I admit it. I’m a craft hoarder. That means not only that I have probably way more craft materials than I could use in 3 lifetimes, but also that I HATE to throw away bits and pieces of materials that are leftover after I make a project. My brain says, “Oh, you can use that somehow!” Are you the same? So every once in a while I have to use up some of those scraps so I can justify continuing the practice. Today’s Frugal Friday project tip is one of those types. It’s a way to use up some leftover White Printable Tattoo Paper.
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The clue there is in the word “printable.” That tells you that a normal project with the tattoo paper is a Print and Cut. Here are the normal steps you do with this material:
- Create a design
- Mirror the design
- Add registration marks
- Print your design on your home printer
- Allow it to dry
- Apply the sticky transfer cover
- Cut around the tattoos with your machine
When you do any type of print and cut project, you use registration marks on the page that print along with the design. The machine then reads those marks and, based on the locations, knows where your designs are. It can then cut around the designs in a very precise way.
Here’s the problem
You have to leave margins all around the page and around the marks on a Print and Cut. No printing can be in those areas. I call it the “no print zone.” After you’ve cut the designs out, you’re left with something like this:
It just goes against my grain to throw away those printable tattoo paper scraps. But since the cover sheet is already on, you can’t reprint on it at all. Even if you could, the scraps aren’t the right size for your printer. Sketch pens maybe? Nope – that adhesive cover sheet prevents the pens from coming into contact with the tattoo paper. But keep reading — there’s a way to use that extra printable tattoo material.
Regular vs White printable tattoo paper
Home printers don’t actually print white. If you have white in a regular design and print it on white paper, it’s the paper you’re seeing that’s white, not white ink. The colored inks are printing around the white areas. If you print it on colored paper, the white areas will actually be whatever color the paper is.
Standard printable tattoo paper has a clear background. That means any white areas of your design will be clear — you’ll see through to the skin. Here’s my great nephew with that type on his cheek (yep — shameless cute kid plug).
The white printable tattoo paper has, wait for it, a white background. That allows you to have white in your design. It also helps the other colors stand out more. Here’s that same mascot design with white tattoo paper:
This America flag design wouldn’t be as great with skin tones in lieu of white.
And here’s the solution
So here’s what you do with those scraps — just cut a normal design, in reverse, for a plain white temporary tattoo. It seems like such a simple idea, but it’s not one you’d automatically think of because the mind gets focused on the printing part of printable tattoo paper. But a plain white tattoo can be fun, too. You use the same concept as for the gold or silver tattoo paper.
The key is to keep it all a single piece so it stays together. Because you’ll be making them small, don’t use a design that’s too complex. Here are some samples:
Notice the letter “P” is backwards. That’s because you still need to mirror your design.
PRO TIP: For odd-shaped scraps, a PixScan mat is a great tool. See all about that here.
Think outside the box
When you are creating your design, keep an eye out for things you can use in different ways. For example, the hearts I cut out of the butterflies can work on their own. The parts that are in the spaces of the “W” work as Christmas trees or arrows.
Here’s another trick
You can do the same with Printable Heat Transfer for dark fabrics. Like the white printable tattoo paper, you’re printing on a white background of ink that’s already on the page. So pieces that are left over in the margins can be cut and used like normal white HTV. I wouldn’t layer it though, as I don’t think it would work well for that. And make sure it’s the printable HTV for dark fabrics. That one has a white background, while the type for light colored garments is clear.
I used the printable HTV for dark fabrics once when my son needed some shirts quickly. His basketball team wanted to honor a teammate who had died suddenly. He wanted them as warm up shirts for the game that night. I didn’t have time to order regular HTV and couldn’t find any in town quickly. We cut the young man’s name and jersey number from the printable HTV and it looked just like normal white HTV. Mom for the win!
Hint for moms
My great nephew and niece LOVE it when I make temporary tattoos for them. Their mom tells me she uses them as rewards instead of sugary sweets. Brilliant!
So, that’s your first Frugal Friday tip. Can you think of other ideas for using those leftover margin pieces?
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