How to Paint a Circus Clown Face

Written by emily pate
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How to Paint a Circus Clown Face
Study clown books and images online to find a make-up style that appeals to you. (clown image by Sérgio Martins from

Painting a clown face is largely a very personal experience. The kind of expression you paint is ultimately up to you. Look in books at the library, and search online for images of clown faces that stand out to you. The style of a clown face varies widely, and each communicates a personality unique to your clown character's emotions and your physical features. Experiment with different styles until you find what you like.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Face wash
  • Clean face towels
  • Oil-based theatrical make-up
  • Make-up brushes/sponges
  • Powder puff
  • Setting powder
  • Clown nose
  • surgical adhesive/spirit gum

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  1. 1

    Study our face in front of a mirror. Make sad, happy and all sorts of silly faces to examine how it moves, and which features stand out the most in certain expressions. Decide which features you'd like to accentuate with your clown face.

  2. 2

    Wash your face thoroughly so it's free of oil. The make-up will adhere better to the skin.

  3. 3

    Use your finger to apply a white basecoat all over your face. Only use enough to just cover your skin tone. Keep clear of your eyes.

  4. 4

    Place a thick white horseshoe-shaped curve of white make-up underneath your lip. This allows the audience to see your mouth movements from far. Apply white cream shadow on your lower eyelid to open up the eyes.

  5. 5

    Set your base make-up with setting or baby powder. Pat a huge powder puff full of powder, then gently pat (don't rub) your face with it. Brush it off with a large, soft foundation brush. You may want to look down while doing this to minimise the amount of powder you get on your clothes.

  6. 6

    Apply a rose-coloured cream to the cheek apples. Smile if you need help finding them. This step is optional, and works well for a more cartoonish clown.

  7. 7

    Highlight areas of your face that light would accentuate when hitting it. These include above the eyebrows, the nose and the chin.

  8. 8

    Outline your features with a black lining pencil. Line underneath the eyes, trace the perimeter of the horseshoe curve you painted in earlier, and use a brown shadow to darken the eyebrows.

  9. 9

    Attach your nose using adhesive created especially for the nose, or surgical adhesive.

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