Well, it’s that time of year again.
The trees are trying to kill us with their death pollen…
The bunnies are everywhere…
And best of all our calendars are finally starting to fill up with gigs! Yay! Thank you warmer weather!
But all of these great things are also a reminder that we haven't touched our kits in a bit.. Maybe they are little dingy, a little smudgy, or maybe they are just a complete and total disaster.
It’s okay! Admitting there’s a problem is the first step to getting a solution. So let’s take care of our kits, and make them sparkly and new again! Because let’s face it…. You don’t want to be the face painter with the gross, messy kit. Remember...
Messy = Amateur
Clean = Professional
Professional = More $$$$
Step 1. Clean that paint tray!
We all get messy trays, whether you re-pot your paint into the super awesome ones from the Art Factory like I do (found here,) or you use the foam dividers that come with most laptop boxes(found here,) sooner or later they all turn into a mess. I will address these issues one at a time.
First: Repairing paint cakes that have “exploded.”
Sometimes while traveling with your paint, you may open up your case to notice that one or more colors have exploded, covering your yellow with green, or your rainbow with gold.. It’s pretty much the worst. But don’t worry, we can fix it. The colors that are most likely to explode are ones that have dried out completely. They are crumbly in texture and need a little rejuvenation.
To fix an exploded cake, take your tray and gently tap all of the destruction out onto a paper towel. If there there are big enough chunks of the exploded cake, gather them back into their designated spot and give them a really good squish. Push really hard, because you want to try and compress them back into a regular consistency. I use a quarter wrapped in a piece of old t-shirt. If the color is a metallic, adding a few drops of water and compressing them should do the trick. If the color is also very hard and difficult to compress, you may be better off pulverizing the paint into tiny pieces and then adding water a little bit at a time. Allow the water to soak for a couple of hours and then try compressing again. If you added too much water, there isn’t really anything you can do except to let it evaporate over a couple of days, so be careful to not add too much!
If the exploded cake is a split cake, and it was already running low, then you’re better off making or buying a new split cake. Repairing one that has gone to pieces is a true test of patience. It’s the same principals as fixing the solid colors, but in sections. I wish you luck.
Second: Refilling Empty Colors!
We all love our black and white right? So keeping them fairly full is super important! There’s nothing like showing up to a gig and realizing that you’ve run out of your favorite black...
So while cleaning your kit, take some time and refill all of your favorite colors that are running low.
*TIP* if you are using the amazing trays from the Art Factory(found here,) DO NOT FILL YOUR COLORS ALL OF THE WAY TO THE TOP. I have learned the hard way that this is a mistake and will make your kit a total mess. Keep colors at least 1/4” from the top to avoid a mess.
Third: Cleaning the trays!
There are lots of ways to clean them(baby wipes, paper towels, old t-shirts,) but my favorite way is to just use one of my face paint sponges.
Just wet the sponge, wipe away as much paint as the sponge with hold, the rinse and repeat!
No baby wipes used, no extra trash to clean up. I always clean the actual trays last, after refilling color, repairs cracked cakes, and also giving the box a wipe down. Also, don’t forget to clean the bottom of the tray(chunks of exploded colors may be hiding down there, just waiting to make a mess!)
Step 2: Clean your water container!
If you’re using the super awesome metal water containers from the Art Factory(found here) then cleaning your water jar is quick and easy. Just give it a swish of water to get the excess paint out and then wash it like your regular dishes(I don’t recommend the dishwasher for the lid. I hand wash mine.) The stainless steel doesn’t allow the paint to leave marks and makes it easy to wash with regular soap and sponge.
If you’re using a plastic container for your water, then you may have washed it and found that there are still paint marks that won’t come off. The easiest way to remove face paint from a plastic container is with a Magic Eraser. You can get them at any store(I get mine in a big box from Costco) and they work really great. Just wet them and rub it on the stains. Poof! No more stains.
Brushes build up paint in their ferrules when used a lot(a ferrule is the metal thing that the bristles are held onto the handle with.) So it’s best to clean them really well in between uses so that you don’t accidentally tint your white to pink, or your yellow to black.
First: Rinse your brushes in warm water and remove any excess paint pigment.
Second: Use soap and warm water to get any remaining pigment out of the bristles and ferrule.
Third: I like to shape the tips of my brushes into a point and let them dry laying flat or hanging upside down in the brush easel(found here.)
*Don’t forget to wipe down your brush container! If you’re using the easel like I do, a wet sponge or magic eraser should clean up any mess.
Step 4: Clean those sponges!
I find cleaning sponges to be incredibly easy for me, because I just place them into a laundry bag, zip them up and then wash them in my washing machine. When they are done, I place them into my dryer. Easy!
If you want to hand wash your sponges(maybe you only have a few) then you can wash them the same way that you did with your brushes.
-Rinse out excess paint pigment.
-Soap them up and massage out any leftover paint.
-Rinse until the water runs clean. They can dry laying on a towel.
Step 5: Spruce up all of your other gear!
Face painters use a lot more gear than just our paints and brushes! Here are a few more things that you may have forgotten to clean up.
- Give you table a wipe down and WD-40 any stuck joints or locks.
- Wash your table cloth and make sure there aren’t any rips.
- Open up your chair and give everything a good scrub, and brush off any glitter, grass, or dirt from the seat cover. Make sure that you have your chair harness packed and ready so you're not struggling later!
- Clean all of the kiss and paint marks off of your mirror.
- Clean and repair any signage or tip jars that you use on gigs.
- Wipe off your kit case. I know that the suitcase I use needs to have it’s wheels tightened once in awhile, so now would probably be a good time to take care of that.
- Refill your glitter bottles and wipe off your glitter caddy
- Clean your apron, work shoes, and other work clothes.
- And last but not least, restock your business cards so that you’re ready when people ask for one!
PHEW! I’m exhausted! Just typing that was tiring… but you and I both know that once this stuff is done, you’ll feel a ton better. You’ll show up to your next gig with real pride in your kit. Moms and kids will ooooo and ahhhhh over all of your neat stuff and pretty colors. They will ask, where do you get something like that?! They will want to know if you’re an artist, because only a real artist would have a setup like that!!!
Please let me know in the comments if I forgot something or if I can better clarify something!! Thanks for reading! Come back next week for something new!
p.s. * I am aware that I am probably over explaining all of this. But I know that if I were looking for this type of information I would want it to be thorough. So I tried my best to be informative. Please let me know if I let anything out!*