The Very Brief History of Temporary Tattoos

Many people are familiar with the history of tattooing and how it spans thousands of years and across multiple cultures, but when did temporary tattoos become a thing?

In this blog post, we’ll explore when temporary tattoos became popular, why they continue to be a great alternative to actual tattoos, and how you can easily get temporarily tatted!

The When

The early history of temporary tattoos is vague, but most attribute their origins to the iconic Cracker Jacks® product, which began featuring a "prize in every box" in 1912. It’s believed these original prizes were temporary tattoos, and by the 1950’s, they sold sheets of these designs for 1 cent each.

As time went on, temporary tattoos attained more mainstream popularity via baseball cards, other trading cards, and with the development of “scratch and sniff” tattoos.

By the mid 1980’s, and with eagerness from Hollywood to create a tattoo that was only temporary, an inventor named Keith R. Relyea, received a patent for his method of printing images on a translucent film that could then be transferred to the body.

The Why

Temporary tattoos have come a long way since being the featured prize in a Cracker Jacks® box. Tattooists and other artists have worked with temporary tattoo companies to produce products similar to the real thing. Doing so only increased the popularity of these temporary designs.

history of temporary tattoos blog post

With their affordable price tag, temporary status, and ability to look like the real thing, it's easy to see why temporary tattoos are so popular.

The How

How can you get yourself some fashionable temporary tattoos? Well, you came to the right place! We have over 300 designs and free shipping within the U.S. Whether you’re a fan of skulls, under the sea creatures, or realistic watercolor designs, we’ve got your covered. Or shop the whole collection here:

**Sources: Tattoo Archive, Smithsonian, Ted Ed

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