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Needle and Cartridge Basics

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When you’re just getting started, selecting the appropriate tattoo needle might be difficult. There are many variants and nonsense box labels to consider. As a tattoo artist, you must be able to interpret the box in order to choose the appropriate needle for the job. The skin may react differently to various tattoo needle configurations, which are intended for working on different sorts of tattoos. seo-services

You can’t just grab a tattoo needle at random and expect your artistic judgment to take you through. The type of needles you use is important. Using the proper needles for the tattoo you are performing will allow you to tattoo faster and more successfully while also reducing skin trauma. Basically, because you’ll be using appropriate equipment for the task, you’ll be able to produce better tattoos with less effort.

This blog will teach you all there is to know about tattoo needles, including which ones to use, when to utilize them, why each is crucial, and how you may put your newly-acquired information into action in your next tattoo. Different kinds of tattoo needles exist, each with its own unique shape and size. It’s critical to be able to recognize the various differences between needles in order to select the one that is appropriate for the tattoo you’re about to create. There are generally four sets of characters on the box that act as a guide when selecting which tattoo needle is appropriate for your design. (See the illustration above.)

The four things to consider while selecting tattoo needles. Each component has an influence on how ink is absorbed by the skin. They will be positioned in the following order on the box:


The diameter of the tattoo needle, sometimes called gauge, is the distance from one end of the needle to the other (the base where the needle begins to sharpen to a point).

Needle Count

The number of individual sharps in a needle determines its count. The bigger the tattoo needle, the more sharps there are.


The configuration of a needle describes the way the individual needles (sharps) are arranged on the needle bar. This will tell you what kind of needle it is, for example, whether it’s a liner, Magnum, or round shader.


The taper in tattooing is the length of the sharp end of the tattoo needle. It also determines how accurate and fast a tattoo gun can ink pigment into the skin. What Size Diameter Should You Use?

What is diameter?

The diameter of each individual tattoo needle connected to the bar in the pattern is called gauge.

Why is diameter important?

The diameter of a needle affects how much ink it takes up and distributes into the skin. Changing the diameter of your needles can make it less painful to inject ink into the skin, and also help you do it more smoothly.

  • Thinner needles A #3 needle (with a thicker diameter like a #08 needle) allows you to create more layers by spreading less ink over the skin with each pass. This results in smoother mixes. However, because they distribute less ink, they will slow you down.
  • Larger needles The larger diameter of a #12 needle will help you distribute more ink into the skin, which will help you apply the ink faster. However, because each needle in the design is bigger, it will inflict greater trauma to the skin with each pass.

Most common tattoo needle diameters

  • #12 – 0.35mm: Standard needles, often called ” Standard” needles, allow a tattoo artist to use a lot of ink.
  • #10 – 0.30mm: #10 needles, also known as “Double Zeroes,” are smaller than their #12 counterparts and cause less pain to the skin while still allowing for more ink than a #8 needle.
  • #08 – 0.25mm: The skin effect produced by tightly packed tattoo needles is a lot finer. They’re also known as “Bugpins.” 

How do I decide which tattoo needle to use?

After you’ve chosen a design, the next step is to figure out what you want to do with the diameter of your needle. If you’re planning on packing in a single color, choose a #12. Choose a bugpin if you want tiny details or want to create ultra-smooth blends by layering many layers (for example, in a black and grey portrait).

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