How to Make a Tattoo Stencil With a Printer

Tattoo shops generally use pricey thermal machines or hand-trace printed images onto carbon paper to make stencils, but with the right paper and a home printer, you can create tattoo stencils at home.

You can also use temporary tattoo paper with an inkjet or laser printer, and if you have an older dot matrix printer, you can use carbon transfer paper.

Load the image that you would like tattooed onto your computer. Print a test sheet on regular printer paper to ensure the design is the correct size and placement.

Place the special paper into the printer. With a dot-matrix printer, place carbon paper into the printer tray. With an inkjet printer, use temporary tattoo paper. Follow manufacturer instructions to correctly load the paper.

Allow the paper to dry completely when using temporary tattoo paper.

Apply the clear adhesive sheet to the printed sheet of temporary tattoo paper, per manufacturer instructions.

Cut the design from the paper, staying close to the edges.

If using carbon paper and a dot matrix printer, apply glycerine-based deodorant on the area where the stencil will be placed. Press the carbon paper stencil onto the skin firmly, transfer-side down. Remove the paper.

Peel the adhesive backing from the temporary tattoo paper and press the tattoo design onto the skin firmly. Wet a sponge and press it against the back of the paper to release the tattoo.