43 Items Any Tattoo Artist Needs To Own

I am asked quite a few times by apprentices what are the actual things that I need as a tattoo artist in order to create my designs and tattoos. And also shed some light on what types and styles of equipment there is.

From the most basic to the not so basic items I need in my tattoo artist life that no tattoo artist should be without.

1. Tattoo Machines

First of all let me explain what types of tattoo machines are most commonly used and some pros and cons:

The Coil Machines – There are a direct descendant from the old household bell that used 1 or 2 coils to produce an electromagnetic field to attract a bar thus hitting it repeatedly against a bell making that ringing noise. They are the first tattoo machines to be used professionally by tattoo artists. The problem with these types of machines is that they are quite heavy, and require fine-tuning periodically and maintenance is quite difficult and also change the way they run when used for long sessions.

The Rotary Tattoo Machines – These types of machines are most common nowadays and the reason for that is that they require virtually no maintenance other the cleaning and the occasional oiling. These machines give a smooth constant speed and are very reliable. Nowadays these machines come with or without “give” (give basically means that when the needle encounters the skin, it only applies a certain amount of pressure on the needle, whilst the “direct drive” machines apply the same force regardless of the pressure applied on the machine into the skin).

Hybrid tattoo machine – these machines try to keep the linear motion of the coil machine by using an electric motor and through levers converting the rotary motion into straight up and down Motion.

Novelty Machines – over time, certain tattoo machine builders have tried different concepts in creating tattoo machines, from air propelled tattoo machines to magnetic tattoo machines, but none of these types of machines really took of. Maybe they just need more research and pretty soon the industry will change the commonly used rotary machines, just like they replaced the coil ones.

Although this is the most basic of needs, mind that I didn’t write tattoo machine, but I have used the plural.

The reason for this is that absolutely no self-respecting tattoo artist will only have one tattoo machine.

As we evolve from apprentices to junior artists to fully pledged tattoo artists to specialized artist, we will always try to improve our artistic skills and understanding of tattoos, but will also try different machines over time looking for that extra edge that can take us to the net level in our tattooing.

The machines in any tattoo artists arsenal are as follows:

a. The WorkHorse – the machine that we use on a daily basis and that has probably been with us for years and we have the most control over and understand it fully. In my case is the faithful Cheyenne Spirit, a very versatile machine that can excel in pretty much anything you throw at it. Sure, it might not be the prettiest, and the grip might be different colour, but it does the best job in the world for me, because it is just a WORKHORSE.

b. The Spare – this is the machine we have with us at all time in the drawer or in our backpack, in case the “old faithful workhorse” decides it has a bad day and something breaks on it. We sometimes take this machine our just to dust it off and use it for a little while than it goes back into the drawer for rainy days. In my case is another Cheyenne Spirit, but different color so I can tell them apart. This is the new version of the Workhorse, but its the exact same machine underneath.

c. The Bling Machines – these are the machines we have bought over time as they promised (on paper) to excel at something or had a very good advertising crew that knew how to make us curious about. You will also find in this selection the novelty machines and some of the more expensive shiny knew contenders on the market. These machines usually get very little use and get traded for different machines for us to try in the hope of finding the “perfect tattoo machine” that will replace the “WorkHorse”.

Although amazing machines on their own, some of them just dont feel right for me. So if i dont “feel”the machine or dont understand it, I will sell it on to somebody that gets along with it just fine.

2. Power Sources

Again using the plural as one can never have enough with only having one power source.

Most power sources are reliable and don’t really break down, but this doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. So having a spare machine in your arsenal means that if you ever find yourself in trouble, you can just unplug your machine and get the spare power source in play and keep going with that amazing tattoo you were working on.

In my case I have my trusty Critical CX2 as my daily power source and a Cheyenne PUII as my back up.

The reason I don’t use daily my Cheyenne PU II is the fact that that power source is a desktop source, whilst my Critical CX2 has a magnetic bracket that sits on the side of my tool box and I can wrap it very easily just by throwing a bag over the machine, whilst the Cheyenne Needs to be wrapped in cling film.

The reason a good power source is very important is that it keeps the voltage and amperage steady and will keep the machine from overheating whilst maintaining speed and force regardless of how long the tattoo session is.

3. Clip Cords

The clip cord is the cable that transfers the power from the power source to the tattoo machine and as they are always being bent and twisted a good quality clip cord is very important in any tattoo artist’s toolbox.

Clipcords come in different styles, lenghts and use different ends.

Most common ones are as follows:

The Cheyenne Clip Cord – this is a very thin silicone coated clip cord that has a 3.5 mm mono jack male and female connector on each end and is usually used when connecting a Cheyenne tattoo machine to a Cheyenne power source.

The Old Fashioned Clip Cord – this is probably one of the first clip cords readily available and was first used when connecting and power source to a coil machine. There are also rotary tattoo machines that have old clip cord posts for connection, but they are less manufactured these days. This type of clipcord has a 5 mm mono jack connector at one end and a spring-loaded “U shaped” type connector at the other end.

The RCA Clip Cord – This is a very common type of cable (if not the most common) in use today. It’s a very simple cable that has a 5 mm mono jack connector at one end and a RCA connector at the other end. These also come with 90 degrees bends on the RCA connectors especially when used for pen style machines.

These cables go through quite a bit of abused and gets stepped on quite a few times in their lives, so prepare to change them every year at least. Needles to say that any tattoo artist has more than one in their toolbox.

4. Foot Pedal

The foot pedal is basically the switch that commands the power source to give electricity to the tattoo machine via the clipcord. Just consider it a big on / off switch that is foot activated. The reason they are foot activated is that most tattoo artists use one hand to stretch the skin and the other one they hold the tattoo machine.

The foot pedals are wired (from the pedal into a 5mm mono jack that plugs into the power source) or wireless (they operate by transmitting a FM or Bluetooth indicate to the power source when its pressed and when not).

I personally prefer the wireless foot pedals as this means there is one less cable to worry about and wrap before each and every session and I can just kick it around to a position that is most convenient to me.

I own a Critical Wireless foot pedal and a Cheyenne wired one.

Not all artists use foot pedal these days as some power sources come with a bypass button, so this means that you can turn the machine on and off from the button on the power source. I’m a bit more oldschool and prefer the pedal.

5. A Comfy Artists Chair

You can imagine that we are sitting for 5-6 hours daily, so a very important aspect is the artists chair. Usually these are telescopic so they can be lowered and lifted depending on the area we are tattooing and come with faux leather as it is very easy to disinfect and clean.

There are companies like TatSoulout there that spent hundreds of hours developing the most comfortable artists chairs available at the moment, but that is reflected in the price and some chairs can cost $300-$400.

When first starting our any stool or chair that doesn’t have any porous surface (leatherette or fabric) can be used as long as it can be easily disinfected and comfortable.

My favorite style is the saddle type and find them quite comfortable.

6. Customer Tattoo Chair

As we are always looking for our customer to be holding as still as possible whilst we tattoo them, and are also concerned about having a comfortable session, the clients chair is just as important as the artists chair.

There are many options our there from specially designed tattoo clients chairs to barber chairs to dentists chairs, the options are endless and all can be used quite well when tattooing a customer.

Some companies actually developed chairs that can be folded and carried, and these are very handy when going to tattoo conventions.

Again, any type of chair used needs to be without any porous surfaces where bacteria can hide, and should be easy to clean and disinfect.

I own a specially made clients tattoo chair and I had customers that actually fell asleep whilst getting tattooed by me, so that means that the chair is comfy.

7. Arm Rest

The arm rest is maybe the most important piece of furniture in the tattoo artists work space.

If the armrest is of poor quality than it will move and be unstable, thus creating opportunities to mess up.

These come in all shapes and sizes from the smaller style to bigger ones and some companies create custom-made ones to order.

I personally own a wide style arm rest that I love and find it very good for long sessions as I can rest my arms on it and if I keep my feet on the lower bar, there is no chance of it ever moving by accident.

8. A Good Lamp

When tattooing lighting is very important, if not crucial. So the light source is quite crucial when ensuring the gradients are spot on or the tiniest of detail is where it should be.

Every artist might have different preferences, but one thing is for certain and that is that no matter what style of lighting source they use it is a good quality and absolutely no artist ever scrimps on money when buying a good light source.

The most common types used are:

Photography Lights – the reason for using photography lights is that they have diffusers and the light is not concentrated in one spot. Also, the light used is quite cool and the way we see colors is quite true to reference.

Head Torches – quite a few artists use good quality head torches as they can focus the light in one spot at a time, if space is restricted in the tattooing area and because they can recharge the batteries they are a good option.

House Lamps – if budget is restricted some artists buy a cheaper house lamp and replace the standard light bulb with a good quality option.

I personally use 2 photography lights with diffusers and find that that way there is no shadow created and the light is more than enough to let me concentrate on the tattoo I’m creating.

9. A Toolbox

I think most tattoo artists that I know own good quality toolboxes for the sole reason that they are very handy and multipurpose.

They can be used as working surfaces and are easy to disinfect but are also really good at hiding all the clutter and tools required when tattooing.

So rather than running around when setting the workstation, everything is organized in the toolbox and setting up for my session takes just a few minutes.

10. A Lightbox

A light box is pretty self-explanatory and with the knew SMD LED technology they are basically just plastic surfaces that light up. This makes it a breeze to trace images or pre-made designs without ruining the original piece of paper.

It is also a crucial part of any tattoo artists arsenal that does cover ups as they can trace on tracing paper what they are looking to cover up and than design around it on the light box without the customer being there

11. A Stencil Machine

When having to deal with lots of small designs or with text, a stencil machine saves at least 10-20 minutes of tracing as once the text is printed it just gets run through the machine and the stencil comes our on the other side.

These machines ensure that no details are lost and the line are kept straight so human error in the transfer process is eliminated.

I personally use a cheap one that I have owned for about 3 years now and is still going strong.

There are more expensive options our there and I’m sure a quick google search will reveal quite a few options, but I’m more than happy with my cheap stencil machine, and I’m actually contemplating on buying another one for when this machine decides to retire.

12. Water Distilling Machine

As the recommendation of a close friend, about 5 years ago, I started using distilled water in my rinsing cups and also in my cleaning spray bottle, and came to the conclusion that the skin heals a lot faster.

This could be that the water in my area is quite hard, but I agree that anything that comes in contact with the tattoo should be as pure and as clean as possible, so this was a natural progression in trying to help the healing process to ensure the tattoo heals as best as possible.

13. A Steam Autoclave – Sterilizing Machine

Although nowadays most of our supplies are single use and come pre sterilized, the need for an autoclave (sterilizing machine) is just as important as its ever been.

Some tattoo machines can’t be taken apart and this makes it impossible to autoclave and ensure that they are 100% sterile.

But most grips that are on the market are autoclavable and after use they need a good wash and thrown into the sterilizing machine. This ensures the safety of our customers and our as well.

14. Autoclavable Grips

In tattooing you can never be to safe when it comes to cross contamination, this means that bacteria can be transferred via touch or liquids from one surface to another, thus causing hazardous situation.

When I first learned about tattooing, the first lesson I heard was “treat every customer like they have the most contagious disease on the planet and you don’t have gloves on!”. This made me rethink the way I set up my workstation, but also the way I dispose of everything at the end of a session.

So wherever possible I am looking to sterilize anything that can be sterilized and disinfect at least twice every surface in the working area.

15. Safety Presterilised Needle Cartridges

One of the first company to look into creating safety cartridge needles was Cheyenne. The German manufacturer created a system where a flexible membrane replaced the spring in the needle cartridge, this also ensuring that no liquids can be transferred into the push bar area of the tattoo machine or inside the grip, thus ensuring cross contamination is eliminated in that aspect.

I personally use Elite 2 cartridges because of how easy it is to purchase them in my area and the delivery is next day but there are other options our there.

16. Professional Tattoo Inks

The days when mixing color pigments and creating our own inks are long gone.

Now we can buy pre sterilized tattoo ink ready to be dispensed into our ink cups and tattoo away.

All professional tattoo inks come pre sterilized and have a best before date clearly printed on them.

The selection of colors and shades doesn’t disappoint either and every company has a different style of inks, but my preferred one has to be Fusion Inks as they seem to have a very high concentration of pigment and they heal amazing and last the most in the skin, in my opinion.

There are a few different things to consider that you will need to create a great tattoo:

a. Color Tattoo Inks Sets – I use Fusion Inks

b. Grey Wash Sets – I use SylverBack

c. Black Ink 

d. White ink 

17. Wide base Ink Caps

The little v shaped ink cups are the most common type of ink caps used throughout the tattooing industry, but I found them to be very poor quality and easily spealable.

So don’t ever scrimp on a set of good quality ink caps.

There are a few companies that produce interlocable ink caps and also single use trays for use, but I found that when you accidentally hit the needle on the side of the cap, ink starts splashing everywhere.

So I’ll stick to individual wide base ink caps as they are the most practical ones.

18. A Good Quality Tattoo Jelly

When we start our and learn to tattoo petroleum jelly will suffice for fake skin or tattooing on fruits. Once we have evolved into a tattoo artist, a good quality tattoo jelly is a must.

This ensures that the skin redness is controlled, the lubrication is on point and the bleeding is minimized.

I personally use GoodInk Tattoo Jelly as its one of the best I came across and is made our of plants and is not full of chemicals. Some other good options are Hustle Butter, Tattoo Goo, etc.

19. Wrapping Film Or A Good Quality Cling Film

Wrapping film is one of the most used consumables that a tattoo artist is always buying and is always using.

As we always try to adhere to the latest Health and Safety laws, one thing is always clear. As long as everything is disinfected and wrapped, cross contamination is almost eradicated.

Sure there’s a lot more to is, but I won’t bore you now with explaining all cross contamination procedures and do’s and don’t’s.

Everything from the work surface where the ink caps and needles lay, foot pedal, arm rest, chairs, bottles and power source need to be wrapped. Pretty much anything you will touch whilst tattooing will require at least surface disinfected and wrapped in protective film or cling film.

I personally use a good quality professional cling film as I found it more flexible and easier to work with and doesn’t come undone during a long tattoo session.

20. Tattooing Bottles

A tool used quite a lot in the tattooing process are the tattooing bottles. Health and Safety forbids the use of the classical spray bottles as these increase the chances of collecting airborne viruses. So in an attempt to minimize this the only bottles allowed are the spout bottles.

I have 3 tattooing bottles at all times on my workstation that are filled, surface disinfected and wrapped in cling film before the tattooing session.

Why I have 3 bottles and what’s in them:

Distilled Water and Green Soap Mixture – I use this to clean the skin before shaving the hairs of the area that I will be tattooing and also to clean at the end of the tattooing session any stencil traces that remained on the skin.

Skin Disinfectant – one of my bottles is always filled with skin Pink Hydrex which is a very good skin disinfectant and I use it after shaving they are of skin that will be tattooed. I also use the skin disinfectant to remove all the sebum from the surface of the skin and if I’m not happy with the stencil I just applied, I found that skin disinfectant is a very good tool to remove the stubborn stencil from the skin so I can reapply it until I’m’m happy with the position of the stencil.

Distilled Water – the most used bottle is the bottle with distilled water. This is what I put on my disposable paper towels as I’m tattooing to wipe away the excess ink and the blood that might be sipping through. Using distilled water keeps the impurities away from the tap water that was commonly used in early tattooing days. This is just an extra precaution step to ensure the tattoo will heal as best as possible.

21. Wooden Tongue Depresors

These are used when taking tattoo jelly from the container and putting it on the workstation.

The correct way to use it is to scoop the amount of tattoo jelly from the container and put it onto the workstation to be used whilst tattooing and even if we need more tattoo jelly (if we have a long session) we do NOT use the same tongue depressor, as the old one has already touched the protective film on the workstation thus using the same tongue depressor would be considered contaminating the full container of tattoo jelly, thus we would require to throw it away.

All these little procedures are to ensure no cross contamination is ever made. Obviously if you prepared your workstation the correct way there are no contaminants on the protective film, but getting this cross contamination procedures in your routine will ensure a professional way of tattooing.

The reason I use wooden tongue depressors and not plastic ones is because of environmental concerns. The wooden tongue depressors I use come from sustainable managed sources thus doing my bit for the environment ensuring less plastic is dumped into the earth.

22. Stencil Solution

In order to ensure a good quality tattoo, we need a good stencil on the skin that doesn’t disappear as soon as we touch it whilst wiping away the excess ink or blood.

You can own the best tattoo stencil solution on the market, but if you don’t prep the skin the correct way, this will fade fast and you will be left guessing where certain lines and shades start and stop.

This is how I apply my stencil on the skin:

a. I wash the skin surface using my green soap and distilled water solution

b. I shave the hairs using a disposable razor after which I dispose of it in the Sharps Container

c. I disinfect the area thoroughly using Pink Hydrex for at least a minute. This ensures the skin disinfectant has the best chances of working correctly and also in this time I have removed all the sebum from the skin

d. I apply stencil solution on the area and massage it into the skin until the skin feels tacky to the touch

e. I apply my stencil and press from the center outwards following the shape of they are I’m tattooing ensuring that the stencil doesn’t move in the process

f. I hold pressure on the stencil for about 10-20 seconds

g. I remove the stencil slowly form the corners ensuring that it transferred all the way

h. Tap it to remove any excess solution or carbon from the skin

I. Let the stencil dry for about 10-15 minutes

j. Before I start tattooing I apply a very thin layer of tattoo jelly all over the stencil

This is the way I found our it works the best and my stencil remains there until the end of the tattoo session, which sometimes can take 10 hours.

I personally use either Anchored or Hulk as I found them to be the best stencil solutions. There are other very good quality stencil solutions like Stencil Stuff, Electrum, etc.

23. Surface Disinfectant

A very important part of tattooing is thoroughly disinfecting all the surfaces in the tattooing area before and after each customer.

So it makes sense to use the best surface disinfectant available that adheres to the health and safety rules in your area.

Don’t be afraid to look for a higher spec than required by Heath and Safety, as It is your safety as well at the end of the day.

I personally use Azo or Hydrex Skin Disinfectant as I found them to be above requirements set our by Health and Safety rules and they are also used in the hospitals in my area.

So if its good for operating theaters, its perfect for my tattoo studio.

24. Disposable Razors

Part of prepping the skin is shaving off the unwanted pesky hairs that can get in the way.

For obvious health and safety reasons we can only use disposable razors.

Although there are quite a few makes and styles of disposable razors on the market, I usually found that when buying them in bulk some of them are quite poor quality, so I have once I found a good quality company I have decided to stay with them and have been using them without any problems.

I personally use Uniglove Razors and found them to be reasonably priced and good quality.

25. Sharps Bin

Health and Safety requires all sharp materials and products used to be disposed of in a safe and responsible manner.

This includes needles, razor blades and pretty much anything that is sharp and has been used in the tattooing procedure.

This means that just like your local GP nurse after she takes bloods she throws the needle in a yellow plastic bin.

We tattoo artists are required to do the same things to ensure the safety of everybody that might handle these materials later on.

So having a Sharps Bin is a legal requirement in any tattoo studio, and specialized companies are contracted to dispose of them in a safe manner by incinerating them

26. Yellow Bags (for contaminated refuse)

The yellow bin bags are actually called Bin Bags For Offensive And Contaminated Refuse. I know a bit of a mouthful, so we will just call them the yellow bin bags.

In these bags we throw all the bloody paper tissues, and pretty much anything that has been used for Health and Safety and cross contamination. This can include, and is not limited to, disposable water cups that were used to rinse the needles, used paper tissues, the protective films that were used in the tattoo workstations, and pretty much everything that could have been contaminated.

They are collected by specialized companies that we contract to dispose of the contents of these bags by incineration, and are collected by specially trained staff.

27. A Computer

For obvious reasons nowadays computers make our life so much easier to create small designs or compositions for tattooing.

Designs like scripts or geometrical shapes are a lot sharper if done on the computer than by hand the old-fashioned way.

Usually the computer should have a high Ram memory as we usually use them with software like Photoshop or other image processing programs.

When tattooing portraits, a computer is quite indispensable as this can help make the process a lot faster and we can actually zoom in and adjust certain areas in the photos to help us deliver an amazing tattoo.

A computer will also help you with keeping in touch with customers on social media and also helps us organize our appointments and consultations.

28. A Good Quality Printer

Part of creating a good stencil is having a good reference. A good quality printer can make the difference between seeing all the details in a reference and guessing.

Be sure to buy a good quality printer as this will be used daily and the last thing you need is to have your printer give up on you whilst a customer is waiting for a small design like a script.

29. Carbon Paper (Transfer Paper)

Carbon paper can be for hand use or for thermal use.

As with anything in a tattoo artists arsenal, the better the quality of the products you use, the better chances of showing of with a quality tattoo at the end of the session.

I personally love the Repro Fx paper.

30. Ink Mixing Machine

This is not a must, but it helps cut time down when prepping for a tattooing session, and it also ensures the pigment in the ink is properly mixed and uniform within the ink solution.

We used to have to take each bottle and start doing the cha-cha dance for each and every color just to put a few drops of ink in the ink cups. Now with so many tattoo artists looking to concentrate on their artwork work and tattooing rather than dancing around the studio for half an hour before starting to create the tattoo.

I have found a few different options and here are a few.

The Ink Cup mixer with disposable tips

The Bottle Shakers

The Agitators

31. Graphic Design Tablet With Pen

In the olden days when I started our everything used to be done on paper using so many pens and tools.

We used to draw tattoo designs for hours and than if the customer wasn’t happy or wanted something changed, we would have start the process again from scratch. And this would make us loose important time that we can spend with our loved ones or just resting.

Now with Apple’s Ipad Pro with the Pen and other graphic design tablets like Wilcom, the creative process is a lot faster and easier.

I personally own an Ipad Pro and with Procreate I can create amazing designs for my customers and modify them in minutes to suit the requirements of even the fussiest clients.

This also makes it easier to print straight from the tablet, and with services like Google image finding reference images makes my design process a lot easier and more fluent.

32. Hand Sanitizing Stations

Washing hands is a procedure that we do daily on a very often basis. Every time we touch anything without gloves (I’m not referring to surfaces that we have disinfected and wrapped, as these should only be touched with gloves) we must wash our hands with antibacterial soap and rinse well.

Hand sanitizing stations actually just means having an easy accessible hand sanitizing bottle that uses a pump to dispense the disinfectant solution.

There are expensive hand sanitizes and cheaper options, and this doesn’t really matter, as long as the sanitizing solution doesn’t leave any residue and is effective.

I personally use the touchless system by Dettol and I found it to make my life very easy, and my customers also use them a lot.

33. Hands Free Sinks

In the UK every tattoo station is legally required to have hands free operated sinks. Pretty much like you see in the hospitals, those are the ones I’m referring to.

These can be in a few different styles:

The Electronic Type : these types of sinks use an electronic proximity sensor that turns on the water through a temperature premixer, and are battery operated. These are considered the norm in the tattooing industry as they are quite nice looking and don’t really require much maintenance.

The Hip Type: these type of sink have a push button at hip level and requires us to push it using our hip to start the flow of water. These also have a temperature controlled mixer that ensures the water temperature is not too hot or cold.

The Elbow Type: these are the same that you see in the surgeries and are used by pushing your elbow on certain levers to control the quantity and temperature of water coming in the sink.

The Pedal Type: these types are less common and are pretty self-explanatory. They use a pedal to dispense water in the sink.

34. Disposable Paper Towels

Health and Safety dictates that no reusable textile towels can be used in the tattoo studio, as these can harvest bacteria and can transfer bacteria from one user to the next.

So the law requires us to use paper towels.

This makes our life pretty easy, as after you washed your hands, you just pull some paper towels from the dispenser and after you have thoroughly dried your hands, you dispose of them in the recycle bin.

This way there is no waste, as the paper gets recycled and there are no bacteria to affect the cleanliness negatively.

35. Disposable Water Cups

These are pretty self-explanatory. Disposable water cups are very handy to use for rinsing the needles when changing color or shade.

36. Consent Forms

These can be different depending on the area and country you are in.

The main aspects of the Consent Forms are the disclosure of all medical information that can affect the tattooing process, the healing process or just plain affect the health of the customer.

Information like prescribed medication that the customer is on, certain health conditions like angina or heart attack, or maybe your customer is diabetic. These are just some of the information you as an artist need to know about your customer.

If for example your customer is pregnant, the tattooing is not permitted by Health and Safety laws.

Also a very important reason why we require the consent form to be filled in and talked about in private with the customer is to find our if the customer is allergic to any of the ingredients in the products used to perform the tattooing procedure.

The extra step that we go through as a studio, is that if the person looks under 21 we will ask for ID and keep a copy on record, to prove in the case of a check by Health and Safety representatives that we have inquired about the age and asked for proof.

When the customer is getting anything with script like names or birth dates, we always print one more copy of the design and ask them to read it and check for accuracy, as if the dates are wrong or the names are misspelled, this gets the customer the chance to rectify it and it also relieves us of the responsibility.

Once the customer has proofread the tattoo design, we ask them to write their name, the date and to sign it.

37. Aftercare Forms

There is nothing more frustrating than creating an amazing tattoo and having the customer not taking following the aftercare procedure. Sometimes if the customer disregards to such an extent that they get an infection (usually when pets are involved) they will always blame it on the artist as not being to clear on explaining the aftercare procedure.

So I have ended up after explaining the aftercare procedure to ask the customer if they understood it, and get them to sign the paper that explains the aftercare and what risks they can expose themselves to and how to avoid said risks and once they signed it, I give them a copy and keep a copy for my records.

I also provide my customers with all the aftercare products free of charge, as these are quite cheap and this way I know the correct products are applied in the aftercare procedure.

38. Microporous Tape

This is used to ensure the protective film we apply to the fresh tattoo stays in place and doesn’t come off by accident.

The microporous tape was originally used in hospitals and surgeries, but has become available for all to buy in supermarkets and it only costs a few cents.

I usually offer a couple of these with the aftercare pack free of charge.

39. Couch Rolls

The way every artist wraps his tattoo chair or tattoo bed is different, but after long talks with Health and Safety representatives, this is the way I do it:

a. Disinfect the surface of the chair or bed using Hydrex Disinfectant for Surfaces

b. Wrap the chair or bed in protective film or cling film

c. Spread our couch roll on the area where the customer will come in contact with the furniture.

d. Secure the couch roll paper to the chair or bed using masking tape.

The reason I am doing it this way is to ensure that the chair or bed is protected and also the customer doesn’t stick to the protective film after a longer session.

Once the tattoo is done, I remove and dispose of all the paper and protective film into the Yellow Bin and disinfect the furniture again.

40. Masking Paper

This comes very handy when needing to secure couch roll paper to furniture or when securing protective film on the arm rest to ensure it does not move during the procedure.

41. Good Quality Paper Towels

As when we are tattooing we are wiping away the excess ink and blood on top of a fresh wound that we have created, we need to ensure the paper towels we are using are of high quality and absorbent,

How to tell when a paper towel is of high quality? It’s actually quite easy, when wiping the surface of the skin, the towel does not disintegrate or leaves any fibers behind.

I personally found the Plenty KitchenTowels to be of excellent quality and use them on a daily basis.

42. Disposable Gloves

As a tattoo artists, you will find yourself changing permanently gloves to ensure no cross contamination is taking place, .

In the UK it is illegal to use latex gloves as a lot of people are allergic to latex, so we are recommended to use Nitrile Gloves.

The Nitrile Gloves need to be also Powder Free as the powder can have a lot of hyper allergenic substances.

As I always have gloves on, I need the gloves to be of good quality and comfortable.

43. Clip Cord Sleeves

In the early beginnings of the tattooing industry cables used to be taped up in all sorts of ways and in some cases they were actually left bare.

As we tattoo, the clip cord cable can come in contact with a lot of surfaces and sometimes even with the tattoo, so to ensure perfect cleanliness, the clip cord needs to be protected at all times and the protection needs to be replaced after each tattoo session.

Nowadays you can purchase Clip Cord Sleeves from almost any tattoo supplier and they are very cheap and make the wrapping process very easy.

If you think I have missed anything or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

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