Tattoo Stencils, 1923-1926

Summary

Tattoo stencils range in material from disposable paper to plastic. Designs were drawn on transfer paper or scratched into plastic with a needle. With plastic stencils, powdered charcoal was rubbed into the lines; Vaseline was applied to the skin. When the stencil was pressed against the skin, the charcoal transferred as an outline. Stencils allowed tattooists to circulate and exchange ideas.

Tattoo stencils range in material from disposable paper to plastic. Designs were drawn on transfer paper or scratched into plastic with a needle. With plastic stencils, powdered charcoal was rubbed into the lines; Vaseline was applied to the skin. When the stencil was pressed against the skin, the charcoal transferred as an outline. Stencils allowed tattooists to circulate and exchange ideas.

Artifact

Stencil (image)

Date Made

1923-1926

Creators

Fowkes, William 

Place of Creation

United States, Michigan, Detroit 

Creator Notes

Made by William Fowkes in Detroit, Michigan.

Location

Not on exhibit to the public.

Object ID

81.98.6

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Material

Paper (Fiber product)

Color

Black-and-white (Colors)

Dimensions

Height: 12 in

Width: 15.625 in

Inscriptions

WM FOWKES | 307 ADAMS, | DETROIT

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