How to Tattoo Yourself at Home

Stick and poke tattoos are becoming extremely popular because they create a unique affect. Learn how to tattoo yourself safely and hygienically at home in this article!

In articles

DIY tattoos have become increasingly popular recently, especially with the new stay-at-home regulations put in place in many countries. Yes, tattooing yourself from home is a great way to keep yourself busy while getting some awesome new ink, but it shouldn’t be done as a spur of the moment activity with equipment you find in your sewing kit.

The wrong equipment will not only leave you with designs that do not age well but also put you at risk of infection. That’s not to mention the fact that it will hurt a lot more.

Below, you’ll find a list of all of the equipment you need to learn how to tattoo yourself at home safely.

Prep Materials

If you want to know how to tattoo yourself, you’ll first have to learn about the prep materials and what to do with them.

Protection Cloth

No, you don’t need to have the same setup as a professional tattoo artist to start inking at home. That said, you do need the right station to keep everything organized and hygienic. Once you’ve disinfected your work surface, put down a protective cloth where you can place your needles, ink, and all other equipment. Most importantly, avoid setting yourself up on porous surfaces as they can’t be disinfected as well.

Alcohol Prep Wipes

You can’t tattoo yourself on a station you clean with just any wet wipe you find at home. Instead, use alcohol prep pads designed to kill bloodborne pathogens. Use these wipes to constantly disinfect everything from your surfaces to the chair you’re sitting on.

Hand poked snake. source

Green Soap

Almost all professional tattoo artists have green soap at hand when inking someone. This alcohol-free, vegetable-based soap is great for DIY tattoos and can be used to clean and shave the area pre-tattoo as well as wipe down your design once you’re done. The soap comes in highly concentrated form so you’ll have to dilute it with distilled water before tattooing yourself.

Nitrile Gloves

Nitrile gloves are one of your most important pieces of equipment when doing DIY tattoos. You should have two pairs handy. The first one will be used to wipe down your workstation and the second when unpacking and laying down your equipment.

Tongue Depressor

If you’ve ever seen an artist spread ointment on the skin with a tongue depressor, you’ll know how useful it can be. Having one will allow you to moisturize the area you’re tattooing without getting it all over your hands. Lubricating the area you’ll be tattooing will stop the ink from spreading when you start your stick and poke.

Barrier Gel

When it comes to ointment, choose one that has an oily consistency. Hustle Butter is one used by professional artists but comes in individual sachets that you can use when doing stick and poke tattoos at home. Hustle Butter can also be used as an aftercare balm.

Hand poked by Prismatik.
Inking Materials

Following on our how to tattoo yourself guide, let’s look at the inking materials you’ll need.

Tattoo Needles

If you want to create your own designs at home, the stick and poke method is the one most recommended by experts worldwide. This technique offers full control compared to machine tattoos which are extremely sensitive to pressure and speed. If you go too deep you could end up with scarring or tattoo blowout. A popular needle option is a 5RL which is great for line work, however, there are various sizes available all with their own unique set of benefits. Make sure to dispose of your needles safely after every use.

Grip Wrap

For more self-cohesive grip and extra comfort, you should wrap your needle in grip wrap. A 50mm wrap should be enough to provide you with the support you need to avoid the needle from moving when you’re hard at work.

Ink

Inks come in a variety of different colors but black is a must-have, especially when you’re just getting started as it’s the most visible on the skin. Make sure to choose a reputable brand when shopping for ink and don’t go for ink that is too thick as it can obscure your work, leading to mistakes.

Stick and Poke Tattoo Kit

If you don’t want to order all of your supplies individually, there are comprehensive tattoo kits now available to buy online. These are ideal if you want to learn how to tattoo yourself because they include everything from your needles and ink to your safety and sanitization materials. If you opt for one of these kits, choose one that comes with a how-to guide to help you get started.

Handpoked with the kit by Erick R.
Design Materials

If you want to get creative, having design materials is a great way to ensure your final creation looks like the vision you had in mind.

Stencil Paper

You can choose any design you want when creating DIY tattoos, however, if you’re just getting started you may want to keep it simple. You have two options to create your designs: by freehand or with stencil paper. Stencils take longer but are far more precise and will allow you to tattoo any design you want.

Transfer Gel

If you want your stencil to stay on your skin throughout the tattooing process, you’ll need transfer gel. Start by shaving the area with a new razor, then apply a thin layer of the transfer gel before pressing your stencil down onto the skin. Make sure to wait a few minutes before removing the stencil from the skin.

Thinking of doing your own DIY designs? If so, check out some of the all-inclusive kits we have to offer, all of which come with everything you need to get started from the comforts of your home.