Introduction: Tantoo

Picture of Tantoo

Step 1: Cutting Your Graphic Onto Your Vinyl

Picture of Cutting Your Graphic Onto Your Vinyl

If you happen to have a vinyl cutter you can just send over your graphic from adobe illustrator.
If you don't happen to be so privileged you can draw out your graphic on your vinyl with a sharpie and then cut gently with an x-acto so the backing stays intact. I use a number 16 but I'm sure the typical 11 would also work.
I got a 10yd roll of white vinyl form ( I'm not an expert in the different types of vinyl but this stuff works for me.

Step 2: Weed

Picture of Weed

Now you need to weed out all of the pieces where you want sun screen to be sprayed (white skin). I weed with the same #16 x-acto blade that I cut with. I pluck the edged of the piece I'm trying to get out in order to lift it up. I then pull the rest of the piece up by hand. You need to be careful not to pull up surrounding pieces because they usually don't just come apart without a fight.

If you're hoping to have the actual graphic part burn then you should remove all the vinyl around what you drew. (example below)

If you're hard core like my friend you can remove the graphic so that everything else burns leaving a white image. (see step 4-10)

Step 3: Application Tape

Picture of Application Tape

I use RTape clear conform high tack. I think that a lower tack would be better for applicaton to skin so that the vinyl has a chance to adhere without getting lifted up.
place your application tape sticky side up and then put your weeded vinyl sticker face down on top. Press from the center out evenly so that there are no air bubbles. Finally cut excess tape off.
Now you're ready to apply your vinyl sticker.

(The sticker shown is the type you'll want to use if you're trying to maintain a healthy body without skin cancer. The type shown later in this instructable is the painful inverse of this. )

Step 4: Apply the Stencil

Picture of Apply the Stencil

Now apply to your canvas. Press firmly so the vinyl properly adheres to the skin.

WARNING: By spraying the graphic itself instead of the area around it, all your skin will burn leaving you incredibly uncomfortable with the risk of skin cancer. Please do the inverse of this shown in the previous step.

Step 5: Peel Away

Picture of Peel Away

Peel away the application tape. Be careful not to lift any of the vinyl or tear it when removing the application tape. I use hard tack which makes the process a little difficult. The vinyl sticks best if the skin it's on is freshly washed and dried without oils or sweat.

Step 6: Cover Up

Picture of Cover Up

Make sure the surrounding area is covered. I tore pieces of my application tape and extra vinyl from the sticker. This is much like spray painting.

If you're doing the opposite type of burn which only burns the graphic part you don't have to worry about covering up

Step 7: Spray

Picture of Spray

Grab your beastly sunscreen. I use 70 SPF Neutrogena because it's not as greasy. Spray lightly so that the stencil does not get flooded and bleed under. Apply several applications for safety.

Step 8: Remove the Vinyl

Picture of Remove the Vinyl

Remove the vinyl being careful not to get any of the sunscreen which accumulated on the vinyl on the skin which was not supposed to be sprayed.
When you're done you should see a slight reflection where the sunscreen was sprayed.

Step 9: Wait and Sleep on It

I'm not sure how long skin takes to burn. My friend just went shirtless all day and hoped for the best.
If you don't see a satisfactory image by the end of the day don't be discouraged. My friend was completely disappointed only to see the top part of the 09 by the end of the day.

Step 10: Amazing

Picture of Amazing

you should have a relatively detailed image on who ever you applied the graphic to. Just be aware that what my friend did hurts like no other and is known in the state of California to cause cancer. I strongly urge you to do the inverse of what I have shown simply by weeding the border of the graphic. My friend is in severe pain right now and has a blister the size of a 50 cent piece named Amadeus.


Flecks (author)2012-05-01

This is me from about 3 years ago

awesomeguy1235 (author)2012-03-11

"known to the state of California to cause cancer" what doesn't cause cancer there?

GASSYPOOTS (author)2012-03-01

one word(2) aloe vera

Advar (author)2012-01-23

An ex-gf put a bit of food coloring in sunblock and used a small paint brush to apply a flower design on her sister who wanted an unusual tan. Maybe this will be an alternative for some of us. As I personally just burn and peel, I just use a design free complete block.

LucDaRocka1 (author)2011-05-18

he looks like ringo from the beatles

Blacksmith Spader (author)2010-12-16

I kinda like the idea, and it works on paper.... but after some thought... it seems a little on the "not quite thought through" category

macmundi (author)2010-09-10


arpoky (author)2010-08-05

Awwwww... Who da big ol' disgustin' puss-filled vomit-cowored bwister? Is dat Amadeus?

codongolev (author)2010-06-29

it's known in the state of california to cause cancer.... shhhh, don't tell the other states.....

arpoky (author)codongolev2010-08-05


cammers (author)2010-07-24

Melanoma kills very very quickly. Caused by as few as one sun-burn, it starts on the skin and quickly moves to brain, lungs, etc. Most Australians know at last one or two people who have died of melanoma. So it's not just California. I'm not a doctor, but I've been to a couple of funerals. Take care with this one.

mountain island (author)2010-07-20

Oooowwwee. A tan would be ok but that's just burnt! if i were to do this then i would do it with smaller graphics as well, personally not a fan of the face :L xx

kmpres (author)2010-07-01

Sorry, I won't "lighten up" for this one, nor should anyone else. That's a "burn-too" and burns are BAD! I'm a cancer survivor and things like this make my skin crawl. Take my advice, USE SUNSCREEN. The life you save might just be your own!

corey11 (author)kmpres2010-07-12

Well Sir Cancer survivor, he did us sunscreen! How do you think he got the "tan- too"??? He sure didn't fart to get it on there. And attention- a public service announcement: . If someone wants to e stupid enough to try this, just let them do it. . And one more thing, and I will apologize for the language ahead of time, and for the remark I'm about to make: . Why the hell do you have a crip sign on your back?????? If your in a gang, your possey probably laughed their asses off at this......

static (author)2010-07-06

Obviously there was an error in judgment here, and someone was made aware of that fact painfully. I give as much credence to that one sunburn can lead to cancer cancer as I do that one Pierette can lead to nicotine addiction, that being none, but that's something everyone has to decide for themselves. The author should be given cit for not window dressing the instructable, by not including the evidence of what can go wrong. Anyway as they say; think about how good it's going to feel after it quits hurting ;) I'm n sure how one could go about creating a "tan tattoo" using a stencil over multiple exposures to avoid a burn. Away to index stencil has to be worked out

Flecks (author)2010-07-06

This is pretty old. I did it last summer, still have the outline of the smiley. (i hope the picture works, i have had a lot of problems posting pictures)

zipknitter (author)2010-06-30

Why do people think it is their job to "save" everyone. Lighten up, let people do something fun once in a while, just sit back and be quiet! Yes I have had really bad sunburns, and even had a skin cancer removed. But, that does not mean I have the right to yell at other people and act like I am their protector. It's their skin, their lives, they have free will. I think this is kind of cool and since I have to spend a lot of time outside in the summer and long sleeves drive me crazy, will probably try it myself. A rose seems nice.

ciroman (author)zipknitter2010-07-04

maybe because getting involved into activities which are or are on the border of dangerous and then showing them or telling others about it and not warning others is bordering on encouraging others on doing it. and the saying "it's their lives, they have free will" soon involves other peoples lives as well... so please

zipknitter (author)ciroman2010-07-04

I am sorry so many think I am rude. After being in the medical field for over 20 years and trying to help those who do not want help or have to learn life's lessons the hard way, it was pointed out to me by the ones in charge that you cannot wrap people in protective layers just because you know they are doing something they shouldn't. But, when they do, you take care of the damage they have caused themselves by being foolish. Take care of yourselves, and hope others know what is right and wrong and what they shouldn't do because it might harm them, many people feel that horrible thing that happens to others won't happen to them and just because someone posts an idea does not mean a lot of others will use it. So please, excuse my manner, but understand my message, it was learned the hard way.

InquisitorBC (author)zipknitter2010-07-03

Yes i do agree with you that its their skin their bodies, i think you should still take kmpres's advice and not be so rude with your posts. yes its a cool idea but at the same time not a very smart idea.

friendly-ginge (author)2010-06-29

Wow! I'm not sure if this is denial or ignorance. For the people that fall into the latter category, observe. Sunburn comes from UV light (yes, thats stuff coming from the sun AND the one that makes a sunbed work). UV light is proven to alter your DNA (the stuff that makes your body function normally). These changes to DNA can result in cancer. Hence, UV light is known as a carcinogen. Any deliberate exposure to UV light should be avoided. Melanin (a pigment in your skin) is activated by UV light to protect the cells. Melanin is brown, when activated it looks like a tan. So in reality (that's the real world), tanning is your body's response to harmful levels of UV light. It's your body trying (not very sucessfully) to block UV light from reaching your DNA. Any degree of sunburn is bad. Tanning, but not burning is still bad. Blistering is VERY bad. Any source of UV light is bad. Still not convinced? Look up the story of Claire Oliver. As for Step 10 - the only amazing thing about this instructable, is that it is still available to be accessed.

If you use a tanning bed, or spray tan, I think this would work better (although, I think you would have to leave the vinyl on for a spray tan). then you don't have to worry about sunburns and huge nasty blisters.

boelkw (author)2010-06-28

people have been getting burnt for thousands of years, i dont think this guy will die from a little sun

skipernicus (author)boelkw2010-06-29

I've only had one bad sunburn when I was a kid. The doctor who cut the melanoma off my shoulder told me one is all it takes. Here: study up.

codongolev (author)skipernicus2010-06-29

oooh, burn. (no pun intended)

drummonkey92 (author)2010-06-29

cool idea with the whole stenciling thing. me an some friends layed stuff we found on the beach on a sleeping friend's chest an actuall design woulda been better. ignore the negative comments, you clearly, (and repeatedly) say that you recomend doing the opposite and only buring in a small area

zom b (author)2010-06-29

i'm kind of amazed that instructables would put this in my weekly email and feature it so prominently. it's pretty ridiculous to actually PROMOTE sunburning yourself to achieve, and let's be generous here, an almost completely unrecognizable design. worst contribution i've seen in a while. major fail, instructables.

Meragness (author)2010-06-29

what you should do is burn yourself in the tiny outline of a shape, instead of burning everything BUT the shape. that way you wont regret it as much. nothing is worth a sunburn with blisters that big

skipernicus (author)2010-06-29

It strikes me that if you want to make a sun tattoo, the obvious thing to do is make a vinyl cut out of the tattoo you want, and keep it on. That way, you could apply sunscreen to the rest of you and tan at a reasonably safe rate.

Eirinn (author)skipernicus2010-06-29

That's a nice idea! Here's another one, if you do this DO NOT USE BLACK VINYL - for your own sake (use white if anything :S ), black absorbs sun like nothing else and the cumulated heat will roast your flabs :D

Eirinn (author)2010-06-29

Getting brown is cool getting burnt is not, you can still make a nice graphic by aplying different sun factors to your skin and just get the nice brown tan. No need to look like a lobster and risk skin cancer (and other skin related deteriorations). :)

maximuscrates (author)2010-06-28

you took it one step too far with the burning and blistering. I hope you don't get skin cancer. I thought about doing this on my chest with the superman logo. except i was going to do it over months and reapply sunscreen each time. Instead i have opted for a slow and normal tan. i haven't been burned yet this year.

cbergquistf (author)2010-06-28

Did anyone try this with spray on tan? If it works, it would be MUCH safer. I am still recovering from cancer surgery on my face. Not fun and UGLY.

PatentPending (author)2010-06-27

Yeah, what if instead of additive tattooing, try subtractive? Invert the image of the stencil, fix any islands, and apply sunscreen everywhere BUT there? I'm in sunny Florida and see there's not much reason to go in the water, this seems like a nice little thing to do.

ttatmost (author)PatentPending2010-06-28

I did that once, I went to the beach drunk and couldn't reach a part on my back, I ended up with a bat on my back, like batman

11richie21 (author)2010-06-27

thats a burn not a tan good luck CANCER!

jessyratfink (author)2010-06-27

Oi! That looks rough, what a burn! The graphics came out surprisingly clean though - shows just how well sunscreens can work I guess. ;)

dossdj (author)2010-06-27

a much less painful way would be to cover the 'area' in a design and use spray suncreen over it

h_sama (author)2010-06-27


jtpoutdoor (author)2010-06-27

and in a few years time he'll have a REALLY interestingly shaped melanoma which will be soooo cool

NutandBolt (author)2010-06-27
I like the design it's very nice but thats about it. Anyone who has ever met a person that has past away from cancer or has a bit of intellect wouldn't play russian roulette with UVB sun rays. This artistic experiment  is Cancer waiting to happen. Tumors can appear 20 years after over exposure due to dangerous UVB rays. Not to mention the fact that with person in the images is in the highest risk factor group because of his light complection he is more likely to develope skin cancer. 
The days of self body frying under the sun are over, use you brain!!!!
There is no such thing as a safe tan.
As a parent I fear this instructable is promoting skin cancer amongst young people that want to copy this horrible experiment without the ability to understand the real dangers involved.
jellybean0k (author)2010-06-27

I think this is the first time I have ever been compelled to comment on this website, and I must say, that was truly awful, and that was just for the risk factor alone. It was like, Jackass, but in slow motion - it should have a DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME (or on the beach) warning. Sorry guys, this is definately one that I will give a miss. ouchie

claudiu.tudoras (author)2010-06-27

I think this would have better results if you would do it over several days, maybe a whole week. Just like having a normal tan when you go to the beach only that a part of you stays covered with some material. So in the end you get a normal tan only that the covered-up part remains white. The only problem is you have to find something that is like clothing (or something that blocks the sun) that you can stick to you skin and "wear" it all day while at the beach. Any ideas what this kind of material might be?

1up (author)2010-06-26

Why not just apply the graphic and lay in the sun? :P That way, the only sunburned portion is the actual graphic.

cdslug (author)1up2010-06-27

Well I could have also just applied the graphic and spray everywhere else, which is what I tried to describe how to do in this instructable, but my friend though it would be more epic if he did the reverse.

Musicman41 (author)2010-05-24

If you are worried about skin cancer, you might try doing the oppisite.  Leave everything but the picture, then apply sunscreen.  This will result in a white body and a tan picture.  If you are worried about skin cancer, this will probably be safer.

cdslug (author)Musicman412010-06-27

We were originally going to do what you suggested, but my friend thought that the image wouldn't have shown up. As you can see, he was a tad wrong.

zan316 (author)2010-06-27

why didn you just use sun tan lotion?

hellstudios (author)2010-06-27

am I the only one who never gets sunburn?

Kelticfox (author)2010-06-27

You forgot one crucial step. Step 11: Everyone pokes your sunburn, whilst they laugh, you scream in pain.

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