How to Transfer Ink From Paper to Skin


Ink transfers from paper to skin in various ways, the most common being by contact. The ink is transferred when the person touches their hands or fingers to the area that has been spilled. It is also possible for ink to be transferred onto a person’s body due to rubbing against an object that has been stained with ink. Ink can transfer from paper through friction, such as when someone runs their hand across a printed page.

Ink will also transfer if one takes hold of something touched by another person who had their hands covered in ink and then puts their own hand into contact with something else. I will discuss how to transfer ink from paper to skin in this article. So let us get started.

How to Transfer Ink From Paper to Skin

Summary: When drawing or painting, it is often necessary to transfer ink from paper to skin. There are many ways to do this, but one of the most efficient is with a brush. To start, take the brush and dip it into the ink well. Next, put the brush on the paper so that the bristles are touching the paper and drag the brush across the page. Make sure that you move the brush quickly and in a straight line.

Stepwise Guide on How to Transfer Ink From Paper to Skin:

Things required:

a. Hand, b. Paper with ink on it, c. Scissors or razor blade, d. Plain white paper (optional), e. Acetone (optional), f. Tape (optional)

Step 1

Thoroughly cleanse the hand you wish to use for this purpose with soap and cold water for about thirty seconds. Make sure no ink remains between your fingers by rubbing them together vigorously under running tap water (a fingernail brush can be helpful here).

Keep cleaning until you are satisfied all remnants of ink have been removed from your hands, especially between fingers. Do not use hot water as this opens pores allowing more ink to enter skin – doing so could result in permanent staining.

Step 2

Once the hands are clean, take the piece of paper with ink on it and use a razor blade or sharp scissors to cut out the particular image/text you want to transfer onto your skin. Try to get as close to the actual words or images without cutting yourself.

Keep aside the piece of paper containing the design/information you want to be transferred because at this stage, and it can be used to test whether you have cleaned away all ink from your skin. If transferring text/images is not what you were after, skipping steps #3 & 4 and jump straight to step #5 for detailed instructions.

Step 3

Take a plain white piece of paper (a magazine page works well here), lay it flat on a table in front of you with the back facing up, and tape it securely to the table (use 1 or 2 pieces of tape only, 1 in each top corner).

Step 4

Keeping your hand steady with fingers together and palm facing down, firmly place the piece of paper containing the design/information you want to be transferred on your palm, ensuring no air bubbles are trapped underneath. Also, check that none of the words have been accidentally cut off by keeping them in-between finger’s width for larger texts/images.

If there are air bubbles trapped underneath, use thin strips of scotch tape to lift all 4 edges of paper until they are flat against the skin – this is very important because when the acetone is applied next, there should be no air between paper & skin so that it can soak in more effectively. [Note: Don’t worry if you cut yourself while doing this, that’s precisely the point.]

Step 5

Take a small bottle of acetone used to remove fake nails, and simply brush the back of paper containing text/image with some of it using a toothbrush (don’t go overboard here, just enough so that the affected area turns white). Keep brushing until all ink has been transferred onto the plain white paper underneath, don’t forget to continue brushing on edges and corners where ink may get ‘stuck.’

Once finished, use scissors or razor blades to cut off excess paper around the design, making sure no words were accidentally lifted off along with it. If there are bits of paper stuck on the skin, you can easily pick them off using your fingers or use a thin strip of scotch tape to pull them away.

Step 6

Stepwise Guide to Transfer Ink From Paper to Skin

Lastly, wait for the ink to dry completely (it usually takes about 10 minutes) and then wash it off under running tap water, ensuring no trace of acetone remains on the skin. If done correctly, you should now have your design/information permanently transferred onto your hand. Although the process is rather long, the results are well worth it, especially once you see how perfectly clean the transfer is – this also allows you to make changes easily by simply transferring over something different.

Precautions While Transferring Ink From Paper to Skin:

Do not use a transfer that has been sitting out for a while. Ink may have dried up, and the chances of an infection increase. Also, after playing, be sure to wash your hands before touching your face or private areas!

Please do not use a paper towel to remove excess ink after transferring it. Paper towels are rough on the skin and will irritate any cuts or scratches. Instead, use an alcohol-free baby wipe or even just water in a pinch if necessary.

Ink stains, particularly black ink from Sharpie markers, can be stubborn to get off your skin even with exposure to soap, warm water, and scrubbing! Make sure you save some ink for a final touch after playing because then you can scrub, scrub, and scrub with no problem.

You may want to bring a towel to sit on while waiting for your design to dry so you do not stain up the furniture! Also, try placing a few sheets of watercolor paper over any chairs/furniture before playing.

Please do not use a transfer sitting out overnight or longer, as there is a chance it will be infected! Wash your hands before touching private parts.

How to Remove a Tattoo?

First of all, apply a tourniquet to the arm with the tattoo. The tourniquet’s job is to cut off the lymphatic system from draining fluid out of the area where your tattoo is located. There are many different kinds of tourniquets you can use.

However, it’s important that whatever object you choose for a tourniquet remains tight enough to stop blood flow in your arm completely. I used pantyhose and tied them around my bicep tightly with a rubber band, but other options are also available. You could even use an actual belt or rope. Whatever you choose, make sure it stays tight throughout the process! This will prevent any blood from leaving the site of your tattoo.

Next, fill a container with enough alcohol to soak the area of your arm where the tattoo is located. You can use either rubbing alcohol or vodka. I prefer vodka because it has less odor than rubbing alcohol, so it doesn’t irritate my nose as much, but you could also use whiskey if you have nothing else available.

Once you have filled up the container, grab a cotton ball and squeeze out any excess liquid before applying it over the tourniquet. Next, cover the cotton ball with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out too quickly, making sure that all edges are sealed well around your arm to avoid any unnecessary spills (trust me.. this part happens way too often ).

The next step is crucial! As the bottle containing the alcohol is sitting, place it down on a table and grab one of your unused hand towels. The hand towel should be folded in two (a rectangle) with the fold facing away from you.

Take both ends of the towel and pull them out towards you to make it long before doubling it over again to form another rectangle shape, Now grab some tape and secure each end so that when you do this step, no alcohol will spill onto your skin.. Trust me it happened way too many times for me not to mention!

Once everything is taped up securely, slowly lift one side of the tourniquet while holding onto either side of the cotton ball using your other hand. Make sure that when lifting the top of the tourniquet, you leave enough room to squeeze your hand between the cuff and your skin. Next, quickly pour some alcohol onto the cotton ball before placing it back down into position on top of the tourniquet. This will ensure that no matter how long you hold up your arm, no blood will return into this area.

Removing Ink from Hand

Once again, slowly lift the tourniquet while holding onto either side of the cotton ball using your other hand before pouring more alcohol onto it and replacing it in its original spot. Do this step 2-3 times until all your tattoos are transferred over to paper or inside a plastic baggie if you need to save any for future use.

Once all of the ink has been removed, place the cotton ball back into its original position and let go of your arm. If you did everything correctly, within 10 minutes, there should be no blood leaking through the tourniquet, meaning you’re all done!

After 10 minutes have passed, remove the tourniquet and clean up excess ink with either an alcohol swab or some tissue paper (I use hand towels because they are larger). Let everything dry out before covering it back up with medical tape to prevent it from opening again.

Finally, take the plastic off your tattoo, admire how awesome it looks on paper, label it accordingly and place it into a safe place until you decide whether or not to get this design permanently marked your skin!


I hope this article has been beneficial for learning how to transfer ink from paper to skin. Ensure the precautions while performing the process. Thank you and have a nice day!

Check out our article How to Make Custom Temporary Tattoos

Jennifer Branett
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