Instructables

DIY Tattoos (Stick 'n' Poke)

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.

Step 6: Start Pokin'

Once you have the area clean and prepped, you can start poking.

Yes, it will hurt, yes it will take a while.

Poke into the skin just enough where the dermis sticks a little to the needle. It may take a few tries to get it right. Pull the skin tight to make it easier and follow the lines your drew in the last step.

Keep some paper towels on hand in case you start bleeding.

Step 7: Pokin' Part 2

Once you go over the tattoo once, it may not be dark enough for you so go over it again if you wish.

The area you poke will become a bit raised and swell, this is normal.

Step 8: Aftercare

Afterwards you should clean the tattoo again and put something on it to protect it like saran wrap.

After a few hours you should be able to take the saran wrap off and use regular unscented lotion for a few days. Keep the tattoo out of sunlight for the first 2 days as well.

Hope you enjoyed this instructable, Please comment with any improvements or experiences. I want to thank my friends Rachael, Laura and Misha for letting them document the tattooing process. Im actually too much of a wussy and didn't get one, but now i wrote up this instructable i really should.

Instructables robot maybe?

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Wyonaut1 month 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.

DMPeraino2 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.

beardedinventor made it!28 days 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.

photo (1).JPG

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

MrWain1 month ago

I disapprove of this.

LadyLelan2 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.

Unless the needle has been in contact with blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person, it is impossible to contract Hep B (or any other disease of this sort).

skippershoneywell, unfortunately that is incorrect. Using a needle poking it into the skin like this and it not being properly sterile and not using sterile ink is a risk of many pathogens and virus like Hep B and MERSA among many that can live outside the body on surfaces and on the surface of your skin. The needle doesn't have to be in direct contact with bodily fluids. They can live outside the body for up to 7 days. It can live on the surface of your skin without risk of transmission, UNTIL your protective skin is compromised by repeated poking with this non sterile needle. Also as this instructable showed, this dangerous behavior is often done with friends and if one of them is positive with Hep B or many other blood borne pathogens or any virus and may not know, they risk exposing the others. Using the needle on one person then improperly sterilizing the needle before using it on the next person or using the same pencil in this case but with a fresh needle is still a risk sine the virus can survive on the "equipment". This is why a proper tattoo artist covers their machine and power cable as well as their work area.

Bottom line it is dangerous and VERY stupid for someone untrained and without the proper equipment. I know more than one person that was dumb enough to do this when they were young and always regretted it and had to go to a real tattoo artist to have it covered up. Doing this to your self or someone else without experience is just going to lead to mistakes and damage. Scaring being a big issue. If you don't know what you're doing and scar the skin deeply, even with a cover up the original scar will always be visible.

To a certain extent I agree. As a layperson I've pierced parts of my own body but would never pierce another person or let another layperson pierce me. You can however still get nasty bacterial infections from the environment as a few others above have pointed out. Many healthy people carry MRSA on their skin but if you give it a way to get inside your body you're in trouble.

All in all it is still easier to get sick at the doctors.

Yeah yeah, I've been tattooing professionally for twenty years now, and you can sing that song til you're blue in the face, but they're not going to listen. The best guidance is to tell them how to keep it clean: use new needles, sterile if possible, prep the skin before tattooing with good soaps, and wear gloves.

Hand stuck tattooing is a skill unto itself, and with the right practitioner, can be every bit as beautiful as an electric tattoo. Japanese tebori being a great example. Oscillating relay machines haven't been around that long, and in many parts of the world, hand application is still regularly practiced. Plus, I wouldn't get tattooed at 70 % of the studios I've visited. Too many blowhards who lack the skills to apply proper work who pretend they can. Everybody starts somewhere, and I have yet to meet an artist who doesn't have a raft of terrible work from their old days which haunts them. Even the mighty Ed Hardy, a giant in his day, spent a few years tattooing under an alias in Vancouver Canada before returning to the US. One can only assume it was to grind out the duds as far away from home as possible.

I'm looking forward to getting some tribal work done in a village where the artist does traditional tat-tat work. But even in the village they use sterile procedure and autoclave the bamboo fibers. As a medical professional with extensive 'black and white' single needle work I still would never allow some DIY hack to practice on my skin.

i never suggested you get a DIY hack to touch you. i was suggesting that in light of the fact that this type of tattooing is practiced, it only makes sense that as a "medical professional", you'd do a service to the community as a whole by helping to educate would-be scab vendors rather than simply condemning the activity. it's akin to hoping teens will practice abstinence and not providing them with any education about safer sex.

and for naysayers griping about this instructable being posted: this is an excellent opportunity for dialogue. i'm not saying i approve, but i know all the finger wagging in the world isn't going to stop it happening. that in mind, i can only offer advice on sterile procedure and prevention of cross contamination, and hope that the kids decide to do it clean.

My friend is a professional stick n' poke tattoo artist. She has
stick n' poked much of her body and has stick n' poked over 100 people,
now. She has even stick n' poked tattoo artists for gun tattoos in return. Her art is beautiful and professional, safe and sterile. She moved
away but has to return to the city twice a month for tattoo
appointments. She uses professional needles and wears gloves. A friend of hers travels the world to do stick n' pokes as well.
I don't know anyone who has done their own stick n' poke or received a
stick n' poke from my friend to have infections or develop problems from
this method of tattooing.

http://makeyrmomsad.tumblr.com/

tomjasz1 month ago

Nice to see prison skills come to instructables. NOT! WTF are the editors thinking. This is what I get for a premium membership? Never mind the dirty nails and unsanitary technique, there is nothing resembling ancient cultural practices in this instructable. Poor design even as a jail house skill set.

MrIlson171 month ago

This is EXTREAMLY ILL ADVISED and UNSANITARY...

leprowler2 months ago

I use India ink, I did a stick poke tattoo in blue India ink when I was 11, and it's still there, and I wasn't infected at all.

a.steidl2 months ago
I made a tattoo done before I used a bent spoon an empty pen tube, inc tube. minus the inc. mounted .cr motor to it. Spindle off center like a.train wheel. 9vdc. battery. ran like a champ. may make another and make an ible

With a Guitar string?, and I've soldered needles on a thin stiff wire too. I've made a couple like that and have never even caught a cold =///====> many, many, many, many, Many Others too, it just takes a person with reasonable common sense I figure. > I'd like to have a nickle for every Farmer, Rancher, sportsman, and trespasser that scratched Themselves on an old rusty Barb Wire fence - (Mostly found out of the city) - and just let it heal naturally many times with a basic cleaning with soap and water, that can be done.without any 911 or an appointment and shot that most Folks can little afford. Only Professionals can afford many of those things. Working People don't have the price or time for every thing, that's why They take care of Themselves. If Folks eons ago could use a sharp rock and soot, We should still have a constitution to do common little activity's tattooing isn't brain surgery - I suppose it depends on how ever much of a sheltered childhood They've had. What Frenzy is sharing in a take it or leave it way is a simple call, and no matter the sterile environment of a shop there's even less chance of nasty's. The Lord gave Us all a mind to think with, and know right from wrong without some one insisting We All march to Their Drum Beat. Poor ol' Legamen is having a devil of a time wringing His hands and trying to send People with little ways or means = $$$.$$ to His Pros {cool advice for sure}. I know I've never been able to afford one even tho I'd like to some time.. Dunno' I'm 65 now I guess I'll have to sell My old rattly-bang pickup or something if I'm going to make it before D-Day, I say let intelligent Adults think for themselves, many more People are depending on services and more services, as was said We will make livings delivering Pizza Pies, even by internet now days.

Thank you!! People thinking for themselves, what a concept! I'm a bit of an atheist, myself, but the point is the same: let people do what they want, and deal with the consequences, themselves! I've been thinking of doing some more artwork on myself, maybe on my feet or legs. Let nature decide which.

Abstutheit2 months ago

There's a reason tattoo artists are highly regulated in most states. This is just a bad idea. Save up some money and have those tattoos professionally done!

Fishyfish1232 months ago
No
FirstSpear2 months ago

Don't do it.

PCBrewing2 months ago
(removed by author or community request)

Your reasoning is what is truly ridiculous. We have no way of knowing the outcome of ancient tattoos. It may well have been that very tattoo that killed the person. Just because humans have been doing something since the beginning of time, does NOT mean it is safe or smart.

LMAO we know that Otzi was shot in the back with and arrow and suffered sever head trauma as he fell into a crevasse. All the female priestess mummies were test and none had any type of blood born illness. The great thing about mummies is they last a long time :)

Stop throwing facts into this. It's much easier to say you are ridiculous and stupid and a boo-boo head.

The fact is, it may very well have been the tattoo that killed Otzi. Little did you know, his tattoo represented an experience he had with a smoking hot cave girl back in the day. When her current hair-grabber found out what the tattoo meant, he shot Otzi in the back AND bashed him in the head with a war hammer. He then pushed Otzi into the crevasse to cover up the crime. Please consider all the facts before posting.

I love it! You should consider a career as a writer, if you aren't one already.

legamin PCBrewing2 months ago

Of course what we DONT know is...was it the infection or disease that they got from being tattooed in that unsanitary fashion that led to their untimely death?

Okay, I'm being facetious...only a little.. But the truth is that no records were kept in those times of how, exactly, the procedure was done, IF indeed it was "much less sanitary conditions" and how many (as a percentile) of the recipients of these tattoos of ancient times ended up with terrible infections etc. Of course we DO know that there were fewer virulent strains of deadly infections back then and that could have been a contributor to the ultimate success.

The facts are that, yes we do have EXAMPLES of tattooing in ancient times, but NOT a substantial enough number to draw any conclusions regarding their impact on the quality of the individuals lives as a percentage. Just because a thing existed does not automatically justify it's current use.

PCBrewing legamin2 months ago

We know what the risk are. They are the same now as they were then. A skin infection. As long as you do not cross contaminate with blood the worst you are going to get is a skin infection. This is a risk we take every time we get a cut. If it was as dangerous as the "professionals" say then we would all be dead from these types of infections. A skin infection is not something to get all up in arms about. The risk are the same when you go to a "real" tattoo parlor. As long as you use precaution when applying the tattoo you are safe.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-hea...

legamin PCBrewing2 months ago

I'm sorry I disagree quite strongly. "Real" tattoo parlor so as you coin them are health board certified, inspected regularly, must meet annual certification tests on their sterilization equipment and are required to use specific types do media and surgical steel needles. Of course no one can say what happens between inspections and that's why I interview, require to see the sterile media, needles and gun shield as well as gloves all opened in front of me. No professional inker will be put off by any of this. In fact they welcome the recommendations that you will give to your family and friends regarding their professionalism. Of course there are those 'other ones'.

To say that a skin infection is no big deal... Well I've watched one spread 26 inches in just 8 hours. It inflated and distorted the skin leaving permanent scaring and mottling and utterly ruining the tat. The pain that person went through was excruciating and they nearly lost three fingers and part of their hand. All within one day of the initial tattooing.

If anyone thinks I'm overstating this please ask your doctor! It is a big deal.

PCBrewing legamin2 months ago

A skin infection is a risk we all take when we get any cut. We do not live in a sterile environment. Unless tattoo parlors have ISS quality air filters, any time blood is exposed to air you risk a skin infection. I do not down play the dangers of skin infection. I simply state its not life threatening.

snoopindaweb2 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.
MrSinyster2 months ago

yeah, I did this when I was 12 minus some of the safety procedures. just go pay a reputable professional

JaelynRae2 months ago

This may have been covered in other responses (I cannot be bothered to read them), but as a former body piercer (who learned a lot about tattooing in the process), this is NOT a good idea by any stretch of the the imagination.

1) The ball point pen ink that you are using to draw your design is VERY dangerous. When the "tattoo" needle pierces the skin, along with pushing in the desired ink (which I hope is body safe tattoo ink - I didn't bother to read all the 'ible details), you will also push the ball point pen ink into your body, which is TOXIC. Plus even if it wasn't toxic, there is absolutely no way to sanitize it.

2) This process will only go through the surface layer of skin and as a result, your body will naturally reject the ink as it heals. This will leave your tattoo badly faded, distorted if the ink travels, and very blurry/smeary at best. You need the precision motion of a tattoo machine to work the ink into the skin the appropriate dermal layer to lessen the risk of rejection/distortion - something that is still a risk even with the best of circumstances, artists, and machines.

3) There is no way to get a clean, crisp smooth line with this form of tattoo. So unless you want the stark quality of a "prison tat", the result will NOT be what you are expecting/hoping for.

4) Not sure about other states, but in Ca, body mod artists are required to complete and pass several classes (blood born disease, basic phlebotomy, allergy/medical screening, signs of anaphylaxis, etc), and they all possess crucial knowledge that I guarantee you (and most dumb enough to attempt this) do not have. You may get very lucky and not wind up in the ER, but all it takes is once. Imagine giving this "prison tat" to a friend who has a severe reaction and dies. There is no going back. Are you really willing to take such a risk?

5) Again, not sure about other states, but conducting body modification in a non-sterile environment, without the proper certifications, is ILLEGAL. There is absolutely no way t completely sterilize all of the items used. Using a flame to sanitize anything is an absurd myth that was disproven decades ago. You would be better off soaking it in bleach or even vodka, both would do a much better job. Best case scenario, a flame will compromise the integrity of a sewing needle, which was never intended to be heated up. You risk microscopic to large chunks of metal flaking/breaking of into your body. Also these needles are coated with chemicals to make them glide more effectively while sewing and are applied with heat. By flaming them you return them to a pliable substance and they too will go into your body.

6) This is just plain irresponsible. Grow up! If the cost of a quality tattoo is truly your objection to having it professionally done, there are tons of apprentice artists out there who are supervised by an experienced artist, that can offer quality work for a lot less

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