Can You Use Tattoo Transfer Paper Without a Thermal Copier?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on January 17, 2022
    Last Updated: January 17, 2022

It can be challenging to draw a tattoo design freehand onto skin, especially when you’re a beginner and are still learning. This process can add extra pressure at the start of your career that you don’t need. 

The answer to this is to create a stencil and use this to transfer the design from the paper to your customer’s skin. Many tattoo artists use stencils as it helps to get a perfect representation of the tattoo design, even more so when you’re dealing with the body’s shape and contours.

Most tattoo stencils are printed using a thermal tattoo copier. What can you do if you don’t have a thermal copier? Can you still use tattoo transfer paper to transfer your design onto your customer’s body?

We’ll let you know how you can do this without a thermal printer and still create the perfect tattoo without using a thermal copier.

What Is Tattoo Transfer Paper?

You can get the perfect sketch of your tattoo produced by yourself or your tattoo artist, but the question is, how do you get the design from the paper to your body?

Tattoo transfer paper is ideal for this and is used to transfer your tattoo design from paper to the skin. The paper is a carbon copy paper for tattoos that leaves the outline of the tattoo design on your skin. 

Your tattoo artist can then use this to create the perfect copy of your drawing onto your skin as a permanent piece of body art. This is done easily without the need to draw the design freehand onto the skin.

Can You Use Tattoo Transfer Paper Without a Thermal Copier?

The ideal way to transfer the tattoo design from paper onto your body using tattoo transfer paper is by using a thermal copier. However, if you don’t have one that you’re able to use, you will still be able to transfer the design so that the outline is copied over to the skin.

Hectograph transfer paper is the best option for this, and the paper has two sheets of paper. The top sheet is where you will draw the tattoo design, and the bottom sheet is the carbon paper that your design will be copied through to, giving you a perfect stencil for your tattoo design.

What Is a Thermal copier?

A thermal copier is a copier and printer that’s used for tattoo designs. It replicates the image using heat to print the design onto tattoo transfer paper. The design can then be applied to the skin, and the ink will be transferred, showing you the tattoo outline. 

Applying the design to the skin allows you to see the design in position on the body before using any permanent ink. If your customer isn’t happy with the design, it can be wiped off, and the process starts again.

How Do You Use Tattoo Transfer Paper Without a Thermal Copier?

You can use tattoo transfer paper without a thermal copier, and we’ll let you know how you should do this. The tattoo transfer paper is made up of three layers of paper. 

The top layer is where you draw the tattoo design. The second layer is a layer of tissue paper that needs to be removed before use, and the third layer is carbon paper that your design will be copied onto.

As you draw the tattoo transfer onto the thermal paper after removing the second layer of tissue paper, this is then copied onto the third layer of paper. 

The tattoo design needs to be cut out of the paper and then applied to the skin. Tattoo stencil lotion or roll-on deodorant needs to be applied to the skin to allow the design to stick. The tattoo outline will then be transferred to the skin, showing you just how the tattoo will look once completed.


Tattoo stencils are used by many tattoo artists, especially those that are just beginning their careers. The stencil helps to take the pressure off when drawing freehand onto the skin where there are many curves and contours. 

A tattoo stencil can be copied from sketch paper to tattoo transfer using a thermal copier or even a regular printer. However, if you don’t have a printer available, you can do this by hand.

The quality of the design may not be replicated quite as well when done drawing freehand, but you will still get a copy of the perfect tattoo by copying it over with the use of a thermal copier. 

We hope that you have found the answer to your question in our guide, and you now understand the process of using tattoo transfer paper to get your tattoo design transferred onto the skin.

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