How to simplify a Soundwave Tattoo Stencil

by tattoo artist and Skin Motion founder & CEO Nate Siggard

Have you had a client come in with a Soundwave Stencil that looked really complicated and wondered how to do it properly? This guide will show you have to turn a problem stencil into one that is easy to tattoo.

Today I had someone send me a Soundwave stencil PDF with a Soundwave that looked really difficult to reproduce. When your client is getting a short sound under 5 seconds, it can produce a Soundwave shape that looks overly complex and can easily be simplified. I’m going to show you how I was able to quickly fix this complicated Soundwave in Photoshop so that I could quickly print the stencil and do the tattoo in under 20 minutes.

Here are the steps:

  1. Isolate the soundwave onto it’s own layer
  2. copy the layer multiple times on top of itself to make it thicker and merge them into one layer
  3. Select layer contents
  4. Select/Modify/Expand the selection 2px
  5. Create a new layer and fill the expanded selection area
  6. Add layer effects: Color Overlay (white) & stroke, outside, 5px

Below are soscreenshotsots of the process with more detailed explanations

1. Isolate the Soundwave on it’s own layer by using the selection tool to copy the Soundwave shape to a new layer

2. Copy this new layer a couple times to make the lines thicker and then merge the layers into one.

3. Select the layer contents by holding Command key (on Mac) or Control key (on windows) and clicking the layer preview

4. Go to Menu Select/Modify/Expand and set it to 2 pixels.
5. Create a new layer and fill the selection with black.

6. Add layer effects to this new layer. Color overlay set to white, and a Stroke with black, set to 5 pixels, on the outside of the layer

When you are done, you should have a Soundwave stencil that is less complex, and that will allow you to create a much better Soundwave Tattoo.

Here is the final tattoo with her son’s signature underneath. As you can see it is quite small at less than 2 inches long and is much simpler than the original stencil design.

I hope this helps you when making your Soundwave Tattoos. If you have any questions we are here to help.