The simplest costume is one that you paint on. In our Improvised Attire article, we described how to use liquid latex for costuming. Another way to paint on a costume is to simply paint on the costume using a brush or an air brush.
It is true that a little artistic skill helps, but all you need is a little for simple designs. For ideas, just use Google image search and search for “body paint.” You’ll see tons of results from which to draw inspiration.
Since this type of costume often involves various amounts of nudity, if you plan to go out in public, you do want to be street legal. This means wearing some type of thong underwear that covers the genitals, and for women in most of the places in the U.S. that don’t have top-free laws, you will need to wear pasties.
You want to use only paint that is designed to be used on skin. There are some very cheap paint products, but you might want to avoid those at the bottom end. One of the top brands is Kryolan. They have a wide choice of colors in both cake and airbrush. Mehron’s Paradise AQ may not be quite as durable, and the colors are a little less vibrant, but it is still a good choice, as is their airbrush version, Mehron’s LUX, which is very durable and has lots of color choices. Wolfe Face Art and FX is also popular, and their black and white options are a top choice.
There are two basic types of body paint- water based and alcohol based. Water based paint can come off when you sweat. You will want to have some with you to do touchups. They will also come off on your costume. Alcohol based paint stays on better, but costs significantly more. Unless you have professional makeup supply houses near you, you’ll have to get it online. A popular resource for all types of Special FX makeup is FX Warehouse. You’ll find other popular options there as well, such as Ben Nye.
One option when you need an ultra-durable solution is Pax Paint. It is basically Pros-Aide medical grade body adhesive mixed with body paint. While you can buy Pax Paint, it is much less expensive to mix your own, usually in a 1 to 1 ratio. You can apply it with a cheap makeup brush which you will want to dispose of when done. A 16 oz. bottle should be enough for full body coverage and a little more. Once you powder the makeup it will no longer be sticky, but it will stick to itself before that, so it is much easier if you have someone else apply the makeup for you. Its needs to be fully dry when you powder it, but you can use a hair dryer to speed the drying process. Depending on the type of coverage you need, it might take up to 3 coats to get perfect even coverage. Obviously, something designed to be this durable is not easy to get off, so you will want to also purchase Pax remover.
There is a super cheap option when you just want designs drawn on the skin. There are markers made for kids to draw on skin. Crayola makes a wide marker that is about a third of an inch wide, and you could combine this with thinner markers to create a variety of patterns on the skin.
Using an airbrush gives you the absolute best and smoothest coverage and is the fastest, but you’ll want to find a friend who is experienced with them to help you. There is a bit of a learning curve and it is an investment as you need a compressor and an airbrush. It is not something you’ll be able to jump right into without a lot of research and practice ahead of time.
We have our annual Halloween sex party, where people have sex. We would not appreciate body paint all over our sheets, as delighted as we might be by the costume. Bring a sheet in your bag to put over the bed to protect your host’s sheets.
You can create amazing and sexy costumes with a little bit of paint (or even a lot of paint). With enough prior planning, you should be able to create an effect that will knock their socks off.