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The Different Tattooing Methods

A detailed article listing and describing the different tattooing methods.

Inserting ink into the skin has been in practice since the Neolithic era, which so far has been proven from preserved human remains found during archaeological excavations. As the modes of human artistic bodily expressions vary, so do the methods in which tattoos have been and are still applied. Though many are used to the deadlight shops with designs littering the walls and the sterile smell, different societies have employed not only their own method of ink injection, but also their own rights and rituals behind tattooing an individual, signifying a milestone or right of passage in their life. The following are all tattooing techniques that have been recorded throughout the globe.

Tattoo Machine

It has become a wide spreading standard, especially throughout Western cultures, to use an industry made electric tattooing machine. The needle(s) is placed inside a tube and the tattoo artist uses a foot peddle to operate the device that inserts the needle into the skin hundreds of times per second. Different needles are needed for outlining, coloring and shading, which vary in size and number. Using a machine is the quickest tattooing method, but requires a license to use and handle.

Bamboo Handles

Most commonly used for full body Japanese tattoos, the bamboo handle is a way to punt ink into the skin by hand. The handle has about two dozen needles embedded in its end and the tattoo artist stretches the skin with one hand while pushing the needles in and out multiple times to create the cohesive image. This tattooing technique can take hundreds of hours to complete a full body tattoo and most often requires dozens of sessions for each person.

Rake and Striking Stick

One of the most primitive and oldest methods in tattooing is using the striking stick. Most prevalent in the South Pacific today, the artist uses a tipped rake, most often bone, dips it in ink, and hits it with the striking stick to puncture the skin. The puncture then contains the ink from the rake and over time the consecutive punctures form a pattern. An assistant most often stretches the skin while the artist works on the pattern. This technique has been used to form the world's most elaborately patterned tattoos found in Samoa and Papua New Guinea.

Metal Tube

An ancient tattooing practice that has been recorded in Southeast Asia, a metal tube, most often made of brass, has a pointed rod running down its center. With one hand stretching the skin, the artist dips the rod into the ink and punctures the skin in a downwards motion repeatedly, much like a sewing machine. This method has been utilized to create many religiously significant designs revolving around Southeast Asian dogmas.


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Comments (2)

The art of tattooing has been one that has fascinated me over the years. I have even contemplated getting one a time or two, but never could decide on what would be a suitable image to have on my body forever. Plus, I believe firmly that the Christian Bible tells us that God does not want us to be tattooed. I have no prejudices against any who have or are getting tattoos, this is a personal preference and I will share what I believe, but will not be a hypocrite in showing hatred or the like to anyone having or receiving a tattoo. :) Voted.

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