How Do Temporary Tattoos Work?

 how do temporary tattoos workTemporary tattoos are all over the place; in vending machines, at Walmart, 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? We’ll give you a clue . . . in layers.

There are two basic components that make up a fake tattoo: the paper and the image. Below we’ll describe how different layers in the paper and image work together.

Temporary Tattoo Paper

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

  1. Backing Paper:  This portion of the temporary tattoo looks and feels like everyday paper.  This is where the instructions are printed along with any other promotional information
  2. Silicone release coating: This is what makes the image transfer possible.  The backing paper has a silicone coating on one side, on which the temporary tattoo will be printed.
  3. 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.

Temporary Tattoo Images

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

  1. 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 and meet strict safety requirements! Be sure you research a tattoo manufacturer, to ensure they comply to safety standards before applying their tattoos.
  2. Adhesive: A thin layer of adhesive is applied over the colorants to ensure that the temporary tattoo stays on the skin and lasts.

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

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