Ink on skin

Posted January 18, 2013 by
in Beautiful Creations, Cabinet of Curiosities, Pens, Paper & People | 5 comments »

Mendhi night with the girls!

We recently received the following email from one of our readers:

I am wondering if you could help me with my search for a pen and ink that would be suitable or even designed for writing on human skin?

I was interested to see it because I like to jot notes on my hands, and I’ve found that Pilot V-balls are well suited to the job. I’ve never tried with a fountain pen, and I have no idea whether or not there are pens that are actually designed for skin, but I can say that my husband’s pen of choice, the Pilot G2, doesn’t work at all; you’ve really got to dig to make a line.

Of course, if you’re looking to find a pen you could use to, say, draw on skin, the V-ball is probably limited — certainly the colors are. Body paint could work for that, or even Henna dye, which I understand some Hindu and Muslim cultures use for body art.

Readers, do you have any suggestions?

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  1. Jennifer

    01/19/2013   11:09AM  

    In terms of actual *pens* – I can’t think of any designed specifically for the purpose, though back in middle school when I was bored, I would draw elaborate jewelry-like designs on my hands with regular old ballpoints (in a variety of colors) or even fine-line markers.

    Specifically for writing on skin, though: henna paste is normally used in cones which are rather pen-like, but it’s more of a dye than an ink (you have to wait hours for it to set, and the final color is dependent on individual body chemistry); any sort of body paint or body makeup applied with a very fine brush could work; some makeup brands have/have had “tattoo pens” which are basically like liquid eyeliner – in fact, liquid eyeliner might be the best bet at a pen-like device with a product designed for skin-writing! Cheap drugstore brands like NYX, elf, Rimmel, and so on usually have a pretty good array of colors, too.

  2. Jennifer

    01/21/2013   20:30PM  

    I just stumbled across this set of eyeliner pen/markers that might be of interest (from the Kat von D line at Sephora):

  3. Andy Boatman

    01/22/2013   13:10PM  

    My last tattoo the artist used Waverly products. They make a pen for drawing on the skin first.

  4. Cleod

    01/22/2013   13:43PM  

    I like using the Uni Signo DX (either .38 or .5) for temporary tattoos – it lays down a fine dark line (I usually use brown black), is water resistant (splashing a little water on the tattoo doesn’t make it run, but rubbing it while wet will smudge) and washes off easily with soap and water.

  5. Anonymous

    01/27/2013   07:53AM  

    Surgeons use skin markers all the time. An internet search for “surgical skin markers” will bring up many medical supply houses that sell them.


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