• The Prinker is a temporary tattoo printer manufactured by SketchOn.
  • The device lets you print custom-designed tattoos.

  • We tested it out to see how easy it is to use, how close to a real tattoo the prints looks, how well it works on different skin tones, and if the results made us want to get a permanent tattoo.

The following is a transcript of the video.

Andy Ash: This is Beauty or Bust, where we try out the beauty world’s weirdest products and find out if they’re worth your money or a total bust

Ruqayyah Moynihan: Oh, no!

Andy: Today, we'll be trying out the Prinker, a device that prints temporary tattoos in seconds, apparently. So, if you're thinking about getting your first tattoo or you've got one that you wish you hadn't, then the Prinker could save you from a lifetime of ink regret.

We're using the Prinker Pro, which costs $550. For that, you get the printer device in either red or blue, ink cartridges, two rechargeable batteries, and a 300 milliliter of skin primer.

We're gonna rate the Prinker on how easy it is to use, how close to a real tattoo it actually looks, its effectiveness on different skin tones. We'll also test to see if the ink is water-resistant like its manufacturer, SketchOn, claims it is, and whether or not it actually made you want to get a permanent tattoo.

For the first test, I'm picking a premade design on the Prinker app. Once you've made your mind up, you upload the design to the Prinker via Bluetooth, and you're ready for printing. So, I've picked my design, which is a small diamond. I just wanna check a small, simple design and see how the lines come out. So, the Prinker's ready. Here we go.

Well. It looks like a 5-year-old has drawn it, to be honest. The lines are supposed to be black, but you can see where the red, blue, and greens have separated, so it's a pretty fuzzy image, and it doesn't look like a tattoo.

For my second test, I'm uploading a custom image via the Prinker website. I want to really test the Prinker, so I've picked a design with lots of detail and texture. For non-techy people, this process could be a bit tricky if your image has a background that needs removing.

So now I'm gonna try my custom design, which is an owl sitting on a skull. This one's got a lot more detail.

Like the first one, there's a lot of color-bleeding in there, yeah. There's no detail. Again, this was just supposed to be a black tattoo. Doesn't look like an owl.

So, let's see how it copes on other skin types. I've got some of my buddies coming in, they've picked their own designs, and we'll see if they get on any better than I have.

Ruqayyah: It does smell like Turkish delight. It smells like solvents and Turkish delight mixed together.

The design that I've chosen is basically, it's kind of inspired by my grandparents, 'cause it's, like, a combination of both their names, and I kind of wanted to put it on 'cause it's meaningful to me.

So, I'm gonna give this a go now. Oh, no. It's come out as kind of a bit of a smudge, as you can see. There was a little bit of time pressure involved there. Oh, OK, right. So, round two, I can actually see some letters now. I can see, which is the first part of my grandmother's name, but then it kind of goes, so it's not really spelled on properly, but, like, it's pretty smudgy.

David Ibekwe: OK, so I'm gonna try out this printing device. I picked one that's got a few colors in it, so it'll give it a good workout to see how well it actually prints out. So let's give it a try, I think.

There we go, all right, moment of truth, let's see how this looks. OK, so it look like it started pretty well. So you could see Hawkeye's little symbol, Iron Man, and then when it gets to, like, the actual, real characters towards the end, you're like, nah. I'm not really, I'm not too impressed with that. It looks like a discount tattoo. Like a budget tattoo. Nah, not feeling it. Not feeling it at all.

Andy: So, how did we rate the Prinker? Well, first of all, ease of use. Gotta say it, one out of five. The process of picking a tattoo is easy, but actually printing it can be a nightmare. We had issues with connectivity, which was made worse by the fact that the Prinker app is only available on Android. We had issues with ink bleeding, sometimes leaving multicolored smears on our skin. And because of the bulkiness of the device, you are left with limited options when printing on different areas of the skin.

How close to a real tattoo does it actually look? Two out of five? From a distance, it probably looks like a tattoo, but get a little closer and you might think that Insider have opened a night club and this is my entry stamp.

What about its effectiveness on different skin tones? For this we gave it a four out of five, because we don't actually think that that's an issue. It probably works about the same on everybody.

Is it water-resistant? Five out of five. So if you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain, your Prink is going nowhere.

And whether or not it made us want to get a permanent tattoo, we're only gonna give it three out of five because, although it gives you the freedom to experiment with shape, size and placement, it just doesn't look like a tattoo.

I can see the appeal for people who want to try loads of different tattoos, just to see what they look like. And I can also understand if people would want to use it as a creative tool for self-expression. In theory, you could give yourself a sleeve for the weekend, but if you've got a specific tattoo in mind, and you just wanna see what it looks like before you commit, there are cheaper and easier ways.

So, is it worth the money, or a total bust? Well, the Prinker doesn't quite replicate a real tattoo. If you want the real thing, you're gonna have to get some needles involved. So, I'm sorry, but this one is a beauty bust.

Produced by Andy Ash