Gold (or silver) Metallic Bodypaint – Step-by-Step/ FAQ/ How-to.

So Jennie Roberts, myself & Gracie BodypaintModel just did our first youtube bodypaint tutorial (edited by Jade Roberts)…

Approx 30 mins tutorial on different methods of painting a Gold Living Statue

Video here

Cat Finlayson Wheatsheaf goddess for Jungle PR and me11222411_965328283531535_7834711760301172679_n

Video of metallic cosmetic powder with oil bodypaint

I’m putting this up as we are obviously heading into Hallowe’en planning season, as I’ve just had my 4th email in 3 days asking how to do the James Bond Goldfinger girl look. I get a LOT of people asking me to do this/ how to do it, so many that its saved as an auto response in my Gmail.

Date: 10/08/14PH: Hannah McKayPictured: Jason SmythCaption: Paralympian Jason Smyth supports the children's cancer charity, Clic Sargent by being painted in gold body paint.Gold body paint clic jason_smyth_hannah McKay ready in bpc

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10/08/14PH: Hannah McKayPictured: Jason SmythCaption: Paralympian Jason Smyth supports the children’s cancer charity, Clic Sargent by being painted in gold body paint

Plus September is GoGold for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

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So; officially, here it is. This is THE most requested, most DIY’d bodypaint (-that usually looks OK unlike many DIY bodypaints-) and usually looks good though possibly not as shiny as some expect (read on for various finishes/ methods).

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For gold statues (or silver, bronze, copper, etc – there is a range of colours!)

I always use Graftobian metallic powder and Liquiset (has urea in it), or metallic powder and mixing liquid (alcohol based). be safe get the liquid that matches the brand of powder you buy.

Each part is usually sold separately, and for most looks you need both – the powder AND the liquid. Both brands sell the powders in 1 size only (bottles all the same size but some have less weight in as some metals are heavier than other shades), but the liquids come in small and large.

Graftobian also sell ‘Metal Mania‘ kits which they say contains all you will need. Personally I think there isn’t enough liquid for a body in it (and I don’t agree with their sponging application methods though – slow & messy, see my tips later).

When living in Hong Kong I also used a very similar product (had the same packaging as Mehron) called Eastman but I haven’t seen it anywhere else.

Yes, I have tried all the cosmetic pre-mixed liquids, regular ‘hard’ cakes, sprays, mousse paints etc on the market (as of  October last year anyway). Trust me (and most pro body-artists), these 2 brands win by far for speed, end look, toughness, and ease of use/ removal.

There are other brands – Kryolan do a liquid paint in a range of metallic colours called Kryolan Liquid Brightness but that’s more sort of a pearly effect really. It is OK to look at and maybe easier for a non-professional to use, but not that shiny – I used it for this statue though she was then ‘aged’ with other shades over the top.

Dunstan statue muse leaned bpc Dunstan statue muse planter bpc

Video of the gold liquid Kryolan paint on Emily

I generally get the larger liquid as it keeps in the bottle. 1 pot of powder is usually more than enough for 1 whole body, provided its not got to paint more than underwear too. I get at least 1 body per pot of powder, with mixing liquid left over.

Neither brand is really meant to be used on a face on/ around the eyes & mouth, so best to use the powder dry there.

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Or you can get a gold eyeshadow or similar if you don’t have proper gold facepaint.  This is because both brands of mixing liquid have a substance (either alcohol or urea) which evaporates and can irritate eyes etc. (Also this means the mix degrades fast so don’t make it until you are ready to use it). But it is all cosmetic, safe for skin, and although staying on very well (non smudge), it washes off.

RND carla started nosesRND both done forum.tiffRND Rachael finished

My Red Nose Day photos by Michelle Workman, Models Carla Finlayson &  Rachel 

Dry method

This Mr Freeze was done completely with metallic powder brushed/ polished on with a large fluffy paintbrush and powder pad, dry. It seemed to last pretty well but you could always use a cosmetic fixing spray like Kryolan Fixier (much as I hate fixing anything – use sparingly and avoid eyes/ follow instructions). I wouldn’t advise a whole body this way purely as it seems to use more powder than the liquid methods, and was less sturdy.

Silver head metallic face bodypaint Mr freeze bodypaintingbycat



A little of the powder goes a long way, so DO NOT mix up the entire contents of both bottles! In a desert-sized bowl pour a little liquid, add spoonfuls of powder, and mix. Everything says 1/2 the amount of powder to liquid but that is hard to judge – by weight? by volume? -so it really is trial and error. 

This is the slow bit – keep adding powder, mixing until all dust/ lumps are gone, and when the mix looks like liquid metal in the bowl when fully mixed, test it on your arm. If it dries looking shiny enough for you from all angles, it’s probably ready to use, but you do need to keep adding powder and stirring it as you work.

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 There is no exact guide to how much of each to add to the mix – it gets shinier up to a point then goes slightly solid/dull when it is over-saturated, it is hard to describe. And always try a little more powder than you think even if it looks gold – many beginners get dull looking models as they don’t have enough powder added.

Silver bodypaint rugby point bpcJVC silver bodypaint dressed bpc Silver yoga pat bodypaint rugby bpc
Or you can mix the powders with baby oil for a super shiny look. The drawback is that this oil mix doesn’t dry, so is only really good for photoshoots where the model doesn’t have to touch anything (and doesn’t mind a tough messy clean up afterwards). Even resting fingers/ leaning against things leaves marks on the finish which are easily re-painted or even just smoothed over but a pain if you want them moving about/ touching stuff.

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Make it up in small batches as you work, you can always re-coat areas.

Use a bowl/ pot that you don’t mind getting ruined as it can be hard to wash off utensils.

Don’t keep the mixed powder & liquid or make it up in advance as it goes ‘off’.

It paints over most fabrics that are not too cotton rich (try it on undies to see which type/ fabric/ colour is best). But fabric does soak it up a lot so always take extra/ pre-paint material if you can.

DO NOT spray clothes etc before hand with a gold car-spray as 1 agent did – we had to cut the newly-gold sweatbands with tin-snips and put them on him like handcuffs. Either find gold fabric/ undies or a gold fabric paint/ spray.

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For the liquid methods, once mixed the best (and fastest) way to get the paint on is with a wide,  flat, thin, short-bristled, very soft, brush. I think they are called wash brushes, I usually use a 3 inch wide version with bristles less than 1 cm long. They used to sell cheap 3 packs (3, 2 and 1 inch) in those discount bookshops like the Works. Similar to this anyway – don’t get expensive ones as this tend to ruin them.

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Keep turning the model so thin patches show up as the light changes. Once dry (almost instantly) it stays on really well, I did models in it for events in HK and after working all day they still looked fine – just as well as I don’t use fixing sprays if I can help it! Make sure at any breaks they don’t wrap up in fluffy clothes or towels though as that takes off the shine – I use silky make-up dressing gowns etc.

Gold rugby bodypaint posed bpcGold Tennis buddha meditate bpc Gold rugby bugy bum bpc

 For the oil method, models can often DIY it and pretty much massage it into their skin. Or  you can use a brush of the type I mention above.

Metalllic body oil chest flames bpcMetalllic body oil neck bpcMetalllic body oil all side pose bpc

Video of the gold oil mix in sun on Borg/ C3P0 mashup


This mix can be put onto hair though as usual I’d be careful of recently dyed/ pale/ blonde hair incase of staining. Get the hair as smooth and flat as possible first if you want a solid gold look, which will use a lot of the mix. I find that sort of ‘dry-brushing’ the hair so prominent locks/ strands pick up the gold rather than saturating the whole head works well whilst saving mix. Or use gold or glittery hairspray.

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With cakes its generally too expensive and takes a very long time. Cameleon and Kryolan are my fave solid-cake golds.
If you buy Kryolan in ‘cake’ form, for either face or body, generally buy Kryolan Aquacolour, NOT SupraColor- that is oil based and a pain to fix/ get get off (although it looks fab). The only difference is the word on the lid so watch out. The other thing you is the Kryolan AqC gold doesn’t look gold – I think its their copper that looks more gold!


I’ve always advised soap/ shower gel & a body scrubber (wipe off as much of the oil method with paper towels or a scarficial cloth first). But we recently discovered that the usually magical Cameleon solid brush & body soap didn’t budge some application methods of the mix, but the Cameleon brush & body foam soap pump took it easily off AND cleaned the bath too!

Gold top Taryne bpc

Powder & matching liquid method – as you can see no transferring onto white dress! 


Make sure your model hasn’t used anything on her skin that day  – fake tans etc can react, and moisturiser or oils make it hard to stay on.

It looks best on smooth, tight hairless skin – i.e. shins and foreheads. And always looks better with bright sharp lighting e.g. in flash photos.

Good luck!

AND the Gold Bond Girl ‘death’ due to suffocation in the paint is a MYTH. We are mammals, with lungs – we do not breathe through our skin or need a small bare patch at the base of our backs to breathe through! And if you use good safe cosmetic stuff like this, you can still sweat so won’t be overheating any more than a non-painted person.

And don’t get me started on the eejit who replied to my ‘how to’ email that it was hurting his girlfriend and he couldn’t get it off – he’s used a well-known brand of garage-door-type paint. I told him they were idiots and to go to A&E…

ALSO TRY LOOKING AT Facepaint-UK‘s blog years back for ideas


Wheatsheaf Gold Goddess

Sept 2013

The lovely ladies of Jungle PR contacted me asking if I could design a head-dress and gold-statue body paint for the launch of a new Barnham Broom Brasserie restauraunt which would be featuring local foods. 


I ordered a selection of edible seed heads and grasses (typically our fields had already been cut), and added seed pods from my garden, and used that to crate a sort of Grecian crown.


A gold toga-dress was also purchased, and I drove over to meet the model Chloe and decorate her exposed skin in gold body paint and some hand detailed corn, wheat etc. She looked lovely!

Wheatsheaf goddess barhma Jungle PR lotus carWheatsheaf goddess barhma Jungle PR glasses bpc

Cat Finlayson Wheatsheaf goddess for Jungle PR and me

Finley even did a sketch to help me…Fins harvest goddess drawing for me .21