‘’Tattoos made my skin more ‘me’’’ that is what Hollywood star Melissa Maxwell had to say about her tattoos. Not just to her, tattoos are a form of self-identity to countless people. A tattoo thermal printer can get you the perfect tattoo to tell your own story. How does a tattoo thermal printer work? That is the topic of our discussion for today.

A tattoo thermal printer does not imprint the tattoo on the skin directly. It creates tattoo stencils on special heat-sensitive sheets. The printer generates heat, which triggers a chemical reaction in the thermo-sensitive sheet and the end-product is a clear, black and white image.

Besides discussing the mechanism of a tattoo thermal printer, we will discuss what tattoo stencils are and how you can use a tattoo thermal printer to make a tattoo stencil.

How Does A Tattoo Thermal Printer Work?

A thermocopier (also known as a thermal copier, tattoo transfer copier), is a type of photocopy machine that works by using the heat effect. The original sheet feeds through a thermo-sensitive paper and produces a copy on its specially prepared surface.

After going through a scan, the black regions on the original sheet cause the thermal elements of the copier to spring into action. As a result, the thermo-sensitive paper goes through a chemical reaction, and its surface becomes darker along the outline of the image on the original sheet.

When the procedure finishes, the thermo-sensitive sheet is left in the open air for cooling. Once it cools off, you will get an exact black and white replica on the copier sheet of the original sheet image.

How Does A Tattoo Thermal Printer Work

What Are Tattoo Stencils?

Before putting the ink on the client’s body, tattoo artists print the tattoo design on a piece of thermo-sensitive sheet, which is also known as hectograph carbon paper. The hectograph carbon paper with the black and white tattoo outline is called a tattoo stencil. Stencils serve as blueprints for putting the tattoo designs onto the body.

Stencils make it easier for the tattoo artist to sketch a design, replicate it, and transfer it to the skin. Artists also use stencils to give the customers a preview of their tattoos. How would it look in your skin or a particular part of your body? You can place the stencil on your skin and decide for yourself.

How To Make Tattoo Stencils Using A Tattoo Thermal Printer?

Things You Need

  • A sheet containing the original design.
  • A tattoo thermal printer
  • Tattoo thermal copier papers

Step 1. Take A Printout Of Your Design

To get started, take a printout of the tattoo design from your computer. After you print the design, examine it and make sure there are no line breaks and it is clear enough. You need a crisp printout to achieve the best results.

Step 2. Prepare The Tattoo Copier Paper

Take the tattoo copier paper and remove its top sheet. These papers have four layers. The outer one is a protective one, which you have to remove before putting the paper into the machine. The second one is the tracing paper, where the carbon copy of your design will be once the scan is complete.

The third layer contains the carbon for copying the design. Be cautious while handling this part because the ink will get to your hands, and removing them is quite a nightmare. The fourth sheet holds all the sheets together. You will only have to get rid of the top layer before using the copier paper.

Step 3. Put The Copier Paper Into The Machine

Grab the carbon sheet and the tracing sheet and have those separate from the fourth sheet with the thermal copier. Lift the lid and look for the gap that opens up. Slide the carbon sheet and the white sheet through the gap. Close the lid afterward.

Step 4. Start The Machine

Plug the photocopier in and switch it on. If you have a simple design, the mirror mode will capture it perfectly. For complex designs, the photo mode will be a better fit as it will augment the design with more details.

Step 5. Put The Original Sheet Into The Machine

There is a dedicated feeding slot for the original sheet. Put the sheet into the feeding slot, and the copier will take it in. Make sure the surface with the drawing faces downwards so that the machine can replicate it. Nothing to worry about if the design is upside down when you insert it into the machine, it will print out in the correct orientation.

Step 6. Press The Copy Button

After placing the page on the feeding slot, hit the copy button. Grab the top and bottom part of the tracing paper as it prints out. Putting some tension on both ends of the page makes it less likely to crimp. Do not pull it out, however. Just let the machine take its time and process the page.

Voila! You now have a thermal copy of the design that is ready for skin application.

Can I Use Regular Printers Instead Of A Tattoo Thermal Printer?

In a professional capacity, it would be unwise not to use a tattoo thermal printer to make a tattoo stencil. While it is possible to make do with a regular copier, it is unlikely that you will get the preciseness of a tattoo thermal printer from a run-of-the-mill office printer.

For practicing purposes, however, you can consider using a regular printer for tattoo stencils. You will have to use thermal paper instead of normal copier paper. Many inkjet and laser printers can handle thermal papers, so you do not have to worry much about damaging your machine.

Why Do You Need A Tattoo Thermal Printer?

If it is theoretically possible to produce good quality stencils with regular printers, why bother going for a specialized device? A tattoo thermal printer is more expensive than a normal printer, so why spend the extra money if regular printers can serve as a good enough substitute?

Fundamentally, the ink draws the line between a regular and a thermal stencil printer. A regular printer uses regular ink for printing the design, whereas tattoo thermal printers utilize carbon ink, which is more suitable for skin implementation. In essence, the carbon ink in tattoo thermal printers is better suited for tattooing compared to regular printer ink.

When it comes to reproducing the exact patterns, tattoo thermal printers are far more dependable than their regular counterparts. Ink smearing is more common in conventional printers, which will ruin the design. On top of that, these printers might not pick up tricky bits of a complex design.

Also, there is a higher risk of crinkling the paper when you use thermal sheets on regular printers. In that scenario, you will have to do over the entire orienting process, wasting your time and resources.

Final Words

How does a tattoo thermal printer work? If you have been with us from the beginning of this article, hopefully, you now understand the modus operandi of a tattoo thermal printer. We also tried to highlight its importance in tattoo making and explain why a professional tattoo artist should own a high-quality tattoo thermal printer.