenty of better things out there.

I keep makeup remover wipes on hand when I need to wipe a child’s face because they are made for the face and made to remove what we are putting on.  I also keep some anti-bacterial Clorox or Lysol wipes on hand, NOT for faces, but for wiping down and sanitizing my equipment. They work GREAT for cleaning out my brush tub too.  I just make sure to rinse out any residue from the wipes afterwards with clean water.

Keep a steady supply of hand sanitizer and wipes on hand and use them often. If your hands are getting messy, wipe them.  Use sanitizer as often as you can/wish. This is a great item to leave out and accessible to your customers as well.  It’s cheaper and lasts longer than wipes, and acts as visual reassurance to parents that you care about hygiene in your work.

While painting

Hair: If you’re using something to hold the child’s hair back, let them keep it.  I use bobby pins as they do the job just fine and don’t break the bank! I’ve even found some plastic sparkly ones in pastel colors at the dollar store that the girls love.

Lips: I never, ever use my brushes on lips.  If you wish to paint lips, you can easily find Q-tips at your local drug store, or other disposable applicators for super cheap. We even sell 1-sided cotton swabs in our shop, here,  as well as doe foot applicators which are great for lips. If you use lipsticks, you can rub the swab on the stick to pick up the makeup. I’ve actually smashed my lipsticks into a little pill container so I can pop open a lid and load a swab as needed. The key to using these, of course, is NOT to dip back into your paint or makeup to load more, otherwise you defeat the purpose!

Brushes: I love to use my Loew-Cornell “brush tub II”. The ridges in the bottom really scrub the paint out of the bristles.  When I’m not using that one, my other tubs have a perler bead tray in the bottom to act as a scrubber too. There are products on the market that you can add to your rinse water to help clean your brushes.  However, be aware that they do just that…they clean paint out of brushes…they do not kill germs.

Sponges: Some artists use one sponge per child. Others use one per color.  Most artists who use many sponges either hand wash every sponge individually after each event, or they drop them all into the washing machine in a lingerie bag.  We also sell a 50 pack of disposable sponges in our shop. I personally avoid sponges whenever possible…I prefer to use a wide brush and rinse it between kids & color changes instead.  I realize this wastes a lot of paint, but it feels cleaner to me, and I can sanitize my brush in alcohol between kids as needed.  Another good tip is to use black or dark colored sponges to hide stains.  Even though you may have totally sanitized sponges, parents can get the wrong idea when they see stained looking sponges.  This is the same reason I use dark colored towels around my work station as well. A towel can be used once and thoroughly washed, but look stained right away, if you use a light color.

YOUR germs: The kids aren’t the only ones with germs…we have them too! Avoid putting things in your own mouth. I shudder when I see artists re-forming their bristles with their mouth, or using their teeth to hold brushes.  I don’t even like seeing artists test out the paint consistency by painting on their own hand before starting on a face. If you have to brush excess glitter off of a child’s face, don’t blow in their face! (seems like common sense but some people do this)  You can use a fluffy brush to brush it away, or  a baby bulb aspirator to puff it away. Using hand sanitizer between kids is always a great idea!

After the gig:

Thoroughly clean all of your brushes and sponges after every gig and allow them to dry thoroughly before packing them away. Click here for our brush cleaning tips.

Allow your paints to dry before packing them up to avoid mold.

Thoroughly rinse and clean your brush tub.  Here’s a blog post with tips to help it get good and clean, even in between those ridges!

Wipe down any paint messes from around your kit, your mirror, your paint containers, and anything else that you or the kids touch.

Beyond your Control

No matter how hard you try to keep germs at bay, they will never be 100% under your control.  You will have sick kids standing in line infecting everyone around them before you even know they are there.  You may paint a child who is carrying something contagious and doesn’t know it yet.  Kids will have allergies that parents may or may not tell you about or even know about themselves. These are the same risks that everyone takes when they choose to set a foot outside their door and interact with other humans. Our choice is whether to live in fear, or take our chances.

The truth is, no matter how clean you keep your practice, kids are way more likely to come down with a nasty virus just waiting in line to have their face painted.  There really is no practical way to work in a completely sterile manner.  However, this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to stay as sanitary as possible! By following the suggestions here, you can help prevent the spread of germs to the best of your ability and put parents at ease by making a good effort.

More Information:

Click here to see the FACE face painting association’s safe painting practices:

Click here to see Australia’s guidelines for body painting:

Click here to see Canada’s face and body painting guidelines:

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