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Location: Springfield, MO, United States

I'm often called Funtooguy because I've promoted and marketed waterslide temporary tattoos since 1988. I view my products as an alternative to the lifetime commitment of real tattoos. I constantly do research to find the most realistic and best quality in the industry.

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Funtoos Blog

This blog is by the owner of and discusses issues related to all sorts of waterslide temporary tattoos.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A history of waterslide temporary tattoos

An old photo was sent to me by a customer recently. It was his 3-year old son in 1983 wearing a cobra Japanese Paper Tattoo on each arm. It reminded me of the excitement when waterslide tattoos were first introduced in America.

Don Ling, a Hollywood makeup artist, was working on a film in Japan when he discovered them in the early 80's. Don brought a bunch of them home with him and set up a booth at a festival in California. It was a huge success, and after a few more festivals, Don moved back to his hometown in Minnesota and began distributing his "Removable Tattoo Parlors" nationwide. I became one of his dealers in 1988. Don Ling was the only game in town for a number of years.

I had good success with the events I worked, but due to my background in retail I decided to try selling temporary tattoos to end users by mail order. It worked, and I was soon shipping temporary tattoos all over the country and mailing out color catalogs. I became one of Don Ling's best customer's and negotiated a price that allowed me to supply dealers of my own. For several years my dealer sales exceeded my retail sales.

Everyone was trying to figure out how the Japanese Paper Tattoos were made. Finally, someone discovered they could be printed much the way waterslide decals were. After considerable trial and error, some acceptable products were developed, but nobody has ever been able to duplicate the quality and longevity of Japanese Paper Tattoos.

Since it cost less to produce temporary tattoos on printing presses, the early 90's began to see a flood of temporary tattoos in stores and vending machines. Unfortunately, the quality was not as good as Japanese Paper Tattoos, but the price was lower. It's nice that you can still get a quality product...if you're willing to pay a little more for it.

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