Ink Yourself: Make Your Own Temporary Tattoos

My Temporary TattooMy kids and I are pretty badass, so we like ourselves some temporary tattoos. The girls go for unicorns or dinosaurs, but me? I’m a skull-and-crossbones lady, through and through.

So of course the news about a dye being used in temporary tattoos that is, you know, POISONOUS, scared the crap out of me, and got me thinking, as well.

What IS in your run-of-the-mill temporary tattoo, anyway?

Apparently, a legit temporary tattoo contains FDA-approved ingredients and must have its ingredients listed on its packaging. An illegitimate temporary tattoo, however–gee, I wonder how hard it would be to come across one of those? Hey, do you have a quarter for the vending machine?

Or, you can shortcut past the entire chain of manufacture and just make your own freakin’ tat.

 It’s called water slide paper, and the temporary tattoo kind works in your inkjet or laser printer. Using whatever graphic design program you prefer, you can design your own tattoo art, or you can use scanned images, or WordArt from Microsoft Word, or even your own digital photography.

Instead of dying your skin, the ink sits on a medical-grade adhesive that you stick to your skin–some sensitive skin types could still be irritated by this adhesive, of course. Instead of scrubbing your tattoo off, then, when you gotta go to work, you can just work a corner free and peel it off.

These tattoos don’t look exactly the same as a commercial temporary tattoo–they’re oddly shiny, for some reason, and if you don’t apply them just right they can be a little wrinkly–but have you ever wanted to know what it would look like if you had a picture of your kids’ faces tattooed onto your bicep? Well, I know, and It. Looks. AWESOME!!!

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever made for yourself instead of buying it?

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Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life, and my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties.


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  1. Or you can just use colored pens. 🙂 But then you have to freestyle which isn’t nearly as cool unless your some rad artist, which I’m not.

    Wonder what my parents would say if I show up at Christmas with my kids on my arms… literally. Might be a fun little experiment!

  2. I’m a sucker for temporary tattoos – I use them all the time, and I have books on my shelf. Now I have to revisit ALLL the inks.

    That said, I was considering doing something with the print-it-yourself variety anyway. Maybe make myself a nice perfume bottle image. 🙂

  3. My dad made himself a reflex hammer out of an eraser and some other bits and pieces, apparently the commercial ones didn’t have the right shape!

    We made our cat a scratching post, I’m still quite proud of it!

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