What makes stick and poke so special?

Getting a hand made DIY tattoo done may sound intimidating, but there are a lot of great things about stick and poke tattoos

Between the issue of sterile instruments and the fact that it’s often performed by someone who isn’t a professional artist, the process seems risky and not worth the square inches of your skin. However, some creative people have a big passion for ink, and it made sense to them to try out a different approach to tattooing. The reasons of choosing a stick and poke tattoo over a machine tattoo are as unique as the individuals who get tattooed. Whatever the reason, all kinds of people today are marking themselves with ink and loving every imperfect minute.


Stick and poke tattooing is back-to-basics tattooing. It’s simple in its method and for some people that’s incredibly appealing.

Tiny stick and poke tattoo airplane by Nastya.


A sewing needle and pen ink are the only two things one really needs (although you shouldn’t, use professional supplies), and these are very accessible. Ad some time and inspiration, and we can understand the inclination. Now popular culture has embraced this type of body art, and stars such as Miley Cyrus, Ryan Gosling, Florence Welch and the cast of Lena Dunham’s HBO show Girls sport stick and pokes.


Stick and poke tattoos are very distinctive in their look. Generally there is no mistaking a stick and poke tattoo against a machine tattoo.

Hand poked UFO by the Tatt Bratt.


Tattoos serve as rites of passage, marks of status and rank, symbols of religious and spiritual devotion, decorations for bravery, sexual lures and marks of fertility, pledges of love, punishment, amulets and talismans, protection, and as the marks of outcasts, slaves and convicts. For some people, getting a tattoo is not about having an amazing tattoo, but just having a meaningful mark.

Bonding experience

If it’s a friend who gets you inked, makes it even more meaningful. Nothing brings people together like stabbing each other with needles and ink. Imagine how much closer you’d be if you both permanently tattoo each other’s bodies (just don’t ever use the same needle and ink).


Since stick and poke designs are usually smaller than ones done by electric tattoo guns, they’ll be much easier to conceal, if that’s something you’re concerned about.

Furthermore, getting a tattoo by a professional tattooer on a more intimate place on your body might feel uncomfortable. If you are having someone close to you do it you’ll definitely feel more comfortable.

Anchor stick and poke tattoo by Julia Walch.


It might be a fun challenge, or maybe a ridiculously hard one, but people in general seem to love challenges, and having a stick and poke tattoo done on themselves or on a friend is definitely a big challenge.

Budget friendly

Professional tattoos are not affordable for everyone, with artists charging an average of 150$ per hour in the United States, with a minimum that goes from 50$ to 100$ or more. Price varies with location and expertise, and when it comes to pricing it just depends on where you’re getting your tattoo done. Since stick and poke tattoos are often small anyway, it’s the more cost-effective option if you’re looking to avoid a tattooer’s minimum price for a tattoo about the size of a peanut.

Want one? Take a look at these amazing Stick and Poke Tattoo kits.