Home » How To Tattoo Yourself? A Step-By-Step Guide For Beginners

How To Tattoo Yourself? A Step-By-Step Guide For Beginners

We understand that sometimes tattooing yourself can be a bit daunting for anyone, especially if you are just starting out with no prior experience and have no basic idea of how to start, where to go, what to do, and what not to do.

It is a challenging process, no doubt about that because tattoo engraving is an art of self-expression. It requires discipline and understanding of your own body and the human skin.

Hiring a professional tattooist can be really expensive if you are on a tight budget. Hence, tattooing yourself on your own is a commendable decision.

We are going to provide you with the necessary information required for that step. You have to apply it and see for yourself whether it works for you or not. These informative discussions can be subjective and may vary depending on your individual experience.

So Let’s get started without wasting any more time.

Preparing For a Tattoo

Preparing For a Tattoo

Preparing for your first tattoo by yourself without a tattooist is a great experience. It enlights you in many ways about what to do and what not to do while making a tattoo.

The Tattoo machine is just a tool for you; it has its own significance. But to utilize it to its fullest requires vision, artistic choice, and a creative mindset.

You can get much accessible information about the best tattoo machine, but knowing yourself is more important than anything.

It is imperative to know how to draw efficiently. Drawing skills or sketching is a bonus for you. Your ability to draw something through imagination will eventually fuel your artistic vision. Having a vision before you use the tattoo machine is essential.

These steps are essential to follow when you make your first tattoo:

1. Develop Basic Tattooing Skills

Develop Basic Tattooing Skills

Tattooing skills are essential to acquire as an artist; these basic skill sets will certify your brilliance. Outlining, coloring from darkest to lightest, tattoo shading, and lettering is one of the basic skill sets you need to work on.

2. Follow All The Great Artists

Extensively research and learn about tattoo artists worldwide. Learn more about their style and personal approach toward tattoo art design. Artists like- Adam, Chris, Cortini, Cool Aid, JC, Marlo, and Isaac are all great tattooists to follow.

3. Using a Tattoo Machine Efficiently

Using a Tattoo Machine Efficiently

Tattoo Machines usually operate through an electromagnetic coil attached to an armature bar holding a needle grip infused with an ink deposition. “Stick and Poke” is a general technique or a method in the tattoo business where you can manually deposit the ink under your skin dermis with a single needle. It is a beginner-friendly process highly recommended for you.

5. Sterilized Equipment

Tattoo engraving generally leads to blood-borne infection and is much higher in tattoos done without professional aid. Hence, sterilized clotting equipment is an important preventive tool before the tattoo. Ink Cups, clean needles, Isopropyl Alcohol, Cotton Balls, Saniderm bandages, and ointments are important to carry with you during the procedure.

4. Always look For Authentic Inspiration

Always look For Authentic Inspiration

A real inspiration for your art is highly beneficial. With all the skills and the right equipment having a perfect source of inspiration fuels your work significantly. Look for things that move you profoundly or stimulate your creative imagination.

How to Tattoo Yourself?

These are some common steps for you to begin tattooing yourself:

1. Put on Gloves

Put on Gloves

Wear medical spandex gloves before using the tattoo machine. Hold the needle grip precisely according to the instructions on its packaging. Then, put on rubber or nitrile gloves and load your prepackaged, single-use needle into the gun or just take it out of the packaging if you’re doing a stick-and-poke methodology to start, use 0.35 millimeters deposition, which is common because it creates good, sturdy lines.

2. Shave Your Chosen Area

Wherever you decide to tattoo yourself, clean it with soap and warm water. Shave the hair off in the area about an inch larger than you want your tattoo to be. Knowing the shape and size of the tattoo on your body is important here.

After you shave, sterilize your skin with rubbing alcohol. Dab it on with a cotton ball and ensure it evaporates before continuing.

3. Sterilize Your Needle

Sterilize Your Needle

Sterilize your needle pin using a flame. Hold the needle over the flame of a candle or a lighter until it glows. Hold the other end with tongs, or you’ll burn your fingertips.

Once the needle is sterile, wrap it in cotton thread. Start about 18 inch (0.3 cm) away from the tip and wrap the thread back and forth about 14 inch (0.6 cm) up the needle until the thread has formed an oval shape. This will absorb some ink as you dip your needle into the saucer.

Dip the needle into the India ink and then poke it through your skin, leaving a small dot. There may be some blood after several layers of poking, but there shouldn’t be much. If blood is dripping/excessive, stop immediately and sterilize. Hold a clean paper towel on the tattoo until it stops bleeding.

Cleaning And Aftercare

A tattoo is more than just a piece of art and a way to express yourself more eloquently. It is also considered a medical procedure because the artist uses a needle to insert the ink underneath your skin. The tattoo ink injected into your body may react negatively. Hence, taking necessary precautions and health tips for aftercare and cleaning tattoo procedures is vital.

1. Gentle Washing

Gentle Washing

First, wash your hands with clean water and soap. Then gently wash the tattoo with warm water and fragrance-free soap. Pat your skin dry with a soft cloth.

Apply a small amount of fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizer to the tattoo. You can keep the covering off at this point to let your skin breathe. Give it proper exposure to sunlight daily. Do not stretch or flex your muscles too much after bathing.

2. Saniderm Adhesive Dressing

Saniderm is a polyurethane acrylic adhesive medical bandage designed specifically with tattoos in mind. These bandages are flexible and durable enough to protect your tattoos from outside pollutants.

This is important, as it allows the wounded area to Heal as quickly as possible. A tattoo bandage protects against dirt and germs, offering protection from friction and other irritants. Therefore, using a Saniderm bandage will reduce the chances of your tattoo contracting an infection.

Saniderm also plays an important role in tattoo aftercare by sealing in the fluids that your body secretes during the healing process, further promoting the regeneration of skin cells.

3. Using Moisturizers

Using Moisturizers

Applying Vaseline regularly on the healed tattoo part is beneficial. Fragrance-free lotions should always be applied whenever you feel mild itching or pain. Products such as Lubriderm daily moisturizer, Aveeno Daily Moisturizer, Curél Fragrance-Free Lotion, and  Eucerin Intensive Repair Lotion are best applied to your tattooed body part.

4. Coconut Oil Aftercare

Polynesians like Samoans have long used coconut oil on their tattoos. They apply it after the tattoo is completed or when it heals. One supposed benefit is that it makes the design shine.

Scientific sources claim that coconut oil keeps the skin under your tattoo moist and protects against infection. Yet the evidence is anecdotal.


Q1. Is it okay to tattoo myself on my own?

Ans: Yes, it’s 100% fine if you want to tattoo yourself without help from a professional tattooist. It is a great initiative, and a lot of material is available on the internet to guide you all about that. Taking necessary precautions and educating yourself more and more about tattooing is a must for you.

Q2. Does it gonna hurt more if I tattoo myself on my own?

Ans: Safety should be an utmost priority. Tattoo engraving is a little hurtful, especially if you do it for the first time. However, taking the necessary precautions and understanding the equipment will help immensely if you do it yourself.

Q3. Are Tattoos safe for the skin?

Ans: Yes, Tattoos are generally a common form of self-expression. However, there are cases of skin complications and diseases due to tattooing. Safety is always an essential factor in tattooing.

Q4. How to choose the perfect tattoo placement on my body?

Ans: There are many logical steps to consider while choosing a correct tattoo placement on your body, e.g., the shape and size of the tattoo, how fitting the tattoo is on your body part, what kind of ink deposition you are using, etc.


Tattooing yourself is a great initiative; one should learn more about it and seriously indulge oneself with proper discipline and an acute understanding of what it takes.

Thousands of video tutorials are available that will properly guide you on tattooing yourself without any professional help. You can get in touch with many support groups on Instagram and Facebook that might give you more detailed related information.

We sincerely hope this article was enlightening for you and that it might have encouraged you. We wish you all the very best.

About Author

Jonathan Corby "Jonny" is a guy who is passionate about Tattooing and successfully running a Tattoo Studio in NY. Through my journey as a Tattoo Artist I have made unforgettable memories. This irrational poetry and sense of freedom of art on skin has given a blissfull experience to my life. Each Tattoo has a story behind it; Lets share one!