Festival Glitter: Sparkle & Shine with Our Expert Tips

Festival glitter trends
Kelli Zermeño — 14 August 2018 —



If you, like me, are ridiculously in love with all things sparkly, shiny and glittery — this article is for you! 😜

Festival glitter is all the rage in the face painting industry and a multitude of companies are popping up to gain your painty patronage and keep you in style.

Festival glitter is different from typical cosmetic glitter. The loveliest varieties contain multiple sizes and shapes of cosmetic-grade chunks of glitter, combined many times with the typical fine cosmetic glitter we all know and love.

Tip: Click here to download this super useful “Top 10 products a face painter needs” handout! It’s FREE!

This trend is popping! Not just as an enhancer for face paint designs, but is proving a powerful stand-alone product to add to your arsenal. Many artists are capitalizing on this growing trend by offering simple festival glitter application on the cheeks, temples, hair roots, chest, beards and more.

Tip: You can even offer festival glitter as a separate service from face painting altogether. Offering glitter makeovers or “Bling Bar” services like artist Wandie Perez is a smart way to expand your offerings without having to spend hours learning a new art form.

Festival Glitter: Application

Festival glitter comes in two forms:

  • Loose glitter
  • Pre-mixed with a gel-based medium for instant, easy application.

The preference is completely yours. Loose glitter is preferable if you want to use a variety of mixing mediums. While I personally find pre-mixed gel works beautifully in hair applications, many artists prefer to mix loose glitter into hair gel.

So, how do you decide which to purchase?

Honestly, it really depends on how much you think you’ll use it, and in what applications.

Want to become a face painter and earn good money by doing what you love? Check out our Professional’s Guide to ensure you are set for a successful career. 😍

Pre-Mixed Chunky Glitter Gels

Gels such as Pixie Paint from Amerikan Body Art, or Festival Glitter by Art Factory are fabulous to enhance your face paint designs or do some simple swipes on the cheeks for a quick festival face glitter look.

They are extremely versatile and the quick application with a flat brush or silicone spatula (available to purchase at your favorite shop, check out our “Face Paint Shop Guide here“) is a perfect addition to your kit.

Tip: Pre-mixed glitter gels are not good for application over top of your paint. The gels will reactivate the paint and smear your work quite easily, so if you are using with paint designs, simply accentuate next to your paintwork.

These products can also be used in hair as well as all over the body. Some artists even poof additional glitter on top before the gel has a chance to dry, magnifying its glorious sparkle.

Squeezable Liquid Bling

These gels are packaged similarly to t-shirt paint in a squeezy bottle with a fine tip nozzle. This allows the artist to create precise lines, dots, and other designs or embellishments.

They were originally marketed as a faux henna alternative and as with any new product, artists found numerous uses for the products.

Tip: Amerikan Body Art delivers with a squeezy variety known as Liquid Bling. Mehron also has a product called Glittermark, and Global has their variety called Global FX.

These products are super fun for embellishing your designs and adding a strategic touch of sparkle for butterflies and swirls.

These are also great to use as a base for adhering loose chunky glitters for a concentrated sparkle, check out this design from the one stroke roses module of the International Face Painting School where founder Olga Murasev uses liquid bling topped with loose chunky glitter to accent her beautiful roses.

a girl with a rose face paint design on her left side of her face
Tip: Read our previous article “7 Clever Ways to Use Glitter in Face Painting” for a look on how and where to put your glittery goodness to enhance your beautiful face paint designs.

Want to learn the most popular designs? Our World’s Best Face Painting Ideas Guide has top requested designs for boys, girls, Halloween, Christmas, themed parties, and more!

Loose Festival Glitters

If you prefer a little more freedom with your festival glitter, a variety of loose mixes may work better for you. Loose mixes come in various sized jars and can be applied in a variety of ways, depending on who you ask and what you’re using it for!

Many artists suggest using a smoothie blender dampened with a spritz from your water bottle to apply the glitter to your designs.

This application works especially well on freshly painted designs where the paint is still a little damp.

In Part Two of our Festival Glitter Blog we go into depth about the environmentally friendly and sky-rocketing trend in bio glitters. Be sure to stay tuned for the latest information and details coming soon!

Tip: You can also try petroleum jelly as a base. Artist Nancy Wu uses this medium to adhere festival glitter to her flawless designs. She likes petroleum jelly because it doesn’t smear the paint and it helps the glitter to adhere nicely.

You can also purchase plain, glitter mixing medium from Amerikan Body Art, Graftobian, Global and a slew of others. Other artists use aloe vera gel, plain chapstick or even KY Jelly. 😏

I know, it sounds weird!

But there are quite a few artists that swear by it! Or, for hair only applications, using simple inexpensive hair gel works beautifully. I do caution against using hair gel for applications on the skin.

Keep in mind that many children (and adults) have sensitive skin, so take precautions whenever possible. Know your product ingredients.

Keep in mind allergies to latex or parabens for sensitive skin. A caution sign is a nice touch for the responsible artist, look also for latex free products. The last thing you want is an unsuspecting preschooler with welts all over their adorable face.

four images of womens butts covered in glitter

For a more intense application, you should definitely consider a glitter adhesive. Festivals can be good, clean fun for the family… sometimes.

But let’s face it.

Some festivals are geared towards adults. And adults can get a little more erm… cheeky. 🍑🍑

Festival Adhesives for Face and Body

Bring on the adhesives! Whether creating gorgeously intense festival face glitter designs, or a full on festival body glitter piece that would make any unicorn jealous… you will need something more substantial than water.

Ben Nye or Graftobian glitter glues are fabulous for concentrated glitter application. It comes with a nail polish-like brush for easy application. Simply apply to the areas you want to cover in glitter and allow it to get tacky. Then, use a smoothie blender spritzed with a little water to dip into your loose glitter. Apply to your tacky glitter glue and watch as your clients are thoroughly impressed with their majestic glitter designs.

This glue is fantastic for more complex glitter designs as you can control the patterns and designs of your glitter, as well as… drum roll, please…. You can use it over your face paint!

Yes! That’s right!

It will not smear your beautiful designs and will allow you to beautifully enhance your work with beautiful chunky glitter.

For an in-depth guide on face and body art painting in addition to your festival glitter applications, hop over to our Beginner’s Guide for those just getting started in the business.

three girls with glitter all over their torso and face
Tip: If adhering bling clusters or glitter to breasts, be sure to apply nipple covers or pasties first!

Jest Paint founder, Santiago Massano also recommends using good old-fashioned ProsAide for lasting hold in your festival glitter designs.

Keep in mind, that ProsAide is a medical grade adhesive. ProsAide original strength can only be completely removed (with some difficulty) with the special ProsAide adhesive remover. Your average festival goer is not going to have a bottle of this handy when they go home at night after a crazy day at the festival.

ProsAide 2 is a good adhesive but has less strength than the original. ProsAide 2 is often used for glitter tattoo glue. It still has holding power, but can often be removed with a good combination of olive or coconut oil, or rubbing alcohol and finished off with a good scrub in the shower.

Remember to never use these adhesives over body hair. You need a good clean surface otherwise, your client will get an unexpected waxing treatment and they will not be happy.

Professional face and body artist Michelle Pulsifer of Austin, Texas is thoroughly experienced in the art of “Body Adornments” as she refers to them.

She is the original developer of the 3D unicorn horn bling everyone is going gaga over and frequently does special effects paints and makeups for underwater photo shoots, festivals, and special clientele. Michelle often offers her clients glitzy hair and festival glitter makeup looks to go with her body adornments for a complete look.

When asked about the best ways to attach all these adornments, she had quite a bit to say!

There are a couple of ways to attach it all, depending on what you need it to do. If it needs to stay on all day, Cream Prosaide is a good choice, just be sure to apply it correctly for the best adhesion. Partial day application can be done with liquid Prosaide, which can also be thinned to stick less if needed…

The festival body glitters are a whole other thing and have multiple applications depending on your needs, but pure aloe gel, medical grade personal lubricant, and Prosaide are easy to use and readily available. I do underwater work so I have to use different methods for festivals or classes than for underwater stuff.

Michelle Pulsifer

Michelle also strongly encourages a setting spray, such as Mehron Barrier Spray or even a festival glitter makeup setting spray, for holding a heavy, all day glitter application.

Hairspray can work in a pinch, but will not give all day hold. Photo shoots tend to be much quicker and controlled. A festival setting can get much erm… sweater.

She also suggests using a glitter primer rather than a gel to adhere glitter to eyelid areas and lips.

Festival Glitter Glaze

Oh. My. Goodness. Y’all….

So this may be one of the most exciting new products to hit the face painting industry this year!

Art Factory has done something magical. 🦄 They’ve developed a gel base glitter that can be used much like paint including… linework.

The glazes come in a rainbow of sparkly glory and are even somewhat water resistant. These magical glazes can be used in conjunction with face paints and powders, or even completely stand alone in your majestic designs. Artists are quickly snapping up these jars of joy, so be sure to check out your favorite online retailer to order yours!

Glitter is both a glorious way to adorn your beautiful paintwork and a strong stand-alone for eye-catching face and festival body glitter art designs. We don’t see this trend going away any time soon.

We’ve compiled a List of Our Favorite Sparkle Suppliers 😍✨🌈and a thorough Review On Many other fun Festival Products like: waterproof face paint, pressed powders, glitter tattoos etc… that will make an AMAZING addition to your kit during festival months! 😜 Check it out now!!! 👇👇👇

Part Two of our Festival Glitter Blog discusses some of our favorite artisanal glitter suppliers, the growing movement in bio glitters, bling and other products you can invest in to help you continue cranking out those designs — even in the hot, sweaty summer months! 🙌😃✨

Don’t Miss Out: Subscribe today to receive expert tips and tricks, fresh face painting ideas, step-by-steps, and more.

What is your favorite glitter? Let us know in the comments below! 👇👇👇

 — Kelli Zermeño

Join The Premier Online Community

For Face Painters

Subscribe today to receive expert tips and tricks, fresh face painting ideas, step-by-steps, and more.

35000+ Subscribers
140 Blog posts
2500 Students
70+ Countries