Split-cakes are any cakes of face paint with 2 or more rows of colour that is made to be picked up and applied together. They are known by many names including:
- One-strokes = one inch wide split-cakes
- Fun-strokes = Global Colours brand one-strokes
- Arty Brush Cake = Silly Farm brand one-strokes
- Rainbow Cakes = Silly Farm brand or Fusion brand large split-cakes
- Prisma Cakes = Mehron brand large split-cakes
- Base Blender = TAG Body Art brand large split-cakes
- Split Cake = TAG Body Art brand large split-cakes (and others)
Whatever you call them, they are such a benefit to any face painter – beginner or professional – that they are pretty much essential!
Large split-cakes are applied with a sponge and are great for designs such as Rainbow butterfly, Rainbow Tiger, Rainbow Cat, Rainbow Fairy – where of course, you can use any split-cake colour combination of your choice as the “rainbow”. These designs are very popular and great to learn, but compared to what you can do with a 1 inch one-stroke they take a bit more practice so beginners – especially those doing a one-off party or event, rather than starting a business, I highly recommend the 1 inch one-strokes rather than the large split-cakes.
The 1 inch wide split-cakes are commonly known as one-strokes after the folk art painting technique in which the brush was loaded with multiple colors to paint a leaf or flower petal with a rich depth of colour including highlight and shadow, in a single stroke of the brush. Donna Dewberry is famous for this style of folk art and a source of inspiration for face painters.
With practice you can create amazing face painting designs using one-stroke split-cakes and one-stroke techniques, but even a complete novice can use a one-stroke rainbow to great effect. Even the most simple rainbow wows the kids and parents as all the colours of the rainbow suddenly appear. Just add glitter! This is particularly great for the toddlers that won’t sit for long, don’t want you touching their face, are shy and unconvinced about the whole thing. You can paint a bright, little rainbow on their hand in a second and they will be won over. They may be happy with that or eager for more.
One-stroke designs are so versatile for arm or face designs, from small, quick designs to full-face, intricate creations. They are great too for when you’ve painted all the kids faces but have a little time left – or when you’ve run out of time but still have a bunch of kids unpainted – either way, you can put rainbows on their arms and a dash of glitter in no time. They are can also be utilized by a mobile face painter – you can walk around the party or fair easily carrying all you need for one-stroke face painting – the split-cake, a brush, a little water and a puffer of glitter.
Simple rainbows can be turned into a complete face painting design with one or two simple additions that even a beginner can soon master:
- Add glitter of course! (Holographic white goes with all the colours of the rainbow)
- Paint some simple flowers or little butterflies in white or black or two-tone
- Add a puffy cloud and some tiny stars in white
- Put a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow
- With the rainbow on the kid’s arm, paint the kid’s name in black paint on the rainbow and decorate with a few stars. They love it!
- Use a small stencil to add a fairy, love hearts or countless other designs
You will need a 1 inch wide flat brush to apply all the colours of the 1 inch wide one-stroke split-cake. Sometimes it’s good to use a 3/4 inch flat brush or even smaller to fit onto a smaller face or arm, or to leave out one of the colours or for small one-stroke designs such as roses, leaves and flames.
You can apply a one-stroke with the flat side of a TAG half-circle sponge but you will have much less control than with a brush.
To load your brush, you brush should be only a little wet. Dip the brush in clean water and wipe it on the edge of your water basin. Swipe it gently back and forth a few times along the one-stroke split-cake. Don’t press down or you will squeeze the water out of the brush. It may take a little practice to judge the right amount of water and loading. If your brush is too dry or you need to refill it with paint, dip only a mm of the brush into water. If your brush is too wet, blot it on a tissue and reload with paint.
If you get water running across your one-stroke or the colours become murky or dull as you paint, clean the brush and the surface of the split-cake with a clean wet-wipe.