How to Apply a Tattoo Stencil Without Deodorant

Deodorant is one of the most commonly used items when transferring a stencil drawing onto human skin. Sometimes you do not have the deodorant on hand but do not worry, deodorant is not the only product that you can use.

We all agree that stick deodorant is easy, convenient, and cheap to use when transferring a stencil. But other products are easy, cheap, and readily available too.

Rubbing Alcohol

Normal rubbing alcohol like the bottle you have in your bathroom right now will work to help you make a stencil drawing transfer onto human skin.

What you need:

  • Cotton balls or cotton cloth (in a pinch use a paper towel)
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Small bowl or container to pour some of the rubbing alcohol into

1) Pour some of the rubbing alcohol into the container. You can pour it onto the cloth or cotton straight from the bottle but I pour it into a small container so I can saturate my cotton thoroughly without making a big mess.

2) Place the clean cotton ball or whatever cloth you are using in the alcohol long enough to get a generous amount of alcohol on it.

3) Rub the cloth or cotton ball over the skin area where you are going to place the tattoo stencil. You want to moisten the skin with alcohol so that it is still damp to the touch.

4) Make the transfer pretty quickly because alcohol evaporates quickly and the skin will be left dry after evaporation takes place.

Hand Sanitizer and Green Soap

Since the pandemic hit almost everyone has hand sanitizer on hand at all times. A mixture of hand sanitizer and green soap [almost everyone who knows anything about creating a tattoo has some green soap on hand] will make the skin ready for the transfer.

What you need:

  • A small bottle of hand sanitizer [the clear kind works best]
  • A capful or two capfuls of green soap
  • A small container to mix the soap and sanitizer in
  • Small spatula or spoon to mix the ingredients with
  • cotton balls to apply the mixture to the skin

1) Pour the hand sanitizer into the bowl or container you are going to use for mixing.

2) Pour one cap of green soap into the container, and if you feel like you need a little more of the soap add another one.

3) Use a spoon or a small spatula and stir the ingredients together until they combine completely.

4) Dip a cotton ball or piece of cotton cloth into the mixture and apply it to the skin where the tattoo transfer will be placed.

Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline)

We often forget that petroleum jelly like Vaseline is soothing, it softens skin, it can protect fresh ink and it can be used during a transfer.

When you use petroleum jelly you apply it straight from the container onto the skin. You can use your finger with or without a glove covering it.

The trick to using petroleum jelly like Vaseline for transfer purposes is getting the right amount of the product on the skin. If you apply the petroleum jelly too liberally it will distort the transfer and make the lines appear blurry.

You want to apply enough petroleum jelly like Vaseline on the area to make the skin shine, but not so much that you can scrape it off of the skin.

When you apply the transfer paper to the skin hold it firmly in place with one hand and use a finger on your other hand to firmly massage over the paper to make the transfer complete. Lift the paper off very slowly starting at one corner and lifting upwards.

Transfer Gel

There are professional gels sold by tattoo product manufacturers that are designed to help moisten the skin and prepare it for a transfer. These products are more expensive than petroleum jelly, hand sanitizer, or alcohol. 

Final Thoughts

All the deodorant does to the skin before transfer conditions it, moistens it, and keeps it from being dry. There are many other items that can do this, but I suggest playing around and trying out different products before it is critical that you make the transfer for a paying client.

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