Make Custom Temporary Tattoos for Your Halloween Costume

Make Custom Temporary Tattoos for Your Halloween Costume

It’s the time of year when pumpkins become the preferred artistic medium of the masses, sugar rushes are encouraged, and it’s perfectly acceptable to masquerade as someone (or something) else in public. If your Halloween costume is feeling a bit “meh”—or you’re searching for last-minute attire inspiration—whip up a batch of custom temporary tattoos.

This short rockstar-themed tattorial will show you how to design your own tattoos with our tools, so you can perfect that pirate/biker/Mike Tyson/Amy Winehouse getup in no time.

How to make temporary tattoos

Here’s the gist of how to make your own tats:

  1. Hover over Design on the PicMonkey homepage.
  2. Choose a canvas size or specify your own with the Other option.
  3. Get creative with overlays and text.
  4. Print.
  5. Apply as directed.

Yup, it really is that easy. But let’s take a closer look at the process, complete with tips and tricks, so that your tats turn out top-notch.

Getting started

When you hover over Design on the PicMonkey homepage, you’ll see a number of ready-made canvas dimensions to choose from, along with an Other option. Try to make your canvas the same size as the paper you’ll be printing on, so you can have a better idea of what your tattoos will look like size-wise once they enter the tactile world. You’ll need to do some pixel calculations (or use our handy pixel-inch conversion chart). The standard magic number for printing calculations is 300, so if you’re printing on an 8.5 x 11 inch piece of paper, make your canvas 2250 x 3300. If your math/image nerd senses are tingling and you wanna know more, check out our article on image size and resolution.

Designing your tattoos

Once your blank canvas is all set up, it’s time to start the design party! Head to Overlays to choose from our selection of original, expandable, amazerating graphics. Make them your own by changing the color, erasing parts of them with the Erase button in the Overlay palette, or combining them to make all-new graphics. You can also bring in your own images with the Add your own button at the top of the Overlays tab. Here are a couple more tips to make your creation process suuuuper easy:

  • The color picker makes matching a breeze. Whenever you see a color bar or eyedropper icon, click it. Pluck a hue from anyplace on your canvas, and your overlay will change to the same color.
  • If you’re making tats with text, be sure to flip it horizontally so it doesn’t display backward on your skin.
  • To speed up your design process, right-click your overlay or text box and peruse the listed options. You can send your overlay backward, forward, or duplicate it instantly.
  • The Themes tab has plenty of tattoo-worthy overlays, from gory gashes for zombie costumes to classic seasonal shapes like bats, pumpkins, and witch hats.

Printing and applying

There are two ways to get your tattoos on paper: send them to a specialized company and let them take care of it (like we did in our sports-themed tattoo tutorial) or print them yourself (as seen in our popular-tattoo-looks article).

If you’re going the DIY route, you can find tattoo paper from online retailers or office supply stores. Print a test sheet to make sure you don’t need to make any changes, and if everything looks good, print the real deal on your tattoo paper. Be sure to follow the directions on the paper packaging closely while printing and applying.

Speaking of applying, start by cutting your tattoos out as close to their edges as possible. Any extra space will look a little shiny (and less authentic) on your epidermis. Go slow when you peel the backing off—patience is key here. If your edges turn out a little messy, you can always fill them in with an eyeliner pencil. Or put those marker/skin skills you honed in middle school to use.


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This article was written by PicMonkey Staff, a multicellular organism of hive-minded sub-parts who just wanna get you the ideas and information you crave, so you can make good pictures and take over the world.