Thursday, 28 August 2014

Face Painting: All About Sponges!

OMG there are SO many sponges!!! Where to begin?

I'll start with the most common type of craft sponge that face painters use.

Craft Sponge:
You can pretty much get these at any craft and hobby store. They are your basic sponge and work well enough as a cheap face paint sponge. I started with these and while they aren't the worst they aren't really the best. They have a short shelf life and tend to break i the middle a lot. They don't hold up to much abuse over time and need to be replaces often as they wear out. You also have to cut them yourself. They have a buffed ledge which can be nice for blending but not so nice if you want a straight edge. I've mostly phased these out of my kit. The ones I have left I cut into quarters and use as stencil sponges for solid colors, they seem to work better that way.
'Plastic' Sponge:
I call them 'plastic' because that's what they kinda feel like. Unlike other sponges the holes are very uniform, and they have a slight shine to them if you look hard enough. They come in many colors and shapes and are pretty common with kits, in fact I got a few of these when they came with a new kit i bought. The good thing is that they are pre-cut, so you have that nice perfect edge. But I find they need way more paint on them to get a decent load, and some times the result can be too wet, or have trouble coming all the way off the sponge to apply to the skin (which is why they need a lot of paint on them). I only use these when I run out of my favorite kind.

Fantasy World Wide Sponge:

Don't let the same color fool you, these are not the same as the last ones. These sponges are very soft, and high density. By far my most favorite and my number 1 choice for a face painting sponge. These guys don't require as much paint and they are SO soft like butter. They also bounce back to their shape if you crush them. You have to cut them yourself but it's worth it. You can also cut them into different shapes easily with a razor sharp knife.

For small faces it's all just sponge control for me, but what you could do is instead of cutting the sponge in half you could make one side a little smaller.

Ignore the math, just look at the blue area. See how it's not quite cut down the middle? Easy peasy smaller sponges if you want them.

Makeup Sponges:

Don't use these.
You can find them any place that sells makeup and they are not great for face painting. They are very high density and will only soak up your paint creating lots of waste. Moving on.


These are fun for making different sized circles, and are great for putting into split cakes to get a multi-color effect. But I personally don't dauber sponges anymore, because you have to have a lot of them in several different sizes. Uggg... what a space waster. Also i have to fish for the certain size in my sponge bag if I want to be picky (which i always am). Then you can only use it once before needing to clean it? Screw that noise!
Simple solution - I made a stencil lol. I made one and it has 3 sizes of circle on it and is cut to be the same size as my BAM stencils. I only need one of them and, it's flat so it saves space, is easy to clean and I can reuse it. I use quarter cut sponges to apply the shape to the skin just like with my other stencils. Works like a charm

Stipple Effect Sponges:

While sea sponge (pictured left) can give a cool stipple effect I find it's a paint vampire (also they never really look clean from the start, which I never liked). They can also leave behind little bits in your paint, are hard to clean and will hold one to bacteria better then any other type of sponge. Remember a 'sea sponge' is a living organism, these are dried out now, but they can be germ factories of not properly cleaned.
IMO they work better for acrylics. They aren't necessary either as a similar effect can be done with practice using a craft sponge.

Or better yet, this is what we use in the makeup industry. This is an orange stipple sponge and can be bought at most makeup FX stores or online. Easier to clean and way more sanitary if you are still looking for that sea sponge like effect.

And this little guy is another FX stipple sponge mainly used for doing stubble, and other things. It's REALLY coarse but lovely if you want to get a scratched effect with your paint too.

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