Have a go at wild face painting

Face painting is a great way to spend some time getting messy and creative, while learning about wildlife. This is particularly popular with younger children – the messier the better.

There are two ways to go wild with facepaint: you can use shop bought face paints and use wildlife as your theme, or you can use natural materials to firstly make the paint.

Wild faces

Caterpillar facepaint

What you will need:

  • Shop-bought face paints
  • A paint brush
  • A round sponge

How to paint a ladybird or a caterpillar face:

Insects are a nice simple way to get started with animal face painting.


  1. Take a round sponge and dip it in the red face paint
  2. Place the sponge onto the cheek or forehead and carefully lift off so you’re left with a crisp shape
  3. Using the paintbrush and black paint, add the spots, head and legs


  1. Take the sponge and dip it in the green paint
  2. Place the sponge onto the cheek or forehead and lift off
  3. Do this 4-5 times so that each of the spots slightly overlaps – this is the body of the caterpillar
  4. Using the paintbrush and black paint, add the face, antennae and legs
  5. Add extra details using the paintbrush and white paint, if you’re feeling particularly arty!

Making your own face paint

Natural face paint © Helen Walsh
Natural face paint © Helen Walsh

What you will need:

  • Cornstarch (1 Tbsp)
  • Flour (1 Tbsp)
  • Coconut oil (1/2 Tbsp)
  • Water
  • Dye (food colouring or natural materials, such as beetroots, blueberries and spinach).
  • A paintbrush (or a twig)
  • A sponge

How to make your face paint:

  1. If making the dye, boil the beetroots, blueberries and spinach in separate pans. Leave to cool and strain.
  2. To make the paint – combine the cornstarch, coconut oil, and flour in a bowl.
  3. If using home made dye, simply add a tablespoon to the mixture. Keep slowly adding dye until all the flour is dissolved. The paint is then ready.
  4. If using food colouring, add drops to the mixture to achieve your desired colour and slowly add water until useful consistency is achieved. The paint is then ready.
  5. For extra wildness, why not use natural objects like twigs and stones to apply the paint – this is nice and tactile for younger children too.


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Time to complete

1 - 2 hours

Suitable for age

Suitable location

Resource Level


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