How to Tattoo

Things You'll Need

  • Tattoo machine
  • Design display
  • Shaver
  • Thermo-fax
  • Stencil material
  • Variety of needle shapes and sizes
  • Inks
  • Sterilizing pads and bandages
  • Autoclave sterilizing machine
  • License

How to Tattoo. Tattoos are no longer taboo! Engraved on everyone from soldiers to homecoming queens, you can find these works of art exhibited for the entire world to appreciate. Here's how to apply one.

Work with the client to design the desired tattoo or offer a choice from your in-shop design display.

Place the design in the thermo-fax, a machine that transfers the pattern onto a stencil for easy application to the skin.

Shave the skin prior to applying the tattoo. Wash and sterilize the skin to decrease the danger of infection.

Wet the area to be tattooed and apply the stencil.

Outline pattern in black ink with a fine, circular needle.

Wash skin with soap and water and proceed to add the insoluble colors with thicker ink and different sized needles. "Flats" are used for shading, and "magnums" for color fill. There are three sizes of needles which tattoo artists use.

Clean the tattooed area and apply a sterilized bandage. Inform your client that it may bleed lightly for a short time. The bleeding can last from a few hours to a day.

Place tattoo machine, tubes and needles in an autoclave, which uses heat, steam and pressure for sterilization.


  • Buy top quality inks and materials to ensure that your client gets the best tattoo.


  • If using single-use materials, make sure you open the package in full view of the client directly before using them. The needle should penetrate only the epidermis, or outer layer of skin, and apply color to the dermis. It should penetrate approximately one millimeter. Make sure you do not penetrate too deeply, or the skin will bleed excessively and possibly scar. Always wear rubber gloves when applying tattoos and keep your tattoo machine in a plastic wrapping to ensure a sterile atmosphere. Make sure you conform to local licensing laws and regulations.

About the Author

This article was written by a professional writer, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more, see our about us page: link below.