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Self-done Heart Tattoo

My small, self-done tattoo was done in 2006 in my bathroom with a distinct lack of materials or cleanliness. Let me say to begin with that although doing your own tattoo can be a gratifying experience, make sure to investigate into the methods before attempting the process. My tattoo ended up being a very small heart. It was obviously done with a needle as the lines are made up of a series of dots spaced closely to appear as a line when viewed from a distance.

I had been thinking for a while that I wanted a tattoo but was lacking in the funds and transportation. I came across a website or two that showed pictures of people who had tattooed themselves with needles. Although they seemed reckless, recommending drinking alcohol beforehand, I learned a lot from their other advice. I eventually decided to go through with the procedure.

In order to attempt to sanitize my materials, I filled a bowl with steaming water and washed the needle with soap. I then wiped it with hydrogen peroxide. Allow me to say this is an insufficient way to clean your supplies. It doesn't properly kill germs. I may have gotten away with lax cleanliness, but it is important to at least boil anything that will come in contact with the tattoo. I was alone so at least I didn't have to worry about cross-contamination.

I started by holding a fairly large sewing needle against the eraser side of a pencil, parallel to the pencil, with about half an inch over the edge. I used sewing thread to sort of lash the needle to the pencil. Since I have no experience in knots or tying things, this had to be retied fairly often. I continued the thread coils up the length of the overhanging needle up to the very top.

With my tool ready, I poured a small dish of pen ink into the cap, making sure it was fairly deep. I dipped my needle in, soaking the thread and pushed it into the skin of my thigh. As I pushed the tip against my skin, it pierced too deep each time as the pressure caused it to pierce suddenly. Picture how the surface of a soft fruit indents before being punctured deeply. Slowly, and dot-by-dot, I traced the shape of a heart about half an inch across. Let me say that although this is not especially painful, it is a little hard to do to yourself, so make sure not to get too ambitious with the size.

I knew nothing at the time about the tattoo healing process, but it didn't scab. It was only a little sore for a few hours. Over the past year, the image has smudged very slightly. It is important to make sure everything is clean. I only used soap and hot water to clean my supplies and was lucky to escape without an infection.

Although my tattoo is a little messy and not very attractive, I like it. It seems to mark the point in my life when I started to become a little more interested in tattoos and piercings. Since then, I've gotten a few more piercings and stretched some.

A few weeks after my initial session, I felt like I wanted to continue. The first design was finished, but I decided to do a smaller outline inside the first heart. I seem to only be able to do these kinds of things (piercing myself with needles) late at night and only when I'm in a certain mood. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish this outline as it got to be too painful.

My friend recently got a tattoo gun for christmas after spending a summer working at a tattoo shop. I know she's a good artist after spending some time working near her in art classes. She offered to tattoo me for free, for her to gain experience. Maybe I haven't learned my lesson, but she is going to finish the inner outline of my heart. She seems to have a steady hand, so hopefully I'll be able to complete my tattoo without covering up the dotted shape. I've known this friend for a while and trust her, we just need to find time for her to finish up my tattoo.

I would recommend going to a professional, even if it means saving up. I believe in thinking long and hard before getting any piercings or tattoos, so one could even consider their time saving to be a time to think whether this tattoo they want is something they'd be willing to keep forever. I still plan to go to a tattoo artist, but unfortunately, I need to finance my education first. Maybe in four years, once I'm graduated, I'll be able to save for something bigger and better quality.


submitted by: Anonymous
on: 26 March 2008
in Tattoos

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Studio: my+home
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