Hand and Arm Face Painting Designs for Kids

Sometimes it isn’t appropriate to paint a person’s face – younger children too nervous to sit still, people with scratches or rashes on their face, people who are sensitive to cosmetics – in these cases you can offer to paint on their hand and arm instead.

There are lots of things that you can paint on the hand and arm that are just as much if not more fun to the children and there is the added bonus that they can watch you paint it and see it when you are done.

Using the hand to create animated creatures is a very popular design idea.  Using the thumb and forefinger as the mouth of the creature you can make roaring dinosaurs, hungry crocodiles, prowling sharks and just about anything requested.


The hand can be incorporated into the design or be an inherent part of it.  You can paint the bones of the hand or show the cyborg construction under the skin, paint on jewelry and gloves and many other things.  You can be as creative and original as you like.


Painting on arms is actually a very quick alternative to painting a face as it is a flat surface area and you can apply base colours with a sponge very fast and don’t have to worry about avoiding eyes and mouths.


Using a split cake which is a cake made up of multiple strips of colours is a very fast way to create rainbows and other popular designs.  Swipe the colours on and then paint their name over top in script, or paint a black silhouette of a horse galloping into the sunset, or a desert island with palm trees.


Painting on “tattoos” is popular too – skull and crossbones, hearts with “mom” in them, tribal patterns, dragons of every description – with both boys and girls.


Some artists paint arm and hand designs pretty much exclusively so it is a specialization you can make work for you.

© Shannon Fennell 2009

1 thought on “Hand and Arm Face Painting Designs for Kids”

  1. My very first paid birthday party was almost exclusively dragons painted on the hands and arms, like you dinosaur above. The birthday girl was first and she wasn’t too excited about *face* painting and so she wanted a dragon on the hand. I was winging it with the design but eventually almost all 13 of the kids ended up with the same thing. The moms loved it though as the kids ran around “snapping” at each other with their hand puppets!

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