Introduction: Temporary Tattoos

About: I play guitar in a very awful band, despite my immense swag, we aren't very good

If you aren't sure about getting a tattoo, or if you don't want anything permanent, a temporary tattoo is the way to go.
While you should only get a real tattoo if you want one for personal reasons, you can get an easy, temporary tattoo if you only want it for a short period of time. This would be especially helpful if you want it to film a movie.

A character in your movie may need a tattoo, and instead of permanently putting something on your skin, you can very easily get one for the duration of the required scenes.

Step 1: Types

While you COULD get a Dollar Store/Wal-Mart brand Spiderman temporary tattoo, which may or may not have been the first thing you thought of when you heard "Temporary Tattoo", there are other, more authentic styles that you can choose from to get a more realistic look.

Step 2: Temporary Airbrush Tattoo

One of the higher quality temporary tattoo's you can get. This would be the kind you would see in a professional movie, or generally, someone who wants to look really cool without being really cool.

Being more high quality, it would also be the most difficult and expensive to get. You need to find someone who can do it, and then on top of that, give them your money. The results speak for themselves though, as long as the person doing the artwork has some idea of what they're doing.

An example of this style would be usually something you would see at fair set up so kids can get their own designs. But it can be a more serious style if you want, depending on what the tattoo is.

Quality: Relatively High
Price: Medium

Step 3: Ballpoint Pen

This one can be a wild card, and depending on the skill of the artist, the outcome will vary. If you have a high quality professional artist, it will look unrivaled, even compared to many real tattoos. If you have someone with a good amount of talent or some experience with it, it can look passable. If you find a ballpoint pen in an alleyway, and have one of your friends do it, the result could be considered "less than satisfactory". 

It could cost anywhere from just the price of a ballpoint pen, up to something very expensive having a professional artist draw the tattoo for you. It varies depends on the professional level help you have to make the tattoo. However, if you know someone with talent, you could get them to do it for you, but for most people, you'd have to find someone to do this, which could be difficult.

Something else to note about this style is that it is very easy to remove, the main concern is questions of how healthy it is for you. These pens are said to be non toxic, but there are questions about how healthy it is to put it on your skin.

Quality: Varies
Price: Varies

Step 4: Printing Your Own

Quite possibly the easiest and still among the best ways to go about getting a temporary tattoo. While other methods might last longer and be a little tougher to get, printing and drawing your own is the fastest thing you can do. 


First, you need to create your design. You can get your design on the internet, create your own using your choice of software program, OR just draw it out yourself. If you use a computer you will have to print it off though, and then trace it onto some sort of light paper, like tracing paper. You will also want to draw your own on the same kind of paper.

Next, you put the paper on wherever you want to apply the tattoo, then you place a warm cloth onto the paper. Hold it for a while until the ink transfers onto your skin.

The best part about this style is that it's quick, and extremely easy to get rid of, just washing the tattoo will get rid of it. That being said, if you're using it to look cool, make sure it doesn't get water on it, because it will expose you as a fraud and everyone will judge you.

Quality: Low-Medium, looks okay, very short term.
Price: Lowest, (Dirt Cheap)

This will be the same quality as a store bought children's temporary tattoo, which is to note, so remember that before you try to show it off to anyone.

Step 5: Semi Permanent Tattoo

This is something I'm putting in just for the sake of covering the most serious option there is, and I would not recommend this to anyone who only wants something for a short amount of time. 

The highest quality and costing option would be to have a tattoo artist give you a tattoo, either using a different tattooing method, or a special ink that will eventually lead to the tattoo completely fading away over time.

This gives you the complete tattoo experience. The tattoo may take a very long time to go away though, and you would probably be better off getting an actual tattoo. 

Quality: High
Price: High

Step 6: Personal Preference

Whichever one you choose, is the one that you personally want. The easiest one to get would be to make your own, due to the availability of the tools required, and it is the quickest to get and to get rid of. The ballpoint pen may look good and artsy, but if you aren't able to do it yourself, you need someone to do it for you, which may be tricky for most people. The airbrush would most likely be the most difficult to get, but the quality is pretty high.

If you are unbelievably serious about temporary tattoos, you are able to have a professional tattoo artist put a temporary ink onto you, this could last anywhere from a few days to a few years, depending on what you use.
I wouldn't recommend that.

The choice I plan on using for my film for school would be creating my own design, or using one of my more talented friends to design it, and then apply it before we film any scenes that require it.

Step 7: Results

Edit: The use of temporary tattoos for use in my school movie was canceled, as the scene was replaced.

For the sake of instructable, I will still show the results of a homemade temporary tattoo. The tattoo still works like any other temporary tattoo, as long as you use the right equipment.

Depending on the amount of ink, and most importantly, the type of paper you use, the tattoo will leave a different impression and have different fade levels.

One thing you can do, which is what I decided on for the sake of quickly getting this done, is print off an already created tattoo from the internet and use this.

My friend used this idea to get some that would be kid friendly. This would be a very fun thing to do for your kid if you are a parent, you can use child friendly designs, like the Marvel movies.