How to Apply Tracing Paper to the Skin

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Butterflies and flowers are whimsical tattoos for women.
Butterflies and flowers are whimsical tattoos for women. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Even if you are not a skilled artist by hand, you can use tracing paper to take any design you desire and turn it into an inked masterpiece. Whether for permanent tattooing, or for the less painful and temporary henna, tracing paper can transfer any kind of artwork to the skin. This method of tattoo stenciling will ensure you will receive the exact design you want, and any words in your image will be spelled correctly.

Things You'll Need

  • Tracing paper
  • Scotch tape
  • Ballpoint pen
  • Scissors
  • Speed Stick gel deodorant

Lay the design intended for the tattoo under a sheet of tracing paper.

Tape the tracing paper to the design to keep it from slipping. Trace over all the lines of the design with the ballpoint pen. Color in any thick lines with the pen as well.

Cut around the edges of the traced design once you are finished retracing it.

Moisten the area of skin you want the tattoo placed with Speed Stick deodorant. Lay the traced image ink-side against the moist area.

Rub the tracing paper stencil firmly, but not hard enough to rip the paper, to transfer the ink. Peel the paper away once all stencil lines are transferred to the skin. Your design now can be inked as a permanent tattoo, or temporary henna.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use alcohol and a swab, or spritz the skin with water, if Speed Stick gel deodorant cannot be used.
  • Print designs out on a computer for tattoo designs.

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