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How to Create a Sharpie Tattoo

Three Methods:Sample Tattoo DesignsUsing Baby Powder and HairsprayUsing Gel Deodorant and Tracing Paper

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 use 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

Sample Tattoo Designs

Method 1
Using Baby Powder and Hairspray

  1. Image titled Create a Sharpie Tattoo Step 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. Image titled Create a Sharpie Tattoo Step 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. Image titled Create a Sharpie Tattoo Step 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.
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    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.[1]

Method 2
Using Gel Deodorant and Tracing Paper

  1. Image titled Create a Sharpie Tattoo Step 5
    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. Image titled Create a Sharpie Tattoo Step 6
    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.
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    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. Image titled Create a Sharpie Tattoo Step 8
    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.
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    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.[2]


  • 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 work.
  • 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, and CAREFULLY rub 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 spray the tattoo to close and the ink starts to run, dip a Q-tip in rubbing alcohol, squeeze out the excess, and CAREFULLY rub around the edges of your tattoo to clean unwanted ink off. Dry every second or two so the rubbing alcohol doesn't start to ruin the ink you do want.
  • 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.


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

Article Info

Categories: Temporary Tattoos