Tuesday, October 1, 2013

DIY Fake Sleeve Tattoo

So... what are your thoughts on tattoos?

I don't have any, but I really love them.  They're beautiful to look at and often times come with a touching or inspiring story.  Every year or so, I toy around with the idea of getting one.  But I never do because they're so permanent.  Even though I love the ways hearts and sparrow tattoos look today.... I'm not sure how I'll feel 10, 20, or 30 years from now.  (Although... sometimes I like to imagine myself as a crazy old grandma, rocking some really gnarly skull tattoos.)

With Halloween just around the corner, I lived out my tattoo fantasies with this DIY sleeve tattoo.

Interested in seeing how I made one?  Well, in the interest of full disclosure:
  • This craft took much longer to complete than I initially thought.  It was really, really tough to color on hosiery.  So, if you aren't digging that... you can just buy yourself a sleeve from the store.  Or, you could just draw and color in one tattoo.  I love the way sleeve tattoos look, so I went in whole hog. 
  • I found this sleeve tattoo tutorial from Urban Threads to be really helpful.
  • Cereal box
  • Tattoos doodled with Sharpie on paper 
  • Tape (Normal kind and packing tape)
  • Scissors
  • Old nude hosiery
  • Fabric markers


1.  Take a cereal box and roll it into a cylinder that's approximately the same size as your arm.  Tape the cylinder closed.

2.  Cut out your various doodled tattoos.  Tape them down onto your cardboard cylinder.

3.  Cut off one of the legs from your hosiery.  Cut off the toe portion.  Roll it over your cylinder.  (If you find that it's getting cut on some of your sharp cardboard edges, round them off so the hosiery slides on easily.)

4.  Color and outline your tattoos.
  • This was pretty tough to do.  If you color normally, your marker tip drags along the surface.  I found that dabbing worked best. 
  • I first used lighter colors and then moved to darker ones (to prevent blurring and smearing). 
  • I also looked at tattoos online for color inspiration. 

5.  Let your images dry according to directions.  (I waited overnight.)

Once your fabric paint dried, roll your sleeve right off.   Tada!

And that's it!  Slide the sleeve over your arm and you've got your very own DIY fake sleeve tattoo. 

Here's what a "tattoo" looks like up close:
Happy "tattooing!"