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Ink Rubbing Delight

I found out in my teens that I got pleasure and confidence from DIY body mods. The usual angst led to cutting for the pleasure/pain buzz and branding too. I now use ink rubbing as a permanent and satisfying form of self-marking. I do have 'proper' tattoos from studios and I love them, they're all very personal too and I enjoy the colors I have in them but my own work has made me feel more at home in my skin. Simple things like the black dots I have on my toes, make me more confident in my body and I can honestly say I have never regretted any of my ink rubbings.

I had no tattoos at all when I started to long for some markings on my body. I felt too shy to go to a tattoo parlor alone and none of my friends wanted to go along so I started to think about doing it myself. I'd seen guys at school with marks made with india ink rubbed in pen-knife cuts and I really got impatient to get started on my own first DIY tattoo. I was also really concerned about ink poisoning though, I pictured all sorts of nasties in my head and I have to say I was anxious for a while after the healing was over, especially during the sore and burning stages of healing. The result of this first attempt was quite shallow scratching rubbed with cheap india ink and 8 years later it is a blurry, dark grey circle on my left thigh. I love it though as it symbolizes ME and the start of confidence, a few months after this circle ink-rubbing I went to a tattoo parlor and got a cool red pony design on my upper arm without feeling at all intimidated.

I found out a while later that some india ink brands are stated as non-toxic and that is when my passion really took off. I now have over 20 designs on my body done with the same technique and I get so much pleasure from making my body my own. I do this as safely as I can and though I do still get really impatient to get started on a design, I always sterilize and clean everything. I even bought some strong, sterilizing skin wipes for pre-cut cleaning!

I have become more adventurous and bold with my ink-rubbing designs and rather than do simple symbols that are done in an hour, I have completed a dragon on my right thigh that took 3 days to finish ! My most recent design is a bat on my left breast, it took 2 sessions to get it just right - the bat is a design I really love and I'm a goth at heart so it suits me. I don't have ANY stars which seem to be the most common first self-marking design, but I really cant draw them so that may be why.

Self-modification is really important to me so I treat myself very well during an ink-rub, select some chilled music, get everything I need laid out and cushions on the bathroom floor to get comfy. I have my phone near me or switched off, a drink and some eats too (usually chocolate for an easy sugar boost)then I'm set for however long it takes me - rushing or stopping in the middle of things can lead to a mistake that you have permanently. I use the same methods each time as I find they work well for me and give great results.

My method uses a razor blade, non-toxic india ink and petroleum jelly. I draw my designs onto my skin (luckily for me, I like angular designs that are easy to work with a razor blade), boil a freshly opened razor blade for 10 minutes and then I'm ready. I cut along each of my drawn lines in turn, soak up the blood from the wound then apply the ink using a cotton bud - removing any ink from around the cut quickly. I keep the cut full of ink and then coat it in petroleum jelly to hold it there. When I have finished an ink session I use gauze to cover the design and leave 12 hours or so before I wash the petroleum jelly away, at this point I re-apply the ink. I then let the wound heal.

I have used this tried and tested technique for 6 years now and all the self-mods in that time have healed bright and clear and black - I do have pale skin but my friend is olive skinned and the rocket ship I did on his wrist a year ago, looks fab! BUT if you do try this please seek out the india ink that states Non-Toxic !!


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 22 Feb. 2007
in Scarification

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Artist: Me
Studio: My+bathroom
Location: Sheffield%2C+UK

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