Tutorial: Custom Temp. Tattoos

This is a really simple tutorial, but I’ve been asked how I got my Miku “01” tattoo plenty of times so I figured I would show you guys how to easily make your own temporary tattoos! This doesn’t apply only to Vocaloid, you can make ANY kind of tattoo you want, really helpful for cosplay.

There isn’t much to making these, so this will be a very very short tutorial.

Materials Needed

Here’s a list of materials needed to follow this tutorial properly.

  • Tattoo paper
  • The tattoo design you want
  • Ink jet or laser printer

How to make the tattoo

Miku HatsuneMiku (as well as all of the other Vocaloids) is very well known for her signature “01 Hatsune Miku” tattoo on her left arm. Adding this detail is very crucial to most Miku cosplays (excluding designs that don’t include it), and people add this element to their costume in many different ways. Most people draw it on with markers or make up of some sort.

However if you want a really clean “01” tattoo effect, then you definitely want to use a temporary tattoo.

First off, you want to pick your design. Different Miku designs have different “01” designs; or if you’re doing one of the other Vocaloids then you’ll be doing a different number altogether. Pick a good reference for your tattoo..

So even though this isn’t the best picture with the tattoo, it’s one of the better quality versions. Thankfully they have already produced temporary tattoos for Miku, Rin, Len, and Luka in one of the “Layers” magazines, so you can use those as a reference, but I can’t find any photos/scans of it online.

Take your reference into Illustrator and/or Photoshop and trace the design. I would personally recommend using Illustrator because vector designs are infinitely more crisp, and you can upscale/downscale it however much you want… but if you’re not familiar with the pen tool and whatnot, then you can just do it in Photoshop.

Illustrator users

Make sure your artboard is letter sized with CMYK color. Simply design your tattoo, duplicate it as many times as you want for your artboard, and print!

Photoshop users

Make sure you start a new document with the U.S. Paper size – 8.5 x 11″ at 300 dpi. You want to make sure your dpi is at 300 so that your tattoos come out just as you design them on the computer. If you print at a lower resolution, they will not be as clean or precisely as you drew them out on Photoshop!

Important note

If your tattoo design has as a specific orientation (meaning they are not symmetrical), it is very important that you remember to mirror your final image before printing. If you look up at my design in Illustrator, all of my tattoos are mirrored.

This is because you are transferring the design onto your skin. You will be placing the design against your skin, and it will show the design backwards on your skin. So please please please remember to mirror it! This paper isn’t as cheap as regular paper so I would hate for you to waste your resources.

You need to purchase some temporary tattoo paper, and the type that you order depends on the printer you have access to!

Inkjet Temporary Tattoo Paper
Laser Temporary Tattoo Paper

So pick the type of paper you need depending on the type of printer you have. I personally only have home-access to a inkjet printer, so I got the inkjet paper which has worked wonderfully for me! I’m sure the laser paper version works just as well, but I don’t have first hand experience. :) If anyone does try it, please let me know how that goes! Also, I’m sure there are plenty of other types of tattoo papers out there, but this is just the brand that I’m personally familiar with!

Next you want to print out your design onto your tattoo paper. After you have it printed out, cut one of the designs out of your sheet, trimming it about 1 cm away from your design all around the edge.

The Papilio temporary tattoo sheets come with “Liquid Tattoo Transfer Adhesive” and some sponges you use to apply the adhesive to your tattoo. The instructions state that you should apply the adhesive 24 in advance of applying the tattoo, but I have applied it in as little as an hour before… however I would still recommend applying it at least 12 hours in advance, if not 24 hours to be safe.

It worked decently with only an hour, but when I did apply it 24 hours in advance, it definitely held on a lot better.

After you applied your adhesive and waited 24 hours (or however long you decided to wait), place the tattoo where you want it to be applied and pat it down with a warm/moist towel or tissue, just like you would with normal temporary tattoos.

Miku Hatsune

Photo by Fiverings.
And then there you have it! You have successfully created your own temporary tattoo! As you can see, this opens up a world of ideas and possibilities for your costumes as well as even casual wear! This is definitely very useful if you want your costume to have that more clean, professional look – and to avoid the smudging drawing a design might have!


I hope this tutorial was helpful to you! If you do end up using this tutorial, I’d love it if you’d comment here showing me your project. :)

I’ll be writing more tutorials soon, but if you have any specific requests for what you’d like to see first feel free to leave a comment here or on my Facebook Fan Page with input on what you’d like to learn!

Thank you for reading!


Do you enjoy this content? Considering heading on over to Ko-Fi to support us!

Tags: Tattoo, Tutorial,

5 Comments. Leave new

so if I asked you to make on could I buy it from you, because I created an origional vocaloid character.


@Rachael, if you’re interested in commissioning custom tattoos please send me an email with your specifics of what tattoo design you are needing and I can discuss pricing with you.


Thanks for the tutorial! 2 questions:

1. How long does it last?
2. Is it waterproof?


1. It lasts a couple of days, but looks the best the first day.
2. It’s somewhat waterproof.


Hey thanks for this post! I had no idea you could do this! Learn something new everyday I guess haha :)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>