When getting a tattoo it is important for tattoo artists to use a different needle each time so that the tattoo is sanitary and people do not pass on infections from one client to the other. Each time a tattoo artist starts a new tattoo, they must disassemble their tattoo gun and insert a new needle into the machine. Tattoo artists will change the needle several times during a tattoo because different needles are required for different areas of the tattoo. When a tattoo artist is at work, he or she should always clean away excess ink and blood before dipping the needle into the ink, or before switching colors.
Setting Up the Machine
Put on a pair of rubber gloves. If you are going to be setting up a tattoo machine for use on a client, it is very important to keep the instrument sterile, so wear rubber gloves during the entire process.
Remove the needle from the blister pack and grip the circular end firmly with one hand. Bend the needle to form a slight arc so that it can be inserted into the needle tube. The type of needle you choose will depend on what part of the tattoo you are coloring. Liner needles are used to create the outline of the tattoo and shading needles are used to color in and shade the various parts of the tattoo. Both needles are inserted the same way into the machine.
Push the circular end through the loop on your tattoo coil and attach the needle tube and coil piece together. Tighten the bolt on the side to make sure the two pieces are together.
Thread the circular end of the needle over top of the round nub on the top of the tattoo coil. This should fit snugly into place.
Attach a plastic bound around the entire coil assembly. The band should rest on top of the needle, just before the circular end and stretch around to the spool on the bottom of your assembly. Your machine is now ready for tattooing.
In Between Colors and Changing Needles
Dispense all the colors you will need for the tattoo into separate color cups. When you are going to use a color, simply dip the tip of the needle into the color of choice. You will also need to fill a small cup of clean water so you can rinse your tattoo needle between colors.
Wipe off the excess ink and blood from the needle every time you dip your needle in the ink. This also applies for when you want to switch colors. You want to make sure you keep the tip of the needle as clean as possible so you don't taint your colors with other colors and blood.
Dip the tip of your needle into the cup of water every time you want to use a different color. After you wipe the tip of the needle with your paper towel, be sure to remove any excess ink with the water so you don't tint any of your other colors.
Elyse James began writing professionally in 2006 after deciding to pursue a career in journalism. She has written for "The Algonquin Times" as a general assignment reporter and published blogs and articles on Webcitybeat. James holds a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Ottawa.