There’s nothing more exciting than getting a new tattoo! It’s a permanent reminder on your body of that exact moment. You become a living piece of artwork and get to show off fantastic artwork from your favorite tattoo artists right in your skin.
And because you love tattoos so much, now you’re thinking about how great it would be to become a tattoo artist and are looking for a way to practice tattooing. It’s easy to do a website search and find out that there are some significant obstacles in the form of learning to tattoo. First, tattoo supply websites clarify that they only sell supplies, including inks, needles, and machines, to tattoo artists and their apprentices. There’s a good reason for this!
Now that you know professional tattoo supply companies aren’t going to sell to you, you’ll probably find hundreds of cheap tattoo kits online. But if you think you can just buy a tattoo kit online for $50 and start tattooing, then it’s important you read the rest of this blog. Tattoo kits sound like a great, inexpensive way to start your tattooing practice, but hidden dangers pose a considerable risk to you and your clients! Check out our top 5 hidden dangers of a tattoo kit below and keep yourself and your clients safe!
The quality of these tattoo kits is absolutely horrifying. Any time you see tattoo kits with multiple machines, dozens of bottles of tattoo ink, and zillions of accessories for less than $200, you know the quality is garbage.
When you were browsing those tattoo supply sites, you may have noticed that a single professional tattoo machine is upwards of $300. Some of the more sophisticated tattoo pens and battery combinations retail for over $1000. If you think about it, there’s no way a kit filled with needles, inks, a tattoo machine, a power supply, and a foot pedal can be of decent quality when it all costs less than one professional machine.
These tattoo kits are unsafe and will stick you with tattoo needles that break, inks that could be toxic, and a sterilization nightmare. Not only will your tattoo be a mess with low-quality equipment, but you’ll be endangering your client’s health as well as your own.
The tattoo kits you can buy online for $30 to $100 aren’t safe for humans! You’ll have to hunt down the fine print — as they certainly don’t advertise this — but those kits aren’t even meant for human skin! You’ll usually see some tiny disclaimer about how they’re meant for practice on fruit or fake skin, but tattoo kits are notoriously deceptive!
Under no circumstances should you use practice ink on your skin. Most of these kits are from China and often have typo-riddled instructions or descriptions. We absolutely don’t recommend purchasing or using these tattoo kits, but if you want a laugh, just try to read through some of the word salad in these legal disclaimers! It’d be even funnier if it weren’t causing so much harm! In all seriousness, though, if you’re planning on tattooing, don’t use anything other than a quality machine that you order through a professional tattoo studio!
As mentioned above, you’ll have a tough time creating a quality tattoo with these kits. You may be tempted to order one so you have a place to start your tattoo practice. You’ll probably tell yourself that you’ll stay safe and stick to the fake skin included in the kits.
But we all know that won’t happen. We see it all too often. When you’re a talented artist who can create masterpieces on paper, we know you’ve got friends begging for tattoos. And let’s face it, it’s far too tempting to try tattooing your own thigh or on one of your friends.
Tattooing is regulated by city and state laws that clearly outline the requirements for a safe tattoo establishment. Your living room or kitchen is not one of these places. If you decide to tattoo yourself at home, you can be sure that you are breaking your city or state’s laws. You are also creating a public health hazard.
And what happens when you have an angry tattoo client in your house who’s pissed off with you? Keep yourself from being unsafe by NOT tattooing at home, especially with low-quality equipment! The proper place to tattoo is inside a clean, properly licensed tattoo studio under the supervision of an experienced tattoo artist.
Fortunately, there are far, far better ways to practice tattooing. Even spending time drawing for your flash portfolio will give you more marketable skills than wasting time with poor-quality tattoo kits. Remember, showing a “tattoo portfolio” on real skin where you’ve used tattoo ink and needles not made for use on humans will not impress any tattoo artist who might mentor you.
It’s not hard to find the laundry list of diseases that you risk exposing yourself and clients to by tattooing at home. Bloodborne illness is no joke, and by tattooing, at home you can expose everyone, including your family members, too dangerous, even lethal, pathogens.
State-licensed tattoo artists must take hours of training each year on preventing cross-contamination. Without this knowledge, you might not even realize your actions are unsafe. This is why it’s critical to have this training before ever considering touching needle to skin.
Without properly sterilized equipment and surfaces, your couch, chairs, carpet, etc., can all become infused with the disease. No tattoo, especially a questionable one from a tattoo kit, is worth contracting hepatitis or HIV. No amount of practice with a kit is worth spreading disease to your friends and family.
And remember, tattoo ink included in a tattoo kit from China isn’t going to be safe to use on real skin. The chance of something going wrong and a disfiguring skin reaction to this ink is a real possibility. Take a quick look online for pictures of tattoo allergic reactions, and you’ll see what we mean. It’s an absolute dermatological nightmare that you want to avoid at all costs if you want a successful tattoo career.
It’s simply impossible to safely learn to tattoo online or from home, especially with a tattoo kit! In-person instruction is required to learn the techniques and sterilization procedures necessary to tattoo safely and successfully.
If you’re eager to learn to tattoo, check out our tattoo apprenticeships. We’ll teach you everything you need to know in a safe, professional environment with high-quality equipment! Save yourself the heartache of a tattoo kit and let us show you how to become a professional tattoo artist yourself!