Over the past few weeks, I have been asked several times how I created the tattoos for my Lydia the Tattooed Lady costume. When I was working out what to wear for that costume party, I wanted my tattoos to look as realistic as possible. I ruled out using tattoo sleeves or stockings early on. I have a pair of tattoo stockings, and while they are great fun to wear, they don’t look very realistic. I thought about drawing the tatts on, but I was worried about the ink rubbing off during the party or staining my clothes (or the host’s couch).
I found a brilliant website that specializes in realistic temporary tattoos. Amazing Raymond has a huge range of temporary tattoo products that aren’t super-expensive and work quite well.
For my Lydia costume, I wanted to be able to customize my tatts as much as possible. I wanted to have a range of tattoos that match the body art in the Groucho Marx song, but I also wanted to be able to inject a little of my own personality and humour into the tatts. Amazing Raymond prints customized tattoos in bulk lots, if you provide your own design.
I didn’t want to get a bulk lot of tattoos, I wanted every tatt to be different, and I wanted enough to cover most of my body. To do this, I purchased 5 pages of Amazing Raymond’s tattoo paper, for $5.40 each. This paper provided enough tattoos to give me quite a number of tattoos.
The package from Amazing Raymond arrived within a couple of days, and was packaged really well. They had included very detailed instructions, as well as a couple of sample tattoos.
The tattoo paper is really simple to use. Once you have settled on your design, you just print them from your computer onto the tattoo paper. For the best results, you should top up the ink cartridges in your printer, to make sure you don’t run out halfway. I used Paint to arrange the tattoos on the page. This way, I was able to fit multiple images on the one page, so that I didn’t waste any of the paper. I tried to put the images as close together as possible so that I could fit more pictures on each page. In the end, I think I had around thirty-five tattoos. When you print your tatts, be sure to remember that when you apply them to your skin, the print will be reversed. If you have tattoos with writing or symbols on them, it is a good idea to flip the image before you print, to make sure that it transfers onto your skin the right way around.
Once you have printed off all of your tattoos, the next step is to apply them. To begin with, it’s best to have a really thorough shower and use an exfoliating scrub while you are under the water. This will polish your skin and help the tattoos to go on more smoothly. Once you are out of the shower, make sure your dry yourself thoroughly. The tattoos work best if you apply them to dry skin.
If you are applying as many tattoos as I did, it might be a good idea to do it in the bathroom. I wore a bathing suit to put my tattoos on, because there is a lot of water involved and your clothes will get soaked.
Cut each tattoo out with a pair of very sharp scissors. Leave a 5mm margin around each tattoo to prevent tearing.
Next, peel the plastic film off the front of your tattoo and place it onto your skin with the printed side against your skin. Then, take a sponge drenched in water and hold it over the tattoo for about 30 seconds. Very carefully peel away the backing to reveal your tattoo.
It took me almost two hours to apply all of my tattoos. I had a friend help me with the ones on my back and the larger prints.
I found that the tattoos looked quite realistic, although they were slightly shiny. Amazing Raymond does sell Liquidskin Tattoo Shine Remover, which is a product that you paint over your tattoos to make them more matte. I didn’t buy any of this, as it was pretty pricey and I didn’t think it was totally necessary for a costume. If you are really serious, or you are wearing your fake tattoos as a fashion accessory, you could invest in a bottle.
The tattoos were really comfortable to wear. A couple of the smaller ones started to peel off after about twenty-four hours, but most of them lasted three days. They probably could have lasted longer, except that I had to go to work, so I removed them. After three days, some of the larger ones were starting to itch, so that was another reason I didn’t wait for them to wear off.
If you want to remove the tattoos early, you can pop a little olive oil or baby oil on a cotton pad and wipe them away. I found that you can also peel them off, but this hurts a lot.
To extend the life of your tattoos, avoid using any oily body products, such as moisturizers or sunscreen on the area. Take care when showering and pat yourself dry after washing. Don’t take a bath while you are wearing the tattoos, or they will just soak off. Swimming is also best avoided.
I had a brilliant time wearing my temporary tattoos. The Amazing Raymond products were reasonably priced, well packaged and very effective.