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Homemade fake temporary tattoos using household items

Updated April 17, 2017

Temporary, or fake, tattoos are an alternative to the painful and permanent nature of a real tattoo. You do not need expert drawing skills or expensive supplies to create a piece of body art on your skin. Temporary tattoos are a plus for the person in a professional work atmosphere that wants to show their wild side for a night or two. These custom pieces of art are a way to spice up a children's or teenager's party at a fraction of the cost by using items you already have around the house.

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  1. Pick a tattoo design for your temporary tattoo. Print off a design from the Internet or sketch out your own idea. Determine the location on the body for application of the temporary tattoo. Hold the design up to the body part to ensure it is the size you want it to be.

  2. Wash the location for the fake tattoo with warm water and soap. Pat the area until dry with a paper towel.

  3. Outline the tattoo design with a black permanent marker. Sharpies are a brand that are non-toxic, fast drying and have 39 different colours. The black outline keeps the colour in the temporary tattoo from bleeding out onto the rest of the body part.

  4. Colour in the temporary tattoo black outline with bold colours. Use any colour you like, remember a tattoo is a piece of artwork and is not always a literal interpretation. For example, colour a star or heart in with the colours pink, green or purple. Add a name, date or a favourite scripture around the tattoo.

  5. Allow the permanent marker to dry for several minutes. Apply baby powder to a make-up brush and lightly dust over the temporary tattoo. The baby powder keeps the skin dry and prevents sweat from smearing the tattoo.

  6. Tip

    Wrap the temporary tattoo in cling film or cover with a waterproof bandage before bathing or swimming to prevent fading or smearing. Use carbon paper to make a tattoo stencil and trace the lines if the design is too complex for you to draw on the body part.


    Consider the schedule of the person receiving the temporary tattoo before applying the permanent marker for it may take a couple of days to wash off. Use alcohol or witch hazel sparingly to remove the fake tattoo. These chemicals can burn sensitive skin.

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Things You'll Need

  • Soap
  • Water
  • Tattoo design
  • Permanent markers
  • Baby powder
  • Make-up brush

About the Author

Maude Coffey

Maude Coffey retired after 10 years working as a professional body modification artist in the tattoo industry. She is certified in principles of infection control and blood-borne pathogens. Coffey received additional training and classes, such as anatomy, jewelry standards and aftercare, from the Association of Professional Piercers. Coffey aims to educate about safe tattooing and piercing practices while writing for various websites.

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