Shadowhunter Runes: A Tutorial

If you’ve read The Mortal Instruments, then surely you’ve felt the same desire as I have: to be a Shadowhunter. Unfortunately, if we mundanes are Marked we risk becoming Forsaken, and I think I speak for everyone when I say that that’s no fun. So instead, I’ve come up with a way for you to look the part of a Nephilim, and not go insane.

What you’re going to need:

  • Tracing paper
  • a pencil
  • a towel
  • black paint or black makeup (I used creme paint)
  • a small paintbrush

1) Pull up a picture of the rune you want, and using the tracing paper, outline it in pencil (I don’t recommend using the runes in the codex because they are so small.)  

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2) Cut out the rune, flip it so it’s backwards, and then trace it again boldly.

3) Take your backwards outline and lay it pencil side down on your body where you want it; now it will appear right side up. Press and hold a damp towel to the drawing for thirty seconds, or until the whole drawing is wet. You must press firmly or it will not work.

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4) Carefully peel off the towel and the tracing paper, which should leave behind a faint but clear outline of your rune. If it did not, repeat steps 1-4 until it does (the key is to draw darkly, and press firmly).

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5) Using your black material and your paintbrush, fill in the outline of the rune. Let it dry for at least 1-2 minutes before touching it.how-to-be-a-shadowhunter 007

You’re done!! Repeat this process as many times as you want to get that full Shadowhunter effect; if you’re especially determined, use white paint or makeup to do thin versions the runes to show that they’ve been used already, and have faded to scars.

Now all you need is to throw on your edgiest dress or leather pants (or, if you’re more like Alec Lightwood, your rattiest sweatshirt), and you’re all set for a night patrolling the streets, keeping the demons at bay.


If you end up using this tutorial, please share the pictures with me! You can tag or mention me in your Instagram posts using @brinasbooks.

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