What do tattoo artists practice on?
Besides themselves, they might use pig skin from a butcher shop.
It provides a reasonably realistic canvas even though it’s tougher than human skin. However, tattoo ink doesn’t stay true to color in it.
(Also, pig skin smells terrible and spoils.)
Other favorite choices include grapefruit, oranges, and bananas.
But the best material on which to practice tattooing might be silicone.
Silicone is supple. It stretches like real skin and can be shaped to resemble body parts.
But the best tattoo practice skin alternative is rubber.
You can wrap silicone or rubber sheets around a friend’s leg or arm for a more lifelike experience.
This type of synthetic tattoo practice skin is not reusable, but it may be double-sided if it’s thick enough.
After all, the ideal depth for tattooing is about 1/16-inch or 1.5 mm (1).
Using professional tattoo practice skin will help you build hand strength and get used to using the tattoo machine.
- Best Tattoo Practice Skin
- A Pound of Flesh Practice Tattoo Skin
- A Pound of Flesh Practice Tattoo Hand
- ITATOO Silicone Tattoo Practice Hand
- A Pound of Flesh Practice Skull
- PFT 20 X Sheets of Large and Medium Sizes Tattoo Practice Skins
- Wormhole Tattoo Practice Skin
- Blank Tattoo Skin Practice – Silmy
- Yuelong Double Sided Blank Practice Tattoo Skin
- BoChang Tattoo Skin Practice
- Gospire Blank Tattoo Practice Skin (Rubber or Silicone)
- BIGWASP Large Size Tattoo Practice Skin Double-Sided
- Segbeauty 3MM Thick Silicone Tattoo Practice Skin
- Dragonhawk Complete Tattoo Kit
- Hand Poke and Stick Tattoo Kit
- STIGMA Tattoo Ink Set
- Microblading Kit
- Pirate Face Tattoo Transfer Stencil Paper
- Stencil Stuff
- Sharpie Permanent Marker
- BIC BodyMark Temporary Tattoo Marker
- Organic Jagua Black Temporary Tattoo and Body Painting Premium Kit
- Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly
- Other ways to practice tattooing
Best Tattoo Practice Skin
Let’s look at the best practice skins for tattooing below.
A Pound of Flesh Practice Tattoo Skin
A Pound of Flesh makes realistic-looking body parts as well as synthetic canvases out of silicone.
Some are simple rectangular sheets in white or pink flesh tone. Others are oval-shaped and framed in wood.
Choose from a variety of thicknesses, including 3mm, 4mm, and 8mm.
All of them are suitable for building your portfolio to show off your work.
This is high-quality silicone and rubber material, far better than most types of practice skin available on the market.
As far as possible, the texture re-creates the way the ink and needle behave in human skin.
A Pound of Flesh Practice Tattoo Hand
Here is a fake hand made of silicone for practicing tattooing. Choose from left or right versions.
The material permanently retains the color of the ink. Therefore, it’s perfect for creating a showpiece of your technique.
Although you can’t remove the ink from the tattoo practice skin, you can use it to practice cover-ups.
The same manufacturer also offers silicone heads, faces, arms, breasts, and left or right feet.
ITATOO Silicone Tattoo Practice Hand
You can save a little money by choosing this manufacturer’s silicone practice hand instead. It comes in a version that includes part of the wrist and forearm.
It’s modeled on an adult male hand and includes veins, pores, and lines for realistic texture.
It’s not reusable, but rather ideal as a display piece in your portfolio.
Some users have commented that they’ve had to go over lines a few times to make them sharp and clear on this material.
Others are delighted with the results. One recommended roughing the surface with super fine sandpaper before stenciling it.
Vaseline will help you remove excess ink while you work.
A Pound of Flesh Practice Skull
Include this practice skull in your portfolio. It’s a definite conversation starter.
It’s over 3 pounds of solid silicone ready for you to tattoo.
The head has realistic dimensions with an 18-inch circumference.
PFT 20 X Sheets of Large and Medium Sizes Tattoo Practice Skins
Both sides of these practice skins are usable as they are 2mm thick.
The package includes ten sheets of 8 x 12-inch synthetic skin, plus ten sheets of 6 x 8-inch.
It’s a good value for the beginning tattoo artist.
Moreover, when you ink practice skin, you can keep the results. (Unfortunately, pig skin and fruit peels can’t be kept as they spoil.)
Take note that you may have to go over the lines several times to make them dark and crisp. In real life, that would be painful, and it would damage your client’s skin.
Wormhole Tattoo Practice Skin
This practice skin is made of rubber that 2mm thick. Each of the ten 8 x 6-inch sheets is individually packaged.
Wrap the flexible skin around an object to practice tattooing on a rounded surface.
Synthetic skin is handy for trying out new colors, new techniques, and new tattoo irons.
If you use green soap or Vaseline, it’s easy to wipe off the excess ink while working.
Users say that the sheets have a shiny texture that doesn’t smudge very much.
Blank Tattoo Skin Practice – Silmy
Instead of yellow or white, these are pink-colored sheets of practice skin.
They come five to a pack, and each measures 8 x 6-inches.
Use it for tattooing or micro-blading practice.
If you’re not happy with them, contact the company for a full refund or exchange.
Yuelong Double Sided Blank Practice Tattoo Skin
Similar to the package above, this one includes 10 sheets of 8 x 6-inch synthetic skin. It’s suitable for tattooing practice and microblading.
It’s flexible and stretchy as it’s probably made from latex.
Unfortunately, some reviewers say that they’ve had to go over it multiple times to get a colorful, firm line. The result is a torn-up surface.
But on the bright side, the manufacturer offers an unconditional satisfaction guarantee.
BoChang Tattoo Skin Practice
Here’s a smaller package with five sheets of 8 x 6-inch rubber practice skin.
It’s made for you to tattoo both sides.
If you’re not pleased with it, they offer a full refund.
Gospire Blank Tattoo Practice Skin (Rubber or Silicone)
This manufacturer offers both rubber and silicone sheets.
Both types of practice skin come in packages of ten. They are 8 x 6-inches in size.
They suggest the following process. First, prepare the practice sheet with an image to trace.
Second, apply a layer of Vaseline.
Third, practice tattooing. Then fourth, wipe the surface clean. The petroleum jelly takes care of smudges.
Sadly, you’ll be able to wipe off the excess with a paper towel, but the ink will remain underneath the surface as it cannot be erased.
BIGWASP Large Size Tattoo Practice Skin Double-Sided
I’ve heard that some apprentice tattoo artists prefer these synthetic sheets for tattoo practice.
At 8 x 12-inches, with a 3mm depth, they are larger and thicker than the competition.
Although made of rubber, they are genuinely double-sided as you won’t see bleed-through.
Now, to be honest, not everyone loves them. You’ll need to use Vaseline to clean them as you go.
Furthermore, they don’t hold a line well, which means you have to repeat your work. The color may end up patchy, too.
Segbeauty 3MM Thick Silicone Tattoo Practice Skin
Once you’ve tried rubber practice skin, you might want to give silicone a try to compare results.
This is a package of thick silicone sheets that allow you to tattoo both sides. Each one is 7.6-inches square.
It comes with a hook and loop strap (AKA Velcro) to secure a sheet to an arm or leg.
You’ll have to go deep with the needle to lay down ink in this material. Please remember that you won’t have to be as aggressive with human skin.
Dragonhawk Complete Tattoo Kit
Don’t waste expensive ink on practice skin. Instead, try this economical tattoo kit.
It comes with practice skin, sterilized needles and ink, a power supply, and two tattoo machines for lining and shading.
There are other accessories as well—basically everything you need to experience tattooing.
Hand Poke and Stick Tattoo Kit
Get acquainted with the traditional art of stick and poke tattooing. This kit has all you need including practice skin.
It comes with needles plus a pen for holding them comfortably.
Happily, there are gloves to keep the jet black ink off your hands and other goodies to get you started.
STIGMA Tattoo Ink Set
Are you looking for cheap ink to practice tattooing on synthetic skin?
Then check out this set with fourteen colors. It includes lining black, shades of blue, green, and red, white, and more.
You won’t have to worry if you decide to try it out on real skin as it’s sterilized.
I’ve mentioned that you can practice microblading on synthetic skin.
Here’s the kit that lets you practice with a microblading pen and pigment. It comes with a variety of blades.
The only downside is that the eyebrows are drawn on the practice sheets already.
Pirate Face Tattoo Transfer Stencil Paper
Stencil transfer paper like this allows you to create an illustration then copy it to the skin for tracing.
You can freehand a drawing on the top sheet, or use a thermal copier to print the design.
Each 8.5 x 11 sheet is four layers thick. The top is the transfer sheet for the original image.
The second is protective tissue, while the third is carbon paper, the purple ink that transfers to the surface.
The bottom layer is a piece of yellow backing paper.
Prep the skin (whether synthetic or human) with a stencil applicator agent and press the purple sheet on top. Don’t rub or you’ll smear the image. Peel it off, and you’re ready to work.
Here’s a liquid you need to transfer stencil onto the practice skin.
It’s non-toxic and safe for human skin, too.
It’s like a lotion that you rub onto the surface. Wait a few seconds, then press the stencil on top. When you peel off the paper, the image remains.
It dries quickly and resists blurring, smudging, and wiping.
Some artists prefer it to Speed Stick.
Sharpie Permanent Marker
If the transfer paper isn’t doing a good job of copying your stencil onto the practice skin, it’s time to use a Sharpie.
It turns out that this particular marker, the fine point version, is certified non-toxic.
Yes, you can use it to do temporary tattoos and stencil your friends as well.
Be prepared for the ink to bleed a little on real human skin.
BIC BodyMark Temporary Tattoo Marker
Give the kids BIC’s body markers to create their own non-toxic tattoos. I won’t tell anyone if you decide to keep them for yourself.
There are eight colors with flexible felt tips to make thin or thick lines. The results should last for a day or two, or you can remove the ink with dedicated scrubbing.
Some users say the body art withstands time in the pool.
Keep the ink away from eyes, lips, and sores. They may not be safe for sensitive skin.
Organic Jagua Black Temporary Tattoo and Body Painting Premium Kit
Have you ever seen a henna tattoo? The real stuff isn’t black, but rather a reddish-brown.
This American-kit contains organic pigment that’s safe for children and adults.
When properly applied and protected, the tattoo will last up to two weeks.
Once you mix the gel, the leftover lasts up to three months in the refrigerator. The kit also includes reusable stencils.
Vaseline Pure Petroleum Jelly
Here’s the original Vaseline in a 1-pound container.
You’ll have plenty to wipe up excess ink during your practice rounds.
Sometimes you can clean practice skin with it if the ink hasn’t gone too deep.
Petroleum jelly is also handy for gliding while you work.
Other ways to practice tattooing
As I mentioned, tattooing fruit is popular.
Some say honeydew melon feels a lot like human skin, and it smells nice.
Oranges, lemons, and grapefruit have pores and take in ink well with their skin-like texture.
The curves are helpful for beginning artists who are transitioning from drawing on flat surfaces.
Fruit peel also bleeds if you overwork it. That’s a good reminder to be gentle.
What’s more, the fruit doesn’t need to go to waste. You can amuse your friends and family with your art, then they can eat it with you.
The best advice I can give you is to practice as much as you to develop your technique and personal style.
Soon people will be lining up to be your guinea pig as they’ll be astonished by your portfolio.
Practice skin helps perfect the technique of tattooing.
Between rubber and silicone, you may find that the latter gives you a better experience.
I hope that you found the best synthetic skin and tattoo accessories here today.
Come back and drop us a comment about where we can enjoy your art.
1. https://www.wikihow.com/Practice-Tattooing by Kiara Hamed, published December 6, 2019, accessed August 18, 2020