How to Design Your Own Tattoo for Free

Tattoo image by Kai Rollmann from

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Projector
  • Transparency paper
  • Sketching pencil
  • Eraser
  • Colored pencils
  • Markers
  • Masking tape

Tattoo artists skillfully produce beautiful artwork based upon the ideas presented by their clients. However, clients that don't want tattoos recreated from pre-made templates arrive at the tattoo parlor with a design of their own. Design your own tattoo for free with a few tools and simple techniques.

Freehand Design

Look for tattoo design ideas online or in books to get an idea of what you want to draw. Save or bookmark these images so you can use them for future reference.

Place the images in easy view. Determine the placement and size of each of the images that will be included in the design. Sketch the tattoo design on a piece of paper--draw it lightly enough to erase if necessary. Sketch various designs until you decide which one to use. Make the design large enough for the tattoo artist to recreate in detail.

Take another piece of paper and sketch the final design with the sketching pencil. Use colored pencils or markers to color the design in. Start over if you mess the colors up--the sketch must accurately represent the design in form and color.

Design the Tattoo Using a Projector

Transfer the desired images onto transparency paper.

Set up the projector so the light projects onto the work surface. Place a piece of paper on the work surface and adjust the angle and size of the projected image as needed. Tape the paper to the work surface with masking tape.

Trace the outline of the image on the piece of paper with a sketching pencil. Remove the transparency when you are finished and place the next transparency on the projector if you printed the images out separately. Remove the masking tape when the design is complete.

Use colored pencils or markers to color in the design. Repeat Step 3 if you mess up the colors.