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Lots of people wonder if they should use tattoo practice skin first to learn and gain experience before trying their skills on human skin.
Which is the best practice skin for tattooing anyways?
And what is tattoo practice skin made of?
In this article, we reviewed several different products that come with tattoo practice skin.
And today, we’re going to give you a lot of options to choose from.
After all, you’re going to spend a good amount of time lining and shading on silicone and pigskin before you actually use a needle on a real person.
18 Best Tattoo Practice Skins (Recent Reviews)
BIGWASP 8×12″ Tattoo Practice Skin Double-Sided for Beginners (5pcs)
Picture sheets of synthetic skin that are roughly the size of notebook paper and 3mm thick. If you have trouble picturing 3mm, imagine how thick a line drawn with a pencil is. That’s roughly 1mm.
When doing a tattoo, you’ll be inking the dermis layer of the skin. It exists around 1 to 2 millimeters beneath the surface.
That’s why this tattoo practice skin has a good thickness. It’s possible to ink both sides so that you don’t waste a single speck of space.
Regarding the negatives, users have commented about needing to go over lines on the sheets multiple times. Some say that packing color isn’t easy either. But you may be able to clean it with Vaseline.
On the upside, this tattoo skin is flexible and stretchable. Also, it won’t smell bad or rot like pigskin.
Yuelong 4Pcs of 6″x6″ Tattoo Practice Skin with Elastric Strap
The major pro of Yuelong’s practice tattoo skin is that it comes with elastic straps that fasten with Velcro. This allows you to wrap a silicone sheet around the arms and legs of your practice subject.
If you mount your needles properly and have a steady hand, the 3mm sheets are thick enough to protect the human skin underneath.
Then flip them over when you’re done and use the other side.
They also enable you to practice techniques with micro-blading and cosmetic tattooing.
The package includes 6 pieces in each package. If you’re not satisfied with the practice tattoo skin, contact the company about their money-back guarantee.
Tattoo 2nd Skin – Practice Skin for Tattooing – by Precision
This company sells a selection of sizes from 4 x 4, 6 x 6, and 11 x 14”. Each of these silicone sheet is 3mm thick.
When you buy this one, you get a permanent canvas to display your work. It won’t go bad like fruit peels or pigskin.
Sotica Double Sides Five Sheets
Sotica makes large sheets of rubber practice skin. Each one measures 8 x 12 inches, and is thick enough so that you can use both sides.
Some say that it’s good for outlining and okay for shading. But if you don’t use lots of Vaseline, it will smudge and stain.
Cinra Double Sides 6 Sheets Tattooing and Microblading Eyebrow Practice
Cinra sells this budget pack of 6 sheets of tattoo practice skin to learn on. Use it with the inexpensive ink that comes in your tattoo kit.
Then when you feel ready to try it on human skin, be sure to upgrade to a higher quality ink. Remember that it’s important to use sterile, highly-pigmented ink on real skin. Also, should you ever end up with expired ink, you can still use it for practicing on tattoo practice skin.
6pcs Tattoo Practice Skin by Autdor
This package has 6 fake skin sheets made with silicone. They are flexible and non-toxic.
Hslife Tattoo Skin 12 Sheets
Hslife offers a budget package that has 12 sheets of synthetic skin. Each one 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 in the first.
One negative is that when you try to wipe away the excess ink, it can leave a stain. The material also won’t hold ink as well as actual human skin. But the sheets are still useful for practicing outlining and getting a feel for how to operate a tattoo machine.
Practice Tattoo Hand by Nikko Hurtado, Lifelike in Size and Shape by A Pound of Flesh
Popular portrait artist Nikko Hurtado provided his hand for the mold that created this practice model. It’s made using silicone and rubber and even has lifelike texture down to the last detail, similar to real skin. You can even see lines, veins, and fingernails.
The material holds the ink permanently so that you can use the hand as a display in your tattoo studio. It’s great for practicing designs and for adding to your portfolio.
Practice Tattoo Skin Silicone Fake Skin, Professional Quality, by A Pound of Flesh
One of the top brands of practice skin is made by A Pound of Flesh. They have both pink flesh tone and white sheets that come in different sizes. Some are rectangular, while others are round. It’s also possible to get a sheet mounted in a faux wood frame.
When you want to make a professional display, or simply work with better material, you can try out your techniques on these products.
Each skin is roughly 4 mm thick and made of high-quality silicone and rubber which is as close as it gets to real skin.
Practice Tattoo Skin Silicone Fake Skin Skull
A Pound of Flesh also makes a practice skull out of silicone and rubber. It’s a similar size to a real head with an 18-inch circumference.
Since it lacks facial features and has a bone-like texture, you might be better off with another option if you want to practice facial tattoo design.
Practice Tattoo Silicone Fake Torso, by A Pound of Flesh
Don’t get nervous when tattooing someone’s chest for the first time. It won’t be nerve-wracking if you practice design on this silicone torso first.
The texture of the silicone rubber is lifelike and holds black and colored ink well. It’s made in the USA for tattoo artists who are serious about practicing their art and displaying it in their studios.
LASHVIEW Makeup & Face Painting Student Practice Head
Lashview’s practice head is very similar to real skin as it stands on a base. It’s made of smooth vinyl and measures in at 4.5 inches tall.
ATOMUS Tattoo Practice Skin 5D Beauty Model Head
You can use this tattoo practice head for tattooing, micro-blading, or permanent makeup. It’s made up of silicone which you can pretreat with hair spray so that it won’t stain.
Zombies Soft Silicone Tattoo Practice Hand
By now you’ve probably realized that practice body parts for tattooing can be pretty expensive. Maybe you’re not ready to invest in one yet.
If this is the case, a silicone practice model like this is just what you need. It has the same shape and size of an adult male hand. The good thing is that it costs less than other options on the market.
Practice Tattoo Arm by A Pound of Flesh
Are you ready for 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 art.
ITATOO Silicone Tattoo Practice Left Hand with Short Arm
At a lower price then many of the competition, you’ll get a silicone hand with part of a forearm. It’s sized to be close to an adult male.
One customer said that the material was quite easy to ink except for deep tones.
EZTAT2 Silicone Tattoo Practice Skin Fake Hand
This is another fake hand made out of synthetic material. You can see lines and pores on the surface of it.
For a low budget model, it’s a good deal. You can use it to practice working on uneven texture and curves, which isn’t possible on a flat piece of practice skin.
PFT Transfer Stencil Paper 15 Sheets by Pirate Face Tattoo
While you’re shopping, why not pick up a package of transfer paper for stencils. Each sheet is 8.5 x 11, which is the standard notebook size.
The carbon paper sheets work for both freehand designs as well as in a thermal copier. They leave a purple-colored image on the surface.
What Is the Best Tattoo Practice Skin Made Of?
The practice skin used for tattooing is made of silicone, rubber, PVC, or real pigskin.
Seasoned tattoo artists will tell you that pigskin tattoos are about as close as you can get to a real person.
But obviously not everyone has access to a butcher shop. That’s why synthetic skin comes in handy.
You can secure sheets of silicone to fruit and vegetables, to your own body, or to a friend to practice your skills. The tattoo practice skin is usually good for drawing lines and adding color, but a little trickier for doing shading.
What are the Benefits of Using Practice Skin for Tattooing?
We know you’re keen to get started. You’re probably tempted to draw on yourself just to see what it’s like.
Please don’t try this!
At least, in the beginning, get used to your new tattoo machines and inks by drawing on practice skin.
You’ll start to get a feel for the depth and how you do a line on a curved surface without hurting your own skin (or a friend’s).
Fake skin can also be used as a part of your portfolio while you look for an artist with whom you can apprentice.
What about Using Pig Skin to Practice Tattooing?
This is ok, as long as you keep in mind that pigskin tattoos are only temporary. You’re working with flesh that will dry out and decay. Therefore, once you’re done tattooing it, take a photo and throw it out. You won’t be able to include it in your portfolio.
Novice artists who want to use the pigskin for practice usually find feet and ears at butcher shops or Asian markets.
If you decide to practice on pig skin, you’ll find that unlike real skin on humans, it’s tough and not very elastic. It’s difficult to stencil, which means you might need to use a Sharpie and stencil by hand.
Also, as you work on pig skin, it dries out quickly. It’s hard to do any art that take longer than an hour. Using Vaseline can help a bit.
The one thing that pigskin is good for is teaching you about needle depth, speed, shading, and coloring in a way that synthetic skin cannot.
Additionally, it allows you to practice the antiseptic process. You’ll need to wear gloves, plus you’ll have to shave the skin and clean it before you can start.
What Other Things Can You Use for Tattoo Practice?
A creative tattoo artist might find themselves working on bananas, grapefruit, oranges, and honeydew melons.
Butternut squash, pumpkins, and watermelon can also work for this.
If you want to get as close as you can to tattooing real skin, try taping practice skin onto a martial arts punching bag.
Some people say that it’s possible to make your own tattoo practice skin using flour, water, and school glue. We haven’t tried this out yet, so we’re not sure that it works.
Why You Need the Best Tattoo Practice Skin
Here are the two main reasons why you really need practice skin instead of real skin for starting out. You’ll get better at avoiding these problems:
Blowouts– When you see that the ink has blurred, and the lines are too thin, it means that the artist has pressed too hard and put the ink too deep into the skin.
Scratches and gouges– as you get used to using the tattoo machine, you’re inevitably going to make mistakes and dig in too deep. You’ll see the damage you’ve done and cringe. If real skin had those scratches and gouges, the person would be in serious pain and facing a long healing process.
Related: best tattoo machines for beginners
It’s obviously better to practice up your technique on practice skin without hurting an actual person.
We’re happy that you came to see our reviews of tattoo practice materials. We hope that you found what you need today.