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Airbrush Tattoo – Complete Guide to Airbrush Tattoos

airbrush tattoo

In the past, they were considered taboo, but today almost everyone has them – we are talking about tattoos. Some people are afraid to have their bodies permanently beautified because, of course, a real tattoo is irreversible. Although you can go through tattoo removals, there is still the issue of unsightly scars. An alternative to this is the so-called airbrush tattoo or temporary tattoo. This guide will cover exactly what these tattoos are, and how spectacular versions of them can be made yourself. 




What is an Airbrush Tattoo?

As mentioned above, a real tattoo is in principle irreversible, because the ink is injected under the skin. It is completely different from an airbrush tattoo because this is nothing other than a fake tattoo. It is applied to the skin with the help of a spray gun, special paint, and possibly also stencils. These tattoos can be removed again. Wondering how long airbrush tattoos last? The airbrush tattoo paint lasts only a few days.

There are no limits to creativity when spraying, because not only prefabricated designs can be used. The artist is completely free in their design and those who have a really artistic hand can conjure incredible works of art on the skin. The resulting tattoo looks like a real tattoo. Even beginners can try this art form, because spraying with the help of airbrush tattoo stencils is easy. Do you dare to get a fake tattoo? In the following, you will learn how to do it.



Make an Airbrush Tattoo Yourself

You can easily make airbrush tattoos yourself. You don’t even need a lot of experience as an artist, but simply the right tools and paints. Since thousands of different airbrush tattoo stencils are available, and they can even be combined with each other, you can let your imagination run wild. You can even create your motif freehand if you have the artistic skill.

Of course, you should pay attention to the right paint, especially if you have sensitive skin or want to spray the tattoos on children’s skin. The paints must be dermatologically tested, fragrance-free, and highly compatible.

An airbrush tattoo offers you, besides the artistic design possibilities, the unique opportunity to try out whether a real tattoo would suit you. Since it can be removed again or disappears after a few days, you can test the tattoo this way without any risk of whether a permanent tattoo would be suitable for you.

airbrush tattoos



Best Airbrush Tattoo Set: MASTER AIRBRUSH Airbrushing Kit

If you are after a convenient and effective airbrush set for doing tattoos, then this multi-purpose kit by Master Airbrush comes highly recommended. The set includes a high precision airbrush, a mini portable air compressor, hose, and 0.3mm fluid tip set. Basically, this is everything you need to get started with spraying, and it can be taken anywhere to do tattoos. The airbrush offers a good level of control and precision. This is also a great set in terms of value for money.

MASTER AIRBRUSH Multi-Purpose Airbrushing System Kit
  • Includes a precision airbrush and portable compressor
  • Provides air on demand and automatically shuts off
  • Lightweight, easy to use, great for beginners
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  • A fully portable set
  • Includes a good air compressor and airbrush
  • Excellent value for money
  • The gravity feed airbrush is very versatile
  • Works well with most types of paint
  • Great for a wide range of hobbies and applications


  • Quite a hassle to clean and assemble
  • Not as powerful as many other airbrushes



Best Airbrush Tattoo Gun: BADGER AIR-BRUSH CO Fine Airbrush

We have tested various airbrush tattoo guns and found a clear winner in the Badger Air-Brush Co fine airbrush. This is a powerful dual-action gun that has a fine nozzle, suitable for spraying thin and detailed lines. This airbrush can spray a range of different paints and uses a gravity feed system. This airbrush is comfortable to use, easy to clean, and can produce great details when working with fine lines.

BADGER AIR-BRUSH CO Gravity Feed Airbrush
  • Fine nozzle for spraying detailed lines
  • Micrometer setting to preset spray patterns
  • Dual-action and gravity feed design
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  • Good value for money
  • Comfortable to hold and use
  • Achieves excellent fine, detailed lines
  • User-friendly airbrush controls
  • Lightweight and easy to manage
  • Easy to clean and maintain


  • Not the most durable airbrush pistol



Airbrush Tattoo Paint

To spray a temporary tattoo, special airbrush tattoo paint must be used. This should not only be highly pigmented so that it can be sprayed with a small airbrush nozzle – but it should also be absolutely non-toxic. Bodypaint is best suited for this. This is available either water-based or alcohol-based.

The difference is that water-based paint only remains on the skin until you actively wipe it off – for example, until your next shower. Alcohol-based paint is smudge- and water-resistant and therefore a little more durable. If you want the water-based paint to last as long as the alcohol-based paint, you can cover the temporary tattoo with foil before your next shower. Airbrush tattoo paint is available individually or as a set.

airbrush tattoo kit



Airbrush Tattoo Stencils

Stencils are not an absolute must for the airbrush artist. However, they are recommended for airbrush tattoos, because it can be difficult to capture each design freestyle on the skin. If you have a really gifted hand, you may of course do without stencils. Remember, however, that when spraying without stencils or masking tape, no sharp edges are possible; these are always a little washed out.

For fake tattoos there are stencils in all imaginable motifs:

  • Flowers and floral patterns
  • Tribals
  • Classical tattoo motifs like anchors, suns and so on 
  • Animal stencils
  • Far Eastern characters and runes
  • Various trend motifs
  • Designs for child tattoos


If you reach for an airbrush stencil set, you can actually do nothing wrong, since this is often quite cheap and offers you a rich selection of motifs.

It is also possible to create a design yourself and have a template made from it. Especially for company or club parties, this kind of promotion is worthwhile, if visitors can have the company or club logo sprayed on their upper arm.

airbrush tattoos stencil



Other Accessories for Airbrush Tattoos

Besides the airbrush set and the paints, you need a few other things to spray a great airbrush tattoo. First of all, you have to think of a skin-friendly cleaning agent because the skin area has to be cleaned thoroughly before spraying. For this purpose, you will usually use a swab or cotton wool and isopropanol.

Furthermore, your airbrush set should either include a cleaning set or you should purchase one separately because the thorough cleaning of your airbrush gun is essential. A thinning medium for your paints is also an advantage – especially in hot weather or if you want to work with a very fine nozzle.



Airbrush Tattoo Step by Step Guide

Making airbrush tattoos yourself is not as difficult as it may sound. Our step by step guide below will show you exactly how this works.

  • The skin area must be free of grease for application. Therefore, it must be cleaned with a swab and isopropanol
  • Now shake the airbrush tattoo paint well on, so that the settled color dissolves and the pigments are properly mixed
  • Put the airbrush tattoo stencil in place and spray the paint from a distance of about three to five centimeters
  • It is important that the paint is sprayed very thinly so that none of it collects under the stencil and the tattoo runs
  • Remove the stencil immediately from the skin while the ink is still wet and clean the surrounding skin from possible spray mist. You can also use isopropanol for this
  • Now you can use a setting powder over the tattoo
  • Afterward, you can apply Tattoo FIX thinly on the tattoo. Doing this increases the durability of the tattoo
  • Let the area dry for one minute and powder the tattoo well once more
  • After the spraying follows of course the cleaning of your tool
  • Remember that you must also clean your airbrush gun every time you change color, otherwise, the colors could mix unintentionally. For example, if you have used a yellow color and want to spray in blue afterward, it is possible that without intermediate cleaning a greenish spray burst will appear first


Of course, you don’t necessarily have to use a template if you prefer to work freehand. However, you should be aware that in such a case you cannot spray very sharp edges with the airbrush pistol. If sharp edges are desired, you have to mask the corresponding areas. Without a stencil, great color gradients are possible.

The design you want to spray without a stencil should be sketched out in advance. Before that, the skin is cleaned as described above and after spraying it is of course well powdered.

You can also make an airbrush tattoo stencil yourself. Cut it out of cardboard and glue it in place. However, an airbrush tattoo sprayed with a cardboard stencil will usually not look very professional. It is better to make a suitable stencil with the help of a printer and a suitable foil, preferably Mylar.



Tips and Tricks

When airbrushing a temporary tattoo, there are sometimes difficulties that are not easy for the beginner to solve. These airbrush tips and tricks should make your life a little bit easier:

  • If you have problems removing the airbrush stencil, or if it sticks together, you can powder it a little or do a quick clean with isopropanol in between.
  • If the tattoo sticks, this may be due to temperatures that are too hot. Maybe the skin was not cleaned properly before. In any case, it can help to spray the airbrush paint very thin. After the application of the color, the tattoo should always be powdered well, because only then the color holds properly.
  • To prevent condensation water from being mixed into the ink, you should use a compressor with a water separator. Otherwise, there is a possibility that the paint will lose its brilliance, not dry properly or that unsightly speckles will appear.
  • If you want to save money, you can use airbrush tattoo stencils several times by cleaning them after use, and instead of self-adhesive disposable stencils, you can use plastic ones. You can treat them with special spray glue for better adhesion.


how long do airbrush tattoos last



Diluting Airbrush Tattoo Paint

It is often necessary to dilute the airbrush tattoo paint. You should do this with the help of a high-quality medium. Please do not use any inferior alcohol, otherwise, the color brilliance could suffer considerably! Especially in summer temperatures, thinning is unavoidable, as otherwise the colors may thicken and stick together. These then quickly clog the nozzle of your airbrush gun.



Airbrush Stencil Cleaning

After use, the airbrush tattoo stencil is naturally covered with paint. Then it has a sticky surface and must be subjected to a thorough cleaning. If the paint on the stencil is already dry, the best way to clean it is to loosen it with a painting knife and simply pull it off. However, you should be very careful when doing this, otherwise, you could damage the stencil’s fine webs and details.

A good tip is to use a special tool cleaner with which the airbrush stencil can be dabbed. Often the paints dissolve by themselves when using this tool.

However, do not rinse the stencils with water, otherwise, the inks could dissolve and become even more sticky. Do not place wet stencils on top of each other, otherwise, they will stick together and you could damage them when removing them.

If your stencils are very sticky, you can soak them in 99% isopropyl alcohol and then dab them gently but thoroughly with a kitchen towel. Then let the stencils dry on a piece of newspaper. Do not place them on top of each other until they are completely dry. By the way, for storage, we recommend a transparent cover for each stencil. This way you can store many stencils one after the other in a folder without them getting stuck or sticking together.



Children’s Tattoo Considerations

Children love hardly anything as much as face paint or a fancy tattoo. With airbrush tattoo kits for children, the used stencils must be smaller of course. It is best to use particular designs for children. The paints used must be particularly kind to the skin and under no circumstances should they be suspected of causing allergies. They must also be durable and easy to wash off. Water-based paints are best suited for airbrush children’s tattoos.

Tattoos should not be applied to the hands of small children, as children up to the age of three often put their fingers in their mouths. Another small hint: If you want to offer airbrushing for children professionally, pay attention to possible allergies – test each child with very sensitive skin you want to spray an airbrush tattoo on an inconspicuous area of skin. Ask the parents if their child has any known allergies. You might also consider good insurance against personal injury and property damage. This way you are covered in case something goes wrong.

airbrush tattoo paint



The Durability of Airbrush Tattoos

The durability of an airbrush tattoo depends on the paint used. Water-based paints can be removed relatively easily so that the tattoo is usually wiped away in your next shower. Alcohol-based colors last longer – up to seven days.


How Does an Airbrush Tattoo Last Longer?

For an airbrush tattoo to last as long as possible, you need to pay attention to several things:

  • The pants you use should be of high quality – you can save a lot of money here with inferior paints, but please do not try to save too much
  • The skin must be properly cleaned before you spray the paint
  • The paint must be applied thinly
  • Afterward, you should powder the tattoo generously
  • Tattoo FIX is called this for a reason: this product can fix the tattoo far better

When taking care of the tattoo, it is important not to rub it. When showering, you can cover it with some foil. In any case, it should not come into contact with soap, because this could damage the tattoo. When drying you should not rub the tattoo with a towel, but leave out the corresponding area or, if it is not covered with foil, gently dab it dry.

Heavy sweating, for example during sports activities, can also affect the life of the temporary tattoo. Body lotion or sun cream should also be avoided in the skin area because greasy or oily substances can also reduce durability.


Removing Airbrush Tattoos

Fake tattoos generally last a few days at most. But if they fade or start to look unattractive, you might want to remove them yourself. This is easily done by soaking a cotton ball with baby oil or 99% isopropanol and rubbing the temporary tattoo well.


Airbrush Tattoos From a Studio

Unfortunately, there are not many tattoo studios that offer temporary airbrush tattoos. This service is more likely to be found in certain beauty salons or at events. Usually, these offer fake tattoos for any part of the body. Of course, high-quality dermatologically tested paints should only be used. The costs for an airbrush tattoo in a studio are often somewhat higher than, for example, at street festivals. Nevertheless, they will still do the tattoo properly.


Airbrush Tattoo Costs

An airbrush tattoo is very cheap. With most artists at street festivals or even on the beach, you can get a successful tattoo done for very cheap. Smaller designs are often available at a lower price. In a professional studio, a temporary tattoo will be more expensive.

If you want to do an airbrush tattoo yourself, the price depends on the paints used and your equipment. In general, however, it can be said that the amount of material used for self-spraying is more limited.


All you need for a successful fake tattoo is the right paint and stencil with the appropriate design. With a little practice, you can easily make a great airbrush tattoo yourself.


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