The Creative Paper Co. explains transferring tattoo flash as a simple process of printing the desired design directly onto the grid side of the tattoo paper, cutting the image out close to the edge, carefully peeling away the adhesive side and applying the temporary tattoo directly to the skin before smoothing out any creases. Karen L. Hudson at About also explains how tattoo artists use this process.
Hudson, an author of several tattoo books, explains that some tattoo artists use a thermal fax to make their stencils, which saves time on tracing by inserting the tattoo design into the machine and transferring it onto special thermal paper in a few seconds. After the thermal fax creates the design, the tattoo artist may transfer the stencil directly to the skin, using either soap and water or a stick of deodorant to make the design stay in place. Furthermore, these agents help make the design transfer better and darker. When the artist removes the paper, it leaves a purplish-blue design of the tattoo. The artist usually treats the transfer with ointment to prevent it from rubbing off and to make the client more comfortable before actually using the needle and ink to create the permanent tattoo.