Bandages for tattoos

After finishing a tattoo, it is your responsibility to prevent it from getting infected, at least during the first few hours until the body can close up all the holes that were just put into it. While tattooing, you have plenty of time to talk to the customer about after care and how they ought to treat the tattoo. Later, you can give them a care sheet to take home with them. A big poster outlining the healing process and the care of a new tattoo, located near the work chair, also acts as a double reminder. This is a very important step because how good a tattoo looks afterwards depends upon the healing, and it can either make or break you.
Right after finishing, you should clean the whole tattoo area with a green soap spray and a paper towel. Next, spray alcohol directly on that tattoo and place a paper towel right over it. (The towel is now totally absorbed with the alcohol.) Apply pressure on the towel with your hand and hold it on there for a few seconds before you wipe it off. (A word of warning here: This procedure really smarts, so you might want to hold the customer down with your free hand while you are wiping with the alcohol.) As you are wiping, clean an area a little larger than the actual tattoo, which will make a clean space for tape to stick onto later.
The next step is to apply a nice thin even coat of Bacitracin on the cleaned tattoo with a tongue depressor. Do not use Vaseline on a fresh tattoo. Bacitracin ointment should be used. A fresh tattoo will have a fever under it and feel hot to the touch. Cold water several times a day the first two days will take care of this. Explain this to customers and advise them to use Bacitracin after showering.
Some people use Bacitracin (a triple antibiotic ointment) on a fresh tattoo. You should know though, that certain customers may have a bad allergic reaction to the antibiotic in Bacitracin. Since you have no way of knowing who does or who doesn’t, you should be careful with its use. Antibiotics should be avoided as preventatives. If you have a clean shop and use sterile equipment, there is no reason why any tattoo should become infected. When an infection does take place (if ever), it is usually because of the customer’s neglect of instructions to properly care for it. They should not use antibiotics on their own. Instead, they should see a medical doctor who will prescribe one for them.

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Some advices about tattoo colors

According to this chart, white would be the last color to be put in a tattoo. Brown before yellow, etc. When a color is tattooed as mentioned before, thousands of tiny holes are being punctured into the skin and the color goes down these holes to stain the under layers of skin. These holes are all open when working, so one color can actually flow into the holes of another color and stain it differently. Bad mixtures are the result of this. If a dark color is used first, a lighter color can’t really change it but if a lighter color is used first, and then a dark color over it, the dark can change the light color, staining it dark. When a dark to light sequence is followed, this overpowering condition disappears. Before tattooing color, it is good to mentally line up the color sequence that is going to be used beforehand so no mistakes are made and some order is maintained efficiently without stopping and thinking about it.
Tattoo colors can be mixed with each other in a cap and/or blended together in the skin for even more variation of tones. Remember though, not every great artist uses hundreds of different colors, and a piece of work should not be evaluated just on the amount of different colors that it contains. A tattoo with 18 assorted colors can look really spectacular, but so can a tattoo with three or four colors. The trick is proper color placement to get a certain effect rather than random selecting and placement of color just for colors sake.

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Other methods to transfer the tattoo design to the skin with acetate stencils

There is a different way to adhere the transfer to the skin with acetate stencils. Before going into this though, there is one more method of cutting an acetate stencil other than with the stencil cutter. This way is using an electric engraver or electric stencil cutter. This really lightens the pressure on the hands and it saves time. The only drawback is it must be engraved on a thick sheet of plate glass (or light table). If engraved on a board or desk, the grooves seem to flatten out and distort. The thick glass (at least one-half inch thick) keeps the grooves in the acetate sheet sharp and clean, making a good print on the skin.
The method of transfer in using an acetate stencil involves the use of stencil powder and vaseline. There are several kinds of stencil powder available but be advised that “willow charcoal” is not the best, and be sure you get a professional grade of black stencil powder from a reputable dealer. Take the stencil with the groove side up then shake a little powder on it. Rub it in with your finger. Hold it over a basket (this stuff can get messy) and give it a good flick with your fingers. Sometimes a slight wiping with a towel also may clean it up. This step is to ensure all the excess is removed and just enough powder is left to fill the grooves. The stencil is now prepared for transfer. This next step should actually be done first before powdering the stencil because your hands are now all dirty. Wash and scrub them up. Vaseline comes in two varieties. White and carbolated (yellow). The kind to use is the carbolated kind because it is more sticky. After shaving and preparing the skin, smear a thin layer of carbolated vaseline around the area. The most common mistake here is to smear on too much.
It should be just enough to make the skin glisten and any more will smudge the image. Center the stencil and put it on the prepared spot. Keep it pressed in there and work it in with your fingers, rubbing it in on all areas. The next trick is to quickly zing it away from the skin. Don’t pull it off slowly. A fine clean tattoo design should be left. If it doesn’t look too great, just wash it off and try again. This should not be on one of your customers, but on yourself. It should be perfect the first time for the client, and once again, lots of practice on yourself will perfect the technique. Only when you can transfer a design perfect every time are you ready for any kind of professional tattooing.

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Cautions before doing the tattoo sterilization

Never go into a stock bottle while working, but instead pour from it into the sterile one-use container being used: e.g. ink into small plastic cups or paper cups presterilized. Remove vaseline with a sterile tongue blade, etc.
Never touch your face, hair, or eyes while tattooing. If you have to, remove and throw away your gloves; wash your hands again before putting on another pair of gloves. Never smoke, eat, drink, or apply make-up in the tattoo room. Never blow water out of or off a tattoo machine. If the machine is dropped, put it out of service.
After the tattooing process is complete, clean the tattooed area with green soap and dry it. With a tongue blade, apply a heavy coat of Bacitracin ointment or triple antibiotic ointment to the area. Cover with a Telfa pad and either tape them in place using hypoallergenic tape (called Dermalite) or bandage with a conforming gauze called Kerlex. Another fine bandage is called Coban in that it sticks to itself and is elastic. Give the client a tattoo care card so he knows what to do and what not to do.
An example of a care instruction flyer for you to hand to your client would read like this:
1.            Remove the bandage in 2 hours.
2.           Wash the area with Ivory soap and cold water; be sure to wash off all of the small red spots.
3.            Blot dry. Air dry 10 minutes.
4.            Apply a thin layer of Bacitracin or triple antibiotic ointment like you are trying to push it in.
5.           Apply the ointment every 3 to 4 hours- keep it shiny.
6.            No salt water or chlorinated swimming pools until healed.
7.            No direct sunlight for 30 days.
8.            If it scabs, DO NOT PICK IT.
9.            Relieve the itch by slapping or scratch the area around it.
10.          Keep it covered with loose, clean clothing.

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Where not tattoo

Don’t tattoo below the wrist, on the hands or fingers. If you wonder where to stop, don’t go within inch of the first wrinkle you make when you bend your wrist, on the top and bottom of the wrist. Tattooing over the wrist bone is fairly tender. If possible, pull the skin to one side, off the bone. Your needles shouldn’t be set so deep that they go clear to the bone. Your nerves are wrapped around the bone and it can get fairly painful for your customer before you are through.
Don’t tattoo below the ankle bone, or on it if you can get out of it. The ankle is also a lively spot. For some people, it is next to impossible to hold still for a tattoo in this area. A better place is just above and slightly ahead of the ankle bone, on the outside where it’s more meaty. If someone wants it on their ankle, on the inside, the area slightly behind the large bone is a good spot. Again, don’t go near the foot. Stay on the side of the first wrinkle when you bend your foot. The reason you don’t want to tattoo below the wrist or on the hands is because the skin is too loose and stretches easily. It gets put in grease, dirt, garbage, dishwater, pockets and everything else You can think of. As a result, it leaves a tattoo in this area very susceptible to infection, which you don’t want anywhere near your work. You don’t need that kind of headache.
Don’t tattoo on or near the feet because they are near the ground and can get infected more easily. Also, it seems that tattoos which are lower to the ground take longer to heal and give customers more grief during the healing period.
Don’t tattoo above the collarbone, or on the neck or face. Besides being a poor choice of locations, it is very painful there.

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Five needle liners on tattoo machines

Five needle liners, with one exception, are made exactly the same way. Obviously, you will use a five needle jig when tacking them and the five needle head on the needle bar jig and will use the #5 holes for tightening, but the basic process is the same. The exception is the way the five needle group is placed together. The odd needle is in the center of the group. Put them together with your fingers and work them into proper position in the five needle jig before tacking. 14 needle round shaders are done as shaders on shader bars. Use the appropriate jigs. Single needle liner bars are done quite similar as three needle liner bars with a few differences. Only one good needle and two filed bad ones are used. The two bad ones act as a support for the otherwise good but flimsy single needle. When placed in the needle jig, line them up on the shelf just like the regular three needle and tack it. When you remove them, separate the needles slightly in your hand and with a pair of cutters, clip off about 1/4 inch of needle on each end of the bad ones, which leaves the good point sticking out about 1/4 inch from the other two.

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Some privacy for tattooing women

Some women would like to have a little privacy, so it is a good idea to keep a spare tube top handy for them, so they don’t get any ink on their clothes. Many women will ask for a private session for more privacy.

An office chair on wheels can be used to move around easily to get in different positions. It may or may not have arms on it, has an adjustable back rest and the height should be adjustable also. Armrests work good for steadying the hand while tattooing.
A folding chair can be used for the customer to sit in. A front rail between the two front legs makes a good foot brace for the tattoo artist when working on an ama tattoo. Some like to work off their lap and find it handy to brace elbows on their leg while doing a bicep, forearm or ankle.
To do a back piece, have them sit facing the back of the folding chair with one leg through the opening in the back so they don’t have to spread their legs so far apart. This position is easier for the artist as long as the tattoo is on the upper part of the back. A pillow under the Customer’s arms draped over the back of the chair will make it more comfortable. If the piece is too low down on the back to do comfort-ably in a sitting position, lay them down on a weight bench. The weight bench works well for chest pieces, stomachs, legs and backsides. You should move the customer where you can reach them best, and still have the ink, sprays and paper towels within easy reach. Then adjust the light so you can see well.
This Outline is a basic set-up to get you started. It is the duty of every tattooist to familiarize themselves with this, then take over where this chapter has left off, customizing the área to suit their own needs.

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