How to Use Tattoo Practice Skin. Practice makes perfect and the same is true in the world of tattooing. Rookies in the industry can use tattoo practice skin to learn tattoo techniques and get a better feel for what it'll be like to tattoo a person before they actually touch real skin. Veterans can also use practice skin to try out new techniques. You can purchase this rubber, skin-like material from many tattoo supply companies.
Select a piece of practice skin. Make sure it's sized to the specifications you need for the piece you'll be tattooing. You can either cut down a larger piece or choose one from the various sizes available. Besides square pieces, you can also find oval, rectangular and round pieces for sale.
Put a design on the skin. Use a stencil or draw a design freehand onto the skin like you would do for a regular tattoo. Stencils can be applied just like you regularly would on real skin. Hand drawn designs can be applied with a ball point pen, sharpie or tattoo surgical marker.
Strap the practice skin to a body part. For a better feel of what it'll be like to tattoo on a real person, attach the piece of skin to various body parts to get used to the various curves and contours you'll be working with on the human form.
Set up your tattoo machine. Load your tattoo machine(s) with the same needles you would choose for the same design if done on a person or if you're practicing new techniques, try some different needles than you'd normally use to see what the differences would be.
Get your ink ready. Use the same brands of ink and the colors you would use for regular tattooing. It will work the same on the practice skin, so you can see what the affect would be if the tattoo had been done on real skin. The end result will be darker than what the healed tattoo would look like on human skin.
Start tattooing. Complete the all the outline first and then the shading. Work in your colors from darkest to lightest.
Use Vaseline to clear away excess ink while you're tattooing on the practice skin. Clean away any residual ink that was smeared during the process and show off your latest creation.
If you don't want to use practice skin or want an even more realistic surface to practice, do it the old fashioned way and buy pig skin from a local butcher. The texture and pigment is almost identical to human skin. Once the tattoo is complete on the practice skin, you can use for a display, or flip it over and tattoo the other side, too, so you'll get the most use for your money.
Don't practice with your skin on flat surfaces; you'll lose one of the biggest keys in practicing, which is getting used to tattooing on and around curves. Don't forget, when you tattoo humans, they have imperfections in the skin that your practice skin won't have. Instead of a nice smooth surface, you're going to have obstacles to work with and around, such as moles, acne scars and other possibly more severe scars and oily or dry patches of skin. Fake skin comes ready to use; it's not dirty, oily or hairy so it doesn't require cleaning or shaving.