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How to Make Your Own Temporary Tattoos

DIY Temporary Tattoos

Photo: Africa Studio / Shutterstock
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Love body art but not ready to commit to a permanent piece? If so, you've probably experimented with temporary tattoos, washable works of art that last for days once applied to the skin. While impermanent tattoos have their obvious perks, like low costs, versatility, and, of course, zero commitment, their designs don't come with the creative freedom or customization characteristic of real tattoos—unless, of course, you make them yourself!

With just a few materials—including special decal paper, a pair of scissors, your computer, and an inkjet printer—you can design, create, and apply any design to your skin. Here, we share temporary tattoo tips and tricks so that you can create the DIY decals of your dreams.

Make Your Own Temporary Tattoo DIY Temporary Tattoos Temporary Tattoo Paper Print Temporary Tattoos

Photo: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

What You'll Need:

  • A Computer
  • An Inkjet printer
  • Decal Paper (available on Amazon)
  • An object with a hard, straight edge, like a ruler or credit card
  • Water
  • Paper towels


Step 1: Design your tattoo.

You can either hand-draw an image and upload it to your computer, or digitally create a graphic using a program like Adobe Illustrator. Once your design is on your computer, reverse its orientation. This way, your tattoo will appear as you designed it once applied to your skin. (If you're feeling stuck, go to the next page for a list of tattoo design inspiration.)


Step 2: Print your tattoo.

Using an inkjet printer, print the design onto a sheet of special decal paper. To ensure your tattoo is as clear, crisp, and clean as possible, put your printer on a “high quality” setting and select “glossy photo” as your paper choice. Stick the adhesive sheet onto the printed image, smoothing out any air bubbles with a hard-edged object.


Step 3: Apply it to your skin.

Remove the plastic layer and place the paper face-down on your skin. Apply a damp paper towel to the back of the tattoo. Gently peel off the paper.


Voila! Enjoy your new body art.

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Kelly Richman-Abdou

Kelly Richman-Abdou is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met. An art historian living in Paris, Kelly was born and raised in San Francisco and holds a BA in Art History from the University of San Francisco and an MA in Art and Museum Studies from Georgetown University. When she’s not writing, you can find Kelly wandering around Paris, whether she’s leading a tour (as a guide, she has been interviewed by BBC World News America and France 24) or simply taking a stroll with her husband and two tiny daughters.
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