DIY tattoos.

Tattoos go a long way back, as much as 5,000 years, and well back then and for most of the time they have been handmade, obviously. Their first use might have been for therapeutic reasons, and soon gained magical significance along with decorative purposes and became important in ritualistic practice. As Europeans began travelling, tattoos became more popular, which is also why the tattoo was for a long time the privilege of sailors and circus perfomers, well people who travelled a lot. Another group, within which tattoo was high in demand was prisoners, people who seeked for identity and autonomy.

Before tattoos became a trend, they were a symbol of rebellion against society, very common as already mentioned among sailors and prisoners, but also homosexuals, bikers and punks.

A homemade tattoo, very popular among minors as it is often the only tattoo method available to them, still maintain some of the characteristics of the earlier tattoos, because of the way it is done and the very personal nature of it.

We will let you know how you can get one, leaving out all the smart and witty comments you get usually instead of precise instructions. Read on, it’s inexpensive and easy to do.

What you will need: One sewing needle (not too big – not too tiny), one spool of thread, one pen or an object to which you will attach the needle, india ink-black liquid acrylic, a pen or a marker that draws on skin, latex gloves, a lighter, something to boil water in, paper towels.

Before you begin: It’s best if you tattoo yourself or someone you know very well, you have to be very cautious because blood will be shed, even if it’s little, and you want to go safe with any possible disease! Even wear latex gloves just to be sure! For every person use one needle that you then throw away and do not re-use!

1. Wash and scrub your hands very carefully, and make sure you have no wounds. Fill a pan with water and boil it, then drop in the needle you are going to use to sterilise it.

2. Take a needle and the thread and fasten it to the pen (or whatever similar you have). The needle must be very stable and must not budge. You leave 1/2 inch of the needle standing out and then wrap the thread very carefully and neatly around the rest of the needle and the object. Wrap well, needle must be extra stable. Keep winding so you cover the whole needle leaving only a tiny bit ot it showing.

3. Disinfect the needle a second time by holding its tip over the lighter. Then let it cool, so no branding occurs.

4. Before you begin sticking ‘n’ poking, remember and remind anyone who wants one that it is important to choose something rather easy and smallish, because there is a chance it won’t be perfectly precise, but even if so, there will be some pain to tolerate as well.

5. If you are going to get the tattoo on a pretty hairy spot, it’s best if you shave it now, then draw on your skin the design you want to have without stretching the skin. If the location you pick is a little fleshy it will probably hurt a little less. If you don’t think you can handle the pain you can drink a little or anything else you do against pain.

6. Dip the needle constraction into your ink and let it soak, but it shouldnt be dripping. Now you can and should stretch the skin. Each line will be composed of millions of tiny dots you will be making. Follow your design and every now and then wipe the ink that gets in the way with a paper towel.

7. After a while you’re done and you can wash the tattoo with warm water and soap. Pat it dry and apply some ointment. If you have stabbed a little too dip you can bandage it as well.

Bellow you can see some beautiful home made tattoos, if you click you get linked to the flickrs and tumblrs the pictures come from.

Go ink yourself!

About Pixie and Rotter

Pixie and Rotter Zine is a 100% analog Zine supporting analog artists and DIY of any kind. Created by Emma Elina Keira Jones and Amanda M. Jansson. Feel free to contact us:


  1. Wow thank you for sharing, just gotta think of a design now!

  2. cool! you can show us then!

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