How To Thicken Tattoo Ink? A Stepwise Guide in 2023

Tattoo inks are not created equal. The thickness of the ink can vary across brands. However, many people want to change the ink consistency at some points, as thicker and thinner can spell the difference between a quality, epic tattoo and a bad one. It all comes down to the artist’s preferred application. 

How to thicken tattoo ink? And how to thin it out? We will talk you through the process, so you can always achieve the right ink quality for you to carve out the best work.

How To Thicken Tattoo Ink?

How To Thicken Tattoo Ink? 5 Detailed Steps You Need To Know

If the tattoo ink is too watery, you can add some glycerin to thicken it, and here’s how to do it correctly:

Step 1

Store-bought glycerin comes in 100% concentration. So, before using this solution to thicken your tattoo ink, you should dilute it beforehand. Add a small amount of glycerin into a spray bottle, and pour in distilled water. 

Step 2

Give the bottle a good shake to mix them well together.

Step 3

Add a tiny amount of diluted glycerin into your watered-down tattoo ink until you get the desired consistency. Do not go overboard as you can little by little to avoid over-thickening the ink. 

Step 4

After that, mix and shake the mixture. The glycerin should thicken up the ink immediately without compromising the color quality. 

Step 5 

If you’re too heavy-handed with the glycerin, and your tattoo ink is too thick (or the bottle has dried out with time), witch hazel is the remedy. Add a drop or 2 of witch hazel to dilute it.

[alert-success]💡 Pro Tips: To keep the tattoo ink from drying out while you’re working, add a few drops of an additive such as Keep It Wet on the cap. This can slow down the evaporation of your ink without changing its hue and quality. [/alert-success]

How To Thicken Tattoo ink Without Glycerin?

Many watery inks can be easily thickened with cornstarch, and here’s how to do it properly:

Essential Items

  • Corn starch
  • A small disposable bowl
  • A wire whisk
  • An air-tight container

Step-By-Step Instructions

  • Step 1

Add the amount of ink you’ll use in the disposable bowl. Make sure to cover the area you’re working with old towels or choose a spot that you don’t mind getting stained by the ink. 

  • Step 2

Sprinkle a tiny amount of cornstarch into the ink. Give the mixture a good whisk, and add more starch when needed. 

  • Step 3

Once the ink has reached the desired viscosity, you can pour it into the container. Push all the ink into the container with your whisk. It is advised to place the ink container in cool storage and stay away from direct sunlight when you’re not using it. 

  • Step 4

Clean your whisk and store it away. If you thicken water-based ink, all you need to do is wash it with warm, soapy water. Use a solvent to thoroughly eliminate the oil that sticks to the whisk for oil-based ink. 


1. Is Glycerin Ok For Tattoos?

Glycerin is a humectant that helps prevent moisture loss on the skin. This substance lets the skin retain moisture when applied, boosts skin hydration, reduces dryness, and refreshes the skin. It also keeps flakes and scabs at bay!

Read also: Why Do Tattoo Artists Use Vaseline?

2. What Happens If You Add Water To Tattoo Ink?

You can add distilled water to some inks. This generally applies to ink with a high load of pigments. However, it is advisable to add one drop at a time to avoid over-thinning your ink. It is easier to add more until you reach the consistency you want than to fix the ink with another chemical (such as witch hazel). 

The Bottom Line

We hope our instructions on how to thicken tattoo ink will help you get the consistency you want on your own. 

The most common choice for the job is glycerin, but you’ll need to dilute it first after buying it from the store. It’s also a breeze to thin the ink out if you’re quite heavy-handed with the glycerin by simply using a small amount of witch hazel. Whether you’re thickening or diluting the ink, it’s best to go bit by bit, so you can avoid the further hassle. 

If you have any question related to this topic, feel free to leave a comment in the section below!

5/5 - (5 votes)