Two girls with their faces painted.
Two girls with their faces painted.

When you're face painting, you don't need complicated ideas. Simple projects such as clowns, pirates or creatures transform the faces of little ones without requiring professional-quality painting skills.

Send in the Clowns

The most basic clown is as simple as painting triangles above the eyebrows and an oversized smiling or frowning mouth around the child's actual mouth. For a more detailed clown, first paint the entire face white, add red circles for rosy cheeks; then add the mouth and eye details. A Jack-o'-lantern design is similar to a basic clown: Make black triangles around the eyes instead of over them, and instead of a smile or frown, draw a black smile with jagged teeth. For added effect, paint her face orange first and add light black lines to emulate the ridges on a pumpkin.

Pint-Sized Pirates

A pirate design is as simple as adding a faux eye patch in black around one of his eyes, including the eyelid so the patch looks realistic when his eyes are closed. Draw a string across his forehead, attached to the patch; then add a pointy pirate beard to the chin and a pointy mustache to match. Instead of transforming the child into a pirate, paint pirate-themed designs on his cheeks, such as a pirate ship on water, or the Jolly Roger skull-and-crossbones pirate flag.

Animalistic Tendencies

Transform her face into one of her favorite animals by painting on animal prints: a white background with black zebra stripes for a zebra or an orange background with similar stripes for a cheetah. Add whiskers and a cat-style mouth beneath the nose for lions, tigers, dogs or bears. Instead of transforming the face into an animal, paint paw or hoof prints across the face, as if a miniature animal walked across her face.

Creepy Crawlies

Paint a giant spiderweb by drawing rays emanating out from the nose area around her face; then connect the webs with straight lines from one ray to the next. Paint the nose with a big black oval and a smaller oval for a spider body, adding four legs on each side, or make a giant spider that covers most of her face. Create an inchworm crawling across one cheek, or a larger inchworm over the entire face, by painting a wiggly green worm shape, adding lines across the worm to give it sections. Paint a cute smiley face on the worm and numerous legs with tiny inchworm shoes.