By Christine M. Carboone / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News
Choose the right paint. Two types are available: One is an oil-based paint called greasepaint, and the other is a water-based paint.
An obvious choice for adults, greasepaint won't smudge when dry, withstands perspiration and gives good coverage, but it takes longer to put on and dry, and it stains clothing. You can find this type of face paint at just about any drugstore or discount store or wherever toys are sold. Higher quality greasepaints are available at local costume shops.
Water-based paint is good for children. Coverage is excellent, and the paint takes about 15 minutes to dry. With a willing subject, the butterfly illustrated here will take about a half-hour to put on. Frankie the Zombie took about 15 minutes to apply. Water-based paint will smudge if it gets wet, but if your child is careful, his or her new "look" can last all night. The only hitch with this type of paint is that it might be a little harder to find.
Collect other equipment. What you need for this project is minimal and probably lying around the house.
We like using soft brushes, like a long-handled eye-shadow brush, instead of plastic ones, and an eyeliner brush for fine lines. A jar of warm water is a must for mixing and thinning colors.
Rounding out the equipment list are inexpensive makeup or finely textured sponges, cotton swabs and lots of paper towels or old towels. Soap and water are needed for removal. Alcohol towelettes will soften the paint so it can be whisked away by soap and water.
Test in advance. Anyone can become allergic to products put on the face, so always test a spot on the jaw line at least a couple of hours before making up.
Apply makeup gently.Especially when applying white face, don't drag the sponge; it will only cause streaks. Dab, dab, dab.
Add only a little water at a time until you have a flowing paint to get the best coverage. Apply the paint thinly; it will dry more quickly.
Rinse out the brush thoroughly in warm water between colors.
Allow the first color to dry for a few minutes before applying another cover over it. Use a fan to help dry it.
Apply away from the eye by at least 1/8 to 1/4 inch. This is especially important with red paint.
Consider adding glitter. Do not use arts and crafts glitter. Use glitter made for that purpose, such as Klutz's glitter in a tube, sold at Froggie's 5&10 and other locations. Glitter is not recommended on children ages 6 and younger.
Now that you have the perfect fairy or goblin, trick or treat your way into a bag full of goodies!
And when you return: Wash carefully. If you don't have alcohol towelettes or rubbing alcohol to loosen the paint before you wash, take a wet washcloth and dampen the entire face to soften the makeup. Carefully wipe the eye area clean and then wash the face several times. Or wash it off in the shower. Resources
Makeup: You can obtain theatrical-quality water-based face paint at costume shops.
Greasepaint such as the Discovery Channel's Amazing Face Art ($16.99) can be found at Target stores and Noodle Kidoodle.
The book: Face Painting (Klutz, $19.95) can be found at bookstores.
STEP 1: With black paint, outline the butterfly on one side of the face, then paint its mirror image on the other side.
STEP 2: Apply the outermost section of color thinly, so it will dry quickly. This step sets up the face for the next color.
STEP 3:Mix the yellow a little thicker (less water) so it will cover the blue if necessary. The yellow will be more vibrant if mixed this way. Paint in the orange section.
STEP 4: Using your pinky to steady your hand, apply dots of green in graduated sizes on the cheeks and over the eyebrows.
STEP 5: Paint the body of the butterfly on the bridge of the nose. The antennae of course, go on the forehead.