How to Dilute Tattoo Ink

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Tattoo ink comes in a variety of colors, but certain pieces may require a custom color or shade of pigment which isn't available. In this case, the tattoo artist may choose to dilute her tattoo ink, creating a lighter or more delicate shade of a color. For sanitary and hygiene reasons, dilute tattoo ink only with a sterile product and using sterile tools and materials.

Things You'll Need

  • Tattoo ink
  • Clean inkwell cups
  • Distilled water
  • White tattoo ink

Lay out several fresh, disposable inkwell cups. Fill these cups with a small amount of the full strength tattoo ink. The more ink in the cup, the less dilution will be possible.

Add a small amount of distilled water to the ink and stir. This will create a diluted ink solution which is runnier. This technique is often used with black ink as it creates subtle gradations of watery gray shades.

Add a drop or two of white tattoo ink to any shades that you wish to lighten without changing the consistency. This method creates a lighter color. Be sure that you have created enough of the custom dilution to see through the completion of the design, as remixing shades can have uneven results.

Tips & Warnings

  • Dilution of tattoo ink is not an exact science. The strength of the resulting ink may vary based on the initial tattoo ink used.
  • Tattoos should only be performed by a licensed professional tattoo artist and should not be attempted by anyone without these qualifications.

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