DIY: Temporary Tattoo (WATERPROOF)

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How to Create a Sharpie Tattoo

Three Methods:

Have you ever wanted a tattoo but you were either too young, too broke, or didn't want to commit to something for life? Luckily, you can create a fake tattoo unique to your style without breaking the bank or your moral code. Try making a tattoo using a sharpie with either baby powder and hairspray, or with gel deodorant. All the following methods should help you accomplish creating your Sharpie tattoo!


Sample Tattoo Designs

Using Baby Powder and Hairspray

  1. Draw your tattoo design on your skin.Take your sharpie, and draw your tattoo directly onto your skin. You can use multiple colors of sharpie if you like, but keep in mind that whatever you draw will be the ‘permanent’ version. It may be easier to have a friend help with this part, to make sure that your drawing is just right. Wait for the sharpie to dry completely.
  2. Coat the drawing in baby powder.Pour a generous amount of baby powder into your hand, and thoroughly coat the sharpie drawing with the powder. Rub it into the drawing; it shouldn’t bleed or smear. Wipe off any excess powder that doesn’t stick to your skin.
  3. Spray the tattoo with hairspray.Hold a can of hairspray 12–16 inches (30.5–40.6 cm) away from your tattoo, and spray over the entire thing. Make sure to thoroughly coat the tattoo and baby powder, although be careful not to get it all over the place. Wait for the hairspray to dry.
  4. Wipe off all of the excess.Use a tissue to carefully wipe away any extra baby powder or hairspray around the tattoo. When the hairspray is dry, the tattoo should be ‘permanent’ and won’t smear when rubbed with a tissue. This method should make the tattoo last for up to a month.

Using Gel Deodorant and Tracing Paper

  1. Trace your tattoo onto your tracing paper.If you’re copying an image, place your tracing paper over the top of the image and carefully draw the outline. Attempt to place it on as flat of a surface on your arm as possible. Otherwise, draw the tattoo you would like onto tracing paper (even if you don’t have to trace). You can use multiple shades of sharpie if you would like, but make sure it is a ‘sharpie’ and not another type of pen or ink.
  2. Coat your skin with gel deodorant.On the place you would like your tattoo, spread a layer of the gel deodorant. Make sure that there is enough that it doesn’t dry right away, but avoid putting so much of the gel that it prevents the paper from coming into contact with your skin.
  3. Put the drawing on top of the gel.Place the tattoo drawing face-down onto the gel layer on your skin. Hold it there for a minute with firm pressure, so that the image will transfer. When you’re finished, remove the paper and check the results. Fix any mistakes in the drawing by repeating the aforementioned process.
  4. Set the tattoo with baby powder.Sprinkle baby powder on top of the tattoo, to absorb any leftover moisture and to help it to set. Doing this will make the tattoo last much longer than without; no baby powder means that your temporary tattoo will only last 2-3 days.
  5. Wipe away any excess.Use a clean tissue to carefully wipe off any gel or powder that might still be on your skin. Be careful not to rub the tattoo too much, until you’re sure that it has set and is completely dry. When you’re done, you can help protect the tattoo for longer by covering it up with a wrap when you’re sleeping.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    What can I use besides baby powder?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If you don't have baby powder, Gold Bond or cornstarch also work.
  • Question
    This did not work. I drew a complex feather but when I sprayed it melted. What can I do?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    After adding the baby powder, let it sit for 5 to 15 minutes, then spray the hairspray so it doesn't smear.
  • Question
    Can I use metallic Sharpies?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Yes, of course! Keep in mind that metallic Sharpies are made using a slightly different formula than standard Sharpies. Some types of hair spray may cause the pigments to separate. Before doing your final tattoo, consider doing a spot test first.
  • Question
    How do I remove it?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Typically if you use just soap and water you can use your nail to "scratch" away the ink. Despite it being said that Sharpie is permanent, it is surprisingly easy to remove.
  • Question
    Can I use something else instead of hairspray?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Try some makeup setting spray. You can find it at most beauty supply shops.
  • Question
    Can this also work with the gel deodorant and flour, or does it have to be baby powder?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Wheat flour is not as good as cornflour. Wheat flour tends not to be fine enough.
  • Question
    Does it have to be a Sharpie, or can it be another type of pen?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It will work with a regular pen. Just keep in mind that this might not work for all skin types.
  • Question
    What can I use other than gel deodorant with the tracing paper method?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Trace the design with pencil and go over it a few times. Then, run over the area with a damp paper towel, place the design on it and run your hand over it. It's very light but it works as a transfer for you to go over with a pen or a marker.
  • Question
    How long will these last?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    The tattoo will last around two to three days without showers or when covered by a plastic bag, and with showers or uncovered, it will last around one to two days. Results may vary, due to different skin types and the manner in which you applied the tattoo.
  • Question
    How can I make it last a month?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Apply a thin layer of hairspray over the tattoo and avoid washing the area.
Unanswered Questions
  • Does cornstarch really work as well as baby powder, and if so how long does it typically last?
  • Can you use white flour instead of baby powder?
  • Can you use petroleum jelly instead of gel deodorant?
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Quick Summary

To create a Sharpie tattoo, use a permanent marker to draw a design on your skin. Next, coat the drawing with baby powder and rub it in with your fingers, then wipe off any excess powder. Spray the area with hairspray, holding the can 12 inches from the tattoo. After the hairspray has dried, use a tissue to wipe away any remaining hairspray or baby powder from the design.

Did this summary help you?
  • Try to avoid washing/scrubbing your tattoo when you shower, to help it last longer.
  • If you don't have baby powder, Gold Bond or cornstarch also works.
  • If you spray the hairspray too close to your tattoo and the ink starts to run, dab it off quickly and grab a Q-tip. Dip the Q-tip in some running alcohol, be sure to squeeze out any excess, andcarefullyrub around the edges of your tattoo to get rid of any unwanted ink.
  • While fixing your tattoo, be sure to dab it with a clean bit of tissue or toilet paper every one to two seconds to prevent the rubbing alcohol from further damaging your tattoo.
  • If you draw the tattoo and mess up, use nail polish remover to fix the lines.
  • If you aren't comfortable using a sharpie, you can also use a Crayola marker or an ex-op marker.
  • Be advised, these do not survive more than 48 hours if contacted by clothing or with regular bathing. Sleeves will wear the ink off arms within 2 days.
  • Every time you fix the tattoo be sure to add another small coat of hairspray. The fresh ink you applied is yet to be coated, so without the hairspray, it will come off even faster.
  • If you ever want to give a dripping effect or want to make your tattoo fade (or go away, of course), spray your tattoo with body spray. It not only makes the tattoo runny, but it can also make it fade, of that's what you want.
  • Change tissues frequently to avoid smearing powder and making a mess of your tattoo.
  • Before applying baby powder and hairspray, let the sharpie dry and add multiple layers for added realism.


  • Skin can react to alcohol or Sharpies, so be cautious.

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About This Article

82 votes - 71%
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71% of people told us that this article helped them.
Views: 945,572

Rylie Smith

Sep 5, 2019

"I've always liked to draw different designs and quotes on myself but never liked a design enough to commit to apermanent tattoo. I found this article and decided that I could try a temporary tattoo that wouldn't be a lifelong decision, and so far it's worked great!"
Rated this article:

K. G.

Jun 30, 2019

"I drew an arrow on my wrist when I was bored, but I decided I liked it. The first time I tried to set it, it bleddown my arm. Maybe I didn't use enough baby powder, but holding my arm so that the hairspray was upright probably didn't help. The second time I used more baby powder, and put my arm out flat. No bleeding, and it seems to be working great! :)"
Rated this article:

Jk Powell

Jul 15, 2019

"This was very helpful. Thank you! I'm moving and my best friend drew her name on my arm and put a cool design. I'mgoing to keep it there for at least a month until when I see her."
Rated this article:

Taylor Brannan

Sep 22, 2019

"It was very helpful for me. It was step-by-step so I knew what all I had to do. I was very pleased with the waythat it was described. "


Jul 7, 2019

"The tip about how far of a distance to spray the hairspray helped me most because I ended up with a perfect non-inkrunning tattoo."

Sydney Jordan

Mar 8, 2019

"This helped a lot, especially because I was trying to hairspray. It was to close and I literally started over like15 times."

Sata Kalir

Oct 13, 2019

"This worked really well. My tip is to draw at first in a non-permanent marker or pencil, and then draw over it withSharpie."

Jennifer Mendoza

Jul 12, 2019

"This helps a lot, now I don't need to get a real tattoo. Instead, I can just make a fake tattoo that looks real!"

Sawyer Bell

Jul 8, 2019

"I wanted a tattoo for a long time and this was the easiest way to do it, so thank you. It helped me a lot."


Feb 21, 2019

"I like that you don't need an account to reply to a question and help someone out."

Katlyn Levrouw

Aug 31, 2019

"Loved the hairspray and baby powder tattoo idea, it lasted for a month and a half."


Oct 25, 2019

"My Sharpie tattoo stayed longer with hairspray. It is awesome; it looks real!"


Aug 20, 2019

"Thanks. This helped a lot. I did a music note and it worked perfectly!"


Mar 9

"I did it and it really worked.

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Date: 06.12.2018, 15:28 / Views: 64442