Two Ways To Test Out The Tattoo You Want Before Permanently Altering Your Skin

I'm too chicken to just get a tattoo without getting a feel for how it'll look on me first. Luckily, there's an app (and an Etsy shop) for that.
Publish date:
September 5, 2013
etsy, tattoos, temporary tattoos, apps, Tatt Dat App

Remember back in March when I was talking about wanting to get my first tattoo? Yeah, I still haven't yet.

It's not a lack of desire. I know what I want, and I've narrowed it down to a couple possible locations on my body. But just like so many people won't shop for clothing online because they can't try it on before they buy it, I've been reluctant to go through with it because I have no way of seeing myself with it beforehand. And unlike most online retailers, there's no return policy with a tattoo.

Luckily, two ways to "test out" the exact tattoo I want have come to my attention recently, so I can't really make excuses anymore. Well, I can, but no one's gonna buy them.


Emily, Queen of Tattoodom, sent me an email she'd gotten about a new smartphone app called... wait for it... Tatt Dat App. Yes, it's a play on exactly what you think it's a play on.

You take a photo of the body part on which you're thinking of getting your tattoo. Then, if you have it, you can choose a photo of your exact design.

I want Robert G. Ingersoll's signature either on my wrist or inner forearm, so I just used the photo of it I'd already found on the Internet. The app allowed me to make the ink darker so it would show up more clearly, and I had lots of other editing options, too, like changing the orientation, adding addition text or doodles, etc.

Unfortunately, you can't place the tattoo on a photo of yourself in which you'd actually be recognizable--you have to choose just the body part. The other downside is that the resulting photo is teensy-tiny.

I do get a feel for what I'd see every day, though.

When you spend $3 for the pro version, which I inexplicably did, you also get an array of tattoo designs (which, unfortunately, download to your photo library) that no one in their right mind would ever consider. But hey, if you've ever wanted a vaguely anti-Obama political Jesus campaign poster tattoo, that's a built-in option.


Australian Etsy seller Pepperink offers custom temporary tattoos in several different size options. Unlike many other sellers offering "custom" temporary tattoos for which you're given pretty strict parameters--like a certain font and layout--you can send your exact design to her and she'll make you a temporary tattoo.

Pepperink actually has a lot of original designs, too, including an XO set that has me thinking about my second tattoo.

Even if you're not thinking of getting a tattoo (or you don't need to go through these steps to feel fully confident about getting one, in which case, you're badass/nuts), it's fun to see what you'd look like with a tattoo of your coworker's face on your wrist.

Do you feel comfortable diving into a tattoo without somehow seeing it on yourself first? Would you use one of these options? Even if you wouldn't, you should totally download the free version of the Tatt Dat App and post your most ridiculous tattoo ideas. Yay!