How to Make a Tattoo


While a real tattoo takes serious thought and consideration, there are some temporary tattoos that can be custom made and look great without the long-term commitment of real tattoos. There are two major types of temporary tattoos: rub-on and henna. While henna tattoos are mostly dependent upon a steady hand, artistic ability or a stencil, the rub-on tattoos can be designed on a computer and then easily applied. Here are some suggestions on how to make temporary tattoos.

Things You'll Need

  • Inkjet temporary tattoo paper
  • Henna kit (henna and henna essential oil)
  • Lemon juice
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Toothpicks
  • For the rub-on tattoos, a design can be hand drawn or picked from a number of online resources (see Resources section below). For hand-drawn tattoos, scan the drawing and insert it into a graphics program such as Photoshop to customize your image.

  • Once your image has been uploaded to the graphics program of your choice, set the image to the size you wish, add any text if wanted, or even merge several images together. Once done, put the inkjet temporary tattoo paper into the printer (see Resources below).

  • Print off the tattoo sheet using the inkjet printer, and remember to reverse the images and text.

  • The tattoo paper will come with an adhesive sheet that you'll stick over the top off the printed sheet. Remember to let the printed sheet dry for at least 1/2 an hour before you attach the adhesive sheet.

  • Rub the two sheets together to make sure you don't get any air bubbles.

  • Cut out the designs using a craft knife or a pair of scissors.

  • Peel off the protective film to the front of the printed tattoo. You will be left with a sticky surface.

  • Place the design face down onto the skin.

  • Using a damp sponge, saturate the tattoo with water and rub gently. Continue this process for about 30 to 45 seconds.

  • The white backing paper will start to easily slip off. Dab the tattoo with a dry cloth to get rid of any residue, and it is finished.

  • Henna tattoos have to be done by hand, whether you are following a stencil or hand-drawn design. For drawing the design onto the skin, a toothpick is helpful to get small, smooth lines (the applicator that comes with the kit is normally too large and tends to clump or come out too fast or uneven). Draw out your design on paper first for practice.

  • Most henna kits can be purchased online (see Resources below). These kits should include the henna, henna essential oil and an applicator. You should also have on hand a mixture of lemon with equal part juice, water and sugar. Tea or coffee can be used to darken the henna color. Mix your henna paste together to about the consistency of toothpaste.

  • Make sure your hands are clean and without any oil residues. Wash all other areas that will have the henna paste applied to.

  • Start applying the henna following your design as if you were decorating a cake. If you make a mistake, correct it immediately using a toothpick. If your hand feels dry, apply the lemon juice mix with a piece of cotton or cloth to keep it fresh so it is absorbed better. The henna lines have to look three-dimensional, not flat. Once you finish, leave the henna on for about 5 hours. After this, take it off carefully, do not wash the area and avoid water for the following 8 to 14 hours so that the tattoo lasts.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you use contact lenses, be careful when applying henna with the finger you use to put your lenses in, or your eyes may became irritated.

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