Can You Use Acrylic Ink As Tattoo Ink Or Alcohol Ink For Tattoos? Learn Here

Tattooing is a decorative body art famous among people of all ages and equally liked by men and women. People tend to use skin-friendly techniques and inks for such body art. A common question, “Can you use acrylic paint as tattoo ink” arises among people looking for an alternative, distinct and affordable way of tattooing. 

As a painter by profession, I’m well aware of the use of different dyes, paints, and inks and their consequences on human health, but thanks to a friend who is obsessed with tattooing and explores new techniques and ways to give a spark to the body art, for guiding me sufficiently in this regard.

In the blog post, I’ll help you decide if you can use acrylic as tattoo ink and what are the outcomes of doing so.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint As Tattoo Ink?

Yes, acrylic ink can be used as tattoo ink if used properly following preventive measures. Or otherwise, you’ll end up with swelling, allergic reactions, infection, blood poisoning, or even cancer. 

Difference Between Acrylic Ink Vs Tattoo Ink Vs Alcohol Ink

Tattoo ink comprises two kinds. Organic Ink is extracted from vegetables, fruits, and plants. Inorganic Ink contains elements like arsenic, nickel, chromium, cobalt, and other heavy metals. Moreover, some tattoo inks have minerals in them as well. 

These inks are claimed to be safe for the skin, but yet body reactions are seen in many cases. Organic inks are more skin-friendly as compared to inorganic inks. 

On the other hand, acrylic ink is composed of polymer (plastic), binder, and solvent. Moreover, stabilizers, liquid mediums, resin material, and some metals are also part of the paint. Acrylics are non-toxic on the skin, but inhaling and ingesting them bring serious health hazards.

Alcohol ink contains a high concentration of alcohol, which can be harmful to the skin and cause irritation, inflammation, and allergic reactions.

After comparing these inks and knowing their composition, we can now better evaluate if we can use acrylic as tattoo ink or alcohol ink for tattoos.

Can You Use Acrylic Ink For Tattoos Or Not?

Although acrylic is versatile and becomes permanent when applied to a canvas, cardboard, metal, wood, and glass, the application to the skin is different. Acrylic is not designed to stick to the skin. So I don’t recommend you use it for tattoos. 

Even if the ink penetrates deep into the skin, it will eventually fade and disappear due to its composition. Moreover, it is thick as compared to tattoo ink, making it less effective in retaining the skin. In addition, severe health concerns are associated with acrylic ink (discussed below).

More to learn: Can you use acrylic paint to dye hair?

Is Acrylic Ink Safe For Tattooing?

Now let’s move on to the main concern of our post, which is whether you can use acrylic ink to draw the tattoos. Will it be safe or not? 

The inks, dyes, and pigments used for tattooing penetrate the skin and reach the dermal layer, which is harmful to the skin and the whole body.

Although inks specified for tattoos can also cause harm to the body but pouring plastic or resin (present in acrylic paint) into the skin can be deadly. 

Learn more: Can acrylic paint be used on skin?

FDA has not approved any ink, paint, or dye for tattooing.

I’ve discussed some potential dangers of using acrylic ink as tattoo ink.

Swelling and Allergic Reactions

Although swelling is concerned with all types of skin-penetrating techniques, including tattoos but the risk is enhanced by using acrylic ink. Acrylic has plastic material in it, causing the body’s immune cells to react abruptly, leading to swelling and allergic response. 

Blood Poisoning 

Acrylic comprises some heavy metals or elements which can make their way to the bloodstream while you’re injecting the ink into the dermal layer of your skin. This can ultimately result in blood poisoning and systematic damage to body organs. The primary metal responsible for blood poisoning is lead (Pb).

Skin Infection

Injecting with acrylic ink can provide room for microbes to make their way into your skin. The water content of the acrylic ink facilitates the growth of microbes and gives them habitat. Once these microbes enter through wounds in the skin, they may cause serious infections. 

Hepatitis B, HIV, Dermatophytes, Molds, and many other fungal and bacterial infections are caused by contaminated tools and dyes used for tattoos. 

Mutations and Cancer

Acrylic ink contains mutagenic chemicals like resin and heavy metals. Injecting them into the skin facilitates their entry into skin cells which can cause mutations. These mutations are dangerous and can lead to skin cancer.

European regulators have banned over 400 ingredients used in tattoo ink.

How to make tattoo ink at home? Step By Step

Homemade tattoo inks vary and depend on your reach to different ingredients. For professional-grade tattoo ink, you’ll have to visit a nearby store and buy some essential compounds. 

Supplies needed

  • Glycerine
  • Propylene glycol
  • Pigment powder
  • Blender
  • Bottle with a lid


  1. Mix glycerine and glycol appropriately, and the ratio should be 1:2.
  2. Add pigment powder into a blender along with the above-prepared liquid. Make sure you add enough liquid to make a suspension.
  3. Blend the mixture well to produce equal consistency throughout the mixture.
  4. Add more liquid if the mixture is thick and viscous.
  5. Your ink is prepared. Shift it to a sterile bottle and close the lid tightly.

Can You Use Acrylic Ink For Stick And Poke?

Let me clarify first what we mean by stick and poke. It is a technique of body modification using ink and a needle or a sharp, fine needle-like tool to produce tattoos and body art. It is a pure handmade procedure without the use of machines. 

Acrylic ink can be used for sticking and poking, but healthcare professionals and artists never suggest it because it is not composed and designed to be applied to the skin. It will hurt skin, tissues, and organs and produce a less vibrant color than expected. 

Can You Paint With Tattoo Ink?

Painting with tattoo ink on canvas, cardboard, and sketchbook can be done, but it is a limited art as you’ll not find many colors in the tattoo ink. But still, brighter and more vibrant art can be drawn with the ink. Moreover, it is permanent and gives a strong and long-lasting appearance. 

The downside to using tattoo ink for painting is you’ll not be able to manipulate the ink and design over the layers as you can do with acrylic, oil-based, or enamel paints. The reason is the solvents used in these dyes and inks.

So I recommend you use inks, dyes, and paints for what they are made explicitly instead of using alternatives and spoiling your art and paintings.     

Also read: Can you use acrylic paint as nail polish?

Is Alcohol Ink Safe For Tattoos?

No, alcohol ink is not safe for tattoos. It is a kind of permanent marker ink that is primarily used for art projects and crafts, and it is not designed for use on the skin.

Using alcohol ink for tattoos could potentially lead to serious health risks such as infection, allergic reactions, and scarring. Therefore, prefer to only use tattoo ink that has been specifically formulated and approved for use on the skin.

Can You Mix Acrylic And Indian Ink For Tattoos?

Mixing acrylic and Indian ink for tattoos is not recommended. Acrylic ink is not formulated for use on the skin and can contain chemicals that may be harmful or irritating when applied to the body.

Indian ink, on the other hand, is generally used for calligraphy and drawing purposes. It is neither synthesized nor tested for use as tattoo ink.


Can you use alcohol ink for tattoos? 

Yes, you can use alcohol ink for tattoos. But it’ll increase your risk of health hazards. Ingredients used in alcohol ink, like metals, pigments, and hydrocarbons, can lead to cancer, dermatitis, infections, and cell and tissue damage.

What is acrylic ink used for?

Acrylic ink is used for detailing, fine and sharp lining, lettering, naming, and sketches. Moreover, it is used for abstract art and random colour throw. In addition to painting, it can be used as a paint thinner. 

Can you use acrylic ink on the skin? 

Acrylic ink can be used on the skin for regular painting and drawings, but it is prohibited for tattooing. It is toxic and poisonous to internal skin layers, body fluids and tissues. 

Can I tattoo with acrylic ink?

Yes, you can tattoo with acrylic ink, but it’ll increase your risk of health problems ten times more than the regular tattoo ink. So I recommend not compromising your health for body modifications.

Final Thoughts

So we can conclude that acrylic ink can be used as tattoo ink but with an enhanced risk of severe health consequences. Regulators worldwide are working on managing the ingredients and inks used for tattoos.

But they are still far behind in taking adequate measures, especially in the lower developed areas and prisons where people tend to search for affordable ways and use available ingredients to make ink and tattoos.  

I hope the post was informative and you got what you were looking for. Please let me know in the comment section if I’ve missed something. Thank you for reading!

Jose Scott

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