DIY Temporary Tattoo

By Maude Coffey

When considering a permanent tattoo or just wanting a tattoo for a night out, temporary tattoos can be created at home as an alternative. Temporary tattoos can help you decide if you really want to wear a tattoo for the rest of your life. The color and design can be versatile and changed at any time, unlike those of a permanent tattoo.


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Pick a simple design that you would like for your temporary tattoo. Either hand draw the design yourself or print free clip art from your computer. If using a computer image, re-size the image to the size you want the tattoo to be on your body before printing it out.

You will need to make a stencil of the design. Use carbon paper for transferring the design onto your skin. For coloring the design, use Sharpie markers. They come in 39 different colors, which are bold and bright and look like tattoo ink.



Trace your design onto the carbon paper, using a pencil, with the carbon paper underneath the design. Lay protective paper under the carbon to prevent an image or color from the carbon paper imprinting on your table, desk or workplace. Cut the resulting stencil out and lay to the side.

Make sure your skin is clean where the temporary tattoo is going to be placed--this will ensure the stencil will adhere. Roll a heavy layer of glycerin-based deodorant over the skin where the temporary tattoo is going to be placed, making sure the entire section is covered.

Put the stencil on the skin where the deodorant was applied and smooth down the stencil, using pressure, going from top to bottom. Lift the stencil off slowly. Do not touch the stencil for several minutes to allow it to dry; do not run your hands over the stencil at any time for it will smear.



Use the markers to outline your design and color it in. Outline the design with black; color it in with the colors you like best. Go slow, tracing small lines at a time to ensure clean, bold lines.

Let the markers dry before touching or washing the temporary tattoo. The markers will last for several days--some up to two weeks, depending on how fair and the porous the skin is. Rubbing alcohol or witch hazel can help remove the marker if necessary.