Tattoo artists have seen plenty of tattoo trends come and go. However, this latest trend, which doesn't actually involve artists, might be a little more frightening than the rest. The new method, known simply as "stick and poke," models the traditional tattoo methods. Essentially, this DIY fad allows people to stick themselves with a needle and then poke the same area with ink. Slowly but surely, those pokes begin to form a design.
In the past, this was a common method used by people in jail, as they don't have access to tattoo artists. Now, it's being used by millennials, those who are creative and artistic and people who are simply looking to cut costs.
However, the trade off for money saved might not be worth it for everyone.
"Many people question the method because of the use of a sewing needle."
How it works
Stick and poke tattoos are usually created with the help of a sewing needle and tattoo ink. Like traditional tattoos, the design will initially be stenciled on the skin in blue ink so it's easier to follow lines. Sometimes people will tattoo themselves, other times they will use the assistance of a friend. Of course, it's better to choose a person who's done this before over someone who isn't exactly sure what they're doing.
Many people question the method because of the use of a sewing needle. In traditional tattooing, artists go through the utmost sterilization methods to make sure their customers don't walk out of the parlor with an infection. However, this DIY method doesn't ensure that. Instead, it can be tough to know whether the needle being used is 100 percent sterile. Though this lack of certainty makes the act a little more daring, it also makes it a little more dangerous, and that can be scary.
As the name suggests, this method involves being continually poked with a needle, and that can be painful. Stick and poke tattoos can lead to skin irritation, swelling and if done incorrectly, infection. People who have tried out this tattoo trend note that it often involves stinging and burning. Of course, traditional tattooing with a vibrating gun isn't exactly pain free either. However, traditional options tend to be less painful, and faster, than stick and poke methods. Sometimes stick and poke tattoos are even performed with tattoo gun needles, but because it's by hand and not done by a professional, it takes a lot longer. Often stick and poke tattoos take around three hours to complete – ouch!
It's less effective
The stick and poke method tends to fade more quickly than a tattoo created with a gun. Why? While a person may be using tattoo ink just like a parlor would, tattoo guns do a much more effective job of implementing lines of ink into the skin compared to an inked needle poking the skin. Usually people will have to re-poke the lines at least twice to make the design visible on the skin. Even then, the lines are not completely clear. Instead, the lines look fuzzy because of the method. While these tattoos don't fade away right away, they fade considerably faster than a traditional tattoo would, especially if they are placed on highly exposed areas such as the fingers, hands or wrists.
Though a lack of effectiveness can be a deterrent for some, it can be a bonus for others. For instance, if a person is considering getting a real tattoo but doesn't want to commit, a stick and poke might be a nice alternative. People can wear the tattoo and decide if they like the design and placement. If they do like it, they might venture to a professional to have it permanently inked. If they don't like it, continuous washing will help it fade away with time. This lack of permanence is a draw for many who are unwilling to commit to a design long term.
It costs less
The main attraction to this method for most is the lack of money involved. The majority of people who have gotten a traditional tattoo know that it can be an expensive endeavor, sometimes costing hundreds of dollars. Luckily, with stick and poke tattoos there are very few costs other than a jar of tattoo ink and a sewing needle. This affordability has made stick and poke methods especially popular with college students who don't have the money to afford the real thing. Sometimes if the tattoo is performed by a friend, it might even be free.