How to do a stick and poke tattoo: here’s what you need to know and how to make it cute

Wendy Stokesby:


For those looking to join the throngs of tattooed beauties who prefer taking matters into their own hands, learning the ins and outs of how to do a stick and poke is essential. Just because you’re not already tattooed with a mural of aesthetic mistakes from your teenage years, doesn’t mean it’s too late to start on rectifying that style regret now. Do you already feel yourself bolstering with the bravery of an Ed Hardy outfit, or is the thought of tattooing yourself without a gun sending shudders down your spine? Either way, we’ll give you the 101 so you can make (semi) informed decisions about your flesh canvas.

While we don’t officially recommend this 1000% because it’s you using needles on yourself, since you’re probably going to try it anyway, here’s what you should know if you’re gonna go for it.

The first thing you’ll need in order to successfully do your own stick and poke is obviously a needle. But wait, don’t grab any old needle from your haystack, that needle will need to be sterilized with fire, perhaps the fire from a lighter, or perhaps the fire ravenously burning from the heads of your enemies (am I projecting). You can also stay on the safe side by purchasing pre-packaged sterilized needles, or your very own stick-and-poke kit to ensure needle safety in order to prevent unsightly infections, because nobody is trying to have an oozing Popeye tattoo on their forearm.


Once you have a clean needle, you’ll need to wind it up in sewing thread. This is 100% crucial, as the thread acts as an absorbent for the ink. Then attach the needle to the end of a mechanical pencil (with tape), making it possible for you to draw maps of your exes all over your back.


Check out this video for a visual tutorial of the needling process:

Second, it’s CRUCIAL you clean the tattooing area with rubbing alcohol before stabbing it with needles! You should also make sure to shave the area and have it as cleaned and moisturized as possible (for smooth drawing).

Thirdly, you’ll need a generous supply of India Ink for your stick and poke tattooing endeavors as it glides on the skin easily and generously and will make your first work look like the Michaelangelo of stick-and-pokes.

Now that you have your skin canvas prepared, a safely sterilized needle, and a supple amount of India Ink you can go forth with the fun part: drawing and inking your design! You will want to first draw out your design in clearly visible pen and inspect it for possible mishaps, then when that is finished, steady your needle (which is attached to a pen for steadying purposes), dip it in the ink, and go for the gold. Once finished, you will be able to enjoy your tattoo. But don’t forget that tattoo aftercare is just as important as everything else. If not taken care of properly, you can cause some issues to your skin.


Now you can brag to all your friends about your DIY tattoo glory.


Original by Bronwyn Isaac

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