How To Use Tattoo Transfer Paper Without Thermal Copier By Hand

If you are new to the creative art of tattoo making, you must be figuring out what does what in the entire procedure. One of the main things used in this process is tattoo transfer paper. You may be confusing it with the design paper but they are just two different kinds of paper.

Expounded below is a detailed analysis of how to use a tattoo transfer paper. So, if you are interested to know further then keep on reading to find out everything there is to know about it. Now, without any further of your time let’s get down to business!

How to Use Tattoo Transfer Paper With a Printer?

For those who want to know how to use tattoo transfer paper with a printer, I have prepared a simple series of steps you can follow. But before we get started, let me enlighten you on the types of printers you may use for this job.

For starters, a thermal printer is an ideal option however, you may also use a regular inkjet or laser printer as well. But, make sure that you use thermal paper, carbon transfer paper, or a temporary transfer paper for this job. All these papers are completely compatible with regular printers.

Using Thermographic Transfer Paper

Step 1: First things first, you need to select a design you want to get tattooed. Then, connect the device, that has your desired image, with the printer.

Step 2: Once the design is chosen and the devices properly connected, it is time to feed your transfer paper into the paper tray of your printer.

However, make sure that you correctly position the transfer paper inside the paper tray with a white side facing the printer head. Getting a perfect print on the wrong side of the transfer paper won’t do you any good.

Step 3: Look out for any changes you might want in your selected image. For example, you may want to change the axis or the size.

Edit the image on the computer before you get it tattooed on the transfer paper. When satisfied completely, hit print.

Step 4: This is the step where you need to be very patient. You will have to set the printout aside to let it dry out completely especially when you are using a temporary transfer paper.

If you don’t let it dry out chances are that your image will smudge out and become blurry, which is definitely not something you will fancy. So, I repeat “BE PATIENT ENOUGH TO LET IT DRY DOWN”.

Step 5: Once the design is completely dry, take a pair of scissors and cut out the design from the transfer paper.

The idea is to make it as small as possible for you to work easily with it. However, make sure that you don’t damage the design while you are at it. This step will help with the correct positioning of the tattoo on the skin in the next step.

Step 6: Now that your tattoo stencil is ready, all that is left to do is prep up your skin to transfer the design.

For this purpose, lathe up the targeted portion of your skin with non-toxic deodorant; Make sure to use liberal amounts.

Press the Carbon Copy

Now, slowly and carefully put the transfer paper facing down on the prepped-up skin. Be careful to correctly position the design at whatever angle you want.

Step # 07: Gently massage the back of the transfer paper against the skin so that the design will transfer completely without leaving any blank spaces.

After that, peel off the transfer paper from the skin, and Voila! You are done.

What Is Tattoo Transfer Paper?

A tattoo transfer paper is a special type of paper that can be used to transfer a pencil sketch of a tattoo from the paper to your skin. This sketch acts as a guide for tattoo artists while drawing an actual tattoo on your skin. In this way, the chances of mistakes are greatly reduced as the outlines are clear and they just have to trace the tattoo machine along the lines transferred through the transfer paper.

What Is Tattoo Transfer Paper

What Is a Thermal copier?

A thermal copier is a special kind of copier machine and is an essential tool for every tattoo artist. It is based on thermal effect and produces prints on sheets that are subject to special treatment. Tattoo artists use it to produce tattoo stencils. The artists use the best tattoo stencil printer to print copied stencils.

How To Use Tattoo Transfer Paper Without Thermal Copier?

The best way to use tattoo transfer paper without a thermal copier is to create a stencil by sketching with hand. You can use this stencil to transfer the tattoo design from the paper directly onto the skin. Many tattoo artists prefer to use stencils because it draws a perfect outline of a tattoo and deals with different body types and contours more efficiently and accurately.

How To Use Tattoo Transfer Paper By Hand?

To use a tattoo transfer paper by hand,

  • first, you’ll need to understand the tattoo transfer paper contains 3 layers of the paper. The first layer is a stencil to draw our design on. The second is like tissue paper. And lastly, the third one is the carbon copier.
  • Remove the second layer of tissue paper before drawing the sketch.
  • Draw the tattoo with a pencil and the drawn image will appear on the carbon copy
  • Cut down the design out of the paper.
  • Now, prep up the targeted area of the skin and lathe it up with deodorant.
  • Then, simply put the transfer paper with the design face down onto that prepped-up area of the skin.
  • Hold down for a good thirty seconds to transfer the design completely onto the skin.

Tattoo Transfer Paper Tips

  1. It is not always necessary that you use a thermal printer. Thermal printers are mostly used by professional tattooers, however, if you are at the beginner stage and just getting started, you may use a regular inkjet or laser printer.
  2. Make sure that you use the correct type of paper for tattooing. For instance, you may use a transfer paper, a carbon transfer paper, or a temporary transfer paper. A regular paper will not suffice.
  3. Make sure that you let the ink on the transfer paper dry out completely. Otherwise, the ink may smudge out thus ruining the design. It is best to leave the transfer paper alone for about five minutes when you get it out of the printer.
  4. Always cleanse your skin to remove any dead skin cells which might accumulate later on to cause infections. Moreover, you should also moisturize your skin properly before transferring the tattoo design from the transfer paper.

How To Use Tattoo Transfer Paper Without Gel?

The quickest and more promising way to transfer tattoo design from the transfer paper onto the skin is by using a tattoo gel. However, it is not the only way. In case you run out of tattoo gel or can’t possibly afford to purchase one, you may also use soapy water, deodorant, or DIY gel as well.

The technique is simple. You will have to lathe up the skin with whatever alternative you are using in the same way you would use gel. However, make sure that you moisturize your skin to prevent rashes.


Which side of tattoo transfer paper do you draw on?

You should draw on top of the tattoo transfer paper manually or by using a thermal copier. However, whichever method you prefer, make sure that you take out the center tissue sheet to expose the carbon sheet just beneath it before you draw out the outlines of the design; Otherwise, the design will not get transferred.

Can you use a laminator for tattoo stencils?

If you are wondering whether you can or can not use a laminator to make tattoo stencils, the simple answer is no you can not do that. The reason is, that the high heat inside a laminator makes the carbon paper stick to the transfer paper thus, resulting in a black and bluish pattern on the transfer paper.

So, it is best that you use a thermal printer for this purpose. However, you may also use a regular inkjet printer or a laser printer to get better results than that from a laminator.

Can you use tattoo transfer paper without a printer?

The answer to this question is yes you can definitely use a tattoo transfer paper without a printer. If not for a printer, you can do it manually by hand. The image quality will definitely not be the same but still, you will get a pretty decent design. Moreover, a hand-made stencil is still better than no stencil at all.


Assuming that you read this entire article word to word, you are now fully aware of how to use a tattoo transfer paper. You can use it to transfer the tattoo design onto the skin either manually or by using a thermal copier whatever you are comfortable with.


  • Hello, artists and crafters. Welcome to Our State Of the Art! I am Leo O'Neal. I'm confessing that I am an artist and printing enthusiast. I've been working with my dad in the printing business since my childhood. After spending my whole childhood in the arts, I can easily write and review art, craft, and printing products including sublimation printers, sticker printers, Cricut, vinyl projects. cardstock, Art prints, and many more. From printing t-shirts to tattooing, you'll love the in-depth reviews and how-to tutorials on our blog.