On what should you practice tattooing?
Which is the best practice skin for tattooing?
And what is practice skin made of anyway?
In the article where we reviewed tattoo beginner kits, we included several that come with practice skin.
But today, we’re going to give you a lot more options. That handful of sheets in the best tattoo starter kits will run out quickly.
After all, you’re going to spend a lot of time lining and shading on silicone and pig skin before you put a needle in human flesh.
- What Is the Best Tattoo Practice Skin Made Of?
- The Benefits of Using Practice Skin for Tattooing
- BIGWASP 8×12″ Tattoo Practice Skin Double-Sided for Beginners (5pcs)
- Tattoo 2nd Skin – Practice Skin for Tattooing – by Precision
- Yuelong 4Pcs of 6″x6″ Tattoo Practice Skin with Elastric Strap
- Yuelong Double Sides 10 Sheets Tattooing and Microblading Eyebrow Practice
- PFT 5X Sheets of Tattoo Practice Skin, XLarge by Pirate Face Tattoo
- Wormhole Tattoo Skin 10 Sheets
- 20pcs Tattoo Practice Skin by Eight24hours
- Practice Tattoo Skin Silicone Fake Skin, Professional Quality, by A Pound of Flesh
- Practice Tattoo Hand by Nikko Hurtado, Lifelike in Size and Shape by A Pound of Flesh
- Practice Tattoo Silicone Fake Torso, by A Pound of Flesh
- Practice Tattoo Skin Silicone Fake Skin Skull
- Guapa Tattoo Practice Skin 3D Beauty Model Head
- Mehron Professional Makeup & Face Painting Student Practice Head
- Practice Tattoo Arm by A Pound of Flesh
- Zombies Soft Silicone Tattoo Practice Hand
- EZTAT2 Silicone Tattoo Practice Skin Fake Hand
- ITATOO Silicone Tattoo Practice Left Hand with Short Arm
- PFT Transfer Stencil Paper 15 Sheets by Pirate Face Tattoo
- What about Pig Skin to Practice Tattooing?
- What Other Things Can You Practice Tattooing On?
- The Two Best Reasons Why You Need Tattoo Practice Skin
What Is the Best Tattoo Practice Skin Made Of?
Fake skin used to practice tattooing is made of silicone, rubber, PVC, or actual pig skin.
Experienced artists will tell you that pig skin tattoos are about as close as you can get to working on people (1).
But not everyone has access to a butcher shop. That’s where synthetic skin comes in handy.
You can tape or strap sheets of silicone to fruit and vegetables, to your own body, or to a friend to practice inking. The practice skin is usually good for drawing lines and adding color, but a little trickier for shading.
The Benefits of Using Practice Skin for Tattooing
We know you’re eager to get started. You’re probably tempted to draw on yourself just to see what it’s like.
For the first while, get used to your new tattoo machines and inks by drawing on practice skin.
You’ll start to get a feel for depth and how you pull a line on a curved surface without blowing out your own skin (or a friend’s) (2).
Fake skin can also be a part of your portfolio as you look for an artist with whom you can apprentice.
Now let’s look at the top tattoo practice skins and body parts.
BIGWASP 8×12″ Tattoo Practice Skin Double-Sided for Beginners (5pcs)
Imagine sheets of synthetic skin that are about the size of notebook paper and 3mm thick. If you have trouble picturing 3mm, think of how thick a line drawn with a pencil is. That’s about 1mm.
As a tattoo artist, you’ll be inking the dermis layer of the skin. It exists around 1 to 2 millimeters under the surface (3).
That’s why this practice skin has the ideal thickness. It’s possible to ink both sides so that you don’t waste a speck of space.
On the downside, users have commented about needing to go over lines on the sheets multiple times. They say that packing color isn’t easy either. But you might be able to clean it with Vaseline.
On the upside, the skin is flexible and stretchable. Moreover, it won’t smell bad or go bad like pig skin.
Tattoo 2nd Skin – Practice Skin for Tattooing – by Precision
This company sells a variety of sizes from 4 x 4, 6 x 6, and 11 x 14”. Each silicone sheet is 3mm thick.
For the price, you get a permanent canvas to display your work. It won’t go bad like fruit peels or animal skin.
Yuelong 4Pcs of 6″x6″ Tattoo Practice Skin with Elastric Strap
The advantage of Yuelong’s practice skin is that it comes with elastic straps that fasten with Velcro. This setup allows you to wrap a silicone sheet around the arms and legs of a friend.
If you mount your needles properly and don’t have a heavy hand, the 3mm sheets are thick enough to protect the human skin underneath.
Flip them over when you’re done and use the other side.
They also serve for practice with micro-blading and cosmetic tattooing.
The price includes 6 pieces in each package. If you’re not happy with the practice skin, contact the company about their money-back guarantee.
Yuelong Double Sides 10 Sheets Tattooing and Microblading Eyebrow Practice
Yuelong also sells this economical pack of 10 sheets of tattoo practice skin. Use it with the inexpensive ink that comes in your starter tattoo kit.
Then when you’re ready to work on human skin, be sure to upgrade to the best tattoo inks. It’s important to use sterile, highly-pigmented ink on real clients. And should you ever end up with expired ink, you can still use it for doodling on practice skin.
PFT 5X Sheets of Tattoo Practice Skin, XLarge by Pirate Face Tattoo
Pirate Face Tattoo sells large sheets of rubber practice skin. Each one measures 8 x 12 inches, and it’s thick enough that you can use both sides.
One experienced user reported that it’s good for outlining and okay for shading. But if you don’t use plenty of Vaseline, it will smudge and stain.
Wormhole Tattoo Skin 10 Sheets
Wormhole Tattoo offers an inexpensive package with 10 sheets of synthetic skin. Each measures 6 x 8 inches.
The silicone sheets are thick enough that you can flip them over and work on the other side once you fill the first.
One con is that when you try to wipe away the excess ink, it tends to stain. The material also won’t hold ink as well as actual human skin. But the sheets are useful for practicing outlining and getting a feel for how to hold a tattoo machine.
20pcs Tattoo Practice Skin by Eight24hours
This package contains 20 fake skin sheets made of PVC. They are flexible and non-toxic.
Practice Tattoo Skin Silicone Fake Skin, Professional Quality, by A Pound of Flesh
One of the better brands of practice skin is made by A Pound of Flesh. They offer both pink flesh tone and white sheets in various sizes. Some are rectangular, and others are round. It’s also possible to buy a sheet mounted in a faux wood frame.
When you want to create a professional display, or just work with better material, try their products.
Each skin is about 4 mm thick and made of high-quality silicone and rubber.
Practice Tattoo Hand by Nikko Hurtado, Lifelike in Size and Shape by A Pound of Flesh
Famed portrait artist Nikko Hurtado provided his hand for the mold that created this practice model. It’s made of silicone and rubber and has lifelike texture down to the last detail. You can see lines and veins and fingernails.
The material permanently holds ink so that you can use the hand as a display in your studio. It’s perfect for practice and for adding to your portfolio.
Practice Tattoo Silicone Fake Torso, by A Pound of Flesh
Don’t get nervous about working on someone’s chest for the first time. It won’t be your first time if you practice on this silicone torso first.
The lifelike texture of the silicone rubber holds black and colored ink well. It’s made in the USA for artists who are serious about practicing their art and displaying it professionally.
Practice Tattoo Skin Silicone Fake Skin Skull
A Pound of Flesh also makes a practice skull out of silicone and rubber. It’s the size of a real head with an 18-inch circumference.
As it lacks facial features and has a bone-like texture, you might be better off with the next option below if you want to practice facial tattoos.
Guapa Tattoo Practice Skin 3D Beauty Model Head
You can use this practice head for tattooing, micro-blading, or permanent makeup. It’s made of silicone that you can pretreat with hair spray so that it won’t stain.
Mehron Professional Makeup & Face Painting Student Practice Head
Mehron’s practice head is even more realistic as it stands on a base. It’s made of smooth vinyl and measures about 18 inches tall.
Practice Tattoo Arm by A Pound of Flesh
Are you ready to do your first sleeve tattoo? Work out the details first on this silicone and rubber practice arm. Soon it will be a 3-D display of your artistry.
Zombies Soft Silicone Tattoo Practice Hand
Okay, you’ve seen that practice body parts for tattooing can be pretty expensive. Maybe you’re not ready to go there yet.
In that case, this silicone practice model is just what you need. It has the shape and size of an adult male hand. Fortunately, it costs less than other options on the market.
EZTAT2 Silicone Tattoo Practice Skin Fake Hand
Here’s another fake hand made of synthetic material. You can see lines and pores on the surface.
For a discount model, it’s a good deal. You can use it to practice working on uneven texture and curves, unlike a flat piece of practice skin.
ITATOO Silicone Tattoo Practice Left Hand with Short Arm
For a lower price then much of the competition, you’ll get a silicone hand with part of a forearm. It’s sized to resemble an adult male.
One customer said that the material was pretty easy to ink except for deep tones.
PFT Transfer Stencil Paper 15 Sheets by Pirate Face Tattoo
While you’re shopping, get yourself a package of transfer paper for stencils. Each sheet is 8.5 x 11, or standard notebook size.
The carbon paper sheets work for freehand designs or in a thermal copier. They leave a purple-colored image on the surface.
What about Pig Skin to Practice Tattooing?
Pig skin tattoos are temporary at best. You’ll be working with flesh that will dry out and decay. Therefore, once you finish tattooing it, take a photo and dispose of it. You won’t be able to include the actual piece in your portfolio.
Novice artists who want to buy pig skin for practice usually find feet and ears at butcher shops or Oriental markets.
If you choose to work on pig skin, you’ll find that it’s tough and not very elastic. It’s difficult to stencil, which means you may need to use a Sharpie and stencil by hand.
Worse, as you work on pig skin, it dries out fast. It’s hard to do any pieces that take longer than an hour. Using Vaseline helps a little bit.
But pig skin is useful as it’s going to teach you about needle depth, speed, shading, and coloring in a way that synthetic skin cannot.
Additionally, it allows you to practice antiseptic procedures. You’ll want to wear gloves, plus you’ll have to shave the skin and clean it before you can ink it.
What Other Things Can You Practice Tattooing On?
The creative tattoo artist may find themselves working on bananas, grapefruit, oranges, and honeydew melons.
Butternut squash, pumpkins, and watermelon may also work.
If you want to simulate tattooing the human form, try taping practice skin onto a martial arts dummy.
Some say it’s possible to make your own tattoo practice skin with flour, water, and school glue. We haven’t tried that one yet, so we’re not sure that it works.
The Two Best Reasons Why You Need Tattoo Practice Skin
Here are the two main reasons why you really need fake skin for practice. You’ll get better at avoiding these problems:
- Scratches and gouges– as you get used to setting up and using the tattoo machine, you’re going to make mistakes and dig too deep. You’re going to see the damage you’ve done and cringe. A real person with those scratches and gouges would be in serious pain, and facing a long healing process.
- Blowouts– When you see ink that has blurred, and the lines are too thin, the artist has pressed too hard and put the ink too deep into the skin.
It’s much better to smarten up your technique on practice skin without hurting an actual person!
We’re glad that you came to see our reviews of tattoo practice materials. We hope we helped you find what you need today.
Let us know your favorite type of practice skin. And check back with us soon to see the best equipment for aspiring tattoo artists.
1. https://thetattoonerd.blogspot.com/2014/11/using-pig-skin-to-practice-tattooing.html by Jason Sorrell, published Nov 2, 2014, accessed July 22, 2019
2. https://www.howcast.com/videos/509069-how-to-practice-tattooing-tattoo-artist by James Vaughn published Nov 14, 2012, accessed July 22, 2019
3. https://inkgypsytattoostudio.com/2015/04/27/how-far-does-the-needle-and-ink-go-into-the-skin/ by Elise Buhr, published April 27, 2015, accessed July 22, 2019