Whether your child just wants to look the part for army role play in the backyard or whether you need to add the final touches to their kids army costumes if they are going to an army themed party, you may need some ideas on how to apply camo face paint.

I was in this exact situation last week so having bought some army face paint I did a bit of research.

Colors needed

You can have some fun with colors and even mix up the camo style that your kids try for different occasions. In the military, camo colors are supposed to match the
terrain so consider using the following colors to give specific looks:

Woodland: Brown (light and dark), green (light and dark), black, perhaps beige.

Desert: Sand, light green.

Snow: White, loam.

Just make sure you buy a range of colors in a few shades and you’ll be able to come up with something.

Where to apply

Camo face paint is supposed to be applied to the face, ears, neck and arms, ie, any area of skin that is exposed. Obviously as your children are not actually going on operations, you do not need to go to these extremes unless you want to.

As my son is washing-shy and was likely to rub his arms near walls or soft furnishings I just painted his face.

The theory

The great thing about applying camo face paint is that you don’t need to be an artist. It is the most forgiving design as it is not supposed to look like anything. There are however a few rules to follow if you’re going for an authentic look.

Basically you are trying to make the face not look like a face. This means highlighting shadow areas and darkening shiny areas. You are also trying to remove the natural lines and features of the face (ie, horizontal eyes and mouth, vertical nose).

So for:

Shiny areas use dark colors: eg, forehead, nose ridge, chin, cheekbones.

Shadow areas use light colors: eg, under eyes, under nose, cheek hollows.

Elsewhere use middle colors: eg, temples, side of nose.

Now you know which colors to use, you need to apply them in irregular stripes and patterns. Going back to making the face unrecognizable as a face, you do NOT want to circle the eyes or put a stripe down the nose as this just highlights the natural shape of these areas. Instead you want to disguise prominent features as follows:

Eyes – draw vertical or diagonal lines or shapes across them.

Nose – draw a horizontal line or shape across it.

Mouth – draw vertical or diagonal lines or shapes across it.


If you have makeup sponges these probably make it easier to apply the face paint. Two are recommended – one for brown colors and one for green colors. Put dark shades on one end of the sponge and light shades on the other.

I didn’t have any sponges so had to use my fingers but this seemed to work OK too.

My attempts

I have never applied face paints in my life (as you can probably tell!) but my son was happy with it. Here is what I did:

These are the shades I used.

Camo Face Paint For Kids

I started with a brown base layer.

Brown Base Layer

I then added the dark brown shades …

Dark Colors

… and the lighter green shades.

Lighter Shades

I thought it wasn’t dark enough so I added in some black and tried to do the lines vertically across the eyes and mouth and horizontally across the nose.

Disguise Features

Here’s the look with the papier-mâché army helmet we made a few weeks ago. I think the nose stands out too much but this was my first attempt!

With Army Helmet

When we wiped the main colors off with a soft tissue I had another go with stripes. Whilst not applied according to military theory, we both liked this look best.

Our Favorite

Camo Face Paint Gallery

Here are some other ideas for you:

Kids Camo Face Paint

From MamaMeHa.blogspot.com

Army Face Paint

Camo Face Paint

What to look for in camouflage face paint

When trawling through the myriad of military face paint options out there, be sure to look for those that are hypoallergenic, FDA compliant and water based. This way they go on with a bit of water if necessary and come off easily with water.

I was worrying about how to remove face paint easily before I started as my son has an aversion to washing his face at the best of times. Anyway I was pleasantly surprised to find that a sink full of warm water mixed with a bit of baby wash only took a few gentle wipes with a flannel to see it gone. Phew!

Try it and send me a photo

So next time your child wants to dress up with their kids army gear for a parade, party or holiday, you know what to do!

Please send me a photo of your handiwork and I’ll add it to the gallery to give other parents inspiration. Thanks.

And don’t forget you can continue the camo theme by making over your kids bedroom with kids camo bedding.

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