How To Apply a Tattoo Stencil

A tattoo stencil is used by professional tattoo artists in order to create accurate and properly proportioned tattoos. You can choose from thousands of various stencil designs at a tattoo parlor. Or you can bring your own stencil if you have one. You can download tattoo stencils from the Internet.

When a professional tattoo artist applies a tattoo stencil, he usually needs the following items:

  • Sterile surgical gloves
  • Water
  • Anti-bacterial soap
  • Roll of paper towels
  • Regular Speed Stick or any unscented deodorant
  • Petroleum jelly or Vaseline
  • Brand new, sterile razor blade

Here are the steps in applying a tattoo stencil.

  • Wear sterile surgical gloves.
  • Clean the area of the skin where the tattoo stencil will be applied. Wet the area with a little water and soap the area using an anti-bacterial soap. Pat the area dry with clean paper towels.
  • Remove any and all the hair at the tattoo site. Make sure to use a brand new, sterile and sharp razor blade.
  • Clean the area with water and anti-bacterial soap once again. Completely pat the skin dry using more paper towels.
  • Get a Speed Stick or unscented deodorant. Rub the tattoo site with this. Make sure to apply liberally. The deodorant or speed stick will help adhere the tattoo stencil to the skin.
  • Lay the tattoo stencil on the prepared area. The stencil should be facing the correct side. The purple side is the one that should come in contact with the tattoo site.
  • Locate the center of the tattoo stencil. Press the tattoo stencil gently onto the center of the site. Keep the tattoo stencil still.
  • Rub the stencil evenly. Do not allow it to slide on the skin. The tattoo stencil should be held down with the palm of the hand for at least 10 seconds.
  • Peel off the paper slowly.
  • Let the tattoo stencil dry on the skin. Leave it for a minimum of 10 minutes.
  • Pat the transferred tattoo stencil with a clean paper towel and then apply petroleum jelly on the stenciled skin.


  • Professional tattoo artists prefer that their clients stand while the tattoo stencil is being applied. This ensures that the clients move less and less movement means less possibility of smudging the stencil.
  • Tracing a design unto the skin results in poor quality. Tattoo stencils have to be applied onto the skin.
  • Some professional tattoo artists use mild soaps like Ivory for cleaning the skin. What is important is that the soap will not leave a film or any residue on the skin.
  • Distilled water instead of tap water can be used to wipe when tattooing. It usually does not cause the stencil to smudge or create a burning sensation on the skin.

One important step in getting a tat or tattoo is applying a tattoo stencil. Having a tattoo stencil transferred to the tattoo site ensures that you will have an accurately drawn tattoo. No one wants to have a tattoo that is disproportioned especially since a tattoo is with you for a lifetime.


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