When working with a complicated tattoo design, it can be difficult to capture every detail of the original sketch. Stencils make transferring the image to the skin quick and easy, and allow you to carefully plan and place the tattoo. Thermal printers make great stencils but can be very expensive--ranging into the thousands of dollars. Making a tattoo stencil using a dot matrix printer can save money and produce great results.
Scan the tattoo sketch to you computer and convert it to a black-and-white image. Most computer imaging software has a function that will desaturate images in one step.
Remove the protective layer from a sheet of thermal paper. This is the thin, onionskin paper between the black carbon layer and the white sketch layer.
Load the sheet of stencil paper in a dot matrix printer.
Print the black-and-white image from the computer using the dot matrix printer. This will create an image of the original sketch that you can transfer to skin for tattooing.