These are instructions for preparing a tattoo ink. The tutorial should only be used by persons who have received training in aseptic techniques. Otherwise, use this information to help ask informed questions of a tattoo professional. Does your tattooist know exactly what is in his ink?
Time Required: 1-1/2 hours or so
- Use clean, sterile materials (see note below), put on a paper mask and gloves.
- Mix until clear: about 7/8 quart vodka, 1 tablespoon glycerine, and 1 tablespoon propylene glycol.
- In blender or jar that fits on blender, add an inch or two of powdered pigment and stir in enough liquid from step 2 to create a slurry.
- Blend on a low speed for about 15 minutes, then on a medium speed for an hour. If you are using a jar on the blender, release pressure buildup every fifteen minutes or so.
- Use a baster to siphon ink or pour it through a funnel into ink bottles. You may add a sterile marble or glass bead to each bottle to aid in mixing.
- Store the ink away from sunlight or fluorescent lighting, since ultraviolet radiation will alter some pigments.
- Keeping track of the amounts of liquid and powdered pigment will help you make consistent batches and improve your technique.
- You can use smaller amounts of glycerine and propylene glycol, but probably not larger amounts. Too much glycerine will make the ink oily and too much glycol will form a hard shell on top of the ink.
- If you are not conversant with aseptic techniques, don't make your own ink!
- Obtain dry pigment from a tattoo supply house. It is much more difficult to order pure pigment directly from a chemical supplier. One natural pigment is carbon black, obtained from completely burning wood.
- You may substitute Listerine or witch hazel for the vodka. Some people use distilled water. I don't recommend rubbing alcohol or methanol. Water is not antibacterial.
- While your supplies should be clean and sterile, do not heat-sterilize pigments or their mixtures. The pigment chemistry will change and may become toxic.
- Although pigments normally are not toxic, you need a mask because breathing pigment particles can cause permanent lung damage.
- You can use mason jars directly on the blender as long as you unscrew them periodically during mixing to prevent overpressure breakage from heating.
What You Need
- Dry Pigment
- Glycerine, medical grade
- Propylene Glycol
- Safety Equipment
- Sterile Ink Bottles