Although some tattoo artists are dedicated freehand practitioners, most tattoo artists use stencils. Far from being a crutch for inexperienced artists, tattoo stencils are a useful tool for ensuring consistency, accuracy, and predictability, especially when it comes to using tattoo flash art. Tattoo stencils help both artists and clients plan and understand the basic elements of any tattoo design, including size, line weight, shading, and overall detail. This is especially useful for clients who want a specific design, since not every image transfers well to skin. Tattoo stencils allow artists to make practical modifications and get them approved by the client before making it permanent.
To create a tattoo stencil, the artist first draws or traces an image on stencil paper, which consists of special layers that reproduce the image drawn on them. Once you’ve drawn or traced the design on the top of the stencil paper, you’ll have a replica of the design on a lower layer that can then be transferred to the skin using a stencil solution. Only a small amount of stencil solution is required to transfer the image. Once the design has been transferred to the client’s skin, you can troubleshoot any size, location, or detail issues and get final approval from the client. All that’s left then is to simply tattoo over the stencil outline.
Instead of drawing onto stencil paper by hand, some tattoo artists use thermal printers to create their tattoo stencils. This is much faster if you’re working mostly from tattoo flash art or otherwise ready-to-tattoo images. Using special thermal transfer paper and an image carrier, thermal printers quickly create exact stencil replicas of any design you feed into them. The transfer and inking process is the same, regardless of whether you use freehand or thermal stencils.
We also carry a variety of tattoo stencil accessories such as skin markers, stencil eraser pens, and replacement parts for thermal printers, as well as tattoo flash art and other drawing supplies like tattoo light boxes to take your tattoo stencil designs to the next level.