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Ideas for Throwing a Tattoo Party

Updated on February 7, 2016

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.

It rocked!

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.

2. Invitations

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.

3. Designs

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.

My friend's first tattoo, a tribute to his daughter. Don't go any bigger then this at a tattoo party
My friend's first tattoo, a tribute to his daughter. Don't go any bigger then this at a tattoo party | Source

4. Deposit

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.

5. Schedule

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.

Someone getting their first tattoo at my party
Someone getting their first tattoo at my party | Source

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.

8. Breaks

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.

9. Alcohol

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.

10. Discount?

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.

I made a deal to get the awesomness that was created on my elbow and I got to do it in the comfort of my own home.
I made a deal to get the awesomness that was created on my elbow and I got to do it in the comfort of my own home. | Source

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!

The family tattoo, representing Canadian and British heritage.
The family tattoo, representing Canadian and British heritage. | Source


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    • profile image

      hiswife86 2 years ago

      I really want to have a tattoo party for my 29 bday...I don't have any tattoos but my husband does

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 3 years ago from Canada

      Tattoolady, I really appreciate your comments. What you're describing sounds quite scary and is information worth sharing. I hope people take the time to read your comments and choose only professional tattoo artists attached to a shop with industry standard equipment and sterile practices to tattoo them at a tattoo party.

    • profile image

      Tattoolady 3 years ago

      Hi, I came across this article by accident while trying to find the source of all the infected tattoos in my town. We get a lot of people coming into the shop to have their tattoo-party tattoos fixed. Sometimes we can't touch them because they are still too badly scarred or infected to go near with a needle. We are also ammending our release forms, to include 'have you been tattooed outside of a licensed studio in the past 12 months.' - because the risk of contracting a bloodborne illness is far higher when you are tattooed by a non professional. We are considering refusing to work on people who tick that box, simply because it puts us at more risk from hepatitis, and also at risk from legal action if the person can't determine where they picked up the infection. They will always sue the insured business and not the 'friend of a friend,' who picked up a tattoo kit off eBay. The overwhelming majority of people who are 'mobile tattooists,' only tattoo in people's homes because they can't get a job in a legitimate shop. Please bear that in mind when choosing the person who is marking you permanently, and who is in charge of hygiene and cross-contamination procedures in your home. Be safe x

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 4 years ago from Canada

      Hi MK, thanks for reading and commenting. It is a lot of fun, so much so that I am making it an annual event. Thanks for the vote up!

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 4 years ago

      This sounds like a really fun party ^_^ A lot of great advice and good points to consider. Voting up and awesome!

    • profile image

      Anonnymous 4 years ago

      Thanks soo much I was really stumped!

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 4 years ago from Canada

      What a great idea! I would definitely put in polysporin, unscripted lotion, sunscreen, ibuprofin and some fun temporary tattoos. Have a great b-day!

    • profile image

      Anonymous 4 years ago

      Hi im having a tattoo party for my birthday but wanted to do "goodie-bags" you have any ideas on what to put in them??

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 4 years ago from Canada

      Thanks manthy, they are a great time. Planning a yearly one. You should plan one for newbies only like yourself.

    • manthy profile image

      Mark 4 years ago from Alabama,USA

      I hear ya, a tat party sounds like a lot of fun to me, don't forget to send me an invite, I'm a virgin

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      Tammy, thanks so much for the share, much appreciated.

      Kelley, you're right it is really a lot of fun to be with someone as they get a tattoo. Something about seeing your friends trying to pretend it doesn't hurt...

    • profile image

      kelleyward 5 years ago

      What an interesting idea for a party. I agree that alcohol should not be involved. I saw my college roommate get a tattoo and it was a great experience! Take care, Kelley

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      What a fun idea. I am the only one in my family that is not tattooed. Cool hub!

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Jill, it was great fun and I will definitely check out tattoo guy.

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 5 years ago from Philippines

      I'm not really a tattoo person but I have friends who have beautiful tattoos and I enjoyed reading your hub! Sounds fun!

      There is also a great hubber here, Tattoo guy, who is really into tattoos! Maybe you should check him out.

      Voted up and funny!

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      It was fun, and I am so glad they didn't talk each other into it.

    • deannachase profile image

      deannachase 5 years ago from Bowling Green Ohio

      Sounds fun and congrats on your husband NOT getting an ass tattoo