During a tattoo you will be using a few other supplies. Green soap is the most common chemical of tattooing. If you hear someone talk about the smell of a tattoo, that's it. You can order green soap from any tattoo supply company but I have never found it in a medical supply store. Green soap is an anti-bacterial soap that comes in a gallon jug and is very concentrated. Go down to your local "buy everything store", in the back of the health and beauty section you will find hand sized plastic spray bottles. You need five or six of these. Your green soap, bleach and water mix, rubbing alcohol, witch hazel, glycerin, and water should all be in these bottles. Make sure to label them properly with a magic marker. When you fill the green soap you want a mix of 25% green soap, and 75% percent water. Make sure to shake it well so it's properly mixed. All of the other chemicals need to be full concentration. Another thing that will be used a lot is the sheets of carbon copy paper you will use to make your stencils. They make a machine called a thermo fax that lets you scan in the images then it prints you line work stencil for you. I think these are a huge waste of time and money. If you just order the sheets and copy the pattern by hand then you have already drawn the image once before you ever tattoo it. And never use speed stick or any other for of deodorant to transfer your pattern unless you use one stick per client. There are a few companies that make a spray on tattoo stencil chemical and they are not that expensive. In the long run its worth what little you may spend to get it. If you have to use speed stick then go to the travel section of your local store and buy the little sizes that are fifty cents each. This way you can use one per client and then throw it away.
Another thing you will need is rubber bands for the machine. You want them to be about and inch long when they are lying on the table, not too big or too small. Disposable razors are another item that you need, as well as small plastic drinking cups. The kind that is only about two or three inches tall, I think they are 3 ounces. Make sure to get the plastic not paper, after time the paper will leak. Plastic baggies are to fit over the spray bottles and your machine. You need the non-locking kind. Small paper plates and petroleum jelly are for the pigment. Set up will be the only time you will have to use petroleum jelly while tattooing. Wax paper will be what you set everything on. The last thing I want you to remember is that rubbing alcohol has no place during a tattoo. Rubbing alcohol is used to clean surfaces not skin, it will dry out the tattoo causing it to heal two and three times slower.
After you figure out what image you're going to be tattooing, the first step is stenciling your pattern. You need your image in the center of a full piece of paper. If you use just a small piece then you will have carbon transfer all over you and it will stay for about a week. Your studio needs either a copy machine or a scanner and printer for your computer. You can get a nice office copier/scanner at any office supply store for about a hundred bucks. Copy the image or scan it to the computer and print it centered. If it is a darker image then lighten the copy using the copy machine controls or if you scanned it in your paint program make, it black and white before you print it. You can't stencil the pattern if you can't see the lines. Now, whatever size you print out is the size the tattoo will be. You may have to enlarge or shrink the pattern to get it right and sometimes this means you'll be printing it a few times. After you find the size you want throw the rest away, you don't want to get them mixed up. If it's a complicated pattern you may want to keep one copy to look at while you are tattooing.
The transfer paper is made of a purple carbon copy surgical grade chemical. When you tattoo this will be pushed under the skin, but don't worry. If you see a little purple once the tattoo is done it will fade away in a day or so. It is made so the body destroys it. One sheet of transfer paper has a few extra pages attached to it that are not purple. You can leave these or tear them off. The extra pages are for a thermal fax machine. The only page of the transfer sheet you need to worry about is the purple one. On one side the page is dull and the other is shinny. Take your pattern and lay it down on top of the transfer sheet. The transfer sheet is laying dull side up, and then you lay your pattern face up on top of the sheet. Always use a pencil for this. If your pattern is printed or copied with black ink then you will always be able to see what you have already traced because a pencil line on black ink looks shinny.
Now you're ready to make your pattern. All you do is trace the outline of the picture. Just go over what is already printed on the page. Be careful because anywhere you write will be part of the pattern. What this does is the pressure from the pencil makes the purple on the sheet stick to the back of the regular paper. Only trace what is going to be black outline. If something is solid black like a tribal then just outline it. You know it's going to be black so why waste the time to fill it in. If it's a more complex pattern that has a few large black areas then you can draw an "x" inside that area to be a reminder of that section being black. Keep it simple, the outline of the tattoo is one of the most important parts, so don't confuse the pattern by tracing alot of things you don't need to. Once you've traced what you think is everything you want to look at the back of the paper to see how you did. You can spend all day flipping the paper looking for what you missed or you can just hold the paper with the pattern up toward the ceiling lights looking at the purple lines. This way you can see through the paper and any lines that you missed will stick out like a sore thumb. Once you've looked over your pattern look it over again. Check every line twice, if it's not on the pattern it will not be on the skin. Now you want to cut out the pattern using scissors. Hold the page so your looking at the purple lines then cut out the pattern as close as you can leaving about a half of an inch border of paper around the entire pattern.
This gives you room to handle it and room to make sure you don't cut away any of the lines. Now you have a pattern. Remember not to touch the purple; it goes on the skin so it has to be sterile. When you put the pattern on your workstation, during set up, make sure to lay it down purple side up so it doesn't get dirty. Also make sure that you don't lay it in water that may be on the table. If it gets wet then it's ruined and you have to start all over, but the bright side is that you now have a solid purple piece of paper in the shape of your pattern. Always practice before you do anything to a person. Practice making patterns and applying them to your self. We will get more into pattern application in the skin prep section of tattooing.
Over the years there have been many different types of transfer solution. I discovered the formula for in my opinion the best for of stencil solution I have ever used to find out that a few others have come to the same conclusion. So I guess it's no secret anymore. I call it Eew-goo. It's made by taking original speed stick deodorant and putting it in a glass container such as a cup. Then place it in a clean microwave to melt it. This should only take about 30 seconds, and be careful. This stuff will be the temperature of the sun. Then pour the melted sped stick into a small pump spray container filling up 1/3 of the container. Next pour in concentrated green soap filling another 1/3 of the container, and then rubbing alcohol in the rest. Apply the top and shake well. The speed stick will hold the stencil on the skin, the green soap makes it anti bacterial and the rubbing alcohol keeps it from turning back to a solid. If your mixture turns back to a solid, or to a thick sludge then you need more alcohol. This stuff is crazy. It keeps the pattern on more than any other chemical, you can wipe as much as you like and even use water to clean the design off during the tattoo before the outline is completed. It also is fast drying. Once a pattern is applied to the skin, if its not straight, you'll have to spray it back down to remove the stencil. Alcohol, green soap, water, nothing but the chemical it's self will remove it once on the skin. If the stencil is still on the skin after the tattoo is done, then you are using a little too much speed stick and it's holding a little too well. I have placed a pattern on my skin to see how long it would stay, without tattooing, just using it as a temporary tattoo, it has stayed for more than seven days clear enough for me to tattoo the pattern. Make sure to use a spray bottle so there in less chance for cross contamination.
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