Best Tattoo Transfer Paper

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Ever wondered how tattoo artists are designing an aesthetically and beautifully looked tattoo design on a person’s skin? Using the best tattoo transfer paper, a tattoo artist designs a more detailed and precise tattoo. Experienced and skilled tattoo artists know how much it is essential to have a good tattoo transfer paper in their arsenal.

A tattoo transfer paper assists both client and artist to understand the tattoo design before it is permanently etched on the skin. It helps a tattoo artist to know the exact design requirement of a client. Removing design from a tattoo transfer paper is much easier than a tattoo.

This article aims to share in-depth information about tattoo transfer paper. I will share the 10 best items, buying guides, types of tattoo transfer paper, step-by-step process of using it, an FAQ section, and many more.

So, let’s dive right in.

# Best

Repro FX Spirit Master Stencil Paper 100-sheets
Photo: Repro FX Spirit Master Stencil Paper 100-sheets

# Premium

Spirit Thermofax Thermal Transfer Paper
Photo: Spirit Thermofax Thermal Transfer Paper

# Great

Cridoz 100 Sheets Tattoo Stencil Transfer Paper
Photo: Cridoz 100 Sheets Tattoo Stencil Transfer Paper

What is a Tattoo Transfer Paper?

A tattoo transfer paper is a piece of carbon paper used by tattooists for designs. It helps a tattoo artist make a tattoo design before transferring it to a client’s skin.

However, beginner tattoo artists can choose an affordably priced tattoo transfer paper for practicing purposes.

Why Tattoo Transfer Paper is an Essential Item in a Tattoo Parlor?

Tattoo transfer papers are one of the significant items in a tattoo parlor. It is much helpful since a tattoo artist prints the design on it first, and then it is pasted on a client’s skin.

Professional tattoo artists mostly use this item. They do the freehand design on it, show it to the client, and once the client approves it, paste it on the client’s skin.

The tracing process of tattoos becomes much easier because of the ink used in the carbon layer.

Once the tattoo appears on the paper, tracing it on the skin gets much easier.

Moreover, you can conveniently make a tattoo design by hand with the help of tattoo transfer paper.

One of the significant benefits of tattoo transfer paper is that your customer will understand the tattoo design that will be pasted on the skin.

This way, customer satisfaction gets confirmed before and after the design is implemented on the skin.

Before pasting the design on your client’s skin, you can show the tattoo transfer paper’s design to get the client’s approval. If you use the best tattoo transfer paper in your tattoo parlor, then simply say “bye-bye” to your worries. This is because your client will definitely love the design you will show to him.

All you need to do is, keep faith in your tattooing skill, do your best and wait for the outcome.

Now one question might have popped up in your mind. What if I don’t use tattoo transfer paper?

Well, you will end up with shaky lines. At the same time, mistakes can happen. Also, after implementing the design, if your client gets disappointed with the final result, you will surely lose your customer. This is not good at all for your business.

So, tracing the design is significantly essential, and it becomes more comfortable with a tattoo transfer paper.

What Considerations Should I Keep in Mind Before Buying a Tattoo Transfer Paper?

Before buying any product, certain things need to be considered. If you don’t keep these considerations in mind, you will probably end up with the wrong product.

Read below to know the considerations.

  • Know your tattooing requirement and fix a budget.
  • Inspect how durable the transfer paper is.
  • The paper should have to have brilliant printing capability.
  • Prepare a shortlist of your selected items and read customer reviews.
  • Check the price on various platforms and compare.
  • Always buy paper from the best tattoo transfer paper brand.
  • Colorfast tattoo transfer papers are the best for bold tattoos.
  • Before buying, do consult with expert tattooists.

The points mentioned above need to be followed meticulously to find the best-suited tattoo transfer paper for your business or tattoo design.

What Are the Types of Tattoo Transfer Papers?

Generally, Thermal and Hectograph are the 2 types of tattoo transfer papers available in the market. Both deliver the same result while they have differences too. Learning about the differences is mandatory because it will help you to pick the right product.

Thermal Tattoo Transfer Paper

Indeed, you will get the best result if you already received a design from your client. After receiving the design, the next step is to trace it, and you can comfortably do it using a thermal machine or by hand. The best thing about thermal transfer paper is providing a clear image. Due to this feature, this is a standard tattoo transfer paper used by many professionals.

Remember to use thermal tattoo transfer paper with a thermal copier. Thus, the best result will be confirmed. It preserves the details of tattoo designs, delivers a crisp and sharp image.

Another excellent benefit of a thermal tattoo machine is that tracing the design is also easier using a ball pen. For this, you will need to remove the 3rd layer of the paper. Then use a transfer pencil or ballpoint pen to draw the tattoo design.

Thermal tattoo stencil papers are available with 4 layers.

  • The top layer is used to transfer the design, and it is known as the white layer.
  • A thin anti-scratch paper protects the tattoo design, which is called the protective layer. Before transferring the design to the thermal copier, you can remove or tear this paper.
  • The carbon or ink layer is the 3rd layer. This paper is colored purple, red, blue, or pink. This layer gets pressed by the thermal copier. Due to the press, the design gets transferred to the top layer using paper ink.
  • Lastly, all sheets are held together by the yellow layer.

Hectograph Tattoo Transfer Paper

Many tattoo professionals love to make freehand tattoo designs, and the superior quality result is confirmed with the hectograph tattoo transfer paper. Duplicate images get created when by the provided pressure of hectograph stencil paper.

You will find 3 layers in a hectograph tattoo transfer paper.

  • You have to draw the tattoo design on the top sheet.
  • The transfer paper is protected from the carbon paper by the central layer.
  • You will get the design in the 3rd layer. Characteristically, it is similar to carbon paper, and you can get a different colored design.
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It is advisable to use your hand, ball pen, or dot matrix printer to trace a hectograph transfer paper’s design. In terms of price, a hectograph is inexpensive than thermal transfer papers.

However, you will get the best quality tattoo design with a hectograph stencil paper if you use your hands to draw the design.

The 10 Best Tattoo Transfer Paper Review

1. Repro FX Spirit Master Stencil Paper

The Repro FX Spirit Master Stencil Paper is a trusted brand by many tattoo professionals for decades. It is a professional-grade tattoo transfer paper that can be used for both thermofax and stencil machines. This means it is an all-rounder. It provides the best result on light to medium skin type.

8.5” X 11” is the paper size of this transfer paper. However, cutting and reshaping it according to your preference is also possible. This 3-layered transfer paper is made from premium-quality materials to deliver the best result. Many professional tattoo artists prefer to use this paper since it saves both valuable time and money.

Repro FX Spirit Master Stencil Paper
Photo: Repro FX Spirit Master Stencil Paper

Pros and Cons


  • 100 sheets of paper.
  • A suitable paper for Thermofax and Stencil machine.
  • Easy to use.
  • Reshaping and cutting are relatively straightforward.


  • Stencil pigment gets faded a little bit.

2. Element Tattoo Supply Store 25-sheets Tattoo Transfer Paper

Mistakes can happen when tattooing by a tattoo artist and the easiest way to avoid the mistake is using the Element Tattoo Supply Store 25-sheet Tattoo Transfer Paper. Even if you want to make a hand-drawn tattoo design, this will let you do this too. This item is easy to use, doesn’t get jammed into the machine, and delivers the expected result.

The most satisfying feature of this transfer paper is that it comes with 4 ply sheets. The yellow base layer, purple carbon layer, brown protection layer, and white tattoo transferred layer promise that you will always get a consistent and brilliant outcome. This paper will let you make a straightforward, sharp, detailed, and clean tattoo design on the skin. Additionally, the coated casing protects the user’s hands and clothing from the purple mess.

Element Tattoo Supply Store 25-sheets Tattoo Transfer Paper
Photo: Element Tattoo Supply Store 25-sheets Tattoo Transfer Paper

Pros and Cons


  • Specially designed for the rigorous work of tattooing.
  • It is a 4-ply sheet.
  • Compatible with the thermal machine.
  • Trusted and preferred by professional tattoo artists.


  • Performance is not the same with all thermal machines.

3. Numbskin Stencil Pro Tattoo Transfer Paper

The manufacturer Numbskin is a top-rated brand in the tattooing industry. This Stencil Pro Tattoo Transfer Paper is made from premium quality material and dyes. It is formulated in such a way so that your hands and clothes remain mess-free. This is a pack of 50 sheets with a size of 8.5”X11”.

You can trace the tattoo design from the original source quite comfortably with this tattoo transfer machine. It provides the same outcome either with a thermal copy machine or hand-drawn stencils using a ball pen.

Its 4 layer transfer paper is responsible for individual tasks. The 1st layer is the white master sheet, where you will need to apply the design. The 2nd layer is known as transparent protective tissue that requires removal before use. The Navy Carbon page is the 3rd layer, and the 4th layer is the backing sheet. A combination of all these layers makes it an easy-to-use tattoo transfer paper.

Numbskin Stencil Pro Tattoo Transfer Paper
Photo: Numbskin Stencil Pro Tattoo Transfer Paper

Pros and Cons


  • Designed to be used for both thermal machines and hand-drawn stencils.
  • It produces crisp, clean copies with dark colors.
  • Manufactured by the top-rated brand with special materials.
  • Beginner-friendly tattoo transfer paper.


  • The ink gets washed off quickly.

4. Cridoz Tattoo Transfer Paper

Generally, new tattoo artists think that working with tattoo transfer paper is complicated. But using a tattoo transfer paper is not a challenging task, and this Cridoz Tattoo Transfer Paper is also no exception. It is effortless to use and doesn’t create any mess up once placed on the skin.

This item is great for the money. It comes with 100-sheets at an affordable price. Cridoz Tattoo Transfer Paper is suitable for transferring images, tattooing, and tracing tattoo designs. You can easily, cleanly, and comfortably transfer the tattoo design to your client’s skin. The paper’s dimension is 8 1/4″ x 11 3/4″ makes it compatible with all printers. 

Additionally, if you need to reshape or cut the paper to use, you can do it conveniently. It also includes 4-layers: the master sheet, protective- tissue, carbon, and backing sheet.

Cridoz Tattoo Transfer Paper
Photo: Cridoz Tattoo Transfer Paper

Pros and Cons


  • The suitable size can be used with all printers.
  • Best for freehand and operating with the thermal copier.
  • Uncomplicated to use.
  • Creates vivid stencil lines.


  • Sometimes, stencil lines become too bold.

5. Yuelong 25-sheets Tattoo Transfer Paper

Undoubtedly, you will get an expectedly designed tattoo with this Yuelong 25-sheet Tattoo Transfer Paper. More importantly, this tattoo transfer paper is an ideal paper to be used with a thermal copier. You will never experience fading or dying issues with it. The transferred tattoo design will be crispy, clean, and smooth all the time.

This transfer paper will let you trace images from the source without any hassle. The transferring effect is good. It also provides the best result with dot matrix printer hand-drawn stencils. It means if you don’t have a thermal copier or dot matrix printer, simply take a ball pen and design the tattoo on your client’s skin confidently.

It comes with a suitable 8 ½” X 11” measurement placed on all printers. All the impressive features ensure that you and your client will get a smooth, healthy, and beautiful tattoo.

Yuelong 25-sheets Tattoo Transfer Paper
Photo: Yuelong 25-sheets Tattoo Transfer Paper

Pros and Cons


  • 25 pack of transfer paper.
  • Outstanding for freehand drawing, thermal copier, and printers.
  • Offers a good finish.
  • Comes at an affordable price range.


  • Hard pushing is required to transfer the design.
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6. Jconly Tattoo Transfer Paper

Achieving precise and smooth lines is mandatory to get an outstanding tattoo design. With the Jconly tattoo transfer paper, you will definitely get a beautiful tattoo design. This is because it will enable a tattoo artist to transfer the tattoo design on a client’s skin with less-hassle.

The most satisfying thing about this transfer paper is that it is amazingly easy to use. The 4-ply of the transfer paper makes the process much easier. A tattoo artist can conveniently copy the design, and it stays on the skin without getting fade away. As a result, throughout the whole tattooing process, the artist can easily follow the transferred design.

It is equipped with safety features since specialized materials are used to manufacture this item. This way, the hands and clothes of the user remain clean and clear.

Jconly Tattoo Transfer Paper
Photo: Jconly Tattoo Transfer Paper

Pros and Cons


  • 100% satisfaction guaranteed.
  • Wallet-friendly price range.
  • Holds ink for a lot of time on the skin.
  • Well-manufactured tattoo transfer paper.


  • Often, it shows inconsistent performance.

7. Spirit Thermofax Thermal Transfer and Stencil Paper

The Spirit Thermofax Thermal Transfer and Stencil Paper is another well-featured item for experts and beginners. It performs smoother compared to other tattoo stencil papers. If you have a thermal machine in your tattoo studio or if you are practicing using the thermal machine, without any hesitation, grab this item and get a beautiful and tremendously designed tattoo.

Another great feature is that, when used with hand, these papers offer a great result. Their size is similar to A4 paper, which means they are the best to be used with a wide range of printers. Spirit thermal transfer papers are versatile and can accomplish a variety of tattoo tasks. It is an authentic product that delivers a great result.

However, it is advisable not to put too much pressure on it when applying it to the skin. This way, the paper can tear. It offers the best result to freehand tattoo designs.

Spirit Thermofax Thermal Transfer and Stencil Paper
Photo: Spirit Thermofax Thermal Transfer and Stencil Paper

Pros and Cons


  • You can accomplish a lot of tattoo designing tasks using these papers.
  • Standard size compatible with many printers.
  • Cheap price tag as well as durable.
  • The ink quality is absolutely impressive.


  • Sometimes, applying on the skin can be a challenging task.

8. Pirate Face 100 pcs Tattoo Thermal Transfer Paper

The Pirate Face 100 pcs Tattoo Thermal transfer paper is one of the best items in the market. When you need to transfer any bold image, you can rely on it without any tension. You will love to hear that; most tattoo professionals appreciate its performance and consistency.

100 sheets of tattoo paper will last for many days. 4 ply transfer paper is easy to use and transfer tattoo design. A4 paper size guarantees that you can print nearly every tattoo design on it. The quality is top-class, and you will never face any hassle to write on these papers. Moreover, you will always get an awesome tattoo design on the skin.

The Pirate Face is a popular and renowned manufacturer in the tattooing industry. They always manufacture premium quality items, and this transfer paper is also no exception.

Pirate Face 100 pcs Tattoo Thermal Transfer Paper
Photo: Pirate Face 100 pcs Tattoo Thermal Transfer Paper

Pros and Cons


  • It is a set of 100 pcs tattoo transfer paper that is quite affordable.
  • Convenient printing option with the thermal machine.
  • Durable and robust tattoo transfer sheet.
  • Many skilled and professional tattoo artists appreciate its performance.


  • Quality is a bit lower than its rivals, however a value-adding product too.

9. SLSY Tattoo Transfer Paper 100 Sheets

The SLSY Tattoo Transfer Paper 100 Sheets come with 2 ways to use the paper. Tracing the design is possible using a hand or thermal copier machine. Also, it is compatible with working with the dot matrix printer too. To get the best result, it is recommended to clean the tattooing area with either soap and water or stick deodorant.

Many tattoo artists complain that their used tattoo transfer paper doesn’t offer consistent service. Moreover, after transferring the design to the skin, the ink doesn’t stay long. As a result, they face problems copying the design. The good news is that, with this tattoo transfer paper, you will never face this kind of experience. Transferring a tattoo design is easier, and the ink stays on the skin for a long time.

Simultaneously, it is an excellent tattoo transfer paper for practicing. Beginners can hone their skills by practicing with it. Additionally, experienced tattoo artists will get the expected result for sure.

SLSY Tattoo Transfer Paper 100 Sheets
Photo: SLSY Tattoo Transfer Paper 100 Sheets

Pros and Cons


  • These papers let you create a clean tattoo design.
  • Transfers the design on the skin without any hassle.
  • Writing with a ball pen is relatively easier.
  • Great for beginners.


  • Some sheets come with inferior quality.

10. Y-Not Tattoo Transfer Paper

These professional-grade tattoo transfer papers are suitable for tattoo parlors and professionals. Simply trace over an original design using a ballpoint pen for hand-drawn stencils or use the paper sheets with a thermal copying machine. The package comes with 100 sheets, and each one is a 4-ply sheet, including the master sheet, protective tissue, carbon, and backing sheet.

100 thermal tattoo papers effortlessly transfer tattoo design and stay on skin longer. These stencil transfer paper sheets are great for making stencils by hand. It can transfer the tattoo design from the paper to the skin easily. You do not need too much pressure to apply.

This paper works great. The lines are very clean and produce a bluer color transfer vs. the traditional purple.

Y-NOT Tattoo Transfer Paper
Photo: Y-NOT Tattoo Transfer Paper

Pros and Cons


  • It includes 100 thermal tattoo papers.
  • Produces crisp and clean copies.
  • Excellent transfer paper for tattoo and stencil use.
  • Professional 4-layer transfer paper.


  • Sometimes, it shows less sticky characteristics.

5 Effective Steps on How to Use Tattoo Transfer Paper

So, you have got in-depth information about the tattoo transfer paper; let’s learn about the using process of tattoo stencil paper.

Required Tools:

  • Tattoo transfer paper
  • Printed or hand-drawn tattoo design
  • Cutter or scissor
  • Skin cleaner
  • Ballpen
  • Cotton balls
  • Green soap
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Step 01: Design Tracing

As stated earlier, the middle anti-scratch paper is removable. So, from the transfer sheet, remove it first. On top of the transfer sheet, place your hand-drawn or printed design. Use a ball pen to trace the design. The design will get transferred to the transfer page from the inked page due to the ball pen’s pressure.

Step 02: The Design Needs to Cut from the Top Page

After the completion of the tracing process, the 2 sheets need to be separated. From the top page, cut down the design. The inked side needs to be tracked.

Step 03: Skin Preparation for Transferring the Design

You just can’t transfer a tattoo design on your client’s skin without preparation. In fact, it is prohibited to transfer tattoo design on the skin if the skin is not treated correctly.

So, the tattooing area needs to be cleaned and oil-free. If the designing area has any hair, shave it off. Apply alcohol on the designated area using a cotton ball. Make sure to choose gentle alcohol. Then use green soap to wet the skin.

Step 04: Design Transferring

Place the ink-side-down portion on the skin firmly. Hole the paper on the tattooing area for the next 10 – 15 seconds. Then pull the transfer paper off. The tattooing area will be more likely to be wet. So, wait for 25 – 30 seconds before moving to the next step.

Step 05: Process Repetition

Always remember, removing a tattoo is much harder than removing a transfer paper. So, if you or your client is unsatisfied, follow the same process again.

Can I Use a Tattoo Transfer Paper without a Machine?

If you are not an owner of a stencil or dot matrix machine, you might be thinking about using tattoo transfer paper without a device.

Well, you can do it following the below method.

Draw the tattoo design on the tattoo transfer paper directly. However, you will not get an exact result for sure compared to the thermal printer result. If you are ok with the statement, decide to go with this method.

Frequently Asked Question

If you are not an owner of a stencil or dot matrix machine, you might be thinking about using tattoo transfer paper without a device.

Well, you can do it following the below method.

Draw the tattoo design on the tattoo transfer paper directly. However, you will not get an exact result for sure compared to the thermal printer result. If you are ok with the statement, decide to go with this method.

What If I use Regular paper instead of tattoo stencil paper?

No, you can use Regular paper instead of tattoo stencil paper to transfer the design. Whether you decided to go with the hand-drawn process or use a printer, tattoo stencil paper is a must-needed item for transferring tattoo design.

Why did I experience wiping off the tattoo stencil after applying it to the skin?

This is one of the most common problems of tattoo stencils. It happens mostly if the tattooing area is uncleaned and has obstructions like hairs and grimes. Also, if the area is too dry, it can happen.

However, you can solve the issue quite conveniently. Simply shave the area and then properly clean it using disinfectant or antiseptic soap or rubbing alcohol.

What pen do you use on tattoo transfer paper?

You can use a ball pen or pencil to draw on carbon paper. Due to the ball pen pressure, the carbon transfers to the stencil paper. Generally, professional and skilled tattoo artists prefer to use a ball pen and pencil made of hard graphite.

Is it possible to transfer the tattoo stencil using Vaseline?

Yes, you can use it, but with the right amount. Simply let the skin shine by using Vaseline. Don’t forget, too much use of Vaseline will make the transfer blur. Take a minimal amount of Vaseline, firmly apply it on the skin using your forefinger.

Can I reuse a piece of thermal tattoo transfer paper for tattooing?

No, it is not possible. Whatever the design you use, reuse of the thermal transfer paper for tattooing is entirely prohibited. However, after using a thermal tattoo transfer paper, you may find the remaining ink in the paper. Even if you reuse it, you will surely not get a quality output.

So, always use a new thermal transfer paper for a new tattoo design.

How do you stencil on fake skin?

Place the stencil on the fake skin and firmly press the paper down to ensure that all the ink has transferred to the fake skin. Then lift the paper carefully. If you get a satisfactory tattoo design on the fake skin, take a hand blower to dry the area. Use the blower for the next 10 – 15 minutes to dry. Finally, give the stencil at least 24-hours to dry and then start tattooing. If the result is unsatisfactory, make sure to follow the process from the beginning.

Sum Up

“Practice makes a man perfect” – this saying is suitable for all ages of people. If you are a beginner or expert tattoo artist, practicing is mandatory to make a tattoo design on a client’s skin. Without the right skill and the best tattoo transfer paper, you can’t achieve the best result.

Never buy a cheap product, and to get a perfect design, the use of tattoo transfer paper is a must. With the help of this item, your tattooing task will be enjoyable and fun, for sure.

Your customer will also be satisfied when you deliver the most expected result to the client. Overall, a good quality tattoo stencil paper helps grow a new tattoo artist’s business and lets the expert artist go to the next level.

The more you do practice; the more accurate your tattoo design will be. Hopefully, this article fulfills the requirement of skilled and beginner tattoo artists. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s manual before using any transfer paper in a printer.

Best of luck!