Stencils are your roadmap while you’re tattooing. If you don’t know how to place a stencil correctly - or how to make the stencil last for the whole tattoo - then you could end up with your stencil rubbing off while you’re working, leaving you to tattoo blind.
In this article, we’ll break down:
Materials You Need:
We like Green Gold, especially if you’re making a stencil using thicker printer paper. Anchored and Stencil Stuff are also popular brands.
Alcohol or Hand Sanitizer
You’ll use this to prep the skin before putting the stencil primer down on the skin. Alcohol cleans the skin from all the oils, which helps the stencil stay longer throughout a tattoo.
You can make a stencil using a pen and paper or with a stencil machine. This application process works for both.
You will also need razors, paper towels, and gloves. You want to make sure you are wearing gloves at all times.
How to Place a Stencil:
Clean the Area
Grab your soap bottle and clean the area that you're about to lay the stencil on.
Shave the Area
Use your razor to shave the area. When you're shaving, you want to make sure you're shaving enough that you can get a good picture when the tattoo is done. You don’t want a ton of hair hanging out in the background, because it really takes away from the actual tattoo.
Wipe Down With Alcohol
Spray down the area with hand sanitizer or alcohol. What that's going to do is get rid of all of the oils on the skin to help the stencil stay better through the time of the tattoo.
Mark Your Stencil
Place your stencil on the skin to make sure you have the appropriate room. Make three or four little marks so you can get it all matched up perfectly to where you want to put the tattoo on the body.
Sometimes, you’ll have a little bit of residual stencil stay on the skin right there. If this happens, just grab a little bit of alcohol again and wipe that clean.
Apply Stencil Primer
After you wipe down with alcohol, grab your stencil applicator or your stencil primer. Most of the time, we recommend Green Gold. It works great for Neo Traditional designs. However, if there's a ton of really tiny lines in your stencil, we would recommend using Anchored.
You don't want to put it on thick. You want it just sticky enough without it being overpowering, because it'll smear everywhere.
Rub the primer in a little bit, making sure it gets to that sticky consistency.
Apply the Stencil
When you put your stencil down, match up your lines and lay it down on the skin. Lightly press down on it and hold it there for a couple of seconds to make sure the full stencil is down on the skin.
From there, you can just peel the stencil off.
Dry the Area
You can use a paper towel to pat down on the area to get all the residual stencil primer and the transfer ink off so it’s not clumped together, which would cause it to smear.
Wait 15 minutes before you start tattooing so the stencil has time to dry completely.
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