Tattoo supplies are a whole world unto themselves. Leaving permanent markings on the skin requires a wide variety of equipment. There is little room for error in this business and simple mistakes that are the result of the wrong tattoo supplies can have a lasting impact.
Figuring out what you need and stocking your shop with it can mean the difference in clients being satisfied and being frustrated, a distinction that affects the success of your shop. Here are seven must-have tattoo supplies for new owners.
No, this isn’t a rock band from the 80’s. An autoclave is an essential piece of equipment for any tattoo shop, in fact it’s the MOST essential supply for any good tattoo shop – even more than your actual machine or your ink.
This is what keeps people’s arms from falling off or their skin from developing disgusting and painful infections. An autoclave is a device that sterilizes equipment, killing germs and halting the potential spread of diseases. These are basically high powered pressure cookers that use heat to kill microorganisms. It almost resembles a microwave or a crock pot. This is one of the tattoo supplies that you’ll just have to bite the bullet and pay for, as they are a significant investment, but they are the best way to ensure that your equipment is properly sterilized, much more so than any other method out there. In order to keep your clients healthy they are an essential tattoo supply for any shop,
2. Sharps Container
Needles are dangerous and not cool to have just lying around the shop. Once a tattoo needle has been used on a client and the job is done, the needle can’t just go into the regular trash can – that’s far too dangerous. A quality sharps box will keep those used needles from passing any unwanted things around, not to mention preventing injuries from needle pokes.
This is a must have tattoo supply for any shop, one that you really can’t function without.
3. Adjustable tattoo chair/bed
The whole tattoo experience can be challenging for the people walking into the studio. In order to accommodate clients and to help them feel as much at ease as possible, it’s critical that new owners invest in a quality tattoo chair or tattoo bed (those two terms are basically interchangeable).
These pieces of tattoo studio furniture are highly adjustable and padded in all the right places so that clients can be at ease no matter the duration or placement of their tattoo. This piece of tattoo equipment will allow the artist to have the best angles to complete their masterpieces, and also will allow those who are getting work done to feel as much at ease as possible.
4. Medical & cleanroom supplies
Keep in mind that you’re basically doing a mini surgery when you’re giving someone a tattoo. Cleanliness is no joke – no three second rule here if you drop something on the floor.
Tattoo shops must always have cleaning and medical tattoo supplies on hand. These include, but are not limited to masks, gloves, disposable lap pads and disinfectants. There are no shortcuts or opinions when it comes to this part of the process – there is a right way to do it and there are necessary tattoo supplies that you must have available. You’re dealing with bodily fluids when you deal with tattooing and everyone must stay safe from both disease and infection, otherwise the whole thing is just not any fun. Safety first! Your state's laws and local health department can assist in guiding you through cleanroom requirements. Various state and federal laws also dictate also dictate sterilization and supply requirements.
An artist can’t see what he or she is doing without great light. An important but often forgotten tattoo supply is quality, professional lighting. Investing in good lamps and bulbs will mean that the ink looks much better and wherever it goes. Bad lighting can lead to so many, many issues. Just say no to it.
6. Tattoo machine
The first rule of the tattoo industry is don’t call the tattoo machine a tattoo gun. This is of course the tattoo supply that is really at the heart or your business.
There are SO many elements that make up a tattoo machine and familiarizing yourself with these can really help you in choosing the right machine to fit your needs. Machines can be rotary, coil or pneumatic and although they all serve the same function, each style has its benefits and can impact your tattooing in a different way. We recommend researching the different types of machines with your specific style in mind and remember to never compromise on quality!
Choosing a tattoo machine is of course a big deal for a studio, as it’s the tool that allows the amazing human artwork to unfold out of the hands of a tattoo artist. Take some time with this decision and look at different machines in action if you can before you choose one.
7. Tattoo Ink
The other tattoo supply that is at the core of the experience is the ink. Think about it – this is the only part of the whole process that your clients will actually go home with. Choosing ink is like choosing as choosing your tattoo machine. it’s very much a matter of personal preference.
There are such a wide variety of inks out there, with an incredible array of colors and styles available. Inks have different characteristics like being organic or vegan-friendly, the chemicals and pigments used can also differ from one brand to another and can be an important determining factor in your selection. The ink is very much an expression of the artist, very much an expression of the way that he or she wants to interact with the canvas that is the human body. Tattoo artists often mix inks for custom colors, rather than trying to impossibly stock a rainbow of every color imaginable.
You want your new tattoo business to start off on the right foot. In order to do that, you need to have the right tattoo supplies. It’s important to ensure that you have everything you need to be prepared as you start on your journey. With the right talent and quality tools, you will be on your way to success!