How To Do A Tattoo?
Part 2 Part 2 of 3: Tattooing Yourself
- Sterilize your equipment. The main risk of a home tattoo is the risk of infection.
- Load the needle with ink to get started. When you’re ready to start tattooing, dip your needle into the ink and position the stylus so that your hand is
- Push the needle into your skin.
- Outline your design.
- Continue filling in your tattoo.
- Keep the stylus clean.
- 1 Can I just tattoo myself?
- 2 How painful is a tattoo?
- 3 Where do tattoos go for beginners?
How are tattoos done step by step?
How do I start my first tattoo?
Can I just tattoo myself?
Photo: Mirrorpix/Getty/Mirrorpix via Getty Images Yet another hobby has emerged from inside quarantine: do-it-yourself tattoos. Over the last however many days spent inside, I’ve seen no fewer than three people showing off their new “ink” on their Instagram accounts. Meanwhile, on TikTok, too, people have begun filming themselves testing (and reviewing) various kits they’ve found on Amazon and elsewhere.
- The trouble is: Tattooing oneself isn’t quite like picking up quilting or origami;
- And it certainly shouldn’t be done on a whim with things found laying around the house;
- “Never ever use stuff you have at home,” says Austin-based tattoo artist Jack Ervin of Bad Bad Tattoo;
“Sewing needles, hand soap, and pen ink are iconic DIY-tattoo implements, and I could never condone tattooing yourself with any of them. Using improvised equipment will hurt more, and the tattoo will age more poorly than a homemade tattoo created with the proper tools.
” It’s equally important to keep your workspace meticulously clean. “When you’re tattooing yourself, you have to treat everything like it’s contaminated,” says Avery Osajima , a stick-and-poke tattoo artist based in Seattle.
But with careful sanitation practices and the right tools, tattooing oneself is, in fact, fine, and is how many tattoo artists start out. Below, everything you’ll need, from station setup pieces to the very best ointment for after. Before breaking out the ink and needles, you’ll need to set up your station. While it doesn’t need to be as elaborate as the setup a tattoo artist might have, there are a few necessary essentials, like a metal tray , which should be used to store the materials you’ll be working with. “You need to work on nonporous surfaces that you can easily disinfect,” says Osajima, who also cautions against tattooing yourself on any surfaces that can’t be thoroughly disinfected first, like on a carpeted floor or couch. Speaking of disinfectant, not any random wipe or spray you have at home will work. You’ll need one that kills blood-borne pathogens, like MadaCide, a hospital-grade option that Osajima uses. “That stuff can kill hepatitis C, and HIV, tuberculosis,” she says. You’ll need to disinfect everything fairly constantly: the tray, the surface you’re working on, where you’re sitting. ” Almost every tattoo artist we spoke to mentioned using green soap, a water-soluble vegetable-oil-and glycerin-based soap used before and after tattooing, to cleanse and shave the area and to clean up the tattoo once you’re done. Green soap is ultraconcentrated so you’ll need to dilute it a bit with distilled water (distilled water lacks the trace minerals and microorganisms that can be found in tap water, and which can lead to infection). “Definitely, definitely wear gloves,” says Julissa Rodriguez , a tattoo artist based in New York. You’ll need to keep a few pairs of gloves on hand while tattooing: one pair to wear while sanitizing your station, and then another to put on while laying down your tools. These are from tattoo supply company Coalition Tattoo Company, which Osajima uses to buy all of her supplies. Both Osajima and Samantha “Cake” Robles of Tattoos by Cake say that tongue depressors are a must-have for any tattoo station. They’re used in parlors to spread ointment on the skin. The ointment lubricates and moisturizes the skin, which keeps ink from spreading everywhere once you start tattooing. “It really makes a big difference,” Osajima says. “Especially with stick and pokes. ” As for which ointment to use: Both Osajima and New York–based tattoo artist Sanyu Nicolas like Hustle Butter, which can also be used for aftercare. It has an oily consistency that keeps the ink from sliding around. Of the five experts we spoke with, four recommended using the slower, simpler stick-and-poke method (in which you dip your needle in a cupful of ink, then press the needle into the skin to create an image or word out of individual dots). A tattoo machine has a motor and requires you to be extremely intentional about speed and how much pressure you’re putting on the needle (too much force could lead to a “blown out” tattoo, and the potential to scar your skin). Osajima particularly likes the relatively thin Tight 5 needle from Black Claw, which she calls a good, standard starting needle, and which she herself uses for the majority of her line work. ] For extra-tiny tattoos, she likes to reach for the Hella Fine 5 Liner needle. And if she needs something even smaller she’ll reach for the Hella Fine 7, which produces even thinner lines. To make holding the needle more comfortable during the process, Osajima recommends wrapping it in self-cohesive tape. “I use the two-inches-thick one,” she says. Three of our experts name-checked Dynamic as their ink of choice — it’s affordable, they say, and performs well. “It’s one of the oldest and most popular brands that tattoo artists use,” says Robles. Osajima agrees: “It creates a nice, dark, solid line,” she says, “and I like the consistency. With hand-poke tattoos, if the ink is too thick it can get globby and obscure what you’re trying to do. ” If you’d rather not invest in individual tattoo materials. Rodriguez recommends this ready-made kit from Pick and Poke Tattoo , which comes with three needles, black ink, an alcohol pad , gloves, stretch wrap, tattoo ointment, and sticks, along with an instructional guide on how to safely tattoo. While what design you choose is entirely up to you, the artists we spoke to recommend keeping it simple and easy to execute. There are two ways to create your tattoo design: stenciling and free drawing. Stenciling requires a few more steps than free drawing but creates a precise guide for you to follow, and allows you to tattoo just about any image you want. Once you settle on an image you’ll need to print it out and then trace it onto the top sheet of the stencil paper, which will transfer the design onto the stencil below. For ensuring the tattoo stencil stays put throughout the tattoo process, Robles and Osajima suggested first shaving the area clean with a sharp razor, then applying Stencil Stuff, a solution designed by tattoo artists that helps the stencil stay in place. Apply a few dots in the area you’re tattooing, then rub it into the skin until it creates a sort of clear, tacky film. Then, press your stencil down and wait a few minutes before peeling it away. If you’d rather draw your tattoo freehand, or don’t have access to stencil paper, you can draw your tattoo with a surgical pen instead. (This will stay on your skin much better than a regular marker or ballpoint. ) She likes this one from Viscot in particular — it’s double-sided with a thicker and thinner point. “The longer it has to dry, the better it sticks,” Osajima says of the pen. “If you make a mistake while drawing I’d recommend wiping it off with rubbing alcohol.
- [A note: Needles cannot be reused;
- You must use a different needle for every tattoo;
- To dispose of needles, you have to use a special sharps container — this one from OakRidge, is small, easy to store, and designed for home use;
” A note: All of the drawing should be done prior to tattooing — pens shouldn’t be used on broken skin. Once you’ve completed the tattoo, aftercare is key. After completing the tattoo wash it immediately with Green Soap to get rid of the excess ink; then apply a thin layer of ointment on top. (Robles likes A+D ointment, but Hustle Butter was name-checked several times as well. ) Then wrap the tattoo in plastic wrap and let it sit for at least three hours.
- After that, Robles recommends keeping it covered with ointment for three to five days while it heals;
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How can I do a tattoo at home?
About This Article – Article Summary X To make your own temporary tattoo, first draw or print out the design you want to use. Then, place tracing paper over the design and trace it with a pencil. Trace over the design again with a non-toxic, black felt-tip marker to make it dark, then cut off the excess paper around the design with scissors.
Clean the area of your skin where the tattoo will go with rubbing alcohol and let it dry. Cleaning your skin first will help the tattoo stick better. Place the tracing paper face down on your skin and wet it with warm water using a washcloth.
Let it sit for 30 seconds, then carefully peel off the tracing paper to reveal a faint outline of your design. Now, go over the design on your skin with the felt-tip black marker to make it pop. Sprinkle baby powder over the design, dust it off, and spray liquid bandage on your tattoo.
How deep do tattoo needles go?
Just How Far Does The Needle Go? – Now that you know a little more about the machine and the needle, it’s time to discuss the third essential piece of the puzzle—your skin. The tattoo needle goes through 1/16th of an inch of skin. That might not sound like a lot of skin, but it is really going through five sublayers of the epidermis, the dermal layer, and also the top layer of the dermis.
Among these layers is a collection of sweat glands, hair follicles, connective tissue, fat, and blood vessels. During a tattoo session, the needle passes through the epidermis and epidermal-dermal junction, opening a passage in the 2mm-thick dermis.
The dermis is ideal for a couple of reasons. It is far enough not to bleed out and isn’t exposed. Knowing this, the tip of the tattoo needle is minutely adjusted to ensure that it enters the skin to the correct depth. If you were to look at a tattoo needle in the machine, you will see that it sticks out no further than 2mm.
How painful is a tattoo?
How bad do tattoos hurt? – There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to how much pain you’ll feel when getting tattooed. But if you’re wondering what type of pain to expect, Caranfa says the experience is comparable to the feeling of a cat scratch or a sunburn.
- “Long periods of irritation and tenderness are what make you feel any discomfort,” Caranfa says;
- “The sensation of a tattoo needle is very dull compared to a syringe [and needle], it isn’t the needle that causes discomfort as much as it is prolonged tenderness of being tattooed;
” Importantly, different people will report varying experiences of pain based on their individual nervous systems and pain thresholds , says Channelle Charest , a California-based tattoo artist and Co-founder of tattoo scheduling platform Tatstat. Other factors that could affect pain during tattooing include:
- Age: Studies suggest aging decreases your pain sensitivity , meaning elderly people might experience less pain when getting tattooed. Researchers have yet to determine why this happens but note that the size of parts of the brain that process pain decreases with age.
- Sex: People who are biologically female are more likely to experience greater pain intensity, a lower pain threshold, and a lower tolerance for induced pain compared to people who are biologically male. However, research is still emerging.
- Psychological expectations : If you go into a tattoo expecting it to be an excruciating experience, this might affect how much pain you actually feel. Studies suggest that people who feel anxious about and “catastrophize” pain before a procedure often experience higher levels of pain intensity and distress than people with “neutral” pain expectations.
Fortunately, most of the discomfort you feel while getting tattooed will end when your tattoo artist puts down the tattoo gun. “The sensation is only when the needle is in you,” Caranfa says, adding that while it’s typical to experience some soreness, swelling, and itchiness in the days after getting tattooed, it’s “not debilitating.
Where do tattoos hurt the most?
Where do tattoos go for beginners?
How long do small tattoos take?
Expect about half an hour to an hour for a simple, small tattoo. Keep in mind, however, a small tattoo with lots of color, line work, details, or a tricky placement could take several hours. Small tattoos are great for people who don’t want to go through a lengthy tattoo process, but still want some cool ink.