Making Gray Wash Tattoo Ink

Written by pilar ethridge
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Making Gray Wash Tattoo Ink
Gray wash shading adds depth to your tattoo. (tattoo image by no-FaCe from

Shading a tattoo adds depth and dimension. Although this technique is frequently used, it is difficult to master. One of the most important factors in professional tattoo shading is to achieve the appropriate shade of grey, depending on the piece. Making grey wash tattoo ink, rather than purchasing a pre-made solution, will allow you to create the specific hue that you need.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 1 cup tap water
  • Small plastic bowl
  • 1 cup black tattoo pigment
  • Eye dropper
  • 3 ink caps

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  1. 1

    Pour the cup of tap water into a bowl or cup that you can easily draw from with the eye dropper.

  2. 2

    Put black ink into an ink cap until it is 3/4 full. Then add water to the cap using the eyedropper and fill it completely. By adding water, you have diluted the ink. It will turn from black to grey.

  3. 3

    Repeat the process of adding water to ink in an ink cap but change the amount of dilution. For example, try using 1/4 pigment and 3/4 water; or half pigment and half water. You will find that one shade or another is more suitable to a particular piece.

Tips and warnings

  • Distilled water and rose water are acceptable for use in place of tap water.

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