DIY Tips On How To Do A Stick And Poke

In the past, body tattoos were a sign of social status. They are telltale signs of soldiers, sailors, motorcyclists, and criminals. Sometimes, it is used as therapeutic treatment, dating back 5200 years ago. Even the Yakuza gangs in Japan have an unmistakable tattoo culture: Under the clothes of the Yakuzas is a unique set of almost full-body tattoos with traditional patterns symbolizing their devotion to their Yakuza gang. How to do a Stick and Poke?

However, people no longer discriminate against the tattooed or attribute them to gangsters. These days, tattoos have become a trend to assert individuality. Jobandedu can see unique tattoos on anyone from all walks of life, such as fashion, creative designers, business people, even educators.

If you want an even more unique tattoo, consider Stick and Poke tattooing, a non-electric tattoo method. As a straightforward and not fussy method, Stick and Poke tattooing renders perfectly imperfect marks, expressing your personality in the most authentic way.

You do not even need to be a professional tattoo artist to create your own tattoo. So what is tattooing with a stick? How to do a Stick and Poke tattoo? All about this unique tattoo method will get revealed below. Let’s dive in quickly and paint your colorful college life!

Everything To Know Before Owning A Stick and Poke Tattoo

Special Meaning Of The Artistic And Unique Stick And Poke Tattoos

Stick and Poke tattoos, also called hand-poked or machine-free tattoos, are done manually without using a tattoo machine. In brief, it is tattooing with a stick.

The birth of Stick and Poke links to the history of classic tattooing. Before the discovery of electricity, people created tattoos with just a single needle or knife. Interestingly, the criminals and gangs of the underworld are the creators of the art of tattooing with a stick. 

But how to do a Stick and Poke tattoo in prison? Though limited activities behind the prison bars, they still have the freedom to think and create. With rough needles and a not-so-high artistic talent, the criminals then began to make the first Stick and Poke tattoos for each other.

Thus, Stick and Poke tattoos tell stories in the most naked way. These drawings can be a disproportionate heart shape, a distorted rose, or a name with an impromptu font; however, they all have a special meaning. These imperfections are exactly what their inventors, the penitent criminals, want to convey, just like bottom-belly-button piercing. Impressively, these perfect imperfections become unexpectedly artistic, all thanks to the overwhelming emotions they pour into the tattoo.

DIY Tips On How To Do A Stick And Poke
Stick and Poke tattoos tell stories in the most naked way – Source: 

Stick and Poke Tattoo Method

In general, the Stick and Poke tattoo is rather different from the machine-made art tattoo. They are handmade and use only a single needle. So how to do a Stick and Poke tattoo? Basically, the Stick and Poke needle impregnated with ink will pierce the skin by each nose close together to form a solid line. Meanwhile, a tattoo machine with more vibration creates slender and meticulous tattoo lines faster. In comparison with the machine-based method, tattooing with a stick takes quite a while to complete.

However, Stick and Poke tattooing offers an invaluable experience of the intimate connection between the tattooed, the tattoo artist, and the tattoo itself. Without the hum of the machines, you will have more silence to contemplate your tattoos, watch them gradually take shape and chat with the tattooist.

Does Stick and Poke Tattooing Hurt?

Using a needle to dip ink and piercing the skin one by one sounds painful. Actually, the Stick and Poke tattooing pain level depends on pain threshold, tattoo area, and chosen tattoo placement like any other tattoo method.

If you are afraid of pain, think about the size and complexity of the tattoo. Note that the larger and more complex the tattoo is, the more pain it will inflict. 

Besides, you need to carefully choose the tattoo location and avoid tattooing on sensitive areas or frequently moving areas such as knees, elbows, neck, etc. The healing process will be excruciating and take longer when you tattoo on those areas. In addition, avoid tattooing in areas close to bones, with little fat, lots of nerves, or thin skin areas.

The charts below show which areas hurt the most.

Does Stick and Poke Tattooing Hurt?
Pain chart for female – Source:
Tattoo Pain chart for male
Pain chart for male – Source:

Do Stick and Poke Tattoos Last Long?

Many people mistakenly believe that tattooing with a machine with many needles is more durable than tattooing manually with a single Stick and Poke needle. This comparison may discourage them from choosing tattooing with a stick. But if they fade fast like that, the big guys may not even use them!

Actually, a Stick and Poke art tattoo has the same durability as any other mechanical tattoo. Suppose you see a Stick and Poke Tattoo fading, breaking, or generally decreasing in quality quickly. Chances are the tattooist who made your tattoo is inexperienced, or the tattooing process took place perfunctorily. 

Basically, all tattoo methods have the same process of using a needle to put tattoo ink into the skin. But for the Stick and Poke Tattoo artist, this step is a little bit more complicated. They have to align correctly so that the Stick and Poke needle is not too deep nor shallow, not to mention that all needles should go between 0.30mm and 0.35mm. If penetrated shallowly, the tattoo may fade rapidly. Conversely, the Stick and Poke needle going too deeply may cause bleeding and the separation of each ink dot.

In summary, as long as you find a talented Stick and Poke artist or a reputable tattoo parlor, keeping the tattoo from fading is not a concern. It primarily depends on the tattoo artist’s skills.

Do Stick and Poke Tattoos Last Long?
Don’t worry about keeping the Stick and Poke tattoo from fading – Source: Reddit

Aftercare for Stick and Poke Tattoos

So how to do a Stick and Poke tattoo aftercare? This process is similar to any other tattoo art. However, they do not tend to scab and take less time to heal if the tattoo procedure takes place correctly.

Specifically, you need to wrap the tattoo for at least 2 hours, then clean it with a gentle cleaning solution and apply a specialized cream for newly tattooed skin.

Our recommendation is to use this Hustle Butter Deluxe Tattoo Aftercare Tattoo Balm. With vegan ingredients, Hustle Butter Deluxe is a luxury tattoo care product for any step of the tattooing process. It keeps the skin workable, minimizing redness, swelling, bleeding and promoting the healing process. Hence, you won’t worry about gaining the desired color.

This process should be repeated twice a day for 2 weeks after the tattoo or until the tattoo completely heals. During the healing process, make sure these tattoos are not exposed to direct sunlight or soaked in water for long periods. Moreover, do not get the tattoo wet for the first 24 hours.

After getting a tattoo, you had better abstain from drinking alcohol for a minimum of 3 to 7 days. Alcohol abstinence is to avoid pain in the tattooed position and to gain the desired color. 

Should You Tattoo At Home?

Tattooing with a stick DIY comes with potential risks such as allergic reactions or skin infections, possibly even leaving keloids. Therefore, it is crucial to keep the tattoo kit clean and hygienic if you do want to tattoo yourself at home. Make sure that all tools are carefully sterile. Especially important, never reuse your needles to prevent bloodborne diseases. 

If you are confused in choosing a safe and quality tattoo kit, check out this DIY Hand Poke and Stick Tattoo Kit. This easy-to-use kit is a good choice for beginners and learners, so you won’t have to worry when you try tattooing for the first time. The tattooing process then just like painting with a pen.

How To Do a Stick and Poke Tattoo For Yourself?

What To Prepare

A Tattoo Design

First and foremost, you need to determine your Stick and Poke tattoo’s design, size, and position. If you are looking for ideas, our Stick and Poke tattoo suggestions at the end of this post will help you pick a satisfactory tattoo design.

Tattoo Equipment

  • Skin disinfectant
  • Medical Pads or Makeup remover Pads or Soft cloth: To absorb the skin disinfectant
  • Medical gloves
  • Towels
  • Tattoo ink: The quality and color of ink have a significant influence on the tattoo age. Therefore, the tattoo ink you need to prepare has to be the genuine, quality one that many tattoo experts tested and used.
  • Ink container: Used to mix tattoo ink, if necessary
  • A Stick and Poke needle

Preparation’s Done. Next, How To Do a Stick and Poke Tattoo For Yourself?

Here is our step-by-step answer for the question “How to do a Stick and Poke tattoo for yourself?” Let’s roll up your sleeves, put on some baddie music to fit the mood, and start creating a signature tattoo!

Step 1: Prepare

Clean and Disinfect the Skin Area

Be hygienic from the first step by washing your hands with water and soap, then put on medical gloves. 

Next, wash the skin you intend to tattoo with water and soap, then shave it. This step will prevent probable infections from skin organisms. 

Following the cleaning step, sterilize an area larger than the tattoo itself thoroughly with the pads and the skin disinfectant.

Prepare Tools

Shake the Stick and Poke ink for about a minute, then fill the ink container. Close the lid tightly and wipe off excess ink. 

Move the ink and skin disinfectant containers out of your work area to prevent cross-contamination, which may happen when your hand touches the tattoo then accidentally touches these bottles).

washing your hands with soap
Don’t forget washing your hands with soap and water before the disinfecting step – Source: 

Step 2: Draw Your Tattoo

Subsequently, this step is to trace the Stick and Poke tattoo, ideally with a tattoo pen, tattoo stencil, or tattoo paper). If you have to use a normal pen, choose a new one to minimize the risk of infections.

Once finishing your outline, move to the next step.

Step 3: Tattoo the Outline

To begin with, take out the needle from its package. Be careful to avoid poking yourself with the sharp end.

Fill the Stick and Poke needle with tattoo ink and gently poke your skin. According to, you had better refill the needle every 1 to 3 pokes as you go. You will know how the Stick and Poke needle moves into your skin by feeling from the surface layer of skin. Note, if the skin is bleeding, you may have penetrated too deep into the skin; so try to reduce pressure on the skin.

Step 4: Complete the Tattoo

You may need to remove excess ink during the tattooing with a stick process. Erase it with a makeup remover pad soaked with rubbing alcohol, or ideally with green soap.

Rubbing alcohol, on the other hand, is harsh on the skin and dries it out severely. So instead, professional Stick and Poke tattoo artists typically use green soap mixed with distilled water at a ratio of 1:8.

Sometimes the skin may swell, and therefore be too tight to retain ink. In this case, you need to stop and continue when the skin heals completely. There is no point in trying to complete the tattoo.

Once your tattooing procedure finishes, clean it one more time with the skin disinfectant, then apply the antibacterial ointment and cover it with a bandage. This critical step is to protect the open wound from dirt and bacteria.

Complete the Tattoo
A Tattoo Aftercare Waterproof Bandage – Source:

Step 5: Dispose of the Used Equipment Safely

Put the Stick and Poke needle in a plastic container before throwing it away. You had better dispose of this medical waste in a sharps waste disposal facility (see your local hospitals, pharmacies, or sharps waste disposal companies). 

10 Tattoo Ideas Suggestions: Pick your Special One

If you cannot imagine what these types of tattoos may look like, do not worry, below is a collection of unique and aesthetic tattoo designs and that would definitely impress your circle with baddie private story names. Hope they will inspire you. And to style your new tattoo with an outfit, a T-shirt with quotes or simple embroidery on it is enough, like Bojack Horseman T-shirt.

10 Tattoo Ideas Suggestions: Pick your Special One - triangles
The triangles tattoo is representative of human intelligence – Source:
The rose tattoo
The rose tattoo acts as an amulet for its owner – Source: 
The Rose Tattoo - luck and peace
It also symbolizes peace and luck – Source:
A symbol of love
A symbol of love, beauty, purity, eternity, and permanence – Source: 
magnificent abstract creation -How To Do A Stick And Poke
What a magnificent abstract creation – Source:
The Lotus Tattoo - How To Do A Stick And Poke
Lotus tattoo is the symbol of divine beauty and purity – Source:
Stick and Poke tattoo
What a Stick and Poke tattoo inspiration – Source:
Tiny Tattoo - How To Do A Stick And Poke
The finger area is very suitable for mini tattoos – Source: 
Pretty tattoo - How To Do A Stick And Poke
Every tattoo has its own story – Source: 
Get started with an intriguing tattoo- How To Do A Stick And Poke
Pick one and start tattooing with a stick – Source:
Emma Anderson

Emma Anderson is a career consultant and freelance writer for JobandEdu by night. Layla assists students, and new hires in determining a suitable career path and walk them through the application process. She decides to pursue writing since she thinks everyone should have access to information about potential careers, such as the application process and the company's culture. She's into writing, driving her with stuff that interests her in all her good reads.