Quality isn't a word you tend to associate with DIY tattoos. By way of example, let's ring up the scenarios in which you might enable someone completely unqualified to take a needle to her skin: due to the fact that it's 4 to be at a house party and even the Sports straight mugs of heat white wine have run dry, or because you're in prison. Without exception, the story behind her homemade skin scribble is better than the scribble itself.

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Mind you, just because they're not always the most aesthetically-pleasing, doesn't typical DIY tattoos don't have a details charm come them. I beg your pardon is why, as soon as I recently found out the the Homemade Gallery—a travel art space in Milan—was hosting a workshop that promised to teach you how to build your very own tattoo gun, I chose to join.

The occasion was organized as part of the gallery's exhibition La Pelle Abitata (the skin us live in), and also was organized by the tattoo artist Piereeno, who explained that he'd been functioning on the an approach of assembling a functioning tattoo degaianation.net for the previous year. You have the right to basically use anything available to make them, and Piereeno's an approach involved a toothbrush, part batteries, and a lighter.

Here are some of the tips and tricks we learned.

The Tools

Allessandro sit in former of his tools before the workshop.

Our tools room laid out nicely on the workbench—scissors, pliers, nine-volt batteries through clips to connect them, toothbrushes, lighters, sellotape, tiny electric motors similar to what you'd uncover in an electric razor, buttons, at sight glue, a cut knife, and screwdrivers. All stuff you can have lie around, Piereeno mentions—even if you're in prison.

The Frame

Piereeno shows us how to construct the frame with a toothbrush.

The very first task is to develop the frame, i m sorry serves as the base for the handle and will at some point support the totality mechanism. Because that this, every we need is a plastic toothbrush and also a lighter. Piereeno, who made his first tattoo maker last year, tells us to warm the bit in between the head and the handle before bending the 90 degrees, making sure the handle remains much longer than the head.

I quickly realize the the quickest and most effective way to bend the toothbrush is to allow the plastic to catch fire, prior to putting it out and also immediately twisting the brush. Sure, you might inhale some relatively toxic fumes, but it conserves time.

The Tube

I discovered heating the blade made it less complicated to part the tube in half.

The next step is to produce the tube that the needle will slot through. We'll use the barrel that a ballpoint pen, reduced to about fifty percent its length. Part members that the class shot cutting the barrel with scissors, i beg your pardon is no only daunting to do, but also creates frayed edges that should be smoothed. V my yongin for toxicity fumes now established, I usage the lighter to warm up the tongue of a knife cutter, permitting me to slice through the plastic.

At this point, we go back to the guideline of the pen. Utilizing the pliers, we remove the squid tube and the steel tip. The way, every we're left v is the steel support, which is placed earlier inside the tube. This is the phase where everything—hands, face, workbench, clothes—gets covered in ink, assuming girlfriend haven't already set everything on fire.

Maria it is registered the sterilized needle to the motor.

Preparing the Needle

Since recognize a sterile tattoo needle in prison is famously difficult, inmates often use guitar strings or sewing needles instead. External of prison—and in ours case—a sterile tattoo needle with a thick pointer is your finest bet. The tip can't be provided as the is: We require a wire cutter to remove the ring in ~ the end of the needle. Then, through the pliers, we fold a centimeter of the needle's base over by 90 degrees and also slot it with the tube.

The Electrics

It's time to begin thinking about the really mechanism. In order to preserve the battery life the the machine, we an initial need to construct a switch. We take the clip indigenous the batteries and also cut the red cable in half. Now we slice ago the insulation and also leave around fifty percent a centimeter that bare cable on the ends. Heater up the insulating material makes it much easier to eliminate the thick outer coating, exposing the copper inside.

Photo courtesy that Homemade Gallery

Now for the switch itself—we use the screwdriver to cancel the screws just enough so we can insert the 2 ends the the red wire and also fasten them again on the various other side. To test it, we affix the battery to the clip and rest the end of the red cable and also black cable on each of the two motor contacts. The motor should start transforming once girlfriend flick the switch.

The Motor and also Transmission

Before we permanently affix the engine to the battery, we need to prepare the so it'll journey the needle in a one motion, creating a consistent loop of the needle going forward and backward. To that end, we leave a drop of super glue in one of the feet in the motor and insert the pointer of the rotor. The needle is then inserted inside the feet opposite the one we just glued.

Attaching the mechanism to the Frame

assembled tattoo machines

We're now ready to attach our degaianation.net to the frame. To gain the right measurement, it's ideal to rest the motor and also needle against the section of the structure with the toothbrush head. It's necessary the needle sit perpendicular come the handle so that it doesn't jam as soon as we affix the biro tube. Once we've found the right position, we attach the motor utilizing insulation tape, being mindful not come cover the electrical contacts. Once we have placed the engine, we deserve to place the battery underneath, through the contacts facing the toothbrush head.

Here, we attach the cable the the clip-switch come the motor's contact points and also fix the move in ar with tape, sticking it in between the head that the toothbrush and the motor. Lastly, we join the clip come the battery, before covering up the motor v the exact same tape to make sure it doesn't spark or offer the user an electrical shock.

We're practically done. All we need to do now is connect the pipe from the ballpoint pen to the toothbrush handle. With the motor off, we press the needle v the buttonhole the contrary the one we glued the rotor to. Then, us insert it right into the pipe and, turning the switch by hand, select the maximum distance that we can fix the needle so the it can move there is no jamming. In ~ maximum extension, the tip should stick out by approximately a centimeter. And also there you have actually it: a DIY tattoo gun.

WATCH: Needles & Pins – DIY: Homemade Tattoos


It's time to test our machine, through inking miscellaneous or someone. When doing tattoos in prison, Piereeno explains, inmates often use lampblack—a fine carbon do from charcoal or soot—mixed through urine, which is intended to be sterile as lengthy as the human who produces that is healthy. We will not be utilizing that. Instead, we revolve to straightforward tattoo ink.

We tested our tattoo equipments on range of fruit.

As because that our subjects, we decide ~ above a banana and also an orange. In ~ this point, our instructor share the reality that when he developed his very first machine, he tried to tattoo self on his leg, only for the ink no to resolve properly and for the battery to run out halfway through. He mirrors us his discolored tattoo, which, on the add to side, at the very least proves the he yes, really does know exactly how to rally a functioning tattoo gun, and that adding that battery move wasn't one unnecessary luxury.

Piereeno tattoos his surname on a banana, if one male in our class draws the outline of a bottle and also another doodles a rather detailed penis. One more participant, Allessandro, is one apprentice at Queequeg Tattoo Studio, among the oldest studios in Italy. When scribbling on his banana, he describes to me in detail how any kind of DIY pistol is i can not qualify to it is in hygienic or precise.

Though adhering to the workshop has certainly given me some feeling of accomplishment, i don't think any type of of us will be utilizing our new skills to ink our very own skin any type of time soon. Doodling on piece of fruit seems long-term enough, because that now.

DISCLAIMER: Just due to the fact that you can build a DIY degaianation.net and tattoo yourself, doesn't mean you should. In fact, it's basically constantly a poor idea. However if you room going to do it, you re welcome make certain your needle has actually been sterilized: you don't desire to lose an arm since of an objectively destructive weed leaf tattoo.

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