Have you ever looked at a picture that looked like it would make an awesome tattoo?  In this blog post we will cover how to create a tattoo stencil or flash design using any picture with Photoshop.  We are using Photoshop Elements to be exact, however, Photoshop has the exact same functions but the menus may be different.

1. Find a Picture to Create a Tattoo Stencil

picture into tattoo stencil

First you will need a picture to create a tattoo stencil out of.  Online pictures will be easiest as you can easily save them to your pc.  For magazines or other media, simply scan it.

2. Adjust Hue/Saturation of Stencil Design

how to create tattoo stencil

>In Photoshop Elements

  1. Go to Enhance
  2. Go to Adjust Color
  3. Go to Adjust hue/saturation
  4. Move the Saturation bar all the way to the left

This will remove all of the color from the picture.  What you are left with is a black and grey of your original.

3. Find Edges of the Outline for Tattoo Flash Design

free tattoo stencil designs

Go to Filter > Stylize > Find Edges and apply to the tattoo flash design.  This find the main outlining lines of the picture.

how to tattoo stencil

What you will be left with is the picture with mostly the outer lines which will show up perfectly for tracing onto stencil paper or as an original for a stencil printer.

5. Adjust Brightness and Contrast of Tattoo Stencil

tattoo flash art

Go to Enhance > Adjust Lighting > Brightness and Contrast and play with the brightness and contrast of the tattoo stencil.  Adjust brightness to less and you will get more shading detail but will also increase the chance for unnecessary detail.  Adjust for more brightness and you will get crisper outlines but you will sacrifice finer detail.

tattoo flash designs

Contrast should be maximum to the negative side as this will give the most shading detail.

6. Sharpen the Design

tattoo stencil design

Go to Enhance > Auto Sharpen to sharpen the lines of the design.  You may want to do this a few times for best effect.  Make sure you do not over kill this though as it may create additional focus on unwanted lines.

7. Your Free Tattoo Stencil Design is Ready!

Create Tattoo Flash

Well okay, its not exactly a free tattoo stencil design, it did take the effort of creating it.  However, now you can use any nice picture for your tattoo without having to draw it free hand onto stencil paper.  Works great for portraits too!

Veronica Gomez Tattoo Stencil

Turned out quite nice!  By the way, if you are wondering who the chick is, it is Veronica Gomez, sweet sexy latina mami..