Professional face painters use striped cake paints to get easy one-stroke gradients, perfect for anything from butterfly wings to cool fire effects. Brushes are the easiest way to apply rainbow pots but artists typically work with disposable sponges for work around the eyes, especially at large events.
Using a sponge to apply a rainbow cake takes some practice. Many beginners report muddled colors the first few tries but those problems are often easy to troubleshoot. This guide will help you get started.
1. Preparing Your Materials
Use the highest quality paints you can find. Name brand rainbow cakes are well worth the investment. We always recommend Diamond FX products because their cakes apply as smooth as butter, making life much easier for beginners. Of course, the sponge is just as important as the paint. You’ll want a high quality, high-density round sponge with a nice smooth texture. Try a couple different shapes and sizes to see what seems to fit your distinct style the best. We suggest cutting the sponge in half so you can have a nice straight line to work with.
2. Loading Up The Sponge
Getting the right amount of moisture is the hardest part. You will want to keep trying until you figure out the right water to paint ratio to suit your cake and sponge. It’s better to start with too little water because you can always add more, but a good gradient rainbow effect seems to require a little more moisture than general application.
After wetting your cake, draw the flat edge of your half-sponge across the surface several times using even pressure and a little bit of “wiggle” to work the water into the paint as you go. Move back and forth as cleanly as you can to prevent blending the rainbow stripes, and add a little extra pressure on the edges to scoop up those hard to reach colors.
3. Applying The Face Paint
Now that your sponge is loaded, give it quick sprits with water before applying. We suggest practicing on your arms or legs until you can get a good idea of how the sponge will react. Start with a single point and dab gently but firmly. Never try to “wipe” the sponge across the face – trying to apply with a wiping motion will produce muddy results every time. Keep dabbing the color onto the face as you slowly rotate the sponge to create the fan effect necessary for those gorgeous butterfly wings.
You can adapt this technique to fit plenty of needs. Try watching video tutorials online for ideas and actual implementation. Now that you know how to make those gradients sharp and pretty, practicing them will be more fun than ever.