DIY Stick and Poke Tattoos
While we do not recommend DIY stick and poke tattoos. This article will explain everything you’ll need to know about them, to ensure that you get them done correctly and safely.
What are stick and poke tattoos?
Stick and poke tattoo, also known as a hand tattoo or DIY tattoo. It is a tattoo completed without a machine. So someone manually sticks a needle into your skin, and pokes ink into it. Stick and poke tattoos can be done by anyone, anywhere. And they are a permanent tattoo.
Why do people get a stick and poke tattoo?
The main reason people get a stick and poke tattoo is because they can’t afford to get a professional tattoo. Professional tattoos can cost a fortune, with artists charging as much as a few hundred dollars per hour for one design. Whereas stick and poke tattoos can be created from everyday household items. Or with a few inexpensive online purchases. Stick and poke tattoos are cheap to complete. This is why they are so popular with college students. The supplies needed for the job are so minimal and cheap. Usually just consisting of tattoo ink and a sewing needle (which artists sterilize with a flame). Other people get a stick and poke tattoo as they are becoming a growing trend. Even celebrities such as Rihanna and Kesha have had a stick and poke tattoo.
Can anyone give me a stick and poke tattoo?
Yes. However we do not recommend letting just anyone give you a stick and poke tattoo. As you run the risk of an infection or serious health condition if not done correctly. Therefore if you’re really considering getting a stick and poke tattoo. Then please find a professional, or speak to someone who knows what they’re doing. Like a professional tattoo, a stick and pope tattoo will be on your skin forever. So you’ll want to make sure you are happy with the design. Otherwise you will probably regret having a stick and poke tattoo, and want to have it removed. Which will cost you a lot of money in the future.
Do stick and poke tattoos hurt?
Yes. Stick and poke tattoos hurt a lot more than having a tattoo completed by a tattoo gun. As the needle has to penetrate the skin several times to get the ink to take to the skin. Furthermore, they also take a lot longer to complete than having a conventional one. With stick and poke tattoos, the artist literally needs to take the time to create the line with tiny little dots. And usually the first layer of dots doesn’t make a dark enough line, so the artist has to go over the outline multiple times to make the line darker. So even the smallest of designs can take a couple of hours to complete. The pain is often described as a stinging, burning sensation, and it can cause swelling.
Are Stick and Poke Tattoos permanent?
Stick and poke tattoos are meant to last as long as regular tattoos. However they are known to fade overtime. How fast they fade depends on how much ink is poked into the skin, and how deep the ink goes. However either way it will fade over time, meaning it will not look as good as a professional tattoo in a couple of years time.
Are Stick and Poke Tattoos safe?
If the stick and poke tattoo is completed by someone who knows what they’re doing. And sterilises the equipment properly, then they can be safe. However the risk of infection or a serious health condition such as HIV, or hepatitis C is much higher with stick and poke tattoos. So, if you’d rather not risk a disease or infection from getting the tattoo done by your college friend. Then go search for your nearest stick and poke tattoo artist in your area.
How to do a stick and poke tattoo
Although we do not recommend giving yourself a stick and poke tattoo. We will explain how you can give yourself one, so you know what you’re doing before breaking the skin.
Find a design – First of all, you will need to find a design you like, or you can design a tattoo yourself. Either way, you will want to be happy with the final result so think carefully about the design you want, and the placement of the tattoo.
Buy a stick and poke tattoo kit – We recommend buying a stick and poke tattoo kit as they are the safest option. These kits include everything you will need to complete your tattoo, including a sterilised needle, safe India ink and the instructions. Also never share any used needles, even with someone you trust, as doing this will put you at serious risk.
Set up your area – Find somewhere comfortable to complete your DIY tattoo as the design will take a while to complete. So you will want to be comfortable. You will also a few other items before starting your tattoo. Such as some cotton thread, a cup for water, rubbing alcohol, and some clean rags. It is also really important that the area around you is clean. Wash any bowls you’ll be using in hot, soapy water. And wear gloves whilst handling any of your supplies.
Clean and shave the skin – Next clean the chosen tattoo area with soap and warm water, and shave any hair off. Next sterilise the skin with rubbing alcohol, and dab with a cotton ball to dry the area. Make sure the area is completely dry before continuing.
Draw the design on your skin – Trace or draw your desired tattoo in the place you want it to go, or have someone do it for you. Take advantage of tracing to see how your stick and poke tattoo will look from different angles and postures. Never hesitate to go back to the drawing board. Slight improvements will make the difference between a tattoo you’ll regret and one you’ll proudly show off.
Sterilise the needle – If you’ve not bought a stick and poke kit with a sterilised needle included. Then you will need to sterilise the needle yourself. To sterilise the needle, hold it over a flame of a candle or light until it glows. Make sure you hold the other end with a cloth, or you’ll burn your fingertips. Then attach the needle to the end of a pencil for added stability.
Start poking – Next dip the needle into the India ink, and then poke it through your skin. Leaving small dots after each poke. There will be a little bit of blood, but there shouldn’t be too much. As you are only trying to poke through the first couple of layers of skin. If you are doing it correctly, your skin should stick with the needle a little as you pull out. You may also be able to hear a faint “pop” as it goes through each layer.
Disposal of equipment – Once you are happy with your tattoo, you will need to make sure you dispose your equipment correctly. Put any used needles in a plastic container and throw them in the bin. Ideally though, you should dispose of this container in a sharps disposal facility at your local pharmacies or hospital. If you want to do any touch-ups to your tattoo in the future you will need to use a fresh, new needle. Make sure you clean the tattoo area again with rubbing alcohol, and clean the area where you completed the tattoo.
Aftercare – Stick and poke tattoos need aftercare just like conventional ones. Otherwise they run the risk of an infection. To learn more about tattoo aftercare, please see our Tattoo Aftercare article.