The best way to get the stencil to stay while tattooing

Written by kent page mcgroarty
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The best way to get the stencil to stay while tattooing
The more you practice stencil application, the better you'll get. (grunge tatoo image by Dumitrescu Ciprian from

Though experienced tattoo artists can freehand tattoo designs, novices generally need to use tattoo stencils. Such stencils can be purchased pre-made or you can design your own using tattoo stencil paper. Either way, tattoo stencils must be carefully applied to clean skin to create a quality tattoo. Stencils that bleed can upset the tattoo design and potentially force you cover up your mistake, which can lead to customer dissatisfaction. Clean, moistened skin is the best canvas for such application.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Razor
  • Shave gel or cream
  • Soap and water
  • Deodorant

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  1. 1

    Shave the skin using shave gel or cream. Clean it with soap and water to remove oils.

  2. 2

    Moisten the skin by applying a thin coating of deodorant. Slowly apply the tracing paper to the skin ink side down.

  3. 3

    Slowly remove the tracing paper. Allow the stencil to dry completely before beginning tattoo work.

Tips and warnings

  • Other products you can use to moisten the skin before applying the stencil include alcohol, liquid soap or dish washing detergent mixed with 30 per cent alcohol. Use what works best for you.
  • Use quality ink and tracing paper for best results.

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