Volunteer Face Painters: Do’s and Don’ts

Our office staff calls asking us to “donating our time” or “provide free face painting” daily,  so we finally wanted to blog about it. We loge working for nonprofits–actually, we specialize in it! You can read more about that here. But a lot of these types of phone calls end in this: “I think we’ll just have our volunteers do it.”

It’s tempting (we know) to get a service done for free when you’re on a limited budget. Hiring Kaleidoscope  almost always mean you can actually make money off of face painting, but it’s still a leap of faith. So if your organization is still looking to get free face painting, here are a few tips from the professionals on making sure your event’s face paint isn’t a disaster:

1. Use safe products.

The biggest face painting rule is this: don’t hurt anybody! This might sound silly (what are you going to do, poke them with a paint brush?) but nothing is more important than the safety of the kids in our chairs. Kaleidoscope only uses FDA-approved makeups that are safe for all skin types. Volunteers using acrylics or dollar-store face paint can lead to serious allergic reactions, rashes, and even scaring in some instances. Acrylics or tempra paints often have cancer-causing ingredients on them since they’re not meant to be on skin. Always make sure you use FDA-approved makeups (it should say so right on the packaging) and nothing else! Wal-Mart or dollar-store brands will often come with warnings such as “don’t apply near eyes”, so again: just read the packaging. (If the package doesn’t say anything, assume they’re hiding something. Sad, but true!)

2. Be clean.

Germs, viruses, and worse can be transfered by dirty equpitment. Kaleidoscope always uses one-time use q-tips for lips, a fresh sponge for every kid, fills our cups with organic makeup disinfectant, and comes equpit with a gallon of hand sanitizer for anything else we could need. This is really another safety issue, but it’s so important we wanted a second bullet point for it.

3. Figure out how many you can do in an hour.

Kaleidoscope quotes about 12-15 kids per hour for small parties, and if you really need it we can bust out as many as 20 per hour. Most first-time volunteers assume this is easy, so to prepare yourself set an hour and grab some kids and see how many designs you can do per hour. Likely it will be closer to 5-10 faces in the hour. Now think about how many kids will be there–and that’s how you determin the number of volunteers you will need.

4. Know your limitations.

If you can’t draw or have never done this before, get a sign with a few simple words with what you will do: heart, start, letter, or balloons. Often kids have seen full-face tigers, glittering butterflies, and swirly fairies professionals have done at other events. Adding your limitations to the sign will help keep them from getting disappointed and keep your line moving faster.

5. Have a good work set up.

Will the sun be moving either in your eyes or to bake you in the summer heat? Do you have a tent in case it rains? Do you have enough chairs and large enough tables? Who is going to manage your line once it gets long? Try to run in everything that you could need through your head and prepare the best you can!

Remember: adding professional face painters to an event actually helps you raise money! We have worked with the Komen Foundation, Hartford WICC, dozens of soccer clubs, local schools, churches, and volunteer organizations of every sort. Our staff knows how to make sure we are an investment for you (not an expense) and that your guests will leave smiling. Get a quote from us today!