Temporary Tattoo Layers: How They Work

Temporary tattoos are all over the place; in vending machines, at Wal-Mart, in Happy Meals.  People of all ages apply and remove temporary tattoos every day.  They are easy to apply and easy to remove.  The only questions is: how do they work?

fake temporary tattoo

Temporary tattoos aren't forever, so how do they work?

There are two basic components that make up a fake tattoo; the paper and the image.

The Paper

There are three layers that make up the paper element of a fake tattoo.

custom fake tattoo layers

  • Backing Paper – this portion of the temporary tattoo looks and feels like the paper we are surrounded by everyday.  This is where the instructions are printed along with any other information.
  • Silicone release coating – this is what makes transfer possible.  The backing paper has this coating on one side, on which the temporary tattoo will be printed.
  • Transfer film – this is applied over the release coating.  It allows the image to “slide” off the backing paper and onto the skin when moisture is applied.

    The Image

    There are two layers that make up the image portion of the temporary tattoo; the ink and the adhesive.

    • Ink – these are the colors that make up the temporary tattoo.  Because fake tattoos are applied to the skin and can last up to a week, the colorants in the inks used must meet the same requirements as food, drug, and cosmetic colorants.  All of our temporary tattoos meet the strictest safety requirements!
    • Adhesive – Over the colorants, a thin layer of adhesive is applied to ensure that the temporary tattoo stays on the skin.

    So there you have it!  The different layers that make up a temporary tattoo.  Who would have thought that so much could go into one tiny, fun product?

    small temporary tattoo

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