Best Tattoo Transfer & Stencil Papers in 2021 Reviews

Even the most experienced artists use stencils. They use the best tattoo transfer paper or carbon paper to get the image onto the skin. Carbon paper, also known as stencil paper, is the easiest way to copy freehand and printed drawings.

When you consider the added utility stencils bring to the tattooing process, it is no surprise that they are a common feature in almost every tattoo parlor.

In the days before the invention of the tattoo stencil, the only way for the artist to transfer their concept onto human skin was to draw directly on it. This method presents several problems, the chief of which is that tattoos are permanent, and hence, even a slight error can easily mess up your designs and make them unrecoverable.

Since freehanding tattoo designs can take more time and possible errors, getting a transfer sheet means fewer design flaws and shaky lines in your tattoo design.

In this article, we will go over what ​exactly tattoo transfer paper is, the different types available, what to look for when buying transfer stencil paper, and review the best transfer paper for tattoos.

Check out our favorite products in the table below.

PhotoProductBuy
1. Pirate Face Transfer Paper
2. NYKKOLA Stencil Transfer Paper
3. Spirit Tattoo Transfer Paper
4. Stencil Pro Tattoo Transfer Paper

1. Pirate Face Tattoo Transfer Stencil Paper

Pirate Face Tattoo Transfer Stencil Paper

 

This paper set is a common feature in many top tattoo artists’ arsenal because of its dependable performance and extensive cross-compatibility. Pirate Face Tattoo’s offering is also one of the most affordable options from a leading industry player that you will find on the market.

With Pirate Face Tattoo Transfer Stencil Paper, you get a 15-sheet set of transfer paper suitable for both uses with freehand drawing or in a thermal copier machine.

The sheets included in this set are 4-ply options that include a transfer sheet, a removable protective tissue, a purple carbon layer that brings the ink, and a yellow backing sheet that adds some heft to the structure.

Pros

  • 15-sheet set of transfer paper
  • Suitable for both freehand drawing and thermal copying
  • Compatible with most tattoo stencil printer brands
  • A4 thermal sheets
  • Super affordable

Cons

  • Little bit lower quality than more expensive brands

2. NYKKOLA Stencil Transfer Paper

NYKKOLA Stencil Transfer Paper

 

This type of transfer paper is the most standard to buy. While being incredibly inexpensive, it offers a durable print that does not come off easily while tattooing. While being a well-recognized product in the tattoo community, most tattoo artists opt for a more expensive brand while this will cover all the bases needed to give off a clean and detailed tattoo.

Pros

  • Dries fast
  • Easy to write on
  • Very cheap

Cons

  • Tends to rub off too quickly

3. Spirit Classic Tattoo Transfer Paper

Spirit Classic Tattoo Transfer Paper

 

Spirit is a well-known brand of transfer paper for tattoos. They make several types, including this kind for freehand drawings. On the top sheet, hand-draw the stencil with a ballpoint pen or pencil. The paper resists tearing from tracing, too. You won’t need any other equipment. Remember that you won’t be able to use these sheets in thermal printers.

Just so you know, this product is certified vegan. It features vegetable wax that’s saturated with high-quality dye. The waxy texture is very responsive to pressure. Therefore, you can do very detailed drawings, and the fine lines will transfer well. Once you transfer the stencil, the image stays bright and clear while you ink it.

For excellent results, use transfer cream or gel to fix the stencil.

Pros

  • A high degree of control
  • No tools or printers needed
  • High-quality stencil

Cons

  • A bit high in price

4. Stencil Pro Tattoo Transfer Paper

Stencil Pro Tattoo Transfer Paper

 

Like with most other top offerings, here, you get a four-ply paper that includes a master sheet, a semipermeable removable tissue layer, a navy blue carbon page, and a yellow back sheet.

Furthermore, like with most modern thermal paper options, this 50-set thermal paper offering also lets you create stencils with either a thermal copier stencil machine or with a ballpoint pen by hand.

Numb skin is also one of the only companies that offer any warranty with their thermal paper offering. It backs each package with a full lifetime money-back guarantee that gives you a full refund if the product performs subpar.

Pros

  • 50-sheet set of transfer paper
  • Suitable for both freehand drawing and thermal copying
  • Compatible with most tattoo stencil printer brands
  • Full lifetime money-back guarantee
  • A4 thermal sheets
  • Value pack

Cons

  • Little bit lower quality than more expensive brands

5. Bekith 100 Sheets Tattoo Transfer Paper

Bekith 100 Sheets Tattoo Transfer Paper 8.5 x 11 Tattoo Stencil Transfer Paper for Tattooing, A4 Size

 

These carbon tracing stencil paper transfer sheets make for the perfect tattoo. They make freehand drawing simpler than ever and are shaped at A4 size for easy thermal printing. The greaseless properties of the paper provide a much bolder look than any other transfer paper. Never worry about designs fading while you’re working since these transfer papers are laced with a unique colorfast ink for long-lasting durability.

Pros

  • Offer cleaner, bolder images
  • Made of colorfast ink that reduces image fading
  • Improved heat resistance

Cons

  • The Packaging doesn’t come with clear instructions

6. Spirit Master Thermal Tattoo Stencil Transfer Paper

Spirit Master Thermal Tattoo Stencil Transfer Paper

 

The classic color for ditto paper is purple. It shows up well on light to medium skin tones. (Scroll down to find carbon paper in other colors.) With 4 layers, these sheets are made for thermal copy machines, but you can also use them for freehand stencils. Just remove the milky brown protective layer. This product is certified vegan and made in the USA.

Pros

  • Good Quality
  • 4 Ply Sheets
  • Can be used with a tattoo thermal copy machine

Cons

  • Paper is crumpled

7. Boolavard Tattoo Stencil Paper

Boolavard

 

The pack includes a set of 30 sheets of 4-ply stencil paper cut to a standard A4 notebook sizing.

Elsewhere, the Boolavard paper set is as conventional as it gets, featuring a regular carbon sheet that produces those familiar dark blue stencils that every artist recognizes.

This paper set also features a high-end construction with quality paper and dyes combined with its standard 4-ply design to ensure compatibility with most industry stencil printers currently in production.

Like most other thermal papers in its class, this stencil paper set works with both thermal and impact transfers, so you can draw on them by hand once you take off the protective tissue layer.

Boolavard Tattoo Stencil Paper is an excellent bet for tattoo parlors, tattoo artists, and hobbyists everywhere. Plus, if they don’t work for you correctly, you can always take advantage of the company’s 100% satisfaction guarantee coverage. Boolavard will send you a new set of papers or refund your money on the receipt of product complaints, no questions asked.

Pros

  • 30-sheet set of transfer paper
  • Suitable for both thermal and impact transfers
  • Works with most tattoo stencil printer brands
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee coverage

Cons

  • Not as durable as most brands

8. H88 Tattoo Transfer Kits Stencil Carbon Tracing Paper Ink Professional

H88 Tattoo Transfer Kits Stencil Carbon Tracing Paper Ink Professional

 

The H88 carbon transfer papers are a particularly new design in the tattoo community. While they offer great flexibility for freehand designs, they are also perfect for thermal printing. They come in an A4 design which can fit many printers making them very versatile. Not to mention, it also comes in a 25 pack for plenty of different tattoo jobs.

Pros

  • Great for freehand designs
  • Comes in a 25 pack
  • A4 paper size, perfect for printing designs

Cons

  • Can be harder to stick to skin

9. Best Thermal Roll: Spirit Classic Thermal Roll

Best Thermal Roll Spirit Classic Thermal Roll

 

Imagine stenciling an enormous dragon down the full length of a client’s back. That’s a lot of A4 stencil paper pieces, a lot of paper lining up to do, and the recipe of a precarious situation that is likely to end in chaos.

That’s if you are using regular transfer papers. Thermal rolls offer a more convenient way to handle elaborate stenciling designs as they provide a continuous sheet of thermal stencil material that is perfect for more extensive jobs like sleeves, half-sleeves, and full-bodied pieces.

What better way to get an introduction to thermal roll than with this kit from arguably the best manufacturer in the business?

With the Spirit Classic Thermal Roll offering, you get 100 feet of continuous 3-ply thermal paper that works with all standard tattoo stencil printers. This extensive expanse of stencil paper is excellent for larger tattoo pieces and a perfect value proposition for multiple smaller tattoos, as you can easily cut small portions from the whole.

Plus, the product is shelf-stable and won’t degrade over time, so you can store it for extended periods, enjoying some of the best price-to-value ratios on the market.

Pros

  • 100 feet of continuous 3-ply thermal paper
  • Compatible with most tattoo stencil printer brands
  • Shelf-stable over extended periods
  • Supreme value pack

Cons

  • Tends to rub off too quickly

Types of Tattoo Transfer Papers

There are two main types of tattoo transfer papers that correspond to this tool’s two main use-cases.

The first type of tattoo transfer paper is the hectograph paper, a carryover from the days of old typewriters that created words by making indentations (impact transfer) into the form.

These papers work using the same process, making them the ideal paper type for hand-drawing your stencil.

Hectograph papers typically feature three layers:

  • A top layer where you hand-draw your design to imprint it on the lower layers,
  • A second intermediate layer (usually also a carbon paper layer that provides the stencil ink) helps protect the adhesive property of the bottom layer, and
  • The bottom layer becomes the stencil.

However, if you are using a tattoo stencil printer (like most artists today), you need thermal paper.

Thermal tattoo transfer papers are 4-layered papers (thermal papers add a protective layer up top) that are heat-sensitive. Hence, they can work with stencil printers to imprint hand-drawn or digitally printed designs onto their stencil layer.

Thermal papers are now the industry standards as they are the only option compatible with modern printers, and you can often use them with both stencil machines and hand-drawing stencils. (artists can also use most thermal paper for impact transfers.)

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