Thanksgiving Day Face Painting Ideas and Tutorials

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Kelli Cowart — 22 November 2022 —

Pass the green bean casserole and add whipped cream to the pumpkin pie! Thanksgiving is here, and we have much to be thankful for this year.

Thanksgiving evolved to be a holiday where we honor that which we are most thankful. Most Americans also tend to associate this time of year with pumpkins, pumpkin-spiced EVERYTHING, and our favorite sports pastime… American football.

There is a traditional Thanksgiving Day football game every year, and many families love incorporating watching the game into their family tradition.

So what do we do with all of these ideas? How do we use this to come up with face painting designs that are fun and convey a joyful and thankful tone for the holiday season?

Are you new to face painting? ✅ Do yourself a favor and find top designs, fast and easy face painting, and great video tutorials all in one place on our Ultimate Face Painting Ideas Guide!

Kawaii everything

An adorable trick that works for just about any season make it Kawaii. Pumpkin pies, pumpkin spice lattes, Leaves…

Cute cheek art and mask designs can easily be created with just about anything by putting a cute set of kawaii eyes and a mouth on it. I literally apply this technique to every season and holiday to bulk up my menu board.

two girls with different face paintings on the left sides of their faces
Tip: Do you need help with your linework technique? Take our FREE Online Workshop “Improve your linework in 3 days”!

By the way, try this Kawaii-style turkey by Ashlie Alvey:

Autumn leaves and colors

Using beautiful autumn leaf colors such as trees, yellow, and oranges and incorporating gold tones into your butterflies, fairies, teardrop masks, and princess crowns will quickly help you to convert designs you already do regularly into seasonal options.

I absolutely love using Mehron’s gold shimmer powder with a touch of water or mixing liquid to add the most gorgeous pops of gold color to my fall designs.

You can also use a leaf stencil like the ones shown below from Topaz Stencils to add autumn leaves for an extra beautiful touch.

two face painting stencils with different design of leaves
Fall leaves, as a stand-alone design, are always a big hit. You can create beautiful one-stroke leaves like the ones below to use for crown, mask, eye, or cheek designs.

The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Some gold glitter, teardrops, and stars will help you make a fantastical design from the humble leaf.

Give this tutorial from the fabulous Lisa Joy Young a try!


Another great design from Lisa is a beautiful autumn eye.

Who you callin’ turkey?!

We cannot write an entire Thanksgiving blog post without including the star of the show… the noble turkey.

This design can be approached so many different ways. Make it glamorous, make it serious, make it interactive, make it adorable. A good bird design can be altered to create many different birds.

If you have a favorite flamingo or peacock design you use, simply swap the colors for browns and reds and add that signature beak waddle to help you create a fabulously fowl design… fowl… get it?!

Take a gander at these turkeys for some inspiration we can all be thankful for.

two images of two different turkey face paint designs on two girls
two girls with two different turkey face painting designs

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two images of two different eye turkey face paint designs on two girls
a boy and a girl with two different versions of thanksgiving turkey face paintings

Another great way to capture the fall season is with animal designs such as Foxes, owls, and deer, etc. You can learn this stunning One-stroke Fox design by Simona Rad on our blog. Learn it now, and use it all year long!

More tutorials of turkey designs

Consistently coming in with the fun animal masks, the fabulous Annabel Hoogeveen shows us how to transform your clients into a fun and funny turkey that will surely have everyone in line giggling.

four images that show the progress of creating a turkey face painting on a boys face
Tip: Check out our other blog articles for more step-by-step tutorials and ideas from Annabel and a host of other talented artists!


Elodie Ternois, our French instructor in the Elite Course, also came up with a super fun turkey design tutorial. Check it out and make sure to subscribe to her Instagram for more.


We are thankful for another year of serving and educating our beloved face painting community! Thank you all for trusting us with your continued face painting education and information.


Did you enjoy this blog post? Hit “SHARE” and let your fellow face painters know about it! 👇👇👇

 — Kelli Cowart

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