Dublin based Orla Ní Bhroin of ‘Magic Wand Face Paint’ is a very talented face painter and balloon modeller who is greatly sought after for parties and events all over Ireland.
We caught up with Orla and asked her about her experiences and influences.
Quickfire questions with Orla
Have you always been artistic?
Yes, I’ve always loved art. It was my favourite subject at school and, although I studied dance at college, it was always my first love.
Does the creative flair run in the family?
Yes, my Dad was really creative. As I was growing up, he was both an artist and a painter/decorator. He was also a sign writer in the army and so I think his influence definitely rubbed off on me.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
I’d say that has to be my Dad. As a child he was always teaching me different painting and printing techniques and I learnt everything from Gold leafing to calligraphy.
How did you get into face painting?
It was actually something I just fell into. When I left college, I was a dance teacher for a while and I also used to look after my Goddaughter.
One day we went to the craft shop together and bought some face paints as a way to entertain her. Although I’d never done it before, I painted her face and she was delighted with the result.
I remember other people being pretty impressed too. One of our family friends said ‘wow’ and asked if I would paint the faces of guests at a birthday party. I reluctantly said yes, and that was it!
And how did you build the business?
The business more or less built itself actually. It went down really well at that first party and then it just grew organically. People who saw me painting would ask for my number and then tell their friends. So it was all word of mouth at the beginning.
What makes a great face painter?
I think there are probably three things that are equally important qualities to have.
- You have to have be creatively inclined of course.
- Next you have to be really patient with the kids.
- Finally, you need attention to detail; no one wants to walk around with a poorly painted face!
And how did you get into balloon modelling?
That came purely from demand and was self-taught under pressure! I started to get requests for it to do alongside the face painting. Although I had never done it before I thought it shouldn’t be too difficult to teach myself. The only problem was, I was scared of balloons! I remember in the early stages I would instinctively shield my ears with my shoulders while I was twisting them in case they would pop! But before long I had learnt a few simple designs and then it just took off.
What makes you different?
I think the main thing would be that I’m happy to try something new. Although I have a book of designs to give people ideas I’m always keen to try and paint something I haven’t done before.
What’s the most commonly asked design?
It always used to be the rainbow butterfly but in the last few years the unicorn has ridden to the top of the list and there is no sign of its popularity dwindling!
And what’s the strangest thing anyone has asked you to paint on their face?
People ask for all sorts of things. I’ve had a recent run of requests for pieces of fruit. Someone last week asked me to paint their entire face as a tomato!
Why do you enjoy doing what you do?
I love kids – and more than anything, I love making them happy. It makes me feel great If I can put a smile on their face. (And if I can’t I can always paint it on!!!)
Can you give us your top tip for hosting successful parties?
So many people say that they don’t enjoy the parties they are hosting because it’s so stressful and they are too busy trying to entertain the kids. I would say always hire an entertainer so that it keeps the kids busy for a while and you can actually enjoy some of the party yourself.
How has Covid 19 affected your business and how are you adapting to the ‘new normal’?
Covid 19 completely decimated my business along with most people in the industry. I’m starting to get a few enquiries and bookings again which is great.
Luckily, I’ve always been a stickler for hygiene and I’ve added some additional measures.
For example, I‘ve always used a fresh sponge per child but now I also sanitise everything between paintings as well as wearing a shield if required.
For those who feel the face is a little too intimate, I always offer to paint the arm instead or apply a glitter tattoo.
Tell us something we wouldn’t know about you
I spent two years living in the Cayman Islands which was amazing.
What are your plans for the future?
I wouldn’t mind going back to the Cayman Islands in my retirement, once I’ve painted enough faces!
What do you like about PartyWizz
I love PartyWizz – it makes life easier for both people putting on parties and entertainers alike.
Interested in Booking Orla?
To learn more about Orla, and how you can book Magic Wand Face Paint for your next event, take a look at her entertainer profile page.