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Thread: Need my tattoo questions answered!

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    #1

    Need my tattoo questions answered!

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    well, I've decided it's time to get my tattoo... a wise person once told me to "wait a year and if you still want it then get it" and I've wanted this one for 4 years now decided to hold off a few months ago because I thought i'd be out in the sun a lot tanning for a vacation that ended up not happening so now I've decided to be pale and inked I need it to lift my spirits!

    so, I already have a trusted tattoo shop... so check! it's one that lots of my DH's teammates go to and they know the guy. Been perusing their website. But still... I want to make sure I ask the right questions.

    so I've never gotten a tattoo before, so I don't know the standard protocol so that's where I need you guys...

    first of all... the needle. I've heard that (obviously) each needle needs to be single use, now do they open up that new needle in front of me or do I need to ask them to do it... or do people usually not worry about seeing it opened (to confirm single use)?

    so my tattoo is simply just words, on my inner arm... I've seen before for picture tattoos that they will apply a template (stencil? not sure of the right word) and transfer it onto the skin so you can see what it looks like before the inking, and they trace that. Do they tend to do that for words too, or do they usually just freehand words? It'd be like a font that you would find on Microsoft word. I think i'd be freaked out if they free-handed it... even though their portfolio looks pretty good with handwriting. I think i'd need to see it on me first before it's permanently in... ya know? Would they transfer a stencil on me first for words, or would i need to ask beforehand... or do y'all usually not worry about that?

    Price/tipping. I have no clue how much it will be... I've read most places that $100 is the minimum... thinking it couldn't be too much more than that for small, black words. Will I know beforehand, or is that all decided in person? What about tip? i'm assuming you tip them... right? Is it 15/20%?

    that's all I can think of right now... unless there is anything else you think I need to say when I call and make an appointment.

    Thanks for helping me out!!!!!
  2. The army may have my man, but I have his heart.
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    #2
    Yes, they will put a stencil on first that will be created in word so you can pick a font that you like. Then you can move it to the exact spot that you like. Don't hesitate to have it moved it is not a hard fix at all

    I tipped 20% on my second one and more on my first just because it came out even more beautiful than expected and I got a great deal for it.

    Hope this helps
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    #3
    in my experience, they prepare the needle/device in front of me, so they should do that if its a reputable place.

    even tattoos of just words need a stencil. Its not easy to free-hand a word tattoo, so yes, they should make a stencil out of your tattoo and place where you want so you can be sure its placed properly, then they will tattoo over the stencil.

    I've never tipped a tattoo artist, didn't know I was supposed to.
    Price is based often on size, not just color or design. My last one is roughly 2 in by 2 in and colored and it was about $250, but I could be in a higher priced area.
    My first one is about an inch tall (its a teddy bear) and colored and it cost me $200, 14 years ago.

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    #4
    You can ask your artist to explain the safety protocols as they go. In my experience they will open everything in front of you. If it's a concern for you, definitely ask them about it though. Not all of the materials are single use though, some things will be autoclaved and re-used. The tattooist can give more information about that. If they don't have an autoclave, that's bad news bears.

    I have never heard of an artist just "free handing" in the sense that they start tattooing you with no template at all. Some artists don't use stencils though, they use markers to draw on your skin and then that is their template. So either way, you would see what the design looks like before it's put onto your skin. Depends on the tattoo and the artist for what they would do ... if you already have a font picked out though they will most likely use a stencil.

    Minimums vary by shop etc., some have $50, some $100, etc. I've always tipped at least 20%. They will tell you the price beforehand when you are setting everything up. For larger more elaborate tattoos, sometimes artists will charge by the hour rather than give an overall price. But for your situation they will almost certainly just quote you a price and go with that.
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    #5
    what is autoclave?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TrishAFSpouse View Post
    what is autoclave?
    I believe that is the sterilization equipment.

    Their website doesn't say anything about it... should I ask them this on the phone? I know it is my safety and all, but i don't want to seem stupid being all like "are you SURE you are safe?" haha but i will if that is what i need to do. Should i ask them if they autoclave everything on the phone? Or in person?
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    The place that I went he prepared everything right in front of me. I brought in a picture and he made the stencil from the picture. The minimum was $50 and because my tattoo was small and just an outline I paid $70. I tipped $20 (35%) because I didn't know how much was expected and he really took care of me and was patient (I got a little dizzy when he went over my achilles tendon) and I figured it's better to overtip the person permanently drawing on your body than to undertip.
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by alice04 View Post
    I believe that is the sterilization equipment.

    Their website doesn't say anything about it... should I ask them this on the phone? I know it is my safety and all, but i don't want to seem stupid being all like "are you SURE you are safe?" haha but i will if that is what i need to do. Should i ask them if they autoclave everything on the phone? Or in person?
    Just explain that it's your first and you're nervous that you have some questions. It's entirely understandable. Ask whatever will make you more comfortable with it.
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by alice04 View Post
    so, I already have a trusted tattoo shop... so check! it's one that lots of my DH's teammates go to and they know the guy. Been perusing their website. But still... I want to make sure I ask the right questions.
    Its great that you found a good shop, thats a huge part of a good experience. A lot of times they also have pictures in their shop of their work, so thats another good place to look. Every shop Ive been to has a tattoo artist for certain things. Script is one guy, faces are another, etc etc. Make sure when you go in that your artist has done plenty of script work.

    Quote Originally Posted by alice04 View Post
    first of all... the needle. I've heard that (obviously) each needle needs to be single use, now do they open up that new needle in front of me or do I need to ask them to do it... or do people usually not worry about seeing it opened (to confirm single use)?
    All four of my tattoos, they opened it in front of me as well as my ink colors. A respectable shop will make sure you are seated and have a good view of what is going on with the needle opening process. This is a very important part of the process, and if you feel uncomfortable or cant see what is going on, make sure you speak up. If you go in saying its your first tattoo, they will probably walk you through step by step. Most artists like first timers (in my experience with mine and with my friends) because they get to teach about their trade. Ive never met an artist that doesnt love what he/she does. And they will explain how it works, and so on.

    Quote Originally Posted by alice04 View Post
    so my tattoo is simply just words, on my inner arm... I've seen before for picture tattoos that they will apply a template (stencil? not sure of the right word) and transfer it onto the skin so you can see what it looks like before the inking, and they trace that. Do they tend to do that for words too, or do they usually just freehand words?
    I have a tattoo with script and it was stenciled but I changed my mind at the last second (and he was glad I did, he spoke up later that the original wording was kinda blah) and did it freehand.....upside down. Talent. But yes, they will draw up a stencil first, if they dont offer to, ask them to. One thing I like to do is with tattoos that I think may be more complicated, or that I want to turn out absoultely perfect is to get an appointment with the artist beforehand. Then they can talk about the whole procedure, and draw up a stencil, and then you wont be rushed if you want to change something. Definitely look into if your shop will set up an appointment with you.

    Quote Originally Posted by alice04 View Post
    Price/tipping. I have no clue how much it will be... I've read most places that $100 is the minimum... thinking it couldn't be too much more than that for small, black words. Will I know beforehand, or is that all decided in person? What about tip? i'm assuming you tip them... right? Is it 15/20%?
    Most places Ive been to, the house minimum is 50-60 dollars. However, its all about the individual shop. Thats another thing to discuss with the artist if you make a stencil appointment. My first tattoo I got outside of a shop, from a guy who owned a shop but did tattoo marathons (I was young and reckless lol) He used new stuff each time, but he would do just about any tattoo that wasnt bigger than 10 inches in any direction... for 20 bucks. My DH and I each got one, and we paid him 60. DH's was completely hand drawn, no original picture or anything. Mine was an original picture with words added. So he got a 20 dollar tip.

    My second one was 200 dollars (about 3 inches by 4 inches, and on my upper outer thigh, so a difficult location, all of which factored into the price, as well as the fact that its a solid tattoo, not outlines or words or anything) and I tipped 20, plus paid an extra deposit of 40. So he technically got a 60 dollar tip, but it was well worth it.
    I think the norm is the 15-20%. I tipped based on how I felt when it came out.

    As for cost of the tattoo, when I got my biggest one, the artist told me they base their costs off of not only size but location. Getting a tattoo on the shoulder is going to cost less than the ankle, and getting a lower back is going to cost less than getting one on the stomach. Its about how difficult it is to tattoo. So again just talk to the artist and see what they say.



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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by alice04 View Post
    I believe that is the sterilization equipment.

    Their website doesn't say anything about it... should I ask them this on the phone? I know it is my safety and all, but i don't want to seem stupid being all like "are you SURE you are safe?" haha but i will if that is what i need to do. Should i ask them if they autoclave everything on the phone? Or in person?
    I would ask them over the phone, and then if you are still concerned about it, ask to see it when you get to the shop.

    Trust me, it is NOT stupid. If they are reputable at all they will completely understand your concern for safety. If anything they should respect you more for it, not think that you're dumb. Any tattooist worth their salt will be totally ok with going over their safety procedures with a client.

    An autoclave is basically like a little oven ... it uses heat and pressure to sterilize equipment (such as the needle bar, etc.) that is re-used. If they don't have one, I personally would go somewhere else.


    Going in ahead of time for an appointment is a great idea, especially if you are needing your mind set at ease - and again there is NOTHING wrong with that. Just wanted to add, if the artist is going to be drawing up stencils etc. for you to be tattooed at a later date, they may ask you to put down a deposit. That is completely normal, it's basically just a gesture of good faith that you intend to get the tattoo and aren't intentionally wasting their time.
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