Making facepaint split cakes

I still adore my new face paints and every time I work with them it’s getting easier to get the water to paint ratio correct first time. There’s a completely different face painting style I’m learning at the moment where you use a double loaded brush to paint designs with simple, single strokes. Double loaded simply means you are putting more than one paint colour on the brush at the same time, so a single stroke of the paintbrush would lay down red and white paint side by side. I love this technique, it is often used in folk art flowers and can be used to quickly create quite sophisticated designs when face painting. To use this technique with cake style face paints the easiest way is to use split cakes. Split cakes are a cake of paint made up of two or more colours. You can buy simple double split cakes already made up, or more complex small split cakes with many colours layered together to quickly paint very colourful designs like this. A face painter is always balancing between quality, detailed designs, and the need to be as quick as possible. I will be buying a couple of the more complex one stroke cakes, but I’m making my own split cakes because that is very simple and more economical. Here’s a quick tutorial in case you’d like to make your own as well. 🙂

This is a ready made rainbow split cake I’ve purchased, in lovely pearl/metallic colours. I will be making much simpler split cakes with only two colours. The reason for this is that I have to buy less colours to be able to make them, and leaving me with large areas of colour means I can use just one colour on my sponge or brush if I need, or load both colours together. This is also a much more compact way of packing twice as many colours to take with you, using only half the space.

Start with two standard cakes. Here, I’m using TAG Pearl Yellow and Orange. Test both to make sure they are soft. If your cakes are very old and crumbly, you will need to wet and warm then a little to soften them.

Using a clear ruler, determine the halfway mark of the cake:

 Using a clean knife, cut the split cake in half. Don’t press too hard, you don’t want to cut into the plastic container.

 Gently dig out half of the cake. I used a small plastic palette knife for this. Each cake will be a slightly different texture, the colours change the composition slightly. Some are slightly rubbery and come out in one piece. Other’s are more crumbly. Don’t worry if you need to dig out some crumbs, they just press back into the cake.

 Do the same with your second colour. Clean all your tools between colours.

 Now take half a cake that’s been removed, and neaten it up to press into half the cake tray that hasn’t been dug out. Wherever possible, add the lighter of the colours to the darker colour.

 My yellow was quite crumbly and broke apart. Don’t worry about this, it presses back together fine!


Your first split cake! This colour combination is useful for designs such as tigers, lions, cheetahs, daffodils, dragons, and fire. 

 Repeat with your other colours:

 And practice double loading your brushes:

Orange and yellow butterflies painted with a double loaded brush.

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