The challenge? Design some hipster Portland tattoos for a temporary tattoo kit. I made a list of iconic Portland things, then narrowed it down to things that could not only be represented in tattoo form, but would also lend itself to becoming a stencil.

For a number of these images, I went in with Illustrator to create “bridges” to keep the open space tied to the stencil. Some of the images, such as the Portlandia sculpture, didn’t quite lend themselves to being good stencils.

The designs that made the final cut (pun intended) were a sasquatch, a mustache, a stripper, a bearded geek, the sexy reading lady, PDX carpet, the Oregon stag sign, and a collection of trees. The knuckle tattoos are “PORT LAND”, “ROSE CITY” and “NO PITY”.

In the first round, I made the stencils using file folders. During testing, my test subjects came to the consensus that the stencils would work better as stickers than paper. After a bit of trial and error, mailing labels became the go-to medium because I could cut them in a way that made them super easy to pull off the paper.

This has been a terrific project for refreshing my Illustrator skills and learning more about working with my Cricut Maker.

Lock the images together in the Cricut studio so you don’t have to re-do the layout EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU WANT TO CUT.


The original plan was to put Sharpie markers in the kits. As it turns out, Sharpie markers tend to bleed, so they are not the best option. After a bit of research, I discovered that Bic makes some awesome temporary tattoo pens specifically designed for drawing all over yourself. (which I had to do a fair amount of in the interest of testing out the designs.)

Pretty darned pleased with the end result, and excited to make more stencils!

Each kit includes 4 stencils, a pen, and a list of important shit to know.

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