You can use pen ink to give yourself a temporary tattoo. Ink pens, eyeliner pencils, and body paints can all be used to draw designs on parts of your body to mimic having tattoos. A permanent tattoo should only be applied in a tattoo shop, by a licensed, experienced tattoo artist using professional inks made specifically for the procedure.


There are several products that you can use to give yourself a temporary tattoo. You can buy eyeliner pencils at a drugstore or at the makeup counter in the mall. Brown and black are most common colors. Gel ink pens tend to roll on the skin more smoothly than regular ink pens, and are available in special metallic colors for extra sparkle. You can find a wide range in an office supply store. Permanent markers, such as Sharpie pens, come in many different colors and are non-toxic. The colors are bright and will look the closest to a permanent tattoo. You can buy them at craft or art supply stores. Body paints come in a plethora of colors, and you can mix them to create new colors. They cover a larger body part in less time than the other options. Party stores carry these types of paints.

Time Frame

Eyeliner pencils, ink pens and body paints are the most temporary. You can remove them immediately with soap and water, or products like makeup remover or rubbing alcohol. Ink pens can stain fair skin for a day or two. Permanent markers will not wash off quickly, usually staining the skin for about a week, possibly for two.


A temporary tattoo is good if you don't want the commitment of a permanent tattoo. Trying out different colors and designs with pens, markers, and paints is a cost-effective way to wear a tattoo, and to see if a tattoo is for you. If you cannot display tattoos at work, it is a way to have tattoos on the weekends without comprising your employment.


Consider what your weekly schedule is, in case the tattoo will not fade or wash off for a couple of days. Drawing the design in an inconspicuous spot, like the bicep that will covered by a shirt sleeve, is a good idea if the tattoo proves difficult to remove.


Check the label of any product you are going to use on skin for warnings of toxins. Consider what your weekly schedule is in case a certain product will not fade or wash off for a couple of days. When using paint, apply it in a well-ventilated area.

About the Author

Maude Coffey

Maude Coffey retired after 10 years working as a professional body modification artist in the tattoo industry. She is certified in principles of infection control and blood-borne pathogens. Coffey received additional training and classes, such as anatomy, jewelry standards and aftercare, from the Association of Professional Piercers. Coffey aims to educate about safe tattooing and piercing practices while writing for various websites.