What is Stick and Poke Tattoo?

Stick and poke is a method of tattooing that links with the punk subculture, once reserved for jailbirds but now increasingly popular among young people and creative types

Finger hand poked tattoos by B. Hurricane source

“Stick and poke tattoo” is a generic phrase used since at least the 70s, popularized in the DIY (Do It Yourself) Punk culture, long before the first Stick and Poke Tattoo Kit was sold. Obviously, “stick and poke tattoo kit” is a kit to do “stick and poke tattoos”.

The term ‘stick and poke tattoo’ has been used in reference to self-made tattoos, originally executed using a sewing needle and India ink by stabbing the skin repeatedly. Luckily, buying tattoo needles and tattoo ink today is as accesible as it can be thanks to the internet, and there is also tonnes of information about how to tattoo yourself the right way, so only dumb people use sewing needles and pen ink in the present. The style dates back to the punk subculture that emerged in the mid seventies in England, the United States, New Zealand and Australia and it is still used popularly by hundreds of thousands of people, most of whom probably have never heard of the Stick and Poke Tattoo Kit. This “so-called “trend” has been prevalent in skate and punk culture for decades.

On the Internet, the term has been used in blogs and articles online since at least 2005, the year Google started to store searching data to make it public. This is clearly evidenced by records in Google searches. Even the term ‘stick and poke tattoo kit’ has been searched at least since April 2011, due to the fact that this very own domain was selling them back in 2010 and 2011.

Lavender by Rosa Perr source

As a definition “stick and poke” or “hand poke” is the same method of tattooing, although ‘stick and poke tattoo’ usually implies a rougher and less precise aesthetic done by amateurs, while hand poke is the term used within the industry by professional tattooers who don’t use a tattoo machine. The tattoo process is the same as using a tattoo gun, but the needle is manipulated by hand rather than with an electric tattoo gun. Fundamentally, hand poke tattooing uses a sharp point to deposit ink pigment into one’s skin to leave a permanent mark. Body art has been practiced for thousands of years. It is thought that hand poke tattoos were used to signify health, birth, death, religion and religious rituals. Hand poke tattoos are very distinctive in their appearance, and different looks and styles can be achieved with multiple hand poking techniques and needles. It is often agreed that stick and poke tattoos look handmade, in the sense that they look more natural and organic.

The stick and poke tattoo kit is perfect for people of all genders who want to buy tattoo supplies in small quantities, helping them buy all items needed in a perfectly assembled small hard paper box. There is nothing innovative or new about doing this, it’s not a new concept by any means. There are thousands of DIY (Do It Yourself) kits used for different use cases all over the internet, such as “shaving kits”, “nail polish kits”, “tattoo kits”, “perfume kits”, to name a few, all of which are sold by using its generic name by different companies. Using the term ‘stick and poke tattoo kit’ for selling a kit to execute a stick and poke tattoo is like selling a ‘computer kit’ with components to build a computer yourself.

Hand poked leaf by Lera source