PIY: Temporary Tattoo Nail Art

Welcome to the first episode of Pudge’s DIY show: Pudge-it-Yourself! Every Wednesday you can join Pudge making DIY cat crafts. Today, let’s chat about nail art using temporary tattoo paper.


  • An InkJet printer. (Or, if you buy tattoo paper made for a LaserJet printer, then you’ll need a LaserJet printer instead of an InkJet printer.)
  • Temporary Tattoo transfer paper. You can find this at your local art supplies store.
  • A light, opaque nail polish as well as clear topcoat
  • Scissors
  • Cotton balls or a towel
  • Water

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Begin by setting up your artwork on your computer. I used Pudge’s face, but you can grab a photo of any of your favorite internet cats or a photo of your own cat. Or anything else you’d like to have on your nails, like butterflies and unicorns.

Measure your nail bed to find out how big or small your artwork should be. A centimeter to a half-centimeter wide in diameter should work well.

Load the tattoo paper into your printer as per the instructions on the package and print out your artwork.


Allow the ink on the tattoo paper to dry for at least a few minutes before moving on to apply the sheet of adhesive.

Follow the instructions on your tattoo paper package, gently pressing down the adhesive from the top of the paper towards the bottom, being careful not to leave any wrinkles or large bubbles. Your tattoo paper might come with a squeegee for smoothing everything out, but a credit card works just as well.


Cut out your decals, making sure to trim as close to the edge of your artwork as possible (rather than just cutting a square around it)


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Paint your nails. The tattoo paper is semi-transparent, so your decals won’t show up very well on darker polishes. Lighter colors work best. You could also skip this step and apply the decal directly to your nail.

Allow polish to fully dry before moving on to the next step.


Begin applying the decals by peeling back the clear plastic layer, exposing the adhesive. Position the decal on your nail face-down.

Soak a cotton ball or towel in water, press and hold over the decal for a few seconds. Remove the paper backing, revealing your awesome new nail art.


Keep the decal protected and longer-lasting by applying at least two coats of clear polish or even a clear gel.


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