What is a stick and poke tattoo?

Stick and Poke tattoos, also called hand poked tattoos, DIY tattoos or home-made tattoos, are non-electric tattoos, made by manually poking the skin

The stick and poke tattoo technique (a.k.a. hand poke tattoo, machine-free tattoo, hand tattoo, home-made tattoo or DIY tattoo) is an ancient hand rendered style of tattoo art, completed by repeated poking motions to deposit the ink under the skin, without the aid of electricity. Instead of using a machine, the tattoo is made with a sterile tattoo needle, sometimes attached to a stick with the help of a grip, and poke it in dot by dot. An epidermal phenomenon traps the tattoo ink into the skin, displaying it through the epidermis permanently when done correctly.

Stick and poke tattooing is a less intrusive method of tattooing, which can be less painful, and as a result, a slower process. The end result is a unique look that can be irregular and heterogenous, fine and detailed, or thick and bold, depending on desire and expertise of the hand-poker.

There are many different techniques and tools that people use to do hand poked tattoos all over the world, ranging from bamboo tattoo to sharpened sticks or animal bones.“Stick and poke tattoo” is sometimes used as a synonym, though this generally implies homemade tattoos done in a carefree and amongst friends environment, and a rougher and less precise aesthetic.

Stick and poke kiss tattoo by artist Kate aka Hokus Pokeus.

Regardless of the motivation behind of getting a hand poked tattoo, it’s always a very personal experience. It has been a growing trend for the last 8 years, and it doesn’t seem to slow down in the future. Celebrities such as Cara Delevingne, Miley Cyrus or Rihanna have hand-poked body art, and this probably has given a push to this technique in recent years.

The beauty of a stick and poke tattoo comes from its simplicity. Whereas elaborate photorealistic tattoos can take multiple sessions and hundreds or even thousands of dollars to complete, stick and poke tattoos are as simple as the art form gets.

Hand poked number 10 tattoo.

Stick and poke tattoos are usually small and simple, and are so easy to execute that can be done by just about anyone. When done by a professional hand poke tattoo artist, despite of the simplicity the results can be pretty amazing.

Most of the tattoos have a meaning attached to it, and this is a huge part of the allure of tattooing. Considering that most of the stick and poke tattoos are executed by the recipients themselves, or by a close friend or relative, an added sentimental attachment comes out of the process, making it a very special tattoo.

‘Weird’ by Margo, Minks.

The reason tattooing is so heavily regulated is that it is really easy to spread disease and cause infection. The same precautions might not always be taken when giving or getting a stick and poke tattoo. Proper pre- and post-tattooing hygiene and after care are important in preventing complications. The idea behind our site is to make the process in accordance with the utmost safety standards, by providing premium quality tattoo equipment, including top quality tattoo inks and sterile needles, and a variety of kits.