REVIEW – Are you thinking about getting a tattoo, but unsure if you really want to make a lifetime commitment? The Prinker M may just be the solution you are looking for. Check out what I discovered testing out this innovative portable temporary tattoo printer.
What is it?
Prinker is the inventor of the world’s first all-in-one temporary tattoo device. Prinker M is a mini, portable digital temporary tattoo printer that makes creating temporary tattoos quick and easy.
What’s in the box?
- User Manual
- Prinker M tattoo printer
- M1 Cartridge
- Cartridge Cap
- Charging Cable (USB A to C)
- Cartridge Bag
- Nozzle Cap
- Skin Guide
- Skin Primer PP-2
- Dimensions: 103(L) x 55(W) x 75.5(H) mm
- Weight: approx 169g/ approx. 248g (with cartridge)
- Resolution: up to 1200dpi.
- Printing speed: approx 100mm/s
- Each ink cartridge applies about 1,000 tattoos
- Max. tattoo size is 0.7 inch x 39 inches (W x L).
- Operating frequency bandwidth: 2402 ~2480MHz.
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0
- Battery: Lithium-ion battery (7.4 / 700mA)
- Battery life: Approx 4-5 hours
- Battery life on standby: Approx 10 hours
- Charging time: Approx 2 hours (When 5V 2A charger is used)
- Cartridge: 1 (CMY)
- Printing color: C, M, Y, K-composite
- Water resistance: 1 Day
- Abrasion resistance: 1 day
- List of ingredients can be found on Prinker, however, are not listed on the products themselves
Design and features
The Prinker M temporary tattoo machine allows you to get creative with your custom temporary tattoo designs by allowing you to choose from the provided designs on the Prinker app (see Setup for more information on the app), upload your own design or create your own custom design right in the app itself. With each ink cartridge applying about 1,000 tattoos, that is a lot of options to test out your creativity.
The Prinker app has a membership-based service to note. There are three tiers:
- Basic Plan (plan you get with your unit free) allows you to prink +12,000 designs and upload up to 20 designs per month. For the purposes of this review, this is the only plan I have reviewed.
- Tenderfoot Plan ($4.90/ month ) gives you everything you need to create countless custom temporary tattoos for you and those around you and organize your favorite designs into lists.
- Showcase Plan ($9.90/ month) is perfect if you’re going on your branding mission for your business. Thanks to the ability to share your creations across up to 5 devices and offline access to your favorite designs.
The Prinker M1 ink cartridge offers both color and black temporary tattoos. The ink is 100% non-toxic, water-resistant, and completely skin-safe. The Prinker M uses FDA, VCRP (USA), CPNP (EU), and SCPN (UK)-registered, cruelty-free cosmetic ink. You can find a full list of ingredients here. I have very sensitive skin and had no issues with the ink or the Skin Primer PP-2.
According to Prinker, a tattoo lasts up to 24 hours, I will say that just like the traditional temporary tattoo, this time can be extended or shortened depending on where you choose to place the tattoo on your body and how much exposure to moisture it gets. The designs wash off easily with soap and water, so you could always use it as a way to detect if your child did indeed take a shower as they said. Kidding aside, I do appreciate how easily they are to clean off the skin.
Prinker recommends spraying on the provided cosmetic Skin Primer PP-2 before and after using the Prinker M to secure the ink and ensure the tattoo lasts longer. I will say that when printed with and without first applying the Skin Primer PP-2, I did like the results of the photo quality better when using the primer first. As far as spraying afterward, I couldn’t tell much of a difference in the amount of time the tattoo lasts with and without using the primer after applying the ink. For me, I stopped spraying the primer after I tattooed as it would always streak my designs. So for me, I wouldn’t recommend using it post-tattooing and only pre-tattoo going forward.
The Prinker M also prints on paper and I found the image to be much clearer and more vivid when printed on paper, which is to be expected. This seems like a good time to mention that there is also a Prinker S model. Below is a chart comparing the two options. As you can see, the Prinker S and the Prinker M are similar in most ways, with the only difference being the printing of pure black images and the capability of printing on paper.
As mentioned before, the provided ink cartridge is said to be able to print 1,000 tattoos. I have not had the opportunity to do that many tattoos in the few weeks of having the Prinker M, so I can’t give insights into how accurate that claim is at this time. However, when it is time to purchase additional ink, Prinker sells a new cartridge as a combo package of the ink cartridge with the skin primer. The combo pack can be purchased thru Prinker directly or on Amazon for between $119-129.
Prinker does offer a one-year limited warranty, which covers defects in materials and workmanship in the Prinker device. All of the details of their warranty is printed in the user manual.
The included user manual gives very detailed warranty information but doesn’t really give a whole lot of information about using the Prinker M or troubleshooting problems that may arise. The manual just gives a very basic snapshot of your Prinker M device. There is however a lot of helpful information on the Prinker website (the QR code found on the front of the manual) that was helpful for me. It really is imperative to go to the website to get all the information you need, you can not just rely on using the manual when it comes to using your Prinker M.
Now let’s learn how to set up your Prinker M. First things first, you will need to download the Prinker app and once downloaded you will be prompted to register an account.
Once downloaded, you will connect your Prinker M device via Bluetooth to the Prinker app. This is very simple and I didn’t have any issues linking the device to my phone. However, once synced the error message came up that the unit needed to be charged. So, I would recommend the first thing to do is fully charge your Prinker M with the included charging cable.
It did not take very long to charge up and I love that the screen clearly displays the charge percentage for you. Once charged, it’s ready to be used.
Your Prinker M comes packaged nicely in a box with each part in its labeled compartment. It’s funny that I note this, but I just was impressed at the presentation of the unit.
Now it is time to assemble the Prinker M. Here is a quick visual of the components of the Prinker M and how to assemble it.
This video is very helpful in providing you the information you don’t find in the user manual. It gives a great visual of putting the pieces together, syncing the Bluetooth, sending your image to the Prinker M from the Prinker app and applying the tattoo.
As mentioned above there are many options for getting the images you choose to use. For this example, I used one of the designs from the provided library of images in the Prinker app. You simply browse thru the albums in the app and click on an image you would like to create. As you can see, you have the option to scale your image – 100%, 70%, 50% as well as rotate.
When ready, click that Prink button on the app. Your phone will send the image to the Prinker M temporary tattoo printer unit via Bluetooth and once ready to print you will see your display/start button say “Press”. Press the button and glide the Prinker in the direction of the arrows on the screen on top of your skin. The rollers on the bottom of the skin guide glide nicely. Tada, you have just transferred your image to your skin and are sporting your new temporary tattoo.
I pressed too hard and glided too fast on this try. The learning curve is high for getting the tattoo to not be smuggy or incomplete. I still haven’t mastered the perfect way to use the Plinker M and get that crisp vivid image as advertised.
Part of the issue with the Prinker M temporary tattoo printer getting the image to your skin clear and crisp isn’t just user error, although that is a lot of it. Below you can find some good tips and tricks to help with some of those issues. The machine has a design issue that I’m not sure can be fixed, but it really really only works on the large and mostly flat areas of your body. No matter how many times I have tried, I couldn’t get any boney areas to even resemble what the image should of been. So, you can cross off being able to put anything on your ankle or wrist with Prinker.
One thing that I can appreciate is how simple it is to use the Prinker M. I love that the app and the machine itself does a great job at making sure that you know exactly what is going on- “press”, “arrows” and it even lets you know when you forget to take the cartridge cap off.
When you are finished using your Prinker M, it is very important to store your cartridge using the provided cartridge cap and placing inside the provided sealed bag.
When I felt that the ink wasn’t printing very well, I did find that following the instructions to clean the cartridge did help. The Prinker M is very particular when it comes to making sure that the ink nozzle area is cleaned and wiped. Sometimes just a quick swipe would be enough, sometimes I needed to go thru the full cleaning to get it to print the higher quality images.
Tips and Common Mistakes
I can tell you, there is a learning curve with the application of the tattoo with the Prinker M. You can not push too hard or glide it too fast/ too slow. The key to a flawless transfer is to glide at a constant speed. I still haven’t got it mastered to get that perfect transfer from machine to the skin as the product advertises, but each time I get a little better and hopefully by the time you are reading this review, I have figured it all out.
Here is a helpful video covering some of those issues and tips for getting a good application.
What I like
- Simplicity of setting up and using
- Limitless possibilities of designs
- Portable and lightweight
- Easy to remove simply with water and soap
What I’d change
- Add a carrying or storage case for storage
- Include more detailed instructions in user manual
- Get the price point more affordable
- Label ingredients on the Skin Primer PP-2 bottle
Overall I believe the Prinker M temporary tattoo printer is definitely a fun gadget for adults and children alike. I do think that the product would be great for parties, school activities and to use for marketing your business logo at events by offering guests something they will remember. As an everyday consumer, I would have a hard time spending the current price for the Prinker M, especially since in order to continue use, I would have to purchase additional ink cartridges and to be honest the product isn’t superior. Overall it’s a fun little piece of tech, and although the technology is pretty impressive, the results from the tattoos are not. I think it may cost a bit more than it’s worth until Prinker can figure out a way to make the tattoos better quality and be able to print on those skin boney areas like wrists and ankles. I will be happily donating my unit to the school and I think they will enjoy using it for spirit days.