How to Make Temporary Tattoos

As most tattoo fanatics know, once on your skin, tattoos are complicated to remove. So what do you do when you are at that stage where you are considering getting a tattoo design, but you are just not ready or sure yet? 

Well, a temporary tattoo may be what you need to help you prepare for the long-term commitment. Also, temporary tattoos act as skin art to accentuate costumes and related events. In this article, we share tips and tricks on how to make your very own temporary tattoos.

There are four ways to create your temporary tattoo in time for your event, as listed below:

  • Method One – Use a permanent marker or Sharpie.
  • Method Two – Use a marker, toothpaste, waterproof eyeliner, and petroleum jelly (Vaseline).
  • Method ThreeUse perfume and hot water to transfer temporary tattoo to skin.
  • Method Four – Use a printer on water slide paper, then apply to the skin.

Before we start, keep in mind that all the following methods require some rudimentary artistic skills, so do not shy away from flexing those creative muscles. Those with no artistic mastery should have no fear because the tricks and tips are pretty simple. Besides, there is always a way to go around any challenge.

Using A Permanent Marker

This method will take you back to your preschool years, where you would scribble away at your skin over lunch break. Using a marker to make a temporary tattoo is probably the fastest method and one that most people are conversant with. 

We recommend using the Sharpie brand, but any permanent marker with a pointed tip may work. Keep in mind that some permanent markers are toxic and may irritate sensitive skin, so be keen and select non-toxic permanent markers. Here is how to do it:


  • Clean the designated tattoo area with soap and water to remove excess skin oils that may interfere with the ink application.
  • You will need to trim your hair, if any, on the temporary tattoo spot as skin hair distorts the final design.
  • You will need a stencil of your design, which entails taking a piece of paper and carving out the design you want. Remember to be as precise as possible because the details will show in the final result.


  • In the clean and dry area where you want to keep the tattoo, hold the stencil against the skin, making sure to be firm and not move around.
  • Use your permanent marker to shade over the stencil applying a generous amount uniformly on top of the stencil.
  • After you are done, gently remove the stencil from your skin, and what remains will be the temporary tattoo.

Don’t let the permanent marker scare you; the tattoo won’t last long, so you have nothing to worry about. To remove the marking, rub some alcohol onto your skin, and you should be as good as new.

Using a Marker, Toothpaste, and Eyeliner

This is another simple method that employs the use of items found easily in modern households. It is more elaborate than the first method but similar in principle. The only added advantage is that the final design is waterproof.


  • Shave the area you want to place the temporary tattoo because this method requires direct contact with the skin as much as possible.
  • Use toothpaste to smear that whole area with a thick layer, and then rub it in. This helps remove excess oils from the skin in the area and increases the final tattoo’s longevity.
  • Wipe off all the excess toothpaste from the area to begin.


  • Use your artistic skills to carefully draw your desired tattoo design with a permanent marker pen or Sharpie. We recommend practicing on a piece of paper beforehand.
  • After you are comfortable with the design outcome, dust it off with baby or talcum powder.
  • Repeat the outline of your design with waterproof eyeliner. This step is vital as it reinforces the tattoo design, lasts longer, and is waterproof.
  • Dust it one last time with the talcum or baby powder again, after that step.
  • Apply a thin layer of Vaseline over your tattoo design, and let it dry out for 30 mins.

Using Perfume and Hot Water

As weird as it may sound, this is another simple method you can use directly with items from your house, and the end result is still easy to remove. For the perfume, you can use deodorant or cologne as there are no specifications required.


  • Pick a design image and preferably a simple design for the best results.
  • You need to print out this design image on printing paper, preferably bright ones.


  • Cut out your design image from the printed paper. This is integral to the process because you want a near-perfect cut-out without any white paper edges remaining. In the end, only your design image cut out should remain. Do not worry if it seems much smaller.
  • Next comes the perfume. Douse the cut-out image completely in perfume, body spray, or hair spray. Whatever your choice, make sure your design is entirely soaked.
  • Remember that if you leave an inch untouched, the final design will not be spectacular.
  • Let the piece of paper soak in hot water for five minutes. The paper should eventually come out flimsy and translucent. Be careful not to tear it at this point.
  • Spray the area you desire the temporary tattoo to be with a generous amount of perfume. Place the image on the scented spot and hold it down on the skin with a hot towel. Not too hot to burn your skin but fairly hot enough to transfer the image onto your skin.
  • Hold it firmly in place for 3 to 4 minutes, and then peel off gently. You should have the image transferred to your skin at this point. It will last about two weeks and will look very real.

Using Printer and Water Slide Paper

This method is beneficial for those who are artistically disadvantaged. Remember, you cannot use regular printing paper for this one; you will need water slide paper instead.


  • From your computer, get a tattoo image design from the many options online.
  • When printing, use water slide paper instead of regular printing paper.


  • Use scissors to cut out the design, and be careful not to cut too close to the tattoo to avoid messing up the outer lines.
  • Apply the water paper design onto the skin. Using a damp towel or cotton ball, apply pressure on the water slide paper for two minutes or until the design has transferred and the paper falls off. 
  • Let the tattoo dry on its own, and it should last a whole week.

Get Tattooed in Your Own Home!

Like with everything else, adequate preparation is recommended before using any of the methods mentioned above. Most require cutting out or drawing carefully. In the end, the design of the tattoo you choose will determine how straightforward your work will become, so choose wisely.

All these methods we recommend above are elementary and require no expertise to pull off. The most challenging part might actually be picking out your desired tattoo designs. Keep in mind that different skin tones look different with the tattoos, even temporary ones, so yours may not look like another’s, but it will be just as great.

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