Ideas for Throwing a Tattoo Party
I love tattoos— for myself and on other people. I try to get at least one a year as part of my “roadmap of life” plan. This year, instead of my usual trek down to ye ol’ tattoo parlor, I decided to hold a tattoo party and invited friends and family to join in on the inky celebration.
Seriously, if you are an ink enthusiast with a tattoo artist on site at your home, that is pretty darn close to nirvana. That being said, it was a lot more work and time than I thought it would be. So with that in mind, I thought I might share what I’ve learned for anyone thinking of having a tattoo party of their own.
1. Find a Tattoo Artist
This is obvious, but not easy. I realize that not everyone is lucky enough to have their favorite tattoo artist live down the road from them. You will need to find someone who is willing to pack up their gear and set up shop in your home. The lure of a long line of paying clients may be enough, especially if they are new to the area and looking to build a client base.
As always, thoroughly check out your artist. Get references and actually call them and go see the work they have had done. Also, if the artist doesn’t have an autoclave, don’t go near them.
Now, start making your guest list. Invite tons of people.
I posted it on Facebook, because at least half of them will back out. So many people love the idea of getting a tattoo, but when push comes to shove, unless they are already inked, the idea of paying someone to put a needle into them seems crazy on second thought.
Make sure people know exactly what they want beforehand, and encourage them to keep it small. This is not the time to finish off that back piece or get the entire cast of Star Trek tattooed on your butt. Something no bigger than a tennis ball works. Then, if possible, get the designs to the artist beforehand so he or she can stencil them up and be good to go before people arrive.
Your artist may require a deposit before committing to a party. Time out of the shop means lost income, so a deposit ensures them that you are serious and acts as a safety net if you have a lot of no-shows.
Whether you decided to gather deposits from the guests or front the money yourself is up to you.
I know party and schedule don’t belong in the same sentence, but they have to when you have tons of people at your house wanting to get a tattoo.
Don’t have everyone arrive at once and, if possible, give people an idea of when they will go under the needle. Make sure you don’t guarantee an exact time. Tattooing is an art and doesn’t always follow a clock.
6. Set Up Your Home Tattoo Parlor
Be sure you can dedicate an entire room with a door and lots of light and power outlets for tattooing.
Some people will want privacy, while others will be happy with an audience so be sure to have a few extra chairs. We had a TV and music available in our make shift tattoo parlor which seemed to be appreciated as well.
7. Be Prepared
It may be a good idea to have some pain reliever, ice, and ointment on hand. Some juice and a barf bag or two might not be a bad idea either. We had at least one person turn a bit green and threaten to pass out during the first few minutes of their tattoo. It doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
The art of tattooing is very physically demanding. Be prepared to give your artist as many breaks as they need and have food and drinks on hand to keep their energy level up. You want them doing their best work and keeping a decent pace.
It’s a party, so people might imbibe. However, under no circumstances should someone who is drunk get a tattoo. Under no circumstances should you be tattooed by someone who has any alcohol in their system. This was not an issue for my gathering. If you feel like it might be for yours, consider making it an alcohol-free party.
Some artists are open to cutting you a deal for bringing so much work their way. Make this deal beforehand and be blunt so that there are no surprises.
11. Have Fun!
It can be a great bonding experience being with someone as they get tattooed. We had a family come in to all get the same tattoo, how's that for memorable? It can also also leave you with some very funny stories, (my husband and his friend almost talked each other into getting matching ass camel tattoos. Thankfully, they didn't.)
So, find a great artist, plan your party well, and invite some good friends to share the inky fun times with. Have fun!