From Single Needle Tattoos to Stick and Pokes: 1RL Needles Explained

Do you want to learn more about 1RL single needle tattoos? If so, read on to find out everything you need to know about this unique and intricate style of inking.

Tattoo styles have evolved exponentially over the past few decades. An industry that was once limited to tattoos of swallows and anchors, among other traditional symbols, now includes a variety of unique styles and designs. But, while these new techniques and art pieces are extremely popular, older methods of tattooing are also making a come back.

An example of this is the single needle tattoo. This style of machine tattoo was created decades ago, but artists across the world are readopting it to create extremely intricate and stylish tattoos. And, this is all thanks to the 1RL needle.

In this article, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about 1RL needles, what they are used for, the challenges artists face when using them, and how to choose the best design for your individual needs.

Why Does the Type of Needle Matter?

There are various types of needles available to use, all of which are suitable for different techniques, styles, and effects.

No matter what type of tattoo you get, the needle that is used likely consists of a grouping of numerous smaller needles. The number of needles used and their arrangement dictates the thickness and shape of the line. The higher the number of needles in the grouping, the thicker the line will be.

One of the most popular needles used for outlines is the Round Liner or RL needle. An RL needle is made up of a circular grouping of smaller needles. While many artists use the 3RL, 4RL, 5RL, 7RL, or even 9RL, the 1RL (consisting of a single needle tip) is mostly reserved for single needle tattoos. This is because it allows artists to create some of the most intricate pieces out there.

The 1RL Needle Explained

Instead of a grouping of needles, the 1RL needle consists of just one fine point at the end of the shaft. This needle is what allows artists to create the extremely intricate and highly detailed machine tattoos that you see today. While they can be used for creating smaller details in larger pieces, this type of needle is typically used to create micro-realist and single needle machine tattoos.

Because of its unique size, the 1RL needle allows artists to add more detail into a compacted space. This style of tattoo is not to be confused with a fine line tattoo as not every fine line tattoo is done with a single needle. The 1RL single needle style was designed to create tattoo designs with the finest lines possible, forcefully carving its place in the world of body ink.

What Is a Single Needle Tattoo?

As the name suggests, the single needle tattoo is created using a machine and a needle with a single needle tip, or a 1RL needle to be more specific. While the majority of machine tattoos require multiple needles for best results, with a single needle tattoo, the artist will only use 1RL needles to etch your design into the skin.

Why has this become a unique style? Because 1RL needles are extremely intricate and require a high level of skill to master, but they provide a detailed appearance, similar to what you can achieve with a technical drawing pencil, unmatched by any other style.

The History of the Single Needle Tattoo

Before the internet, tattoo artists would have a much harder time finding the equipment they needed to practice their craft.

In the ‘70s, famous artists would have to create their designs using what they had available to them. The black and grey style emerged from these limited materials and it continued to evolve into modern-day tattoo styles and substyles.

These subtypes included micro-realist designs, which eventually led to 1RL single needle tattoos and just like that, this style of body ink was born.

Choosing the Right Single Needle Tattoo Design

If you want a small tattoo with extremely intricate detail and precise line work, a 1RL single needle tattoo is for you. As with any tattoo, it is important that you put a lot of thought into your design. The key to choosing the best design is to work with your tattoo artist directly. While all professional tattoo artists have an undeniable amount of skill and expertise, the single needle tattoo is unique to all other styles.

With this in mind, you need to work with an artist that has an exceptional portfolio of single needle tattoos to show you and is able to work in collaboration with you to achieve your desired results. While you may have already chosen your subject matter, the tattoo artist will be able to think about the bigger picture, giving you new ideas that you may not have thought of. They will be able to flesh out your original ideas to create a piece that will blow your mind.

Unique Challenges of Single Needle Tattoos

Single needle tattoos are beautiful, small, intricate pieces, but they come with their own unique set of challenges. With this style, there is no room for any mistakes. Just one dot out of place and you could completely ruin your design. Unlike other styles, 1RL single needle tattoos are extremely unforgiving because you can’t correct any mistakes, making precision an essential skill.

Additionally, 1RL needles are finer than other types of needle, so they easily penetrate the deep layers of the skin. This makes the tattoo more likely to blow out. You should, therefore, always work with an artist who has extensive experience creating this specific style of tattoo.

Single Needle Tattoos and Stick and Pokes

If you’re thinking of using a 1RL needle in your next stick and poke to replicate the effect of single needle machine tattoos, you may want to reconsider.

While you can achieve some great effects, the 1RL needle is very difficult to use, especially if you’re doing a homemade tattoo. With a single needle tattoo, you need to consistently get the depth exactly right to prevent any mistakes, something that is extremely challenging without a machine. Finally, 1RL needles allow you to create breathtaking micro-realist stick and pokes, but they won’t have the same amount of detail as a machine-made single needle tattoo.

That said, you can achieve some amazing micro-realist effects using the 1RL needle in your stick and poke, but you need to polish your skills and be patient. Tattoos with 1RL needles take a lot more time than other types, so you’ll need to plan ahead and remember that it’s a lengthy process.

If you would like to try your hand at creating your own hand poke tattoos from the comforts of your home, why not check out our professional stick and poke tattoo kits? Each kit comes with different needles, ink, and the necessary materials to ensure that you achieve the best results possible without compromising safety.