Make Your Own Book-Inspired Tattoos + Free Winner’s Trilogy download

February 12, 2015 2015, crafts based on ya books, diy tattoos, gift ideas, Marie Rutkoski, special feature, tmg downloads, Wendy 37

The Winner's Crime tattoo

Today we have a special Valentine’s week treat for you! We’re pretty big fans of temporary tattoos here at The Midnight Garden, so why not make your own and wear your favorite book quote? There aren’t nearly enough YA book products out there, and this is an easy and inexpensive way to get exactly what you want.

Today I’m sharing a tutorial for creating your own temporary tattoos using quotes from a favorite book, in this case, the lovely, torturous The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski–so perfect and swooningly romantic for this week! This DIY project is super easy to do, and they make fun little gifts for your favorite reader, too. You could even make a little tattoo kit for someone using designs you printed–pack them up into a little glassine envelope with a printed label and they’ll be such a nice present.

vine-divider-finalMake Your Own Book-Inspired Tattoos!


Silhouette Temporary Tattoo Paper*
tattoo design of your choice**
ink jet or laser printer
scissors or x-acto knife
ruler/smoothing tool
clean sponge or washcloth

Cost of project: $3.50 – $5, plus on hand supplies

*If you add this to your Amazon cart, the price seems to fluctuate fairly frequently. I’ve seen them as low as $7/pack of two, which isn’t bad considering how many designs you can cram onto one page. Note: on the instructions that come with the tattoo paper, ignore everything that references special software or cutting tools. You don’t need them.

**Download the free template for The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime tattoos that I designed with existing fonts and clip art (Note: the image below is for your reference–the download is for a high resolution, reversed-text full page so you can also make a set to share)–or create your own! You can use any program you like to manipulate images and text–even Word will do in a pinch if you’re not getting too fancy. Print and cut out test designs onto regular paper to check sizing and appearance to make sure you’re happy with them.

I’d recommend choosing quotes that are not only meaningful for you, but ones that would also stand on their own or be intriguing to someone who might not recognize it. These are definitely great conversation starters for your favorite book! LET’S CONVERT MORE YA READERS.

the winner's curse tattoos


1. the winner's curse tattooDownload or create your own designs. Make sure that if you’re using text, the lettering is all reversed.

2. Print out your design onto the tattoo paper using the photo paper option, so that the images are on the shiny side. Let it dry completely. View Spoiler »

3. This step is really important, since you only have one shot to make it work. Take the adhesive sheet and remove the thin green paper strip at the top, laying it carefully along one edge of the tattoo designs. Peel off the remainder of the green backing and gradually spread the adhesive sheet over the rest of the design page, smoothing out air bubbles as you go along so the sheet isn’t wrinkled. Once it’s down, use your ruler or other tool to smooth out as many bubbles as you can. (This is why printing out a couple of extras doesn’t hurt. At this point, what you’re doing is pressing the designs into the paper, so be sure you’re pressing firmly enough that it transfers.)

4. Cut around the designs, getting fairly close to the edges of the printed portion. The more edge you leave, the more of a “sticker” type effect you’ll see.

5. To apply, make sure your skin is clean and dry. Take one tattoo and remove the backing. Place it on your body where you’d like the design to appear and take a warm, wet washcloth and press the tattoo firmly onto your skin without moving it around. You only need to do this for around 30 seconds, but at the end, I’d recommend making extra sure that the edges of the tattoo are wet. Dry spots will come off the skin and start peeling away, which is both unattractive and itchy! Have fun and layer tats if you like, and play with colors.

And that’s it! Your tattoo should last a couple of days, even in the shower, as long as you don’t rub the area or soap it. It removes easily and does not transfer. These tattoo sheets are thinner than the ones you’d buy from a professional company, but they’re still fun to experiment with.

vine-divider-finalRemember: if you’re creating stuff inspired from an author’s book, that’s totally okay as long as it’s not for profit and is intended for personal use. If you’re interested in selling merchandise, however, you should check with the author to see if there are restrictions on licensing and so on. And please, if you share this project on your blog or social media, we’d appreciate a link to this original post, rather than just a link to the download. Same for any photos you choose to share. Thanks!

The Winner's Crime tattoo

vine-divider-finalSorry that all the photos are of my boring wrists, that’s generally where I like to put tattoos and I’m usually photographing myself, so any other location is kind of tricky. One of these days I’ll tinker with my tripod and remote shutter.

Do you think this is a project you’d be interested in trying out? What book quotes would you want to have tattooed on your body, permanently or not? If you end up making tattoos, we’d appreciate a link back to this post and would love to see them!

And obviously, this project is also my sneaky extra attempt to lure you into reading The Winner’s Trilogy as well. :D How can you not be intrigued after you’ve read these quotes?

Wendy signature teal


Further Reading:

The Winner’s Crime review
The Winner’s Curse review
Marie Rutkoski on Forbidden Love







37 Responses to “Make Your Own Book-Inspired Tattoos + Free Winner’s Trilogy download”

  1. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    This is so cool! I’m actually thinking about getting a tattoo, but I’m still not sure about the placement. I never thought about trying it out like this, that would be so helpful :D
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Frozen book tag.

      • Mel@thedailyprophecy

        You know my love for Disney, so I’m thinking about getting ‘believe’ (only not in their font, because I’m not such a fan of it) This is meant as a reminder to myself that I need to believe in myself too, not only in magic and Pixie Dust, haha. Like Pooh says, I’m strong than I think sometimes and if I’m afraid, I just need to push myself and do it. I’ve been challenging myself in 2014 and I feel so much more confident now. It’s a good thing to realize that by having a permanent reminder.

        I might get a Beauty and the beast rose in front of it, with a falling petal somewhere. Or something with HP. The idea is there, but I’m not entirely sure how I want it to look & where. I have time enough to think about it though, I don’t have any plans on getting it done any time soon :)
        Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Review 216. Mira Grant – Feed.

  2. J. Oh

    Heeheehee! I absolutely adored The Winner’s Curse–it was my favorite find last year–so I’m actually holding off on reading your review for The Winner’s Crime for now. I’m just happy that you rated it 4.5 stars, like the first one. But I’m so looking forward to reading it and then seeing what you thought :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh, I don’t blame you at all for not reading the review yet–I do the same thing! I’m so glad you are a fan of this series as well, I hope you enjoy the second one just as much. The story gets more complicated and the romance more anguished, if you can believe that. :O

      Let me know what you think when you’re done! So much love for what Marie Rutkoski has done. <3

  3. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    YOU, Miss Wendy, have created a MONSTER. *laughs maniacally*

    And what book quotes would I like to make my very own temporary tattoos of? Where to begin . . . there’s this one from ACOTAR:

    “I was as unburdened as a piece of dandelion fluff, and he was the wind that stirred me about the world.”

    And there are about a hundred of ToG (I just really love, Sarah J. Maas). Then you got all the awesomeness that can be found in THE GRISHA and DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE. And that’s just YA fantasy. MONSTER. *snickers*
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Review: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

    • Wendy Darling

      Call me Victor Frankenstein. :D :D :D :D

      I love that quote from ACOTAR–do it, do it!!! And yes, SJM has so many quotable quotes that would be SO cool as tattoos. (Cool and threatening, hah.) I love the idea of Grisha tattoos, too! The possibilities are endless.

      I fully expect to see photographs if you do these, too. Don’t make me come after you.
      Wendy Darling recently posted…Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula: blog tour

  4. Jessica

    Omg, what a great idea! When Ignite Me came out, they sent temporary tattoos to people who had preordered and it made me so happy! Now I can make my own! :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Cool! I saw pre-orders for ACOTAR by Sarah J. Maas are going to come with a bookmark and a tattoo, too–so appropriate. I love having the option to make your own, though–you can get exactly the quote/images you want. :) Let me know if you end up making some! I’m dying to see more book quotes printed on people!

  5. Carina Olsen

    Oh, love. <3 This post is all kinds of gorgeous. The Winner's Curse is such an amazing book :D And these quotes are gooorgeous. <3 The tattooes are all kinds of AMAZING :D Wishing I could have someone make them and ship them to me, lol. <3 Living in Norway means I probably won't be able to buy the stuff to make them myself :p Hmph. How mean. But yess. This is an awesome thing to do :D Thank you so much for making and sharing Wendy :D You are the bestest. Pfff, your wrist is gorgeous :)
    Carina Olsen recently posted…Cover Reveal: Ungodly by Kendare Blake

    • Wendy Darling

      Aw, are there craft stores near you that could order them? I know it’s hard to get stuff overseas, though.

      But I’m glad you enjoyed the craft/post in any case! The books are amazing, and it was fun to do a little special thing for them. And hah, thank you. One day maybe you’ll see a tattoo on something other than my wrist. ;)
      Wendy Darling recently posted…Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula: blog tour

    • Wendy Darling

      Awww, Betsy-Tacy! I love that you love that series, too. You know, I have been salivating over the Betsy-Tacy Companion book for years and years, but it’s obviously out of print and SO expensive to buy used. :( Someday I want to go to Mankato, which happens to be fairly close to the location where they hold Laurapalooza every few years. We need to incorporate TMG so we can hold literary retreats or something.

      Goodness, I went off on a tangent. I’m glad you enjoyed the post! I’m sorry I spaced out and forgot how to apply these while you were here, hah, but perhaps I’ll see MHL quotes tattooed on you at some point in the future.

      And yessss. I think you’re the only one who noticed the Noah love. <3
      Wendy Darling recently posted…Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula: blog tour

  6. Jasprit

    This is such a neat post Wendy, I remember when I used to be a kid, I used to buy all the chewing gums that used to include the temporary tattoos (even though they were wrestling ones), but having a temporary tattoo of a quote you love is much more amazing! Thank you so so much! And I can’t wait to start my copy of The Winner’s Crime soon!
    Jasprit recently posted…Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

    • Wendy Darling

      Omg, Jasprit–I have totally picked up the HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON kids’ Valentines box twice because they included temporary tattoos, hah. How fun that you got the wrestling ones with your gum!

      I hope you do give this project a try sometime, AND that you love THE WINNER’S CRIME, too. I can’t imagine that you won’t.
      Wendy Darling recently posted…Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula: blog tour

      • Pili @ In Love With Handmade

        I have two already, a small panther cub in my right shoulder and a tribal in my lower back that I want to modify.
        As far as new tattoos, I have two ideas already selected for my new ones, both with lyrics of songs that are important to me, a tree of life and an eye of horus. And I have an idea to get another with one quote from A Darker Shade of Magic!
        Pili @ In Love With Handmade recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #83!!

    • Wendy Darling

      Yay! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. And thank you, this project was tons of fun to do. Can’t wait to see what you come up with, too!

  7. Courtney

    This is the cutest idea! I must make some Throne of Glass ones… Hmm I wonder if I can find some tattoo paper in a store somewhere. A task for a rainy day, I think! :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Ah yes, I thought about doing this for A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES, but I figured there’s going to be so much fanfare around that book already! And sure enough, they released info about that free tattoo/bookmark deal with pre-orders.

      I’d love to see THRONE OF GLASS ones, though. If you end up doing this on a rainy day, pleeeeease show us your photos! We’d love to see them. :)
      Wendy Darling recently posted…Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula: blog tour

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