Arts & Culture

Things Seem to be Getting a Little “Sticky”

By Ky Newport

I’ve gotten so many question over this since the first one I did. I debated over doing a video tutorial on it, but decided against it because people tend to watch one thing and assume they know how to do it. Anyhow, on to stick and poke tattoos. Otherwise known as “hand tattoos”, this is normally a at home tattoo. A lot of kids are starting to try these as their first, and are less commonly done by a professional. The essential part of it is you’re taking a needle, dipping it in ink, and then dipping it in your skin. Obviously, there are many more steps before that happens, but before I get to that, preparation comes first.


  1. Find a clean needle. Something along the lines of a new sewing needle. (I used a tattoo needle, which is my preference.)
  2.  Even if you think it’s clean, CLEAN IT AGAIN. Boil it in hot water for an hour. (There are other methods to cleaning,  this is just the one I used.)
  3. If you are using a sewing needle, you will need tape, thread, scissors pencil, a paper towel, napkins, and water or non-scented soap water.(If you are using a tattoo needle, you will need thread, tape, napkins,  a paper towel, and water/non-scented soap water)
  4. IF YOU’RE USING A TATTOO NEEDLE, SKIP THIS NEXT STEP.Take your sewing needle, and stick it in between the eraser and the metal cap. Make sure it’s lodged in pretty good and that your needle is stable.
  5. Take the tread and and begin to wrap it around the needle. Go up until there is only a millimeter of the tip showing. (This is the most time consuming part) make sure to get the thread nice and thick so that is holds the ink well. Then tape it down so that the thread doesn’t come undone while in the middle of your tattoo.
  6. CLEAN EVERYTHING AGAIN. INCLUDING THOSE HANDS YOU’VE BEEN TOUCHING THINGS WITH. It doesn’t have to be boiling again, just a little rubbing alcohol on the end of the needle. Wash your hands with soap and water. (I’d use germ-ex  just in case. )
  7. Lay out the paper towel. And set your CLEAN tools on it. (This includes the ink.)
  8. Clean the spot you are tattooing nicely with rubbing alcohol and let dry.


  1. Use a non-toxic marker or pen. (make sure its non-toxic because you will end up getting that ink in your skin.) This is the time where you draw your design. It doesn’t have to be detailed or large. It can be something small and simple. Just draw something that you know you’re not going to regret half way through or ten years from now.
  2. Depending on how big your tattoo is decides how much ink you need to pour into a container. ( I used a bottle cap to a water bottle. just make sure it is clean.) Pour in a decent amount, enough to do you tattoo or an estimated amount.
  3. THE FUN HAS STARTED.  This is where you actually begin the tattoo. Keep you hand steady and begin poking. You should feel a sight pop when you begin. When you do Stick and Pokes, you will need to go over the area several times to get the black you desire. as you move along, use the soap water I talked about earlier to wipe away the excess ink.
  4. When you’ve finished the tattoo to your liking, wipe off excess ink and put Vaseline over the area to keep it from getting dirty/ infected. You may even consider wrapping it if it’s on the larger size.( You won’t want to wrap it after three days, and you also need to let the tattoo breathe.


  1.  After you are done with the tattoo, I suggest putting vaseline on it and wrapping it in plastic wrap. Only do this for the first 2-3 days.
  2. Stay away from using scented soaps and lotions for about a week or two. It can draw out the color.

I’ve spoken to a few people, besides myself that have stick and poke tattoos; and generally, we have the same view on how they’re done and the healing process that comes with it.

Kenzie Hargrave had this to say about her stick and poke, (the alien above).

“A stick and poke is a little bit tricky, you have to use a single needle and gently poke ink into your skin. I think stick and pokes are important because they’re something small that you’ve created that can mean a lot to you.”

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