Starting your face painting business. Investments & hidden costs.

Olga Murasev— 10 August 2017 —

You have dabbled to face paint at a non-profit event, you are a seasoned face painter or you have artistic talent and you feel that face painting is exactly what you can do…? No matter how your story begins, if you are asking yourself if it is possible to transform your passion into a living, the answer is “Yes! Indeed!”.

Before you take the leap, keep in mind that like each business, it will require investments of both money and time (not speaking about dedication and passion for this industry). That’s important, because you’ll have to weigh your costs and figure on a price that will help you recoup your costs, and still have some profit left.

This post will help you estimate your upcoming expenses and appreciate your rates.

In the next posts I will share with you the answers about “How much to charge for face painting?” and will give you useful tips on “How to work fewer hours and earn more money”.

And I’m speaking here about providing professional face painting services, not just occasional doodling with a set of cheap “made in china” paints from Walmart.

Here is a list of main expenses you will have. Most of them will require being purchased at the very beginning of your career, but it’s all going to be worth it!

All prices in this post are indicated in euro. Approximately rate: 1 EUR = 1.2 USD.

Face painting setup

Paints, brushes, sponges, glitter, stencils, case etc.

A kit of professional tools will cost you at least 150 EUR and it will certainly grow with time. My kit values about 1000 EUR now, but of course it took years to build it.

Start from the basic stuff and gradually add new tools to it, testing them and finding the ones that will work the best for you.

A good option would be to check out pre-made kits. Here are some examples:

A starter kit by

A starter kit by

A starter kit by

A starter kit by

I know what your next question is! “What are the main face painting supplies to begin with and where to get them?”. Don’t worry! I have the answers planned for one of the upcoming posts.

Professional training

International Face Painting School, live workshops, FabaTV, conventions etc.

Even if you are born with artistic talent, face painting has its own specialized techniques, just like any other craft. And yes, it requires professional training to achieve best results in short time.

The times when it was enough to be able to paint some basic designs have passed. The face and body art industry is undergoing rapid expansion, making nowadays reality demanding for a much more original, neat and artistic touch. We are not “just face painters” anymore.

Of course, you always have the option to make your own research, reading endless threads of conversations in face painting groups to find the answers to your questions and learning from your own mistakes and experience. But be prepared that it may take you years and still not give you the desired result.

If you want to stand out from the crowd and become a true professional in the industry, invest in professional training and learn from the best.

Learn from people whose art you love and who have experience in instructing many other face painters.

As face painting becomes more popular, you can find ads about workshops for beginners all over the Internet. But please stay away from cheap workshops with those instructors whose art you didn’t even see.

It is much more difficult to get rid of bad habits, rather than learning from scratch.

At the International Face Painting School, first and unique professional ONLINE training in the world, students aren’t just learning how to copy a selection of designs.

They are learning color theory, how to build their own kit of professional tools, mastering specialized face painting techniques (linework, one stroke, double dip, dry brushing and blending) and developing their own style, all along building a portfolio of most requested designs and applying in practice business tips and tricks for boosting their careers.

Payment Plans

Split payment plans are available! Pricing starts from 55 EUR/month.
Check out all payment plans here.

Additional setup for big outdoor gigs

Canopy, folding table, high chair etc.
If you are going to take big outdoor gigs, there are some extra things you’ll need to add to your kit, like a tent or canopy, a big folding table, and a high chair, along with banners and advertising posters and much more smaller stuff.

You can buy most of these goods in Ikea, Walmart, Leroy Merlin or online on eBay or Amazon. A canopy will cost you about 200 EUR, the folding table — 50-100 EUR, a high folding chair — 50-100 EUR.

Face painting craft workstation - outdoor gigs

Topics about building your own setup, outdoor gigs, most comfortable body postures for painting and displaying face painting designs for different gigs are covered in Part Two, Module #9 of the Course.

Advertising and promo materials

Menu board with printed designs, business cards, flyers, banners, posters and even internet ad… building your name and reputation costs money too! Prices vary depending on the area you live in.

You may also want to advertise your services on Facebook, where you can target your potential customers in the area where you’re going to work. Here is a handy instruction how-to post your ads and get the best value from them — How to Target Local Customers With Facebook Ads.


Depending on the part of the world you live in, it may cost you from $50 to $300 per year.

It is important to be part of professional communities, where you can communicate with your peers all over the world and find out answers to many of your questions. One of these communities is the International Face Painting School OPEN GROUP on Facebook.

Certificate of assumed name

This is a registered business name. Good thing that you shall pay for that only once. Again, depending on your location it may cost you from $100 to $1000.

The easiest way to register your business is to become self-employed (Wikipedia article).


If you have a legitimate business, then count the taxes into your expenses as well. 10-20% if you are registered as a self-employed, but sometimes up to 40% depending on the country. Plus additional expenses for an accountant 🙄

Car expenses

And obviously, owning a car if you didn’t have one before. You will have to drive to various places and carry a lot of stuff with you to most of the gigs. So you will need a car to fit your setup in and petrol to fill it up.

Pricing… Better ask your hubby 😉

Child care

If you are a mother, you’ll need someone to take care of your kid while you’re working.


Yes, time IS money! You will need a lot of extra time besides the actual work at an event for preparations, driving, setting up, cleaning your tools after the gig, learning, practicing, researching the Internet for new ideas, promoting yourself, painting on models and many other things that are left behind the curtain for our customers.

You may have lost a part of enthusiasm after reading all that above. But don’t give up, it is all worth it! All beginnings are tough.

Set a strategy, make one step at a time, plan and follow your dream!


Did you start your business yet? What other expenses and difficulties did you have? Share your thoughts with me in the comments. 👇

 — Olga Murasev

  • Thank you for your feedback, Sharon! 🙂 You’ll find plenty of useful info in this blog and I’m looking forward to seeing you between my students. xo xo

  • skquinn

    I get that it was intended as humorous. However, it is a bit sexist and doesn’t help resolve the ongoing gender balance issue we have in the business. I’m not expecting the gender balance to return to 50/50 any time soon but at least a visible trend towards that would be nice.

  • Sharon Lippert

    I’m super new and this is so exciting. I can’t afford to buy supplies or do this school at this time but I will soon. 😀

  • Thanks a lot Jon! 🙂 Yep, gotta adjust that piece about taxes. 😉 And for the second, that was a joke, hun, don’t take it that serious. 🙂 And I apologise in case I offended you, I didn’t mean to. <3

  • Thank you so much for sharing this story, Sandra! And I’m very happy that you are enjoying my emails and blog posts 🙂

  • Sandra Stöhr

    Hi Olga,
    I started facepainting nine years ago.
    I had a self-employment, it was hard to let the group of customers grow. August 2015 me and my family moved from Bavaria to baden-wurrtemberg. Now i had to make a dissision, find a regular job or find customers …. Well i send a email to a little funpark, get a job there for one season and did some little Gigs.
    At the end of the Season the Funparkowner ask me if i want to lead the facepainting in the funpark.
    It was easy to say yes.
    Daily facepainting, see happy children get my money no matter what weather or how many visitors we have.
    But it is much harder than i thougt, because the girls that want to do facepaintig in the park did not do it with the same passion like my …. And some of them are free of talent…. But i have to teach them.

    After this infos i gave you here i want to say thank you! This is the third email i got from you, and even after nine years it is good to ready all of this … It is … “You never stop learning” thank you for your time and your words!!!

  • Jon Facepaintstuff

    Hi Olga,
    Great breakdown of cost. Thank you.
    2 things. Tax valies per country. I can only dream of 10-20%.
    And the other…ask your hubby about carcost? Are we all woman and/Or married and still living in the fifties?

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