stick and poke

Stick N Poke PSA
  • Use tattoo needles, I stg it will change your life. They tattoo so much better and there’s no need for thread. I recommend 3RL for most stick n poke work
  • Buy the needles sterile and packaged. They’re ready to go and you don’t need to worry about sterilising them yourself (it’s also hella cheap)

  • Use tattoo ink or India ink. Never use anything else! I recommend winsor and newton if you’re going with India ink, but only the plain black one. 

  • New ink and needles for each person (obviously)

  • Poke just deep enough to break/’pop’ the skin, but no deeper. Poke too deep and the ink will spread under the skin, poke too shallow and it’ll fall out (but can then be re-poked)

  • Use warm water with a little antibacterial soap mixed in to clean the area before and after.

  • Always wear gloves and wash your hands!

Basically be safe and sensible. If you mess it up, it’s only you who’s responsible!

a quick guide to stick and pokes

  • a pen
  • ink - india ink will be the best for stick and poking
  • an ink basin - i’ve used the top of an empty pill bottle but just about anything will work to hold the ink. change the ink for each new person.
  • needle(s) - i’ve had the most success with individually packaged tattoo needles because they are the most sterile and you don’t need to wrap them in thread because they hold the ink in the needle part. You can buy them on Amazon or something. whatever you do, DO NOT SHARE NEEDLES
  • gloves - to make sure you don’t get random hand germs in your tat.
  • rubbing alcohol - to clean your stick and poke and to wipe the ink, water will also work during the poking process
  • cotton balls - what you put the rubbing alcohol on
  • bandage - make sure to clean the tattoo before you bandage it. band aids are great (especially the avengers ones)
  • unscented ointment - apply every day after your stick and poke is finished, but only once a day. more can make it fade faster. i also read that neosporin can draw out the ink, but i’m not sure on that.

when you start, you want to disinfect the skin with rubbing alcohol, wait until it dries, and then draw your design with a pen. if you don’t like how it turns out, you can rub some rubbing alcohol on it and it’ll come right off and you can start again. you want to make sure you like your design because it is permanent. remember that stick and pokes hurt more than getting tattoos professionally done, and some places will hurt like a bitch. the one on the inside of my foot hurt really really badly but the ones on my ribcage and hip didn’t hurt too badly. also remember that places that are exposed to the sun or are rubbed on more will fade more quickly. my feet tattoos are practically gone because of shoes but my other two are still looking brand new. now you’re ready to start poking. do a quick outline around all the lines before you wipe the ink off for the first time (you can wipe with water or alcohol). this way you will be able to see the original design while going over the lines again. you want to poke until your needle enters the top part of the skin. it’s almost like it’s popping. don’t go too deep. go over the lines a few times until you get the look that you’re going for, then sanitize and bandaid. after a few hours you can take the bandaid off. Moisture can breed bacteria so don’t keep it covered and let it breathe. don’t submerge your tattoo in water for a few days until it seems more or less healed. that means no baths or swimming in the pool. short showers are ok. i generally put on some ointment right after i got out of the shower every day. there you go! you have your new stick and poke tattoo! be sure to watch out for signs of infection and if you suspect one, go to a doctor immediately! good luck and be safe.