A tattoo artist uses a combination of stencils and transfers paper to help get the design you want clearly marked on your skin. The artist uses a stencil so they can have exact lines that are uniform each time they create a particular tattoo. Then the transfer paper is used to get the chosen design marked on the skin.
We talked to several tattoo artists to hear their thoughts on the best tattoo transfer paper. Because we wanted our readers to fully understand this product, we also asked the artists to share tips and advice on the use of this item.
We took the most frequently recommended paper, and the advice and used it to create this product review/buying guideline for you.
Top 5 Best Tattoo Stencil Paper Reviews
#1. Pirate Face Tattoo Transfer Stencil Paper
This is 8.5” x 11” 4-ply transfer paper. It is perfect for use by tattoo artists, hobbyists, crafters, businesses, and homeowners. You can easily draw a custom freehand design onto this paper and then transfer your custom design to the skin of your customer.
Take a pencil and draw your custom design on the top layer. Remove the second sheet and then trace the pencil drawing using an ink pen. The ink transfers onto the top paper and you press the drawing on the prepared skin of the client. Easy, fast, and allows your work to be one-of-a-kind masterpieces.
You need to be sure and remove the loose sheet, or second sheet before you try to create a design or transfer the design. The second sheet is more a protector that stops smudges and damages from happening to the carbon or transfer sheet.
This paper is affordable and easy to use.
- Easy to use for freehand drawings
- Fast transfer
- Not intended for thermal copier
#2. Yuelong Tattoo Transfer Paper
This transfer paper is reliable for creating crisp and clear images. You do not have to worry about
Fading and smudging because this paper reduces the possibility of those things. It creates dark images that are easy to see. It creates clear lines that are well defined. It helps you create artwork that is impeccable.
This is versatile transfer paper that makes it possible for you to do free-hand drawings of the design you want to transfer. It also allows you to use a thermal copy machine or a dot matrix printer to create the stencil for transfer. You have more options and get to customize your stencils more using this paper.
The image that this paper is capable of leaving on your skin is strong and resilient. You will find that the image can stay easy to see on the skin for as many as three days after the transfer. That means you do not have to rush to finish and ink job. If you get delayed the design will be easy to see when you get back to it.
- Sturdy paper
- Creates clear and easy to see lines
- Can be used with a dot matrix printer
- Ink from paper may stay in place under tattoo for several days
#3. Cridoz Tattoo Transfer Paper
This is a large package of transfer paper. There are 35 sheets of A4 size paper ready to memorialize your custom artwork designs.
You can transfer the design of your choice onto the paper using a thermal copier or by hand. You get the freedom to choose how to create your transfer. Hand drawings are somewhat slower, but they are one-of-a-kind masterpieces that cannot be duplicated. The thermal copier saves you time and is often the easiest method.
The large sheets can be used whole or you can trim them down into smaller pieces. The smaller pieces can be easier to handle when applying the design to the skin, and you get the opportunity to create more designs using the package of paper.
You can use this paper to make a removable tattoo or to create the markings for a permanent tattoo. A lot of people like to try the removable tattoo for a day or so before they commit to a large or extensive tattoo.
- Creates a crisp image that can be used as a removable tattoo
- Large paper pieces that can be cut
- Works well in a thermal copier
- Hand-drawing is slower with this paper
#4. Y-Not Tattoo Transfer Paper
The images produced using this transfer paper are crisp, clean, bold, and long-lasting. You do not have to worry that part-way through the tattoo session the image is going to fade or be smeared away so you have to improvise. The image created by this paper has been known to stay in place for several days without fading, smearing, smudging, or becoming distorted.
The transfer colors are very dark so they are easier to see and distinguish. There are no pale lines that confuse you. The transfer is clearly defined in dark and resilient colors.
Use one of two transfer methods and get great results from both. The paper is designed to work great with thermal transfer copy machines. You will get clear images that you can trust. It is also designed to work well with the freehand drawing style of transfers that many custom ink jobs require.
- Creates a sharp image that is not easily smeared
- Great for freehand artists
- Durable ink that can be visible for days
- Not as easy to cut and use on small tattoo designs as some other papers are
#5. SLSY Tattoo Transfer Paper
100 sheets of transfer paper are enough to keep you busy for quite some time. You can use the full-size A4 sheet of paper or you can cut the paper down to smaller pieces for smaller tattoo work. This makes it a lot easier to get a stencil on a neck, ankle, or in a tight and delicate area.
This paper is versatile and makes it possible for you to create a clear and concise image to follow as you administer the tattoo ink. It can withstand the process and it does not fade away or wash away while you are working. It also makes an excellent temporary tattoo for parties, clubs, or allows customers to see how a tattoo design is going to look before they make their final decision.
This can be transferred using a thermal copier or you can do freehand transfers by drawing the design directly onto the paper. You control how you use the paper and make it do what you need it to do.
- Easy to use to
- Does not easily fade
- Can be used to create small or large stencils
- Usually online found in online shops
What is Tattoo Transfer Paper
Transfer paper is a product used by many crafters and artists to create impeccable designs during their creative process. The paper is carbon paper that is often referred to as stencil paper.
Why You Need Transfer Paper
You need carbon paper or stencil paper in order for you to get the exact image you want clearly marked on your skin. The artist will then be able to follow the lines of the drawing on your skin and create the inked image that you desire.
When you visit a tattoo artist you have a design you like in mind, or you look through a catalog of designs. You choose the image that you want the artist to put on your skin. You expect the inked drawing they create on your body to look exactly like the image you chose the design from.
Freehand drawing an image on human skin is difficult when you are attempting to create a specific look. The artist will draw or transfer the image you like onto carbon paper to make the drawing on the skin easier, and more accurate.
Carbon paper is a tool that tattoo artists use to enhance their work and make the procedure go faster.
Types of Tattoo Transfer Paper
When you consider tattoo transfer paper there are two basic types of paper used in this process. The different styles of paper are basically chosen according to the preference of the artist, but each type does have specific benefits and drawbacks.
Thermal paper is the typical carbon style paper -that uses a heat source for the transfer. The thermal paper used is actually four pieces of paper.
First Layer – this layer is usually white and is the layer that the actual image is created on.
Second Layer – this layer is a free-floating layer that is generally milky white in color. It is very thin and often it is simply thrown in the trash.
Third layer – is carbon paper that is generally a bluish or purple color. The stencil or image drawing is pressed onto the carbon paper and the carbon paper transfers the image to the first paper layer. The first and third layers are generally bound together so they do not move or slip during the transfer.
Fourth Layer – this sheet is normally kind of yellow. It is designed to keep the other layers in place.
This paper is not often used anymore. The thermal paper is easily used with a printer but the hectograph paper is more suitable for free-hand drawing designs. There are also three layers of this paper, and the artist draws the design onto the paper using a special pencil.
Hectograph designs take longer to create so most artists use the thermal variety today.
How to Use Tattoo Transfer Paper
How you use the paper will make a big difference in the final design result.
Step 1 – Create your design or choose the design you want from an artist catalog.
Step 2 – Slide the original design paper beneath the carbon paper. The original design will be under the carbon paper section but on top of the upper white sheet.
Step 3 – Take the papers and put them into the thermographic transfer maker. Feed the paper into the transfer maker according to the manufacturer’s specifications. The original drawing will enter the transfer machine upside down.
Step 4 – When the transfer is completed you will gently remove the sheet of carbon paper from the rest of the pieces. Look carefully at the image on the white sheet to make sure that it looks like you want it to look.
Step 5 – Situate the design on the skin where you want to place the tattoo.
Step 6 – Moisten the skin with soapy water.
Step 7 – Press the carbon design on the skin where you have placed the soapy water. Confirm with the client that the design is being placed exactly where they want it. Finally, press firmly on the paper to transfer the design onto the skin. Use your hands and smooth the paper out as you make the transfer.
Step 8 – Slowly lift up the carbon paper. If the design is not clear enough or all of the lines did not transfer you can lay the paperback over the area and press firmly until you get a clear transfer.
How to Use Tattoo Transfer Paper Without a Machine
To use tattoo transfer paper without a machine or copier you will need to freehand draw the image you desire on the top layer of paper. The design you create will be transferred to the bottom layer and then you apply the paper to the skin of the individual exactly like you would apply it if the image had been created using a thermal copier.
Before 1990 the majority of all transfer stencils were made by hand using a hectograph pencil and hectograph paper. The ability to create the images using a copier made the hectograph paper almost obsolete. Still, there are times when artists prefer to draw their custom images onto the paper rather than send everything through a copy machine.
You are going to need a good quality pencil, your transfer paper, and a hard surface to do the drawing on.
Place the paper onto the hard surface, and remove the protective tissue layer. As you use the pencil to draw the image onto the top layer apply slight pressure so the image is pressed onto the bottom layer.
Always check the stencil and get customer approval prior to applying the stencil to the skin.
Frequently Ask Questions
Can You Put Tattoo Transfer Paper in a Printer?
The ability to use tattoo transfer paper in a copy machine is dependent on the paper that you have and the copy machine that you have. The majority of paper that is designed for tattoo transfer today can be used with a thermal copier. Some types of paper are capable of being used with a machine or for freehand style artworks. Check the manufacturer details about the paper you are buying to discover if it can be used with a machine.
How can I transfer ink to skin without tracing paper?
You can do this, but it is harder to do this procedure without transfer paper. You need to tape the image onto the area where you want the tattoo. Then you have to use a pen on the backside of the image and trace the lines. You are going to need to press firmly and since the skin is softer than a table or drawing area the image may be distorted.
Is carbon paper the same as transfer paper?
Basically, transfer paper is carbon paper along with other layers of paper to create a set of papers that allow the design to be created on paper, and then applied to the skin.
What can be used instead of carbon paper?
You can use a lot of paper to draw your image on. Wax paper is one of the preferred papers to do a stencil without carbon paper because the wax paper is tough and will hold up top the procedure nicely. Parchment paper is also a nice paper that holds up to the job.
Transfer paper is the easiest way to get the image you want to tattoo from the drawing board to the skin surface. It allows you to create an image the customer can see, and it transfers dark lines onto the skin that can stay in place through the process without fading, smudging, or disappearing.
Tattoo artists agree that you should buy the highest quality transfer paper if you want the clearest images. Practice using the transfer paper to apply temporary tattoos before you begin using it for ink blueprints.