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How To Do Single Needle Tattoos?

by Vicol Marius 30 May 2024

Mastering the art of doing a single needle tattoo is no easy feat. Check out these tips for nailing single needle tattoos every time.

WHAT ARE SINGLE NEEDLE TATTOOS?

The single needle tattoo is exactly what it sounds like: a tattoo done with a single needle (1RL). Single needle tattooing allows for the finest lines possible, the softest shading, and the subtlest detailing. You can use single needle tattooing for fine line tattoos, micro realism, or your own unique style. But when it comes to the single needle tattoo, every stroke counts and there’s NO room for error.

TIP 1: OPTIMIZE YOUR INK FLOW

Your ink flow is a key factor for any tattoo, but most especially when it comes to single needle tattoos. When you’re working with just one needle, ensuring a steady ink flow is paramount. That’s because a single needle restricts your ink flow. On the other hand, if you’re working with a small needle grouping, your ink flow is much more free-flowing, since more ink travels through the needle groupings. Consequently, you’ll want to do a few things to ensure your ink flow is on point while using a restrictive single needle:

  1. Invest in quality cartridges and ink that complement your style. Needle cartridges like INKin Revo, EZ , and Kwadron are all known for improving your ink flow.
  2. For longer sessions, keep an eye on your ink supply to prevent drying out. Throughout the session, your ink mixes with your client's blood and plasma, which alters the consistency. As your ink thickens, it can flow less freely. So keep refreshing that ink cap!
  3. Make sure you are using quality tattoo ink with the right consistency. Thicker tattoo inks that flow more slowly aren't your friend when it comes to single-needle tattooing.

TIP 2: LOWER YOUR VOLTAGE

With single needle tattooing, you’re more prone to wobbling and instability. Single needles wobble more than larger groupings after all. This is why we highly recommend using high-quality needle cartridges. However, you’ll also want to lower the voltage on your machine so you can work as slowly and delicately as possible. Fast and hard is not the way to go when performing a single needle tattoo.

It’ll likely require some experimentation to find the right machine and operating voltage combo for your single needle work. Like INKin CL2, CL2 MAX, EZ P3 PRO.....

TIP 3: USE THE RIGHT STROKE

You might be frustrated by this tip because it’s a little vague. But as with any tattoo style, the right stroke for your single needle tattoos is dependent on your own preference and personal successes. So, again, try different stroke lengths on practice skins to see which yields the best results for you.

If you opt for a shorter stroke length, you’ll have faster-flowing ink, which many artists find to be more helpful when working with a restrictive single needle. However, there are pros to a longer stroke length as well. Longer stroke length restricts the flow, but gives you even finer lines and detailing. 

TIP 4: PRACTICE HAND & DEPTH CONTROL

Hand control is never more important than when you’re doing single needle tattoos (unless you’re whip shading at a high speed… but that’s an entirely different beast). When tattooing with a single needle, there’s very little skin tension (or natural give) to prevent blowouts or damage. So you’ll really have to practice the amount of pressure you’re putting on the needle. You’ll also likely have to stretch the skin a lot to help put in more ink, particularly if you’re using a longer stroke and crafting super-delicate details. Stretching will also help you determine whether or not you’re using the right needle depth.

TRY THE SINGLE TATTOO nEEDLES FOR YOURSELF

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