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Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solution!

daveb

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Ok after a lot of posts about stencil solutions and what works and what doesn't i have decided to post a complete thread about the whole process and a brief history of stencil making in the tattoo industry......Plus I am uploading my simple but highly effective stencil solution which i have found along with the correct application process sticks stencils fast and permanently!.....so why pay extortionate amounts of money for commercial recipes which we can easily duplicate or even in some cases improve upon..

First of before we get into tattooing it interesting to understand how the tattoo stencil paper we all use has come about...

The early types of celluloid or Acetate stencils were both time consuming and often messy and primitive in the results obtained.

Then Hectograph stencil papers arrived!

In the early days of microbiology, the original purple dyes we now associate with modern hectograph papers were first found that enabled the successful 'staining' of microscopic bacteria or other tissue samples. Dyes such as 'Gentian violet' or 'hexamethyl pararosaniline chloride' to give it its proper chemical name enabled stained cells to be seen far better when viewed under a microscope....This is basically still the same dye that is used in medical pencils by surgeons to mark were the incisions need to be made!

Other uses were found for chemically similar 'purple dyes'...some early printing techniques were developed that used Aniline based purple dyes developed by a guy called William Perkin in 1856....these purple or blue dyes, Mauvine being the earliest were used in the Hectograph printing process!..Hectograph comes from the Greek hectaton meaning 100 and graph meaning 'to write'...so literally Hectograph means to write a hundred times....ie printing lots of copies from one! ..

The actual process he developed was interesting ...first a' master copy' was made by writing on paper using ink that contained the Aniline dye....this was then allowed to dry and placed on a roller....then another roller was smeared with gelatine...this was then allowed to come into contact with the master copy and some of the Aniline dye 'diffused' into the gelatine on the roller...this was then rolled onto a clean piece of paper and the ink in the gelatine was deposited onto it creating a 'copy' of the original writing!...the process was repeated until the original master copy was exhausted of its dye....

The hectograph stencil paper process we all use today is applied slightly different, the dyes and wax matrix on the stencil paper are transferred to ordinary paper with the pressure of a pen (or heat depending on type of stencil paper used) ..then we use that to apply the transfer onto the skin which after adding a stencil solution acts like the original gel that absorbs the strong violet aniline based dye. These are still basically the same group of dyes developed by William perkin.

This simple process works so effectively it has literally transformed the tattooing industry in ways unimagined not so long ago

Before messing with tattoo stencils, We first NEED to understand the whole process of whats involved in successfully applying a tattoo stencil to human skin....we need to understand HOW the dye in the hectograph paper interacts with human skin...we need it to 'stain' the skin and diffuse as deep into the epidermis as is possible so it remains as permanent as it can be when we start our tattooing.

The dyes used today are still the same Aniline dyes used for years....they are all water soluble, but the gel/wax sterate matrix used to combine the dyes and coat them onto hectograph paper is more soluble in alcohol and other solvents such as Carboxylic or Linoleic acids, one reason dettol seems to work so well at getting the stencil dye off the hectograph paper and onto skin is it contains both alcohols and pine oils/castor oils which contain the above ingredients.

For years tattoo shops everywhere have used a number of tried and tested ingredients....including the basic (but crap!) green soap solution, Dettol (much better but Still very hit and miss) and speed stick (the one that includes 'propylene glycol')





The magic ingredient is 'propylene glycol'....whilst water, alcohol and other compounds will get the dye off the stencil paper and onto the skin...it is the 'propylene glycol' that helps get that dye deep into the skin!....so what is it?....basically its a skin penetration enhancer!
Propylene glycol helps active ingredients penetrate the skin, it is a well known and well used delivery ingredient often used in cosmetics to help diffuse/carry the cosmetic /creams/ointments/medicines etc deep into the epidermis

Propylene glycol is the second real ingredient and active ingredient in 'Stencil stuff' the first two are water and aloe vera...though its cheap and readily available, the hype and marketing of stencil transfer solutions means 'Stencil stuff' costs a lot of money for basically what is a very small bottle of cheap ingredients!!!

Stencil Stuffâ„¢
COMPOSITION/INFORMATION ON INGREDIENTS
Proprietary formulation.
Water, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, propylene glycol, sodium stearate, steareth-20, polysorbate-20,
carbomer, triethanolamine, polyquaternium-55, quaternium-15


Stencil Stuff



So the two main active ingredients in stencil stuff are aloe vera and Propylene glycol..the main ingredient is WATER!..the rest of the ingredients are basically surfactants, thickeners and emulsifiers designed to make the product easy to use and more consistent.


Aloe vera is a well known skin healing and skin penetration compound..it is well known for penetrating deep into the epidermis.....a quality we are looking for when an aniline based purple dye is dissolved in it!

SO.....
My stencil solution!!!.....

There are only THREE basic ingredients as far as WE are concerned!, it took me a lot of research and testing to arrive at my recipe, i have tried lots of variations and alcohol/water/Propylene glycol combinations!

Easy as can be and far superior to any other solution i have ever tried..and trust me..i have tried them all!

So to make 2 ltrs!!!!..that's right 2000ml!...not 100ml!

1/ Dettol.....750ml...................Dettol Liquid Antiseptic Infection Disinfectant for First Aid Original 750ml | eBay

2/ 'propylene glycol'...1000ml (buy on ebay...lots of suppliers!) here's what i get.......1000ml 1 litre MPG Propylene glycol USP/EP 99+% Pharma / Pharmaceutical grade | eBay

3/ Aloe vera gel...250ml........here's what i use, but any similar good quality green aloe gel should work...Aloe Vera Gel -1000ml BRAND NEW with Pump | eBay



Place all ingredients in a separate container and shake to mix!...that's it!....you now have TWO litres of amazing stencil solution!....that should last you a long time!!!.....forget all the others..this works as good if not better than 'stencil stuff'...plus i find due to the alcohol and other ingredients in the dettol its a darker more legible looking stencil as well, i find stencil stuff can produce weak looking faded stencils that may not fade fast but they already look faded to me!..most probably because it is predominately water based!


Correct Stencil application!

This is important to ensure a permanent stencil!....its essential we remove all the dirt and oils from the skins surface before we apply our stencil solution.....i have found that a solution of 100% pure isopropyl alcohol is by far the easiest and most effective way to prepare the skin.....using a kitchen paper towel....spray the area of skin to be tattooed liberally and rub gently with a gloved hand with the towel until the skin is clean and dry....it usually takes on a dry whitish appearance......its now ready to use our stencil solution...

Place a small amount of stencil solution on your gloved hand and rub all over the skin were the stencil is to be applied...not too much!...just enough to cover the skin with just a damp film of the solution.....now let it almost dry before attempting to apply the stencil (i stroke the skin and can feel when its almost dry)...if its too wet the stencil will run and spread and loose its details!....what we want is almost dry skin...then apply the stencil...leave in place on the skin applying gentle pressure for approx 5 secs...then remove and let the stencil completely dry off...about 5-10mins.....i usually apply the stencil first thing then proceed to set up my inks/needles etc whilst it dries


One word of caution....if the stencil is not positioned correctly and you wish to re-apply it, then you must wipe it off with the same isopropyl alcohol immediately!!! after 30 secs its as good as impossible without rubbing the actual skin off a client!


Tattooing can be expensive with all the overpriced machines, inks and paraphernalia out there..not to mention the extortionately priced stencil stuff and similar stencil transfer solutions out there...my recipe is 100% effective and as good if not better than all commercially available alternatives...at a fraction of the price!....i prefer to keep some of my overheads to a minimum without sacrificing quality or reliability.....my stencil solution has enabled me to do tattoos without the slightest worry about wiping off the stencil!....now i start top to bottom or side to top..who cares..that stencil isnt going anywhere anymore!!!......

Some links to propylene glycol.....

Propylene Glycol
Penetration of Cosmetic Ingredients
 

boaz

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

good on ya dave nice work....there are a few words that stood out to me in daves great history and application ...research and testing... thats how he is able to PASS ON good advice
 

Patrick

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

good on ya dave nice work....there are a few words that stood out to me in daves great history and application ...research and testing... thats how he is able to PASS ON good advice

Nice one Dave, so by mixing all the ingredients you would end up with nearly 2750ml for less than *£30 I paid nearly *£20 last time for 236ml of stencil stuff. For 2750ml of stencil stuff it would cost *£200 so saving *£170 and this would last for years. Do you recommend sticking to these exact ratios to make smaller batches EG: 75ml - 100ml - 100ml? I will order up the stuff now and let you know how I get on with it.

I suppose with a bit of research green soap could also be made a lot cheaper?:icon_smile:
 

roxydoo

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

Thanks for that mate, Im gonna knock some up next week and give it a bash
 

Sl1pperyweasel

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

Nice one Dave. Interesting & useful info there. Im gonna have to have a try of the stencil solution, although that much will prob last the rest of my life. LoL
on that subject do you know if there is a shelf life to the solution?
 

TattooJay

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

Great post Dave. It was a read



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daveb

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

Nice one Dave. Interesting & useful info there. Im gonna have to have a try of the stencil solution, although that much will prob last the rest of my life. LoL
on that subject do you know if there is a shelf life to the solution?

Thanks.....I should imagine the shelve life would be indefinite, i have a 200ml bottle i started using over 8mths ago and its still the same as the day i mixed it..all the ingredients last for years on their own and they all mix well together without any separation, precipitation or other obvious issues, its definitely a complete homogeneous solution with no obvious interactions/reactions amongst the separate components ....am confident it will last years after it is mixed.
 

fronshee

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

great post Dave, and brought back some memories.. I remember my junior school teacher copying our school play scripts with a hand operated roller machine.. my god I'm old! I remember acetate stencils too..
 

TexasPT

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

Nice one Dave, so by mixing all the ingredients you would end up with nearly 2750ml for less than *£30 I paid nearly *£20 last time for 236ml of stencil stuff. For 2750ml of stencil stuff it would cost *£200 so saving *£170 and this would last for years. Do you recommend sticking to these exact ratios to make smaller batches EG: 75ml - 100ml - 100ml? I will order up the stuff now and let you know how I get on with it.

I suppose with a bit of research green soap could also be made a lot cheaper?:icon_smile:

Great read, Dave.

Patrick- I read that green soap is really nothing more than antibacterial soap, water, and a splash of rubbing alcohol. That's what I use now. (wish I could replicate the smell) There isn't enough alcohol to make you swear upon wiping but between it and the soap you feel good about it doing it's job.

Mark
 

Skorprick

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

great read - will try this too :)
 

jacksdad

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

really interesting and informative,, cheers sir,, just ordered the propylene glycol from ebay,, will give it a whirl when it arrives,, think i,ll need to half or quarter the quantities though,, lol, cant see me needing 2 litres just yet:icon_wink:
 

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

Mega post thanks for taking the time to write it I'm going to give it a bash. You could be a future millionaire.
 

jacksdad

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

propylene glycol arrived this morning, mixed as per recipe,, the 2nd pic is after about 100 wipes with water, and the 3rd, which i can still make out is after another100 with green soap,, excellent stuff mate,, really pleased, aloe vera gel, *£1, semichem, dettol i had anyway,, outstanding..... cant wait to use it for real,, much appreciated,, good work fella Stenc1.jpg Stenc2.jpg Stenc3.jpg
 

Patrick

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

I got my ingredients yesterday from the suppliers that Dave listed above. I have been testing it out today against Stencil Stuff. The first thing I noticed was that the stencil was a bit brighter, I left both to dry for 15mins then tried wiping off with green soap. The Stencil Stuff would not wipe of completely, there was still a faint stencil left. The home made stuff would def not wipe off but did fade, however not as much as the SS, so I can honestly say that although SS is good it is not as good as Homemade stuff. I will use up what SS I have left but won't be buying it again. I have enough to last me probably a few years and cost me under *£30. :icon_biggrin:
 

canicant

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

I got my ingredients yesterday from the suppliers that Dave listed above. I have been testing it out today against Stencil Stuff. The first thing I noticed was that the stencil was a bit brighter, I left both to dry for 15mins then tried wiping off with green soap. The Stencil Stuff would not wipe of completely, there was still a faint stencil left. The home made stuff would def not wipe off but did fade, however not as much as the SS, so I can honestly say that although SS is good it is not as good as Homemade stuff. I will use up what SS I have left but won't be buying it again. I have enough to last me probably a few years and cost me under *£30. :icon_biggrin:

Just ordered my ingredients as well, the only thing is I bought my aloe vera gel from Boots as *£17.95 for a litre on Ebay was a bit too pricey for me :icon_cry:
 

jacksdad

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

Me too m8. .poundland or semichem for aloe..
 

canicant

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

Just a heads up Boots and Tesco are doing a 2 for 1 on 'Banana Boat' brand aloe vera at the moment :icon_biggrin:

My propylene glycol came this morning so I went with 375ml Dettol, 125ml Aloe Vera and 500ml P/Glycol, that makes just a litre and it works damned well.
If anyone is struggling with measuring the liquids just remember you can weigh it on kitchen scales as millilitres and Grams are the same.

Thanks for the recipe Dave its saved us all a fortune.

Rob.
 

chunkymonkey

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

Thanks for the info Dave, I will be making some of this in the near future. :thumbsup:
 

canicant

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

Update on Dave's stencil solution...... it's too good, I can't get the bloody stuff off my pig skin after i've lined it.
This is seriously good stuff and I scrubbed the hell out of it with green soap then a kitchen scourer and hand cleaner (iso alcohol) and it's still showing, WOW!!!!

Two thumbs up.
 

Devils Ink

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

Can you use any Propylene Glycol and does it have to be pharma grade???
 

Devils Ink

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

Best home made stencil recipe out there, that stencil does not go anywhere . . . . FANTASTIC beats any stencil product out there IMO, Thanks for sharing this
 

daveb

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Re: Understanding the STENCIL Process, Plus MY Simple but Effective DIY Stencil Solut

Am glad you guys like it guys!.....I did consider making and selling it...but am more an artist than a businessman...anyway this industry is already a huge money making game...its goods that beginners like ourselves can practise and perfect our techniques without worrying about expensive CONsumables like ''stencil stuff''!.....
 
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I have tried Stencil Stuff, this other Stencil Green stuff "do not even let them send it to you for free." I have not tested out Dave's recipe. I use Nikko's old recipe still. When I am ready to make more I will have to give this a try.
 

Tattooboy80

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Thanks Dave for the recipe.
So the gentian violet can be used instead of inkjet on my Epson EcoTank and make good stensils? Fraction of the price?
 

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Thanks Dave for the recepy.
So the gentian violet can be used instead of inkjet on my Epson EcoTank and make good stensils? Fraction of the price?
i have been wondering and planning on buying an ecotank to put the gentian violet in, instead of that $80-150 crap they are selling. can you use the gentian violet in an eco tank for stencils? i cant find any real info saying it works online at all.
 

crimbo79

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Im trying out an eco tank with nox violet hand stencil ink whick is about £20 a bottle so much cheaper. Still got to test it properly as im trying to find a god stencil solution to work with it. Waiting on the stuff to turn up to try this recipe out
 

dinelb

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Im trying out an eco tank with nox violet hand stencil ink whick is about £20 a bottle so much cheaper. Still got to test it properly as im trying to find a god stencil solution to work with it. Waiting on the stuff to turn up to try this recipe out
Let me know how it works
 

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Did this work out? I disolved some stencil papers in isopropyl alcohol and strain , filter thru syringe filter add water but it keeps clogging my printer head . Any otther cheaper solution guys ? Thank you
 

TexasPT

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Did this work out? I disolved some stencil papers in isopropyl alcohol and strain , filter thru syringe filter add water but it keeps clogging my printer head . Any otther cheaper solution guys ? Thank you

buy spirit paper...stencil by hand until you save enough to get a stencil machine. (about 120 usd). I did every stencil by hand for years...then I finally got tired of it and bought a machine. :)
 

elstretcho

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Also curious about the gentian violet in inkjet printers. Anyone confirm it works for stencils? daveb any thoughts on this or better, cost effective recipes with gentian violet ink?
 
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