DIY: Create your own temporary tattoos

Know an especially talented artist? This Halloween, use their talents to a create unique, hand drawn tattoo. (Artwork by S.W. Parra)
Know an especially talented artist? This Halloween, use their talents to a create unique, hand drawn tattoo. (Artwork by S.W. Parra) The Fresno Bee

Halloween is a day for eating candy and pretending to be someone you’re not. Or, pretending to be someone you admire and/or secretly wish to be, if only for a few hours. Or, pretending to be someone you would be terrified to be in any other situation. The point is, pretending. It’s the one big holiday where overt pretending is officially sanctioned. (Unlike, say, Thanksgiving, where covert pretending is expected, as in feigning enjoyment of Aunt Martha’s canned beef kidney and pumpkin stew. Lord help us all.)

Temporary tattoos are specifically designed for overt pretending. The desire is to create an effect, without being permanently affected. Available on virtually every end-cap at every store everywhere, temporary tattoos can be a fun and sometimes essential costume enhancement. Unfortunately, occasionally you just can’t find the design you’re looking for – or afford the one you love. What to do?

Thank the heavens you have choices! Here are two that may work for your skill level and/or wallet.

Choice one: Printable tattoo paper. Available at most craft stores, printable tattoo paper is designed to work with inkjet printers. While each kit has different modes of application, the general principle is simple: find your design, print it onto the tattoo paper via inkjet printer and apply following the package’s instructions. These kits are easy to use and cost about $10. Tattoos last up to five days are can be removed with baby oil.

Choice two: Sharpie pen tattoo. Have more of an artistic bent? Show off your skills with hand-drawn art.

What you’ll need:

▪ Printout of the desired art

▪ 1 piece velum paper

▪ Gel pen

▪ Sharpie pen

▪ Baby powder

▪ Hairspray (or liquid bandage)

▪ Rubbing alcohol

Step one: Using rubbing alcohol, clean the area you’re planning to tattoo. Let the area dry completely. Next, place the velum paper on top of the tattoo printout. Using the gel pen, trace the outline of desired design onto the velum paper. NOTE: If you are tracing words, be sure to print the image in reverse, so the letters (once traced) will appear correctly once on your skin.

Step two: While the gel pen ink is still wet, press the traced design wet-inkside down onto the cleaned skin. Rub the backside of the velum paper, pressing the ink onto the skin. Lift off the velum paper. There should be an outline of the tattoo on your skin.

Step three: Using the Sharpie pen, trace over the outline, filling in and coloring the design as desired.

Step four: When you’ve completed your tattoo design on the skin, sprinkle baby powder over the tattoo, dusting over the entire inked area and rubbing the powder into the skin. Wipe away the excess. The baby powder will help the ink dry quickly and keep the ink from bleeding into skin cracks or spreading onto clothes.

Step five: Finally, spray hairspray (or the liquid bandage) over the entire design. Once dried, the hairspray simultaneously protects the tattoo from fading while protecting your clothes from the ink. Your design should stay in place for three to five days, though it will lighten over time. Refresh as desired.

Traci Arbios: 559-441-6756, @traciAWESOME