How to stick and poke

How to “stick and poke tattoo” is a matter of opinion, however some aspects of this hand poke tattooing technique are universal. Here are detailed steps by step instructions for a beginner to do their first DIY stick and poke tattoo safely.

This article contains links to other posts on our blog.  Click on the words for more detailed explanations of each step.

tattoo needle


Gather your tattoo supplies. You’ll need medical supplies to safely handle the minor injury you will inflict upon yourself, and you will need tattoo needles and tattoo ink. Finally, you will need after care supplies that are specific to the tattoo industry. Here is a detailed list of what is in our beginner kits that you can use as a shopping list. Many of […]


Do stick and pokes fade?

Stick and poke tattoos are unique and different from machine-done tattoos in a lot of ways, but one way that they’re quite similar to other styles of tattoos is that they’re definitely permanent…although they may fade.

Tattoos do change over time. Tattoos are a part of our bodies, and our bodies are constantly changing, shedding skin, expanding and contracting, and healing. Luckily, there are a ton of factors that determine the ways tattoos change and how much they change, so it’s a process we have some degree of control over.

With all tattoos, how well you take care of them, both right after getting the art on your body, and continually over time, will affect how much your tattoos fade.

Some common tips and tricks for a long-lasting tattoo include:

  1. Be careful of sunlight! Limit how much direct sunlight your tattoos get, and/or slap on that sunscreen.
  2.  Keep your skin moisturized. Letting your […]

Are stick and poke tattoos safe?

After 5 years in business, I think I have enough data to say that “yes” if done safely, stick and poke tattoos are safe.

My first year selling these kits, I was honestly not sure. I knew only that people needed access to the supplies to do stick and pokes at least “safer” than they were currently doing them. A sewing needle and india ink doesn’t seem safe. Even so, I hadn’t heard any horror stories of infection using these primitive means. Now, after years of experience interacting with thousands of first time tattooers and talking to to health professionals and tattoo artists – both professional artist and casual/DIY artists, I can say confidently that anyone can do a tattoo at home that will avoid infection and spread of blood borne pathogens. And – it’s not that scary. It is certainly not surgery. It’s no wonder the ancient civilizations on every […]


Why not get an unalome tattoo?

Unalome and other traditional tattoos are growing in popularity as globalization, e-commerce, low airline fares and widespread digital social communication all contribute to the continuous swirling of people and goods from one end of the globe to the other. What a time to be alive! It really is exciting! If you are of European descent, you may be asking yourself: “Now that I’ve been to several Wats in Thailand,­­­­‑

…should I get an unalome tattoo?”

My advice is: Definitely, No! Read why below….

Traditional cultural symbols, like the Unalome or Om are from Buddhist and Hindu religions, respectively.

Om (Auṃ or Oṃ, Devanagari: ॐ) is the most important symbol in Hinduism (India). We are talking about a 3500 old culture and this symbol is the most sacred symbol for billions of people. Frivolous wearing of the symbol or printing it all over is considered by some, very disrespectful. Buddha and Lotus (or Padma) […]


New science of tattoos and tattoo removal

tattoo microphage

Scientists wondered (and didn’t we all) why our body holds the pigment within the skin’s layers to show off for a lifetime. Why not just take that foreign invader away to be processed like the trespasser that it is? How does this cell hold the ink after cell death? Well it turns out that the macrophages in our skin eat the ink and do eventually die. We don’t know why. But we DO now know that when they die, the next microphage grabs the ink to hold in turn – and so on, until organism death!

(See the above picture of the microphage with wee ink bits inside).

Temporary inhibition of skin macrophage function is a therefore a possible way to disrupt this cycle and to remove a tattoo. With this approach, researcher and Immunologist Sandrine Henri of The French National Institute of […]


Tattoo Aftercare

Most professionals at this point have started to agree on the best steps for “aftercare” or after tattoo care for your tattoo. You will want to:

    1. Prevent infection
    2. Prevent fading
    3. Encourage healing


after care for a new tattoo

This can be done using these steps as outlined in this image brought to you by Monster Steel Tattoo!

It includes the steps of Going Home, Keeping it clean, Moisturizing, Dressing appropriately, Healing, and Protection (or what to avoid).

Our DIY Hand Poke Tattoo Kits will soon include a breathable soaker pad bandages like the pro’s use.  😉


Stick n Pokes and Band Feelings

By Shelly Simon

When one forms a partnership, it’s not necessarily a permanent agreement. When one forms a band, it’s not necessarily a bond that will last forever. When one does a custom stick and poke tattoo with their bandmate and best friend; it’s a commitment that is constant. A reminder that resonates in more ways than one. The ink that was projected from the point of that needle into the flesh of my fellow music-maker, female muse of a bandmate; is a memory I can cherish forever.

I am the drummer of a dynamic duo called Tiides – based in Brooklyn, NY – I’ve gotten the pleasure of playing drums with Christiana Chavez for a majority of 2017. She’s the songwriter, guitar player and heart melter of […]


Which stick n poke tattoo inks are safe to use?

Good news: old school, DIY, homemade tattoos no longer need to be done with pen ink or india ink! You can easily get professional tattoo ink for use for your sticknpoke online! The question is: which tattoo inks are the best and safest to buy? There are many options and it is an important decision. This is a substance that you will be putting into your body. They don’t make it to your bloodstream, but into the many alive layers of your skin – and a lot of what you poke into there will be absorbed by your body.

tattoo ink dark color

The Problem

Up until the 1980’s, tattoo ink used by professionals contained heavy metals that are hazardous to your health. Yellows, reds, blues contained Cadmium, Molybdenum, Nickel, Beryllium, and ‘salts’ that are not just carcinogenic, but actually toxic. Bad reactions to tattoos were more […]


5 tips on stick and poking

Stick and poke, also known as stick n poke, poke and stick, etc, tattooing is the practice of sticking your self with something pokey. You can buy a neat kit to make this easy as pie, and safe to boot.

Here are some best practices that beginners may not know:

  1. stretch the skin. In the words of underground stick n poker Vitnay, “I carefully poked a perfect heart shape around his nipple. When he got up, it turned into a kindergartner scrawled valentine. I learned the important lesson of stretching the skin while tattooing.” 🙂
  2. be safe. you could get hepatitis C, HIV, and/or a number of blood borne diseases or serious infections. If you are safe and follow instructions like the ones in this kit, the likelihood of a problem goes almost to zero.
  3. be sober. if you aren’t sober, you aren’t able to be sure if you are being safe! (see deadly […]