How to choose the best sponge?

Olga Murasev— 23 July 2017 —

Face painting sponges are important tools of the trade, just as brushes are. Artists will generally prefer one type of sponge over another, depending on their personal style of work. Some will combine a few types of them for achieving various effects in face painting.

So which one to choose? There are a few attributes to consider, including the properties of a sponge, that is density, porosity, shape and size.

In this post we will speak about types of sponges and practical uses of each of them, so that by the end of reading this lesson you will know exactly what will work the best for you.

I am firmly convinced that using professional sponges as well as mastering the techniques of using them can add a lot to your painting skills.

That’s why I dedicated two modules in the International Face Painting School to studying the types of sponges in Module #6 Part One and to mastering various techniques of working with sponges in Module #6 Part Two.

Yellow porous sponges

Yellow porous sponges for Lion face painting design

The yellow sponges are medium density sponges, which can hold lots of paint at once being absorbed into large pores and can cover large areas of skin with only one load of paint. They are also great for creating texture, creating dimension by applying highlights and shade and building up shapes. These are my #1 favorite sponges.

I used Diamond FX yellow sponge here for creating various shades in the background.

Half-circle sponges with small pores

Half-circle sponges with small pores for Unicorn rainbow face painting design

The half circle sponges with small pores are the most common type of sponges. They are produced by TAG, Mehron, Diamond FX and many other brands. They work great for applying colors from a split-cake. The medium density ones are my #2 favorite sponges.

However, one of the tips to keep in mind is that some of these sponges can be too soft and make your fingers dirty in case you squeeze the sponge a bit too much.

I used Mehron green sponge here for painting the rainbow.

Petal sponges

Petal sponges for Night fairy face painting design

Petal sponges are produced by Paint Pal, Mehron and some other brands. They are small and very handy to hold and work great for sponging butterfly or fairy wings.

If you are a beginner, I highly suggest you have these sponges in your kit, as they will help you fit the correct size of wings on a child’s face.

And as you might have guessed already, these are my #3 favorite sponges.

I used petal sponges here for both the wings background and the night sky.

Firm sponges

Firm sponges for Stormtrooper face painting design

Black sponges by Kryvaline are the only high-density sponges with small pores that I know so far. They work great for stenciling.

I used a Kryvaline sponge here for stenciling the pattern around the Stormtrooper.

Tip: Want to find out more about professional face painting supplies? Check out my “Tools for perfect Double Dip flowers” post.

Daubers

Daubers for face painting designs

There is one more type of sponges, that is used in face painting, called daubers. It is a cylindrical sponge that may come in a plastic container or on wood-sticks.

The finger daubers are high-density sponges that work great for stenciling.

The other two types of daubers presented in this collage are made of medium density foam and are usually used for applying one stroke combinations.

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What are your favorite sponges and why? 👇

 — Olga Murasev

  • I like having a rounded side on my sponges too. That’s why I love the green Mehron and the yellow ones, which have both a straight and a rounded edge.❤

  • Lynne Ethier

    Again great information, As you mention, I also use alot of the above sponges! It’s good to have a variety, depending on the size of face I paint on. I learned a tip from Lucie Brouillard, she rounds off one side of a half sponge, i started doing this and love it, it easy to get into corners, or if you want a rounded edge on a half sponge.

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