The art of tattooing has been around for centuries with every major culture doing the process. In today's world tattooing is most of the time left to experts, resulting in very beautiful works. But what if you want to do your own? this instructable will cover the art of "Stick 'n' poke" tattoos that will enable you to safely add your own dermal embellishments.

WARNING: These tattoos, although light, are PERMANENT! Think about what you want on your body before you go through with it. ALSO it does hurt, and depending on your pain level it may hurt too much. Test without ink first to see if you want to spend 30 minutes poking your skin to get some cool stuff.

Lets get on with it.

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Step 2: Disinfecting Your Skin

The next step is to clean your skin, use a antibacterial soap or rubbing alcohol to clean the area you want to tattoo. This will make sure that the area is prepped for poking.

Step 3: Drawing Your Image

Then with a regular ball point pen you draw what you want to have your tattoo be. You will follow the lines your draw with the needle and ink later on.

Step 5: Inking The Needle

Next take the ink and put a little bit into a jar lid. The take the string wrapped needle and dip the tip into the ink getting a good amount on there. The string will act as a wick as well.
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Wyonaut8 months ago

Awesome instructable. Awesome DIY attitude. While I have some quibbles on the specifics (I'd like to see better options than pencil and thread), it was all explained well and it shows incredible DIY attitude. There is no point in trying to reason with the haters here, they don't want to help. If they wanted to help they would share tips for better technique, better needles, better ink, and better sterilization. They are confusing perfect with best and forgetting the spirit of body art.

If someone is reading this and wants to do it themselves, then telling them to "go to tattoo parlor or your skin and limbs will rot off" is not remotely helpful. Better they get good instruction on how to DIY than try and figure it out for themselves. Putting a few holes in human skin is something we all constantly do by accident in much less than sanitary conditions and the VAST majority of people survive it with very minimal negative effects. The odds greatly favor surviving (and thriving after) it being done on purpose with even minor precautions. The odds are the worst you will have is a new, admittedly probably bad, tattoo.

I have tattoos, my wife has tattoos. We designed all of them, though we had to pay someone else to put them on us. I'd love for my next tattoo to be done by her, even if it looks less than stellar, I will know her spirit is in it. That's what body art is about for me.

DMPeraino8 months ago

It may not be the best idea to do this but thank you for posting a full tutorial for those who plan to do it. This is a really good tutorial in comparison to some others and while stick n' poke is not the best method of getting a tattoo if you plan to do it. A good tutorial is here.

sami.matyas1 month ago
Does pen ink work?
Never ever ever use pen ink even if it's labled non toxic!

In prisons and jails etc, any ink is used, not only from pens but from the cloth covers of books etc, such as the A.A. Big Book which can't be denied the prisoners tho the covers may be altered by now. ~(:-})={>---- ]

I'll never understand people's need to condescend risk aware individuals who practice bodily autonomy.

Thank you for sharing this- of course it isn't as safe as a professional, that's what you pay them for. But if you aren't too weak of stomach this can be done in relative safety- the notion that this carries more risk than, say, skateboarding, sports, working with power tools, etc. is just laughable.

snoopindaweb8 months ago

Hi joining 2 needles helps while filling areas, and don't forget to shave the area so no hairs get involved. Yup. ~( : - } )=> --- ]

you forgot "have a genuine professional do it properly and safely with professional equipment, license, bond and liability insurance"

It must be cool to rule the entire planet You.
Yesssss. You know he is suiting up on his Throne. Judging all these people. Such power the legamin has. On bended knee we pray. Oh please stop preaching. Good for you pointing out his inflated self worth. ?

You. I scraped "not poked" My first tatoo in at 11 in 1959, (gonna' look like a biker) and have poked in several more since, most times just using a match on the tip of the needle. I'm 66 in April and going strong, I know I'm not all that tough. ~(:-})

Oops that reply was meant to start as Yup, not You. I sorry. :-}

mantill8 months ago

why wrap the needle with thread?

legamin mantill8 months ago

in order to carry bacteria and infection into and throughout the effected tissue with the greatest efficiency.

NovaO legamin2 months ago

please take your negativity somewhere else. I have not seen one comment that was even remotely positive. you are being dismissive and unkind. every single one of your comments on this thread is annoyingly snobby and condescending.

I apologize that I'm trying to approach this from a medical point of view. I'm sure that might be unpopular. In fact I have two sleeves and various tattoos that I've had to wear strategic clothing to cover in order to get the jobs I want. Snob? No. Concerned for others to the point of warning of possible dangers? Sure. And I can't stop doing what is morally right.

I do deeply apologize that my comments offend you. I will attempt to be more tactful in the future as it occurs to me that clearly not everyone thinks and feels as I do on this subject. Frankly, due to the medical risks involved I'm surprised the many posts of this subject have been left up.

My advice, if you're still reading, please be careful in the sterilization process, order the proper inks for tattoos (dirt cheap) and ask a local friendly tattoo shop to sterile the thread for you as well. I'm not saying all of these are bad. Only that carelessly prepped and attempted can be a costly and permanent error.

Maxamil mantill8 months ago

So you have a dribble of ink down the needle to enter the Epidermis.

Maxamil Maxamil8 months ago

Like a quill pen

Maxamil Maxamil8 months ago

mantill Maxamil8 months ago

Oh okay! That makes sense lol. :)

kmarie428 months ago
This is in no way sanitary. As a tattoo artist myself I feel like I have to stress that there are high possibilities of infection with this method bc you are pushing bloody ink back into your skin with the thread. It is never wise to try doing your own tattoos it's also not safe and should not be taught as a DIY to anyone.

Well, specifically stated that you don't want to tie the string too far down, so it shouldn't be touching the blood or anything. As long as everything is sterile, I see no problem at all. This method has been used for centuries, and those people turned out just fine. Just because in the modern age, some one who gives a tattoo is labeled as a "tattoo artist" - doesn't make them any more experienced or qualified. People have been modifying their bodies long before we were around. C;

So well put. Bravo. ✌️
IanP3 kmarie421 month ago

when I did both of mine, I went ink, stab, alcohol, repeat. I also swabbed the skin each time with alcohol before stabbing myself again.

AzureSkye8 days ago
Well put Wyonaut. I'm late to the party but login' this thread. Hand poke Tattoos have always been a passion. As a full time artist. This is the next natural step for me. Looking forward to a long poking future. ✌️
Diy_kitty10 days ago
this is a horrible idea, besides going to a professional costs a whole lot less then medical care.
BrendaG314 days ago

DO NOT DO THIS... I got a Staph infection.. was in hospital for 4 months! Even in a coma for a week.. This is VERY VERY DANGEROUS! The bacteria that live on your skin can enter through the needle hole even as tiny as it is. I know for a fact that this is a dangerous method to use for tattooing. Yes, many have done it but you do not hear about the people that almost died or did die because of DIY tattooing. You really should NOT use this method. It is your choice... but I will never never do this again.

tiredandsassy2 months ago

i have two stick and poke tattoos currently. i used india ink for mine and they turned out fine. they're smaller tattoos on the insides of my fingers and they look good, if i do say so myself. if you wash the desired area and sterilize your needle, you have nothing to worry about. i didn't get sick or infected from this method, and neither have my friends who have also done this.

vanessa.e.correal made it!3 months ago

I did 2 tattoos using this method about 10 years ago. Everything was fine, didn't have any infections or complications. Of course, I had to touch up my tattoos twice but I didn't have any problem. You have to be sure that the skin is clean, same for the needle or your hands. You have to wash your tattoos for at least 1 month to 1 month a half everything with non-parfumed soap. So if you're getting one, you have to be sure to sterilize everything very well.

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KaareS4 months ago

haters gonna hate. I did my own and i didn't contract any illnesses. tragic right?

felixloos4 months ago

can I also use china ink (used for calligraphy) :)

creativeneko5 months ago

I've got a great addition for this article: get it done by a proffessional with a good portfolio.

beardedinventor made it!7 months ago

I've been planning a stick 'n poke for a while - and this instructable definitely helped!

I'm not exactly a fan of your method of sterilization - I boiled the pin I used for about 10 minutes, which I felt a bit more comfortable with.. but other than, really good :)

People can hate on the look of stick 'n pokes all they like. I love mine - and a big part of the reason I wanted one was for the aesthetic.

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What did you do to clean yours?

And how long did it take to heal?

Also - I would recommend that the person giving the stick 'n poke wear gloves!

MrWain7 months ago

I disapprove of this.

LadyLelan8 months ago

I am absolutely appalled to see this instructable featured in today's newletter. Not only is it unsafe and a serious health hazard, the results are also just plain awful.

Whoever decided to have that featured in the newsletter should review their way of selecting.

First, allow me to say that I have tattoos as well as piercings.

My first tattoo was done with a mail order "machine" that consisted of a bass string, a motor, and a straw... it hurt like hell and didn't look good at all, so I don't agree with this type of practice... BUT, if you look at the traditional methods of the Asian and Polynesian cultures you'll see that this is not a far cry from that.

Perhaps this is more informational in a demonstrative way as to why you shouldn't do it... OR perhaps they are showing you measures that are more hygienic than those taken in jail houses.

Regardless, tattooing and piercing are a part of our American culture and they are not going anywhere so it seems normal to me to see this type of instructable and I commend they the site for going ahead and showing it.

This is unsanitary and causes all sorta of infections and risks. Just go get someone whose been trained in tattoo do it.
Hey Guys im a tattoo artist and i really advise against this, Simple things such as these are probably not going to be clean and its actually an easy way to get Hep B. Dont be an idiot and be cheap and unsafe for something that is permanent and going to be on you until you go to an actual tattooist and get it covered up or somewhere to get it removed very painfully. Go to a reputable shop if you want work done. I cant tell you how many times ive seen people with crappy home made tattoos coming into fix it. Seriously, think before you act.
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