The Best Tattoo Stencil Paper: Our Top 5 Picks

When you think of tattooing, tattoo stencil paper probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, it’s a vital component of the tattooing process for many artists, and helps to ensure that their clients receive the exact design they want.

Read out to check out our list of the best tattoo stencil paper products out there, and to learn more about the different types of tattoo stencil paper.

A tattoo artist preparing a design on tattoo stencil paper.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall:
Transfer Stencil Paper WS011 from DragonHawk

Budget Option:
Tattoo Transfer Paper from WeLiu

Best Hectograph (Freehand) Stencil:
Tattoo Stencil Paper from Pirate Face Tattoo

Best Overall

Transfer Stencil Paper WS011 from DragonHawk

The best tattoo stencil paper to land the top spot on our list is Transfer Stencil Paper WS011 from DragonHawk. This Spirit-branded product has a reputation for being among the best of the best tattoo stencil papers used by artists. This paper is flexible, meaning that it can produce hand-drawn stencils or paired with a thermal printer for smooth, crisp creations.

This tattoo stencil paper is a four-ply sheet that includes the master sheet, protective tissue, a carbon layer, and the backing sheet. The carbon layer features a purple dye, which is made from a special wax that’s skin-friendly, smooth, and responds to pressure. The purple dye is also reliably visible on most skin tones to accommodate a range of clients.

This tattoo stencil paper is both water-resistant and vegan-friendly. It’s competitively priced and available in packs of 10, 25, 50, and 100.


  • One of the most popularly used tattoo stencil paper products on the market
  • Available in packs of 10, 25, 50, and 100


  • On the pricier side compared to similar products

Best Budget Option

Tattoo Transfer Paper from WeLiu

Tattoo Transfer Paper, 35 Sheets Tattoo Stencil Transfer Paper for Tattooing

If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, then you’ll want to consider using the Tattoo Transfer Paper from WeLiu. This competitively-priced pack comes with 35 sheets, which can be cut down into smaller pieces for more use. Like the product mentioned before, you can also use this tattoo stencil paper to create freehand designs or use it with a thermal printer.

This tattoo stencil paper measures 8.3″ x 11.7″ and features four-ply layers. The layers include a white master sheet, semi-transparent protective tissue, a blue carbon sheet, and a yellow backing sheet.

And though it’s economically priced, this tattoo stencil paper still packs a powerful punch. It transfers with minimal pressure and produces transfer marks that are both clear and smooth. It also doesn’t wipe off the skin easily unless you use soap and water.


  • Competitively priced
  • Water-resistant


  • Some customers have experienced trouble with transferring their design; a possible quality control issue

Best Hectograph (Freehand) Stencil

Tattoo Stencil Paper from Pirate Face Tattoo

Pirate Face Tattoo Premium quality tattoo stencil transfer paper 8½" x 11", 30-Count

The best hectograph tattoo stencil paper product to earn a spot on our list is Tattoo Stencil Paper from Pirate Face Tattoo. Hectograph stencil paper is ideal for drawing bold and detailed stencil designs by hand, and then transferring the stencil onto the skin accordingly. This product holds its inks well; customers say the design doesn’t even smear when you wipe off excess ink during the tattooing process.

This tattoo stencil paper comes with 30 three-ply sheets that measure 8.5″ x 11″. The sheets are water-resistant and provide lots of room for a competitive price; another detail that customers appreciate. The transfer paper is known to arrive flat and in good condition. Customers who use this product say they can’t picture themselves using anything else!


  • High quantity for the price
  • Transfer lasts throughout tattooing process
  • Comes with instructions


  • Some customers say the paper requires more pressure when drawing the design

Best Thermal Tattoo Stencil

Tattoo Transfer Paper from Cridoz

Tattoo Transfer Paper, Cridoz 35 Sheets Stencil Transfer Paper for Tattooing, A4 Size

The Tattoo Transfer Paper from Cridoz is a customer favorite under the category of thermal tattoo stencils. Best used with thermal printers, this product is adaptable in the sense that it can also be used for freehand stenciling.

Another cost-effective product, this tattoo stencil paper arrives with 35 sheets, which can be cut into smaller sheets for additional use. The four-ply sheets measure 8.25″ x 11.75″ and feature blue carbon paper. Like the others listed above, it’s also water-resistant. One of the details that customers love most about this product is its dependable quality, no matter how many times it’s ordered.


  • Customers describe this product as reliable and consistent


  • Customers say the carbon paper is slightly powdery compared to similar products

Best Value Pack

Tattoo Transfer Paper from UPTATSUPPLY

Tattoo Transfer Paper - 100 PCS Tattoo Stencil Paper, 4 Layers 8.5" x 11" A4 Size Tattoo Thermal Stencil Paper for Tattoo Transfer Kit Tattoo Supplies

This Tattoo Transfer Paper from UPTATSUPPLY is a product that artists can count on, time and again. And with 100 sheets contained in this pack, you can likely count on it for a good while.

This tattoo stencil paper product is four-ply, which includes blue carbon pages, and each page measures 8.5″ x 11″. Though the carbon pages are blue, it’s important to note that the ink appears turquoise when transferred to the skin.

While it’s highly compatible with thermal printers or dot printers, it’s also great for producing hand-drawn templates using a ballpoint pen. The images produced are clear, clean and smooth. To boot, the company is so confident in the quality of this tattoo stencil paper that it promises a full refund if you’re not 100% satisfied with the product; no reason needed!


  • Company offers full refund if customers aren’t satisfied, and don’t require an explanation
  • Comes with 100 sheets of transfer paper


  • Possibly quality control issues; some customers cite long-lasting, holding stencil design and others say that it wipes off easily

Tattoo Stencil Paper Buyer’s Guide

Tattoo stencil paper seems like a relatively straight-forward product and for the most part, it is. However, there are a few important details that you’ll want to consider before choosing your preferred tattoo stencil paper product.

A tattoo artist using tattoo stencil paper.

Hectograph vs. Thermal Tattoo Stencil Paper

One of the most important details to note when you’re purchasing tattoo stencil paper, is that there are two different types: hectograph and thermal products. Keep reading to learn more about each of them, and what differentiates one from the other.

Hectograph Tattoo Stencil Paper

The most distinguishing characteristic between hectograph and thermal stencil products is the number of layers. Hectograph paper has three layers: a top layer, a center layer, and a bottom layer.

The top layer is where the design is drawn or printed. The center layer contains the protective tissue that prevents the transfer paper from becoming stuck before the design is transferred. The center layer must be removed before the design is transferred. The bottom layer contains the carbon paper where the stencil is transferred onto.

By using hectograph paper, artists can trace their designs by hand or draw their stencils freehand. Hectograph paper typically costs less than thermal transfer paper. It’s also available in a variety of colors to complement different skin tones. When using hectograph paper, artists should also use hard graphite pencils to ensure the clarity of their designs.

Thermal Tattoo Stencil Paper

Thermal tattoo stencil paper consists of four parts: a white master sheet, a brown protective sheet; purple, red, or blue carbon paper, and a bottom yellow sheet.

The white master sheet is where the artist applies the design they intend to tattoo. The brown protective sheet prevents carbon from the blue (or red or purple) carbon paper from bleeding into the master sheet. The blue carbon paper contains the “ink” that transfers the stencil onto the client’s skin. The bottom yellow sheet protects the carbon paper and provides the entire four-piece bundle with stability.

Thermal tattoo stencil paper is considered the industry standard because of its ability to produce clean, crisp details. Thermal paper uses body heat to transfer the image to the client’s skin, hence its name. Thermal paper is best used with an accompanying thermal printer, like the Sacnahe Tattoo Transfer Stencil Machine Copier Printer.

Tattoo Stencil Paper Frequently Asked Questions

A tattoo artist placing a tattoo stencil on a person's arm.

Can you reuse tattoo stencil paper?

No, you should never reuse tattoo stencil paper, especially between clients. Tattoo stencil paper has self-adhesive glue, which helps it to stick to skin. These products are also commonly used with a transfer solution that helps the stencil to better transfer onto the skin. Because of this, reusing tattoo stencil paper can result in cross-contamination, which is especially detrimental to folks with sensitive skin and other health concerns.

How long do you leave tattoo stencil paper on the skin?

Once you apply the stencil, you should leave it on the skin for about 10 to 15 minutes. This timeframe will allow the stencil to transfer fully to the skin. After the stencil is removed, you should allow it 15 to 20 minutes to dry fully.

Wrapping Up On Tattoo Stencil Paper

A tattoo design on tattoo stencil paper.

Tattoo stencil paper is among the most important products that new and experienced tattoo artists will use. Products like the Transfer Stencil Paper WS011 from DragonHawk allow artists to create precise designs while using the stencil as a guide. These handy guides help to ensure that your customers receive what they’re looking for, time and again.

Interested in learning more about how to use tattoo stencil paper? Check out our post on the topic to learn more!

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