What Are the Best Things to Practice Tattooing On? Find Out!

Trying to find the best things to practice tattooing on? As a tattoo artist, I had to undergo a lot of training and practice, like you’re about to.

I used to practice on fruit, vegetables, silicone dolls, paper, and markers on my own skin until I was ready to start working on human skin.

I’m excited to take you through this guide so that I can share the best tips and tricks from the industry with you on your journey to becoming a tattoo artist.

Key Takeaways

  • Tattooing is an art form that has been around for centuries.
  • There are many things to consider before getting a tattoo, such as the design and location.
  • It is important to know what you can and cannot tattoo on someone and what is safe to practice on yourself.
  • You can use fruits, vegetables, paper, and temporary tattoos to practice tattooing.

CHECK: Easy Tattoo Outlines for Beginners

Things to Practice Tattooing On

Tattoos have been a form of expression for THOUSANDS of years — we even have preserved skin that contains ancient tattoos.

More than that, it is commonly seen as a window into the soul and human psyche (1).

There are LOADS of things you can practice tattooing on — if I’m being honest, the list is endless. Below are some of my top training choices for beginner tattoo artists to perfect their ink.

Fruits and Vegetables

One of the most POPULAR things to tattoo on is fruit and vegetables. Why? Because the skin is thin, there’s not much fat, and they’re easy to come by.

Some of the most tattooed fruits and vegetables include:

  • Apples.
  • Pears.
  • Bananas.
  • Grapes.
  • Strawberries.

But you can tattoo any fruit or vegetable you want — the choice is yours.

Check out this video!

Silicone Practice Skin

If you want to tattoo something a little more REALISTIC, I suggest getting your hands on some silicone practice skin.

This false skin is designed to mimic human skin, so it’s a GREAT way to get a feel for how tattooing real people will be.

Since it closely resembles human skin, this synthetic skin is perfect for practicing tattooing with a tattoo machine.

Pro Tip: It’s a great way to try out new tattoo techniques without the worry of making a mistake because you’re using fake skin.

Paper

Another fantastic tattooing practice item is paper. ANY professional tattoo artist you speak to has probably used it.

Now, I’m not talking about tattooing REGULAR printer paper. That will tear way too easily. I’m talking about tattooing rice paper or parchment paper.

These papers are STRONG enough to withstand tattooing but still provide a similar tattooing experience to human skin.

Pro Tip: Use a different type of paper for each tattoo you practice. This will help you get a feel for tattooing different types of skin.

Toy Dolls

Tattooing toy dolls is another excellent way to practice your tattooing skills.

The best part about tattooing dolls is that they come in all SHAPES and sizes. So, if you want to tattoo a small tattoo on a doll’s arm, you can.

Or, if you want to tattoo a LARGER tattoo on a doll’s back, you can do that too.

You can try using coil tattoo machines to do this as well, giving you a chance to practice drawing with something a little tougher.

Temporary Tattoos (Using a Marker)

If you want to tattoo something a little more UNUSUAL, you can always tattoo temporary tattoos on yourself.

To do this, all you need is a temporary tattoo marker and some imagination. It takes a little more FOCUS to work on your own body, which can be pretty beneficial for your experience.

This is a FANTASTIC way to practice your drawing skills on real skin before you use a tattoo machine.

Pro Tip: Use different colors for different tattoo designs. This will help you get a feel for tattooing different colors on your skin.

Pig Skin

Tattooing pig skin is a GREAT way to get a feel for tattooing human skin. The skin is thick enough to provide a good tattooing experience, but not so thick that it’s difficult to work with.

The downside is that pig skin can be a little HARDER to come by. But, if you have the opportunity to tattoo on some pig skin, I highly recommend it.

Blood Line Your Own Skin

This is probably the most DIFFICULT tattooing practice item on this list.

Tattooing your own skin comes with a few RISKS, but it’s still a great way to get a feel for tattooing human skin.

This might also be your FIRST opportunity to use a tattooing machine on a person. Tattoo machines can be tricky to use, but they are easy to master.

Pro Tip: If you decide to tattoo your own skin, start with a SMALL tattoo in an area that is easy to cover. This will help you minimize the risk of messing up.

When Do You Know You’re Ready to Tattoo Real People?

This is a tough question to answer because it varies from person to person.

In my opinion, you should only tattoo real people when you feel COMFORTABLE and CONFIDENT in your tattooing skills.

man using a tattoo gun

If you’re still PRACTICING, that’s okay. Just take your time and tattoo as often as you can. The more you tattoo, the better you’ll become.

The art of tattooing takes time and practice to perfect the craft. So, don’t get discouraged if you take a little while to get the hang of things. Just keep practicing, and you’ll eventually get there.

READ MORE: Is it Illegal to Tattoo Yourself?

FAQs

1. How Long Does it Take to Become a Tattoo Artist?

tattooing with gloves in hand but can you reuse tattoo needles

It usually takes around three years to complete an apprenticeship and become a fully-fledged tattoo artist. Some might be shorter or longer, depending on skill and experience.

2. What is the Best Fruit to Practice Tattooing On?

The best fruit to tattoo on is grapefruit. The skin is thin enough to provide a good tattooing experience but thick enough to mimic human skin.

Conclusion

Tattooing is a great way to EXPRESS your creativity. It’s also a great way to make some extra money.

If you’re thinking about becoming a tattoo artist, I HIGHLY recommend it. Just remember to take your time and practice as much as you can before tattooing real people.

If you follow my tips about the best things to practice tattooing on, soon you’ll be able to do amazing tattoos.

lady practicing putting a tattoo on the lady's shoulder

References

1. Roggenkamp H, Nicholls A, Pierre JM. Tattoos as a window to the psyche: How talking about skin art can inform psychiatric practice. World Journal of Psychiatry [Internet]. 2017;7:148–58. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5632599/

About Edith Russo

Edith is a self-made entrepreneur with a keen business sense that others admire and a total “can-do” attitude. She’s always coming up with new ideas to anticipate her readers’ needs and help solve all their toughest beauty and skincare problems. READ HER LATEST ARTICLES. FOLLOW HER on Linkedin and Twitter. Learn more about her HERE.