Types of Fake Tattoos


Authored by Douglas Mefford in Body Arts 
Published on 11-08-2009

While the ancient art of tattooing has begun to regain popularity and acceptance in this country, many people are still hesitant to commit to a permanent piece of body art. For those who have yet to decide if tattooing is right for them, there are several types of temporary or fake tattoos they can experiment with.

There are many reasons to want to wear a fake tattoo. With the new emphasis on skin art as decoration and accessory to one’s outfit, many special occasions lend themselves well to the wearing of a fake tattoo. Sporting events are good places to show your support through skin art. Fairs and parties can also le tone experiment with unique and bizarre designs to enhance one’s look. As a test for tolerance among family and employers, the fake tattoo can be used to see if trouble would come to one with a permanent tattoo.

The types of fake tattoos to choose from generally fall into three distinct categories. The most common and popular style is the “stick-on” tattoo similar to the old water soluble one’s originally designed for children. With the adult market fully open to the idea of fake tattoos, you can find a multitude of designs from basic black to full color. The stick-on tattoo is printed on a specially treated paper from USDA approved inks. Usually water is used to transfer the ink to one’s skin and the backing paper is removed. A fake tattoo such as this can, with careful application, be virtually indistinguishable from a permanently inked-in tattoo over a short time period. Such stick-on’s will generally last from just a few hours to several days with care.

Popular at fairs, carnivals and public beaches, the spray-on airbrushed fake tattoo is created by an artist on the spot. The quality and design of an airbrushed tattoo is completely dependent on the artist doing the work. Even amateur artists can provide pleasing simple designs with the use of airbrushing stencils to form the various elements of a design. A very experienced artist can free hand a fake tattoo that can be truly considered a work of art. Depending on the quality of spray ink used and the care given to the tattoo, these can last from a day to over a week.

The third type of fake tattoo involves an ancient process originated in India and the Middle East. Henna is created using the leaves of the henna tree, tea and several other ingredients to provide a paste that is slowly and carefully spread on the skin in the desired design. Unlike the other types of fake tattoos, henna is a slow process. It takes hours for the paste to dry and thus stain the skin and any blemishes made in the paste during this time will show up on the final pattern. Henna is only available in a few earthy colors. Despite these disadvantages to initially receiving a henna tattoo, they are long lasting and the original design may last for several weeks. A careful reapplication of henna over the existing pattern will refurbish the henna tattoo for another several weeks.

There is technically a fourth method for making a fake tattoo but it is not recommended, as it is not really safe. Anyone can use a ballpoint pen, magic marker or a Sharpie to draw designs on themselves but the types of inks used in these writing implements are not safe for use on the body and can cause allergic reactions. Long-term use can slowly leach contaminants into the body that can have further adverse health effects.


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