How to Make a Fake Tattoo
There are plenty of reasons to learn how to make fake a tattoo. Faking a tattoo lets you practice with design, color, and composition. It helps you decide what kind of permanent tattoo to get before you get one. It has useful applications in stage and theater makeup, allowing for realistic tattoos that can be washed off in minutes without staining the skin. Lastly, it just looks cool—it’s cheaper and allows you to experiment with many different designs. There are many different techniques for faking a tattoo, varying in quality and in complexity. Here are a few of them that are easy to do from your home with materials you can get at a small office supply store.
Related Article: Custom Temporary Tattoos
Ink Transfer Tattoo
Out of all the ways of how to make a fake tattoo, this one is the easiest and most accessible. All you need is tracing paper (or parchment paper—whatever you have handy!), a gel pen or marker, a small cloth, and a little creativity. Think about an idea for a while, and then pick up a pencil. Draw your design with pencil on the parchment paper. It doesn’t have to be precise, but you will want your lines to be as sharp as possible for the best possible tattoo. If you prefer, you can also print a design from the internet onto parchment paper, and then use that as your base.
Once you have the design down, go ahead and get your gel pen or marker ready. Whatever you pick should be non-toxic—this means no Sharpies! Many permanent markers have toxic ingredients that can soak into your skin, so avoid these if you can. Anything marked as skin safe or kid safe will be alright to use. Fill in the design with your marker, leaving an even amount of ink on the surface. You should be as precise as possible and avoid smearing the edges anywhere. If you smear the design now, it will appear blurry when you apply it to your skin.
|Darice Tracing Paper||Non-Toxic Markers by VersaChalk|
That was simple, right? Next up is application. Carefully wrap the paper around wherever you want the tattoo applied. Avoid moving it too much while it’s making contact with your skin—the ink can easily smear during this stage. Use a wet cloth to dab at it and transfer the ink over to your skin. When you peel off the paper, your new design will be visible!
- Pros: It uses materials that are easy to find. The steps to making one are easy to follow. Application is fast and simple.
- Cons: This doesn’t look as convincing as the other techniques. Toxic markers have a chance of irritating your skin. It’s more difficult to provide a variety of colors.
Related Article: How to Give Yourself a Tattoo
You can use any heavy paper (construction paper and card stock are good choices) to make a stencil tattoo. Draw your design on the paper, and then cut it out using scissors or an X-acto knife. Your cuts should be as smooth as possible—cut out any strands that hang off the paper. Apply the paper to your skin and draw over the stencil with non-toxic ink. The result should be an incredibly crisp, fake tattoo!
|X-ACTO Z Series #1 Knife||Non-Toxic Permanent Markers|
But there are plenty of other things you can do with stencil tattoos. If you want to be really fancy, you can airbrush color onto your skin for a professional effect. If you don’t happen to have an airbrush laying around at home, you can use a sponge! Anything labeled as face paint or body paint is perfect for this technique. Pick two colors and apply the light one first with a sponge. Then, carefully daub the darker color on top of it to make a smooth gradient, starting with the darker areas and letting the sponge dry out as the gradient ends. If you use too much paint and end up with solid daubs, don’t worry—you can just wipe off the design and try again. Just be careful that you don’t get the stencil too wet—these types of paper aren’t designed to hold a large amount of paint or water. If you find yourself having trouble with stencil paper, try using a clear transparency sheet. These sheets have the added bonus of being reusable—just clean them off with alcohol when you’re done, and store it away for later use!
- Pros: This allows you to have a sharper image with more vibrant colors—which means your fake tattoo will be very convincing!
- Cons: It can be difficult to make the stencil, and the tools are pricier than the ink transfer method. The stencil itself is difficult to re-use and might become soggy during application.
Related Article: Make Your Own Tattoo
|Airbrush Air Compressor Paint||Custom Body Art -6 Color Kit|
There are lots of advantages to fake tattoos that permanent tattoos just don’t have. One of them is the use of unique inks and materials to make designs. Any kind of makeup will work for these methods and leave a dazzling effect. Your tattoo design can look convincing and glitter in the light. A metallic gold gives a high-class look to your tattoos, while any iridescent material allows your tattoo to shine. All of the materials mentioned here are easily washed off with a cotton ball and rubbing alcohol, but will otherwise last up to three days. Towards the end of their life expectancy, they will start to crack and chip off—but that’s only natural for a temporary and fake tattoo.
|Organics Cotton Balls||Swan Isopropyl Alcohol, 99%|
There are premade tattoos that you can buy out there, but it doesn’t beat learning how to make a fake tattoo on your own. Both of these techniques cost less than the pre-made tattoos and allow you to experiment with your own designs and materials. If you notice swelling around the area you tattooed, you either used a toxic material (such as a Sharpie), or you are experiencing an allergic reaction. Either way, if the swelling becomes uncomfortable, see a doctor right away. Other than these two things, there should be no side effects to the tattoos—you are essentially using the same materials that make up companies and temporary tattoo stands use on your skin! If you follow these directions, feel free to share your results in the comments section.