Alright kiddies, the cabin fever has set in and I’m starting to attempt random arts and crafts to cure what ails me! It turns out you can make a pretty darn smashing DIY fake tattoo at home without much effort. The hardest part is picking an image…
You’re going to need…
- A printer that prints using toner
- Acetone (100%) or some bad cologne. The acetone works way better, but in a pinch you might get away with some shitty perfumes etc.
- An image to tattoo
A quick google image search for the term tattoo and set the filter to line art is usually enough to find something with a tattooey kind of feel to it.
Generally you want to use something with well defined contrast. Nice dark blacks and clean whitespace…
So, super important part…you’re going to need to print that out on a printer that uses toner. I’m not sure if inkjet works for this as I don’t own a printer to test that with. Print out your image, but not too large. Generally aim for something the size of a toilet roll as anything much larger than that tends not to sit flat later on.
Trim the excess paper away leaving a little bit of a border around your image. About a centimetre or so should do the trick.
Apply some masking tape to the back of the image and find a nice clean body part to tape it to. I found out the hard way that a hairy leg is not a good choice. The inside of my forearm seemed to work out okay for me.
Next up soak a few paper towels or some toilet paper in acetone and gently wipe it over the paper trying not to move it too much or it will smudge the transfer. The acetone should be absorbed by the paper really well and go transparent. Let the paper dry and repeat the process 2 or 3 times more. The acetone should evaporate quite quickly, so the whole process might take 30 seconds to a minute.
The one above smudged a little as the paper moved around while I was applying the acetone. This is easier to avoid with smaller images.
Pro Tip: If you’re including text in your image remember to print the image reversed. Rookie mistake.
That’s it. Nice and easy and they seem to last quite a while without rubbing off accidentally.