Temporary tattoos can be a fun way to experiment with designs before fully committing to them. Here are 5 ways to make your own DIY temporary tattoos and and tips on how to make them last.
Whether you’re testing the waters to see if you’re ready for a permanent tattoo, or just fooling around with temporary designs, tattoos can be a way to showcase your personality. The temporary ones that you can buy at the store come in single use plastic packaging and are often made of synthetic polymers. Learning how to make more natural DIY temporary tattoos can help you express your style while being kind to the environment. Let’s take a look at a few different methods for making your own.
DIY Temporary Tattoo Using Eyeliner
For this first method, all you need is some eyeliner and artistic ability.
- Pencil or marker
- Practice your design a few times before, starting on a scrap piece of paper.
- Test out your eyeliner on your skin. Having a finer point and using smaller lines can help you get a cleaner design.
- If you make a mistake, don’t worry! Your eyeliner temporary tattoo will come away easily with a DIY makeup remover.
How to Make it Last:
- Once you have a design you’re happy with, you can make sure it doesn’t easily get washed off by spraying overtop of it with a light coat of hairspray to make it last much longer. However, most hairsprays are not 100 percent environmentally friendly, since they are aerosols which pollute the atmosphere. If sourcing hairspray for the sole purpose of this project, look for non-aerosol brands.
Draw Your Own Temporary Tattoo
If you’re not as artistically inclined, or you want to place a tattoo somewhere on your skin that you can’t easily draw on, this next method might be for you. It uses rubbing alcohol to transfer ink drawn designs from paper directly onto your skin.
- Ink or gel pen or marker
- Baking, parchment, or tracing paper
- Rubbing alcohol
- Draw or trace your design first with pencil and retrace with ink or gel pen when you’re happy with it.
- Cut out your design, leaving about a centimeter between the edge and the ink, careful not to smudge it!
- Coat the area of skin where you’d like your tattoo in rubbing alcohol using a cloth.
- Press the design directly onto the skin while it’s still moist and hold for a few minutes.
How to Make it Last:
- Place the design in an area which doesn’t move much. Areas to avoid placing a temporary tattoo include joints, face, and hands. You should also avoid your face and hands since they often come into contact with different oils and dirts throughout the day.
- Seal with clear nail varnish. This is only an option if the tattoo is very small.
Printed Image Tattoos
This method is super easy and best for more complicated designs, however, you will need access to a printer. This method also uses a lot of perfume, preferably an eco-friendly, second-hand, or unwanted perfume.
While it will make your tattoo smell delightful, if you’re not willing to use up all of your perfume for a project like this, you can alternatively use rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. However, if you do use rubbing alcohol, be aware that your tattoo might come out fainter than expected.
- Printer and a computer
- Warm water
- Shave the area you wish to place the tattoo.
- Find a design you like online, or design your own using a digital studio, and print onto a piece of scrap paper.
- Cut out your design, leaving about a centimeter between the edge and the ink.
- Spray your design with perfume until it is completely saturated.
- Leave the design to soak in some warm water for at least 3 minutes.
- Remove from the water and re-spray with perfume.
- Place the design onto your skin and hold in place with a warm, damp cloth for at least 6 minutes.
- Peel away gently.
How to Make it Last:
- Avoid exercise. In addition to the tips above which also apply to this method, you should avoid breaking your sweat as this will quickly dissolve your temporary tattoo.
Natural DIY Temporary Tattoos Using Henna
Henna tattoos are definitely the longest lasting and the hardest wearing, lasting between 2 and 4 weeks. However, there are many things you should be aware of before purchasing and using henna on your skin.
The type of henna you should avoid is commonly referred to as ‘black henna‘. This henna is chemically treated with para-phenylenediamine (PPD) to produce a much darker stain on your skin. This is the same chemical found in diesel and petrol and is known to cause several allergic reactions including blistering of the skin and chemical burning which can leave permanent scars.
Brown or red henna is 100 percent natural and generally safe to use on skin. Made by crushing the dried leaves of the henna plant into a fine powder and mixed with water, usually to create a paste which can be piped onto the skin in intricate designs which stain the skin redish-brown. However, red and brown henna can still cause allergic reactions on hyper-sensitive skin. Therefore, it’s always best to do a patch test 24 hours before giving yourself a DIY temporary tattoo.
When looking to purchase henna, either to do it yourself or to get it done by a professional, you should always check the ingredients — avoid any with additives, including color.
- Old Newspaper
- Cone of henna paste OR henna paste and a homemade piping bag
- Scissors or a pin
- Coconut oil (optional)
- Lay down some old newspaper in your work area before you start, to avoid staining any of your furniture or upholstery.
- Use a pin or a pair of scissors to snip the end off of your henna cone or piping bag. The smaller the snip, the finer the lines will be in your design.
- Squeeze the henna directly onto clean, dry skin into the design.
- Let the paste dry for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- If you feel any discomfort from the henna, any itching or burning, remove it immediately.
- After the drying time has elapsed, scrape off the remaining henna paste to reveal the henna stain tattoo. You can rub a bit of coconut oil to help remove any areas which are particularly stuck on.
How to make it last:
- Exfoliate: Before applying the henna, make sure to exfoliate as much as you can. Since the henna only sits on the top layers of your skin, you don’t want it staining any dead skin that’s just going to fall away within the next few days.
- Leave it on for as long as possible.The longer you leave henna on your skin, the darker the pigment of the final staining will be. A darker pigment means slower fading and longer lasting henna.
- Avoid water. After you’ve removed the henna paste, avoid getting the stained area wet for at least 2 hours.
- Moisturize. While you shouldn’t get the area wet, you should aim to keep the area moisturized using more of the coconut oil.
DIY Pantyhose Tattoos
This last method is best for use as part of a costume and can be a great project for kids. However, it only works for tattoos on either your legs or arms and is better suited to “sleeve” style tattoo designs.
- Marker pens
- Old neutral toned pantyhose, close to your natural skin color
- Fabric pens or paints
- Trace the outline of your arm or leg onto the cardboard.
- Use the scissors to cut out the shape.
- Remove the “pant” bit of the pantyhose and cut along the toe stitching.
- Insert the cardboard into the leg of the pantyhose and start designing your tattoos.
- Leave this side of the tattoo sleeve to dry before starting on the other side.
- Remove the cardboard and slip over your arm or leg.
You can easily trace your designs by pasting them onto the cardboard before slipping the hose over top. To help support your sleeve and stop it from falling down, you can use safety pins to attach it to the hem of a T-shirt or shorts.
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