Punk is all about being anti-establishment, anti-conformist and, principally, doing your individual factor in your individual means. It’s exhausting to think about the punk movement with out tattoos. Tattoos are the bedrock of punk tradition and, arguably, there’s nothing extra punk than the do-it-yourself tattooing method, stick and poke.
This doesn’t imply to say that tattoos are restricted to punk tradition. Actually, take a look back in history: tattoo tradition has been entrenched throughout the traditions of numerous cultures throughout the globe—transcending the confines of ethic and societal boundaries. From underground Russian prison tattoos to conventional Japanese Tebtori, all the way in which as much as the current day Western backpackers getting their elephant tattoo on their ‘life-changing’ hole 12 months in Thailand.
And regardless of my mother and father’ disgust on the tradition—tattoos have at all times been round, and aren’t going anyplace quickly. For this text, nevertheless, we’ll give attention to stick-and-pokes, a method of hand-poked tattooing that transcends the necessity for a gun or studio. Right here’s every little thing it’s essential to know concerning the DIY tattooing method that’s quickly rising in reputation.
What’s a stick and poke tattoo?
The historical past of handmade tattoos is in depth and dates back over 5,000 years. Opposite to typical tattoos, stick and pokes don’t require any electrical instruments and little expertise of conventional tattooing. Theoretically, this makes them an inexpensive, accessible exercise to do from the consolation of your individual residence. That is possible the explanation why stick and poke tattooing noticed a boom through the COVID-19 pandemic—when tattoo parlours are shut, folks search for alternative routes to make artwork on their pores and skin.
Sounds nice, proper? It’s making me tempted to choose up a needle proper now and dot one thing on my pores and skin, however the place do I begin? Nicely, the commonest methodology of stick and poke tattooing entails attaching a tattoo-grad needle to a holding contraption, which permits ink to be simply utilized to the pores and skin. The model lends itself significantly to intricate dot work or trippy geometric patterns. Nevertheless, the method is not at all restricted to those types, as its DIY nature means you may let your inventive juices circulate.
Tips on how to do a stick and poke tattoo
Now, as tempting because it could be to hurry into stick and poke tattooing, it’s essential to be sure to have taken the required steps to guarantee you may make your artwork safely—it’s eternally, in any case. Probably the most essential step is to make sure you have the correct toolkit. It goes with out saying, be sure to have the right tattoo needles and ink earlier than enterprise your stick and poke journey.
Extra importantly, guarantee you have got the correct medical supplies to counteract the inevitable minor accidents that include tattooing. It’s essential that you simply put money into the best aftercare supplies, which can assist your tattoo heal properly. Yeah, it may not be as punk as getting it accomplished on a random night time utilizing only a needle and ink however belief me, when your tattoo recovers correctly and doesn’t devolve into an contaminated messy ink-blob—you’ll thank me later.
The method: step-by-step
Though stick and poke is a comparatively easy course of, it’s essential to be sure to’re ready each mentally and bodily for the duty. It’s simple to neglect however your pores and skin is in truth an organ (and the largest in the body), so be ready to your immune system to freak out a bit when injecting your physique with ink. To verify the method goes as easily as doable, make sure you’re hydrated and abstain from any alcohol and drug use—in different phrases, I’d keep away from getting your tat the morning after your Friday night time bender. When you can’t say no to the sesh and find yourself consuming the night time earlier than, simply remember the fact that alcohol thins your blood, which means your tattoo will in all probability bleed greater than regular. The identical applies to getting a piercing.
First, begin out by laying down a clear, disinfected workspace. If mandatory, shave the realm you propose to ink with a razor and placed on some latex gloves. Then, utilizing an alcoholic pad, clear the realm you want to tattoo. To keep away from ending up on an ‘ink-shaming’ Facebook group, I strongly advise planning out your design utilizing a stencil. As soon as the stencil gel has dried onto your pores and skin, you’re nearly able to get began.
Place your required ink right into a sterile container, I personally choose the basic black ink model however don’t be scared to experiment with totally different colors. It’s your physique in any case—don’t let a stranger on the web let you know how you need your physique to look. Begin by dipping the specified sized needle into the ink so to coat it above the cluster of needle ideas, this can create an ink reserve, permitting you to ink your pores and skin with much less frequent dips within the ink.
Train this half with excessive warning: begin by slowly and gently urgent the needle tip into the pores and skin, permitting the ink to be deposited throughout the pores and skin’s layers. Be sure to not press the needle too deeply, you need the needle to make the layers of pores and skin however not go fully by the pores and skin itself. It’s finest to go regular with this, begin out calmly and assess from there whether or not the ink stays in your pores and skin when you wipe the surplus away from the floor. Don’t be alarmed if there’s a noticeable tug as you are taking the needle out, that’s regular. A bit of little bit of blood is regular too, however solely minimal, your pores and skin will even ooze a translucent plasma, just like when you have got a minor reduce or scrape.
Repeat these steps at your individual tempo by following the stencilled line—it’s higher to do a superb job slowly than completely mess up by speeding. It’s an odd course of at first, particularly in the event you’ve by no means had a tattoo earlier than, however don’t fear it will get simpler with follow. It’s additionally essential to take heed to your physique and take a break if want be—the ink will at all times be there to work with when you’re prepared to start out once more.
When you’ve labored your means across the stencil, it’s best to begin to see your required art work take form—thrilling, proper? When you’ve completed, wipe the tattooed space with heat soapy water after which an alcoholic pad, this half would possibly sting just a little however it beats a nasty an infection. Lastly, apply both a soaker pad or a water-proof tattoo aftercare bandage to the realm. After 5 hours or so, you may take off the soaker pad and completely wash the realm once more with heat soapy water. When you’ve gone for a water-proof bandage, it’ll come off by itself after your second or third bathe. Be sure to use aftercare balm to make sure your tattoo recovers efficiently. Keep away from scented lotions which include alcohol and would possibly irritate your pores and skin and attempt to go for a dry skin-oriented product. My private suggestion can be Palmer’s Cocoa Butter System.
And voilà—similar to that, you’re all accomplished! Now you’ve joined the 1000’s, if not tens of millions, of people that have taken physique artwork, fairly actually, into their very own arms. Whether or not it’s a significant design or simply an inside joke you wished to immortalise, the essential factor is that you simply’ve rightfully exercised your proper to do regardless of the hell you need together with your physique. I hope this text has helped you mark your pores and skin in a protected and accountable means. Joyful inking!