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How to Buy Tattoo Needles? [2010-12-27]

Once you’ve found the prefect tattoo machine or machines to use, the next step is purchasing the needles that will work best for your tattooing needs. With the exception of single needles, tattoo needles are actually a grouping of smaller needles put together to make one large needle. You can purchase your needles at a variety of tattoo supply companies, but first you need to know what type of needles you need and what kind of quality to look ofr and expect.

Step 1

Stock a variety of needles. Some you’ll use for outlining and some for shading. Within both of these groups, you’ll need smaller needles for thin outlines, tiny details and smaller tattoo designs and larger needles for thicker, bolder outlines and large fill work.

Step 2

Choose a good mix of liner needles. Liners are grouped in a circular pattern which gives them their nickname, rounds. Used mostly for outlining tattoos, liners come in as small as a single needles and can generally reach up to an 18 round. Single needles are rarely used by most tattoo artists, except occassionally for very fine line work. The most common groupings for liner needles include 3, 4, 5 and 7, but you can also find needles grouped in 8, 9, 11, 13, 14,15 and 18, and some suppliers even offer a 19 and 20.

Step 3

Add a good mic of shader needles. Shaders are commonly grouped in 4, 6, 7 and 9, but the combinations are really endless. They are generally grouped in two rows to form a flat shape and are commonly referred to as flats. These needles are not only used for shading or blending the inside of a tattoo once the outline complete, but are also used for filling in the large amounts of color. Some tattoo artists will use a round liner or the bigger magnum or mag iners for very large fills. The largest shaders you can buy are 45 flats or a 100 round, but these are very rarely used.

Step 4

Compare quality versus price. You may find that the lesser priced needles tend to be burred or barbed, which can cause scarring and more pain during the tattoo process. It’s a must that you are able to recognize a flawed needle prior to using it and this talent will help you determine which companies sell the best product.

Step 5

Look for discounts. Many larger tattoo supply companies offer discounts for bulk orders. Pre-sterilized, blister packed needles can be kept for extended periods of time and if you have several artists working in your shop, you should go through enough needles to allow you to order larger quantities at one time and save a few bucks in the process. Always abide by any expiration dates that are included on the packageing.

Step 6

Facor in shipping cost and time. Another good point in favor of ordering larger quantities at one time is saving on shipping, especially with companies who charge flat rates based on size of order and delivery address. If you need your tattoo needles immediately, you may have to consider paying extra for expedited shipping.

Tips & Warnings

Once you find needles that are of good quality a majority of the time and the price is reasonable, stick with the company where you found them.

Always check every needle for burs or barbs or too much gap between each individual needle or you could scar up your nect client.

You can also make your own tattoo needles, but only experienced tattooists should attenpt this process.

If you buy a tattooing kit, most of them come with a variety of different sized needles to get you started, but you will have to supplement this supply almost immediately to ensure you’ve got at least a few of every needle you might need.

Never reuse a tattoo needle, expecially from person to person. This is one major way diseases like Hepatitis, HIV and AIDS spread.