How to Practice Stick and Poke Tattoos

Fancy trying your hand at stick and poke tattooing? If so, read this article on how to practice stick and poke tattoos using a variety of mediums.

‘hey’ stick and poke tattoo by Daelyyyyy. source

Many who enter the stick and poke tattoo world get the itch. They want to create new designs, try new techniques, and practice their new skills. But, finding models that are willing to get tattoos from a novice can be challenging. Luckily there are a variety of objects and professional alternatives that can help you scratch your tattoo itch.

In this article, we’re going to look at the various options available to you when it comes to practising stick and poke tattoos. Let’s take a closer look:

Practice Skin

Practice skin is a relatively new invention that allows you to practice the stick and poke technique without creating designs on real people. The benefits of this synthetic skin are that it comes in small sheets that you can wrap around various body parts.

While you won’t feel the needle puncturing the skin, practice skin does give you the chance to experience tattooing at different angles, on different body parts, like you would if you were tattooing yourself or a friend.

However, there are different types of fake skin available. The two options below feel and look very similar but they provide different results while tattooing. Here’s a breakdown of each:

Borosilicate Glass Practice Skin

Borosilicate glass practice skin looks more or less the same as silicone skin at first glance. But, as with all “glass” products, they’re fragile. While this style of practice skin doesn’t shatter into a million pieces when dropped on the floor, it is more breakable than its silicone counterpart.

Despite its flexibility, borosilicate glass practice skin is much harder to clean because of its porous nature. You may be thinking that this doesn’t really matter as it’s just practice skin but, keeping your practice designs clean is important if you want to show them off to your friends and family as examples of your work.

Silicon Practice Skin

Softer than borosilicate glass, silicone practice skin is also flexible. It is, however, far more similar to real skin. Not only this, it’s easier to clean. Once you finish your practice designs, you can simply wipe them down with alcohol and keep them as examples of your work. They also come in different forms and body parts to give you as real an experience as possible.

Tattoo Practice Skin Alternatives

While you can go out and buy practice skin, you also have the option of using household items to practice the stick and poke technique. And, if you don’t have them at home, you can also find practice materials at the supermarket or butchers (that’s right, butchers!).

Pig Skin

Pig skin has to be one of the best mediums to practice stick and poke tattoos. The animal’s skin has a very similar consistency to human skin because we actually share 98% of our DNA. This incredible similarity provides a very realistic tattooing experience.

The best part about pig skin is that it will allow you to learn how deep you should go when tattooing. This is because a pig’s skin is made up of a dermis and an epidermis, just like ours! It’s worth noting, however, that some parts of the pig have thicker skin than that of humans. Bear this in mind when you start tattooing people so you don’t go too deep.

To acquire pig skin, ask your butcher if they have big, flat pieces they could sell you. Because pig skin comes in two forms, you want to ask your butcher for natural skin (not flat back). Once you’ve bought your skin, store it in the fridge until you’re ready to get practising. To practice, place your pig skin on a flat surface and follow the steps outlined in the how-to guide of your stick and poke tattoo kit.


Fruit is an old school way of practising tattooing and, different fruits provide different results. The biggest challenges of tattooing fruit are:

  • Shape
  • Texture
  • Ink absorption

Honeydew melon is an extremely popular fruit to practice on. It is perfect for practising line work but falls short for shading – not that this matters too much for aspiring stick and poke artists as you’ll be using dotwork.

stick and poke tattoo practice on a grapefruit.

Some also practise on lemons, oranges, and grapefruits but these fruits have a unique texture and the ink bleeds easily. Bananas are another popular option but they bruise easily and won’t last for long sessions.

Stick and poke tattoo lightning bolt on a banana.

Practising on Yourself or Your Friends

Once you get the hang of the basic stick and poke technique and have soaked up all of the information you need to know about health, safety, and hygiene, you want to start practising on yourself or your friends. Unfortunately, many don’t feel comfortable with acting as lab rats to your art project so they may need some convincing.

Self made crescent moon on the finger.

The key to your success will be in the way you prepare for your first tattoo. Make sure you set up your area correctly with all of the right hygiene measures. Layout your equipment in a way that is easily accessible and safe from accidental spillages. From there, take it one dot at a time and remain confident that you’ve taken all of the right steps to give stick and poke tattooing a good shot.

Want to create your own stick and poke tattoos? If so, check out our professional stick and poke kits today! Our products include everything from sterilized needles to ink, cups, and all of the equipment you need to create stick and poke tattoos safely.