How To Thicken Tattoo Ink? A Stepwise Guide in 2022

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-guide
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.

💡 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.


Can You Thicken Ink With Cornstarch?

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. 


Why Is My Tattoo So Runny?

Runny-Tattoos
Runny Tattoos Are Normal When They’re Healing

The tattoo is runny because it is leaking ink, but this is totally normal and part of the tattoo’s healing process. Tattoo artists always try to put as much ink into the dermis as possible to guarantee color consistency and a vibrant look for your tattoo. If not, your tattoos are more likely to look lackluster right from the start.

After all, a runny tattoo indicates that it is on the right course of healing, and there’s no need to worry about it!

Read also: Why Does My Tattoo Look Wrinkled?


Why Are My Tattoo Lines Not Solid?

There are many reasons for your tattoo lines not being solid:

  • If you’re tattooing with a large needle at a fast pace, the lines might turn patchy.
  • There is not enough ink reaching the tip of the needle.
  • If you do not stretch tight the skin surface, you’re likely to create bad lines
  • The needle end quivers side to side.
  • You’re not constantly applying the same depth of stroke. The same also applies to the speed of your motions. 
  • The quality of the tattoo gun and the needles can also determine how the lines come out. 
  • You’re not pointing the needle at the right angle. 

A lot of factors contribute to the quality of your tattoo lines. To master carving out solid lines, you should prep the machine and ink correctly, pull the skin area tight as you work, use the right tattooing techniques, and keep practicing. 


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?


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). 


What Causes Tattoo Lines To Thicken?

Thicker lines after tattooing are often resulting from incorrect tattooing techniques by inexperienced artists, also known as blowouts

A tattoo blowout occurs when the artist exerts too much pressure on the skin, which can cause the tattoo ink to seep more deeply into the skin, into the fat layer, to be exact. The result is that the tattoo lines come out bigger, thicker, and blurrier than they’re supposed to be. As a result, the tattoo will look imprecise, and the ink will spread beyond the initial lines of the tattoo.

Tattoo-Blowout
Tattoo Blowout

Fortunately, you can correct thick tattoo lines by these two methods:

Tattoo cover-ups: Cover-ups are a popular way to fix a tattoo blowout. However, your new tattoos need to be fully healed before you can attempt to cover them up, which often means at least 2 months. For the best result, you are better off reaching out to a more reputed and reliable tattoo artist than the one who causes you the blowout.  

Laser: Laser therapy can completely eliminate the thick lines caused by a blowout. However, this option will set you back more money than a cover-up, and it requires multiple removal sessions to remove the thick lines fully.  


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 - (1 vote)

Leave a Comment