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Suntan Stencil

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"Hi, dork."

In a Beach Episode, characters can play a prank by outlining words or shapes on a sunbathing target so that when the Tan Lines develop, said words or shapes are displayed on the body. As with Face Doodling, it's usually done when the victim is sleeping. Alternatively, this may happen accidentally.

Compare with Embarrassingly Painful Sunburn. See also Plaster Cast Doodling for when someone doodles/draws on a plaster cast instead of the flesh of someone.


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  • One Japanese ad for Two Dogs cocktails featured a woman sunbathing at the beach. The two bulldog mascots come over and place their paws over her eyes, leaving her with a pair of paw-print stencils on her face when she wakes up.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Great Teacher Onizuka: Onizuka teaches his students how to do these in Okinawa, and makes an embarrassing Sweetie Graffiti one on Murai's back.
  • Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!. In the Beach Episode, Shinka and Sanae (who also suffered an Embarrassingly Painful Sunburn) do this on each other's backs, and neither knows what the other did until the next episode.
  • Ryuusei Sentai Musumet: In the Beach Episode, at one point Midori and Kurenai ask Modoki to apply lotion on them. He takes the chance to prank them by drawing an octopus on Midori's back, and a squid on Kurenai's, and they don't realize until the end of episode when they start arguing over it during the shower.
    Midori: Are you saying my head looks like an octopus or something like that?
    Kurenai: Oh yeah? And are you saying that I'm as flat as a squid, Midori?

    Comic Books 
  • A story in an Archie comic, in which Archie is dating Veronica, has Archie wondering about getting a tattoo or something for Veronica, then dozing off at the beach under a blanket with two small tears in it. On waking up, he discovers that he's one-upped the other beachgoers by getting 'branded' with a 'V'. On his forehead, no less.
  • In Gold Digger, this technique is displayed by Gina Diggers on the cover of Gold Digger Swimsuit Special #21 and Gold Digger Swimsuit Annual #1.
  • In one early issue of Supreme Power, Superman-expy Hyperion visits a confessional, seeking guidance for how to handle his realization that The Government is using him for not-so-nice ends. At one point, Hyperion briefly loses his temper at the priest's vague guidance, causing Hyperion's eyes to flare. When the priest leaves the confessional, he's left with a strange patterned tan - the result of Hyperion's heat vision shining through the grill of the confessional.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Surf's Up, a penguin is seen sunbathing, his flipper resting on his belly. When he moves the flipper, it leaves an outline on his sunburned underside.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miami Beach, Asshole Victim Harris falls asleep in the sun and gets "Dork" written on his chest in sunscreen by prankster Eric Lassard, the Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Mahoney. Cut to random strangers on the beach addressing him, "Hi, dork."
  • In The Inbetweeners, Simon reluctantly rubs suntan lotion onto Will's back, except for a portion Simon scrapes away with his fingernail in the shape of a penis. Will's love interest, Alison, then points out the embarrassing results.
  • In The Bellboy The eponymous bellboy (Jerry Lewis) puts a mesh towel over a sleeping sunbather to protect him from getting sunburned; in the next scene the man's face is sporting a mesh-patterned suntan.

    Live-Action TV 
  • House: A patient sees House during his clinic hours about weird white spots he acquired while sunbathing, believing it to be some kind of rash. House uses his combined skills of Doctor Jerk and Sherlock Scan to figure out that the man's son is a practical jokester with coins in his pocket; he placed the coins on his dad while he was sleeping.
  • Benny Hill:
    • A gag has Benny walking down a beach and seeing a tough guy sitting in the sand who has the tan line on his back of a bikini top.
    • In a longform sketch, Benny plays a movie spy à la James Bond or Mr. Steed. The camera zooms in on him while he's wearing some sunglasses; he dramatically whips them off to reveal...another pair of sunglasses. He then takes those off to reveal a strip of white skin across his face while the rest is tanned bordering on sunburned.
  • Accidental version: There was a Saturday Night Live sketch about a TV show called "How'd You Do That?" featuring people who accidentally did something embarrassing, and visible, to themselves. One guest has a tan, with the pale part being a business sign, backwards. He had fallen asleep in a store window with a sign painted on it.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: In "Stock Car races", Hal sneaks the boys out of school to take them to the stock car races. However, he gets busted by Lois because the lettering on the visor he has been wearing all day has caused the word 'RUSTY' to be etched over his face.
  • An intentional variation in CSI: NY. In "The Triangle," the team find a small pineapple-shaped sticker on the sleeve of a murdered armored car guard. It's winter-time so when they find traces of sunscreen on it, Lindsay realizes that it's for making a "tan-too". The perp had worn it in a tanning bed to produce the shape on her skin, forgot to remove it, and it fell on the victim at the scene.

  • MAD artist Al Jaffee drew a young woman sunning herself prone on a public beach. Two mischievous boys positioned a cardboard cutout of a hand just above the middle of the woman's back. This created an untanned silhouette of the fake hand, which went unnoticed until the woman returned home. Her husband noticed the "handprint" and began to rail at his wife for dallying with another man.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In a Zits, Jeremy spelled out 'SARA' in sunburn using an actual stencil. This worked well till Sara was so touched by his gesture that she hugged him.
  • FoxTrot:
    • When Paige fell asleep while sunbaking, Jason went looking for the magnetic letters from the refrigerator to spell out a message on her back, but his mother stopped him.
    • In another strip, Peter also fell asleep while out in the sun — which left the outline of the Zs he was catching on his belly.
  • Garfield Sunday comic for July 13, 1997. In the title panel, we see Jon's suntanned chest with the word "Garfield" on it. Garfield is nearby grinning and holding a bottle of sunblock, which he applied to Jon before his tanning session to "write" the word there.

  • In the Neil Simon play The Star-Spangled Girl, we're told that Andy spends time with the landlady in lieu of paying rent. At one point they go surfing; Andy later describes his sunburn in detail, saying that he has the outline of a bird from where a seagull passed over them while they were out at sea waiting in vain for waves.

  • A Barbie-like doll called "Suntan Tuesday Taylor" was actually able to tan in the sun. A commercial showed girls putting a star-shaped sticker on the doll before tanning, followed by the results.


    Web Original 
  • Homestar Runner:
    • One of Strong Bad's suggestions for breaching a sensitive topic to a colleague involves writing it in a "reverse sunburn on your brother's giant, square, billboard-sized back". Cue Strong Mad peeling off the top of his singlet to reveal the message Strong Bad had left there for Coach Z: "Your tiny bathing suit demeans us all".
    • Subverted in another instance, where Strong Sad has an unburnt area in the shape of a bikini top on his chest. There never was a bikini top; that's just the way his skin tans.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Futurama episode "The Deep South", Bender steals Amy's parasol while she's sunbathing (to use as a fishing hook). Later on, she wakes up with sunburn and gets angry. Bender protests that he put sunblock on her - cut to a shot of her back:
    "Honk If Bender Is Great"
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Homer volunteers at a Habitat For Humanity build. He takes off his wedding ring so it won't get paint-stained, and Cookie Kwan thinks he's recently divorced or widowed because of the tan line on his finger.
  • During a montage in the Whole Episode Flashback "Greg the Babysitter" of Steven Universe, Greg falls asleep with a slice of pizza on his chest and Rose Quartz watches him sleep, giggling, until he wakes up and discovers the wedge of unburnt skin on his chest.
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Pest", Gumball admits to his little sister Anais that he kept messing up her sunscreen when she was born to make it look like she had a facial birthmark in the shape of a goat because he thought if she looked cursed their mom wouldn't love her more than him.
  • In the Sonic Boom episode "The Meteor", Orbot and Cubot set Eggman up to get a sunburn that leaves a Sonic-shaped mark on his forehead. Twice.

    Real Life 
  • Tanning stickers in different shapes can be placed on a person's body when they go out tanning. When the person is finished tanning, the sticker is removed, leaving a little untanned spot in the shape of the sticker.
  • While not exactly embarrassing, wearing a watch while outside and getting tanned or burned will leave a pale impression of the band and timepiece on your skin that looks completely out of place.