Creative Inspiration

Why I’d Like to Attend the Blogcademy Featuring: Stick-n-Poke Tattoo Instructions

I’m a pretty cool lady, and I’d love nothing more than to join other cool ladies and dudes for the Blogcademy in San Francisco this May.

On the Blogcademy FAQ page, it lists that you can apply for a scholarship by putting together a blog post describing, in whatever way you want, why you should win. It clearly states that you could “get a tattoo (we’re only half joking!).” Oh, Gala, Kat, and Shauna, I’m not only going to get a Blogcademy-inspired tattoo, I’m going to give instructions on how to do your own.

So, in very much the same vein as my On the Secret Life of Walter Mitty Featuring: My Cat in a Bow-Tie post, I’ve decided to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. So I give to you lovely readers, Why I’d Like to Attend the Blogcademy Featuring: Stick-n-Poke Tattoo Instructions!


So many choices. Source.

Now you’re probably wondering why I don’t just go out and pay a professional to do a tattoo. Well, sure I could do that, but *yawn.* It’s so much more special and memorable when there’s a bit of an experience behind it, which obviously resonates with me. As someone who writes a blog about travel, I’m a fan of the experience behind something.

So, here is what you’ll need:

* A clean, freshly shaved area of skin where you’d like your tattoo. I won’t lie, stick-n-pokes hurt and take much longer than a regular tattoo of the same size would. So with this in mind, pick a spot that’s relatively small, and choose someone to do the tattoo that is a good friend. That way you won’t want to hurt them no matter how painful it is. Also, no matter how the tattoo turns out, it will be a stellar memory with a great gal or guy.

* A simple design. You’re not going to get a lot of fancy shading, and the lines aren’t going to be 100% perfect. That’s part of what I love about DIY tats. Still, make it easy on your artiste and avoid anything too complicated. You can see more about the design I’ve chosen below. Because it’s technically a twofer, we broke this up into 2 sessions.

* A super-fine Sharpie.

* A small sewing needle (thinner is better).

* A pack of old-school pencils that have the eraser attached.

* Thread (preferably of a color that contrasts with your ink choice)

* Scotch Tape

* 70% Isopropyl alcohol

* 2 clean, shallow bowls

* India ink, available at most art supply stores (I used this kind)

* Paper towels, for wiping away excess ink.

* Aquaphor lotion, or a generic-brand equivalent.

* Optional: alcohol. My spirit of choice for stick-n-pokes is whiskey.


The supplies are laid out and ready to go!

So why the Blogcademy? I want to attend because I’ve finally found something that I can see myself doing long-term. I’m a pretty flighty person and jump around with my hobbies all the time. But one of my constant interests has always been writing. Ever since elementary school, I’ve kept journals, and finally, in October, I started Tremendous Times. I was inspired by other blogs I’d found and wanted to have a public place for my own writing, specifically related to travel, adventures, and wanderlust.

As a millennial, I’m trying to navigate through my 20s and figure out what I can see myself doing longer-term and build on it. After starting Tremendous Times, I can now safely say that whatever it is, I want it to involve writing and blogging. And since Gala Darling, Rock n Roll Bride, and Nubby Twiglet were all helpful to me for starting my own blog, I know that the Blogcademy would be an inspiring weekend that would help and motivate me.

Okay, so before you tat, a little Disclaimer:

Be aware of the risks. Tattoos of any kind are subject to problems: they hurt, they’re man-made and therefore imperfect, and if done poorly, you could get an infection. The instructions below are great for anyone interested in DIY tatting, but I am not a tattoo artist and neither is my roommate. We are not responsible for any complications that may arise from your own tattoo adventures. Practice safe, clean stick-n-poking, folks, and keep in mind the risks that you’re taking.

But whatever, risky things are the funnest things!! Heh heh heh.


1. As the artiste, work to get a good design.

My lovely roommate, Rain and I, have tattooed each other before. She’ll be doing this one for me as well. We decided to go with a really cool travel-themed (like this blog!) tattoo that’s inspired by the Blogcademy website.

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 4.51.03 PM

The world and an airplane! Source.

We’ve decided to simplify the design a bit by omitting lines in the globe and keeping it as just a circle. The airplane is a little more complicated, but we’ve broken it down into a series of lines to make it easier. Also, we’ve opted for black ink for the plane, and a beautiful blue for the globe!

Overall, this design is slightly more advanced, since Rain has tattooed many times before. If you’re looking for some good simple tat inspiration, check “stick n poke tattoo” on Pinterest! It’s loaded with great images that can help you decide.

2. Prepare all the materials in a clean, comfortable spot.

a) Wipe out one of the shallow bowls with alcohol, and pour in some ink. Pour alcohol into the other.
b) Grab your needle and pencil, and stick the end of needle with the eye into the eraser section. You want to wedge it between the eraser and the metal eraser holder (see image). Make sure it gets really far in, and if needed, you can lightly push the sharp end of the needle against another pencil to push it in further.


The needle is wedged in nice and good between the eraser and the metal eraser holder.

c) Taking the pencil with the needle (your new tattoo gun, fancy!), wrap thread around the base of the pencil as well as the needle. Go far enough down to create a bit of a “well” for your ink.


All wrapped up!

d) Tape the thread to the pencil just to keep it in place.
e) Optional: pour whiskey (or whatever spirit of choice) for the person getting tattooed.

3. Finalize the design.

Wipe the area to be tattooed down with alcohol, and using the fine Sharpie, draw a design. If it doesn’t look good, simply use the alcohol again and re-draw until you’re happy.


Deciding on what type of plane (paper or regular) and where to put it!

4. Start tattooing.

a) Dip the needle into the alcohol first, and then the ink, and focus on a small portion at a time. Remember, tattoo guns rapidly stick needles into your body at a fast rate, but you’re working with one needle going at the pace of a little poke poke poke.


Globe tat, poke poke poke.

b) You should be poking the needle in far enough so that it feels almost like it’s sticking to the skin. If you go too deep, you’ll ravage the skin and the ink won’t stay. Conversely, the ink won’t stay if you don’t go deep enough. This takes some practice to get used to.
c) As you go, there will be excess ink from the well that will cover the area. Once an area is too covered with excess ink for you to see the design, wipe it away with a paper towel dipped in rubbing alcohol. Retouch the Sharpie if necessary.
d) Usually, getting a general outline of the design first is helpful, so then you can ditch having to retouch with the Sharpie. Continue steps 4a-4c. Don’t be surprised if you have to go over an area many times.


Not done yet!

e) Once you can wipe away all the excess ink and like what you see, your work is done! Use rubbing alcohol to clean the area.

5. Aftercare.

Aftercare is important! Apply some Aquaphor lotion, and continue to do so daily for 2 weeks after tattooing. Wash it every day with a mild, unscented soap. Also, if you decide you’d like to do some touch-ups on the piece, you still need to wait 2 weeks until it’s fully healed. Tattoos will flake and become itchy during the healing process. This is normal, however do not scratch your tattoo, and be sure to allow any flaking to happen naturally.

Also, do not apply Neosporin or lotions with aloe vera in them, as that will ruin the healing process for your fresh tat!

 I realize this post is pretty weird, but so am I. And I’d love to bring all of my weird self to the Blogcademy next month. Gala, Kat, and Shauna, I hope to see you in May at the Makeshift Society in San Francisco!

Besides, you need check out these sweet tats in person!


7 thoughts on “Why I’d Like to Attend the Blogcademy Featuring: Stick-n-Poke Tattoo Instructions

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