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DIY glitter tattoos: Step-by-step instructions for home application


Glitter tattoos are a fun, temporary way to express yourself with dazzling designs that shimmer and shine. Perfect for parties, festivals, or just adding a little sparkle to your everyday look, these tattoos are easy to apply at home with the right materials and a bit of creativity. Follow this step-by-step guide to create your DIY glitter tattoos.

For those who also enjoy more permanent expressions of art on their skin, taking care of your tattoos is crucial for maintaining their vibrancy and health. That's where the Tattoo Goo Tattoo Care Kit (3 in 1) comes into play. This kit includes Tattoo Goo Lotion, Tattoo Goo Soap, and Tattoo Goo Balm (21g), providing comprehensive care for your new and existing tattoos. Keep your tattoos, whether glitter or ink, in top condition with the right products.

What are glitter tattoos?

Glitter tattoos are temporary body art that consists of designs created with a special body adhesive and sparkling glitter. These tattoos are a popular choice for adding a touch of glamour and fun to one's appearance, even for boys or girls, without the permanence of traditional ink tattoos.

Moreover, glitter tattoos are waterproof, can last several days, and are easily removed with oil-based products. They've become a favourite at parties and festivals, and they are among those looking to temporarily embellish their skin with eye-catching art.


a female with glitter tattoos on her eyebrows


Materials needed for glitter tattoo kit

  • Clear Contact Paper: A tacky paper used for lining shelves or drawers, available at drugstores or home improvement stores.
  • Scissors: To cut the contact paper and create your stencil.
  • Thin Marker: This is for drawing your design on the contact paper.
  • X-Acto Knife: This is for precisely cutting out your design from the contact paper. Ensure you have a safe surface to cut on, like an old magazine.
  • Rubbing Alcohol and Cotton Pads: To clean and prepare the skin area where you will apply the tattoo, ensuring the surface is sterile and oil-free.
  • Clear Lash Glue: This will act as the adhesive to which the glitter will stick. It should be skin-safe and transparent when dry.
  • Cotton Swabs: For cleaning up any excess glitter or adhesive around your tattoo.
  • Fine Craft or Cosmetics-Grade Glitter: It's crucial to use fine glitter for a smooth application. Use craft glitter for body tattoos and cosmetics-grade glitter for anything near the face to avoid irritation.
  • Hair Spray or Makeup Finishing Spray: To set the tattoo and help it last longer. Use hair spray for body tattoos and makeup finishing spray for face tattoos.

Step 1: Prepare your skin

Before you start, it's important to ensure that the area of skin where you'll be applying the glitter tattoo is clean and dry.

Wash the area with soap and water, and pat it dry with a towel. Avoid using lotions or oils, as they prevent the adhesive from sticking properly to your skin. If the skin is not properly prepared, it might affect the longevity and appearance of the tattoo.

Step 2: Choose and apply the stencil

Select a stencil design that you like. Stencils come in various shapes and sizes; you can choose one based on where you want to place your tattoo.

Once you've picked a stencil, carefully peel off the backing and apply it firmly to your skin. Make sure there are no bubbles or wrinkles and that the stencil is securely attached to the area. This step is crucial for achieving a precise and clean design.

Step 3: Apply the adhesive

After the stencil is in place, apply a thin layer of skin-safe adhesive over the design area inside the stencil.

Be sure to cover every part of the design, but avoid over-applying, as it can cause the glitter to clump. Wait for the adhesive to become clear or tacky before moving on to the next step. The tackiness indicates that the adhesive is ready for applying the glitter.

Step 4: Apply the glitter

Once the adhesive is tacky, it's time to apply the glitter. Use a small brush or a fingertip to pick up a small amount of glitter and gently press it onto the adhesive.

Cover all areas of the adhesive with glitter, and don't be afraid to mix colours for a unique effect. Tap off any excess glitter. It's important to work carefully to ensure that the glitter only sticks to the adhesive and not to the skin around the stencil.

Step 5: Remove the stencil and clean up

Carefully peel off the stencil from your skin, starting from one corner and pulling slowly to avoid smudging the design.

Once the stencil is removed, you should see your glitter tattoo in place. If there's any loose glitter around the tattoo, gently brush it away with a clean brush. The tattoo can last several days with proper care, avoiding rubbing or scrubbing the area.


different tattoo ink colours


Tips for longevity and removal

  • Oil-based removal: Apply a generous amount of coconut oil or olive oil to the tattoo and gently rub it in. The oil helps break down the adhesive to wipe away the glitter more easily. After a few minutes, use a soft cloth or cotton pad to gently rub off the tattoo.
  • Alcohol-based removal: If oil doesn't work or if you prefer another method, rubbing alcohol or an alcohol-based sanitiser can also break down the adhesive. Apply it to the glitter tattoo and gently rub it with a cloth or cotton pad. Be cautious as alcohol can be drying to the skin.
  • Tape method: For stubborn glitter particles, you can use a piece of tape to lift them off. Press the tape's sticky side onto the glitter tattoo and then peel it away. This method can help pick up leftover glitter pieces after using oil or alcohol.
  • Warm soap and water: Sometimes, a warm shower with gentle soap can help loosen the adhesive and glitter. Gently scrub the area with a washcloth, but avoid harsh scrubbing to prevent skin irritation.
  • Skin-safe glue remover: There are products specifically designed to remove body glue used in glitter tattoos. If you frequently apply glitter tattoos, investing in a bottle might be worthwhile for easy removal.

How to customise your DIY glitter tattoo

  1. Choose unique stencils: Pick or create stencils that match your personal style or the specific occasion. Consider cutting your designs out of adhesive paper for a truly unique tattoo.
  2. Mix glitter colours: Combine different colours of glitter before applying to create a custom blend or gradient effect. This can add uniqueness and depth to your glitter tattoo.
  3. Layer glitter: Apply one colour of glitter, then use a second stencil to add another layer or accent with a different colour. This technique can add complexity and dimension to your design.
  4. Add gems or stones: While the adhesive is still tacky, place small rhinestones or gems onto your tattoo for added sparkle and texture.
  5. Use multiple stencils: Combine different stencils to create a larger, more intricate design. This can be particularly effective for creating themed or storytelling tattoos.
  6. Incorporate glitter shapes: Use glitter that comes in shapes (like stars, hearts, or moons) for added visual interest and thematic elements.
  7. Highlight with body paint: After applying your glitter tattoo, use body paint or liquid eyeliner to add details, outlines, or additional elements to the design.
  8. Themed designs: Tailor your tattoo to specific events or holidays by selecting appropriate colours, shapes, and stencils, like pumpkins for Halloween or hearts for Valentine's Day.
  9. Personalise with initials or symbols: Create stencils of initials, zodiac signs, or meaningful symbols for a personalised touch.
  10. Experiment with placement: Place tattoos in unique locations, such as along the collarbone, wrists, or ankles, to complement your outfit or body shape.

Safety precautions

  • Always use cosmetic-grade glitter and body adhesive. These products are designed to be safe for skin application, unlike craft glitter and glue, which can be harmful.
  • Before applying the tattoo, conduct a patch test with the adhesive and glitter on a small, discreet skin area. Wait at least one day to ensure there is no allergic reaction or irritation.
  • Avoid applying glitter tattoos near the eyes, mouth, and any mucous membranes to prevent irritation and potential harm.
  • Make sure the skin is clean and fully dry before application. Use gentle soap and water, and avoid applying tattoos on broken or irritated skin.
  • When applying tattoos on children, be extra cautious about the products you use and their skin sensitivity. Always conduct a patch test and ensure they are old enough to understand not to rub or ingest the glitter.
  • Like all cosmetic products, glitter and adhesives have shelf lives. Using expired products can cause skin irritation.
  • If you experience any itching, discomfort, or irritation during or after the tattoo is applied, remove it immediately and wash the area with soap and water.


a female with glitter tattoos


Final thoughts

DIY glitter tattoos offer a unique way to express your style with a sparkle that's hard to miss. Whether you're going for a special occasion or just want to add a little fun to your day, like body glitter, following these steps will help you achieve beautiful, shimmering temporary tattoos from the comfort of your home.

Remember, the key to a great glitter tattoo is patience and creativity. Enjoy the process and wear your designs proudly.


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  • Mark Joshua Luz