Stick and poke tattoos everything you should know

One of the most common questions I get asked is what are stick and poke tattoos? Are they periculous? I decided to shed light on the subject because there is a lot of misinformation around. Many believe it is a type of tattoo that only prisoners must have, but that’s not true.

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What is Stick and Poke meaning

The stick and poke technique also called handpoke, or DIY tattoo is a very old technique that simply consists of using a needle and ink for tattooing. Throughout history, the meaning that has been attributed to tattoos has changed over time. But the art of tattooing has always been combined with the culture of ancient populations around the world (Maoris are the best known). Since there were no machines like modern ones, it can be assumed that primitive tattoos are in all respects stick and poke. Today, instrumentation and safety products have greatly improved, allowing anyone to create their own tattoo!

A real movement of artists decided to specialize in the art of machine free, and more and more personalities from the celebrity world and youngsters like you, decide to rely on these professionals. And the results of their work are crazy!

This is an example of a tattoo done with a needle thanks to the handpoke technique, but there are much other stick and poke ideas that will leave you speechless.

Whether you want to rely on a professional tattoo artist or want to have your own stick and poke tattoo, you must first know how to do it.

How to make a stick and poke tattoo

It sounds complicated but in reality, it is very simple. Take a proper needle, dip it in the ink and then, start inserting the needle into the skin, point by point, until you get the tattoo! It is a very long and often painful process which, if done without due safety and sterility, can cause serious damage. In fact, I always advise relying on a professional tattoo artist or buying the right equipment and getting information right before engraving a needle into someone’s skin.

To learn more about the technique and know anything on how to do stick and poke tattoos, check this article.

What you need: the necessary tools

What do you need to make a stick and poke tattoo?
You’ll have to equip yourself with a few tools but you need to make sure they are of good quality or the risk of infection is very high.

Here’s all you need:

  • A sterile needle (there are many on the market and you can easily find them on Amazon)
  • Sterile ink. When it comes to someone’s skin, you should always rely on excellent products.
  • Medical equipment such as medical gloves.
  • A well-cleaned surface (the skin: clean the area you are going to engrave with ink !!!)
  • The right products for aftercare and a bandage to cover the tattoo just finished.

Check out our selection of the best products you need to start having a handpoke tattoo.

But if you don’t know what are the right products to choose, there are numerous handpoke kits on the market, created especially for starters of this art. The price can vary between $ 35 and $ 100, therefore more than affordable and without a doubt a valid alternative to a “classic” tattoo.

Single needle handpoke and stick and poke tattoos kit

In addition to these mandatory products, you will need to use a stencil if you decide to apply a design that has already been made. If, on the other hand, you want to rely on your creativity and design freehand, go ahead! However, I always recommend doing it only if you are already an expert on this technique!

But now the question that most of all you are asking yourself is…

Why should I make a Stick and Poke tattoo?

When tools suitable for this type of technique did not yet exist, the most popular places for a handmade tattoo were undoubtedly prisons and high schools for those who wanted to rebel and get a tattoo, without having to shell out huge amounts of money from a tattoo artist.
Over time, the art of handpoke has evolved and involved more and more famous artists.
The reason is very simple, you can get extraordinary effects in points of your body that are difficult to tattoo with a machine. For example, tattoos on the fingers are among the most popular for those who want to rely on a stick and poke specialist.

But there is also another thing.

The art of “do it yourself” (DIY) is very popular and there is nothing cooler than having your own creation on your skin (or your friends’).
The market provides us with all the tools necessary for the successful creation of a handpoke tattoo, without running the risk of unpleasant consequences. And then, once your technique is refined, all your friends will want a little stick and poke tattoo from you!!!

stick and poke tattoo with color made by minilau tattoo artist in seul

The pros and cons of stick and pokes

One of the plus points is undoubtedly the cost. Compared to a traditional tattoo, stick and pokes require a smaller investment and therefore definitely more attractive for young people looking for a unique tattoo.

Being a complicated practice, you need to be highly prepared to get a good result. For this reason, it is advisable to start with very simple and small designs.

The time it takes to make it is very high compared to a tattoo made with a machine. In addition, the pain is more acute, especially for larger and more complex designs. Perceived pain is subjective, but surely those suffering a lot of pain should refrain from this practice.

One of the greatest risks is to incur allergic reactions or infections if the right tools and the right precaution are not used.


The advice is to rely on an expert if you want to try this new unique art of stick and poke tattoos, otherwise rely on the best tools available on the market (if you are a starter, buy an handpoke kit) and always be very careful because the risk of infection is very high if the necessary precautions are not properly applied .

Check out our selection of the best products you need to start having a handpoke tattoo.