Tattoo methods from around the world

Tattoos are a way of expressing ourselves. They tell people who we are, what we believe, and how we want to be seen. Many people have walked into a tattoo studio and come out with a permanent design.

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In recent years the popularity of tattoos has exploded. People of all ages are getting inked, and it is now more uncommon to meet someone without one. It is an ancient practice, with many methods used around the world.

Rake and striking stick technique

This technique is one of the most ancient practices in the world. It is rarely practised today, but some areas of Samoa and Papua New Guinea still use it. The skin needs to be well-stretched, then a rake attached to a horizontal handle is hit with a solid stick. This puts the rake, traditionally made of bone and dipped in ink, into the skin.

Metal tube technique

This technique was most popular in ancient Thailand and it is believed that the tattooing methods today were derived from this method. A thin metal rod with a sharp pointed end is slid down a metal tube. This works like a sewing machine, with the tube pressed on for the sharp point to pierce the skin.

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Western technique

The western technique of today is done with a rotary or coil-style tattoo machine. The needles are dipped into the ink, then the gun drives through the needle. Western techniques are recommended, and many amateur tattooists are practising their art. For tattoo supplies in the UK, stockists such as are great for amateur and professional equipment.

Bamboo tattoos

This technique started Japan’s tattoo culture. It is complicated to master, but exciting to watch. Using bamboo wood, artists create a handle and add two dozen sharpened points. Ink is attached to the sharp points, with the handle punted into the skin. This is a painful procedure if the ends are not sharp enough.

Newer methods are less painful; however, the ancient techniques add an element of romance and a ‘no pain, no gain’ feeling. Many people visit countries around the world and choose to get a tattoo with one of the techniques to remind them of their trip, which is a great way to celebrate the culture of other countries and be left with a permanent memory.