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Essential tools and supplies to start your tattoo empire


Creating a successful tattoo empire is a dream for many aspiring tattoo artists. It's a journey that combines artistry, precision, and entrepreneurship. However, to transform your passion into a thriving business, you'll need the right tools and supplies as your foundation.

In this article, we'll explore the essential tattooing supplies and tools you need to start your tattoo empire and set you on the path to becoming a sought-after tattoo artist.

1. Tattoo needles


MTS Tattoo Needles


Tattoo needles are the fundamental tools of a tattoo artist's trade, akin to a painter's brush. These needles come in various types, each serving a unique purpose in the tattooing process.

Round needles are perfect for creating precise lines and intricate details in your designs. Flat needles excel at shading and filling, ensuring smooth gradients of colour. Shader needles provide a consistent shading effect, while magnum needles are ideal for covering larger areas and packing in colours.

Cartridge needles offer versatility and can be used with various machines, making them a favourite among artists. It's essential to have a diverse selection of needle sizes on hand to accommodate different tattoo styles and designs, as your choice of needle can significantly influence the outcome of your work.

2. Grips, tubes, and tips

Grips, tubes, and tips play a vital role in the tattooing process, contributing to both precision and comfort during the procedure. Grips are ergonomic handles designed to make sure a comfortable grip and to have a steady hand while tattooing.

Depending on your wants, you can opt for disposable grips, which offer convenience and hygiene, or invest in reusable metal grips for durability. Tubes guide the movement of the tattoo needle and ensure a consistent flow of ink.

Choosing tubes that are easy to clean is essential for maintaining a hygienic workspace. Tips, available in various sizes, help guide the needle's precision.

3. Tattoo reference and sketchbooks

Tattoo references and sketchbooks are invaluable sources of inspiration and reference for every tattoo artist. These books provide a wealth of resources to support your creative process. Within their pages, you can explore various tattoo styles, themes, and techniques, igniting your artistic imagination.

Additionally, reference and sketchbooks offer a dedicated space for you to practice and refine your designs, helping you perfect your craft and experiment with new ideas. These books also serve as valuable tools during client consultations, allowing you to visually communicate and share design concepts with your clients.

A well-curated collection of references and sketchbooks becomes your artistic library, filled with a treasure trove of ideas and possibilities to enrich your work.

4. Tattoo ink and ink cups


tattoo inks


Tattoo ink is the colour palette of your artistry, and its quality plays a pivotal role in creating vibrant and long-lasting tattoos. Investing in professional-grade tattoo inks ensures that your work stands the test of time, maintaining its brilliance and integrity over the years.

A wide spectrum of colours is essential to meet the diverse preferences of your clients. Different inks exhibit varying consistencies and pigmentations, so it's essential to experiment and find the brands that align with your unique style and artistic vision.

In addition to tattoo ink, ink cups are essential to your tattooing toolkit. These small containers hold the ink while you work, providing convenience and efficiency. Stocking up on ink cups in various sizes ensures that you can accommodate different tattoo sizes and colour requirements, allowing you to create stunning, customised tattoos that exceed your client's expectations.

5. Tattoo machine

The tattoo machine is the artist's most vital instrument, serving as the conduit between your creative vision and the client's skin. Tattoo machines come in various types, but they all share the same primary function: delivering the tattoo needle's precise movements. Two primary types of tattoo machines are commonly used:

  • Coil tattoo machines: These are common and known for their buzzing sound. They offer great control and are available in shaders, liners, and colour packers.
  • Rotary tattoo machines: These are quieter, lightweight, and versatile. They are less strenuous on the hand and suitable for shading and lining.

The right tattoo machine depends on your personal preference and the specific techniques you wish to employ.

6. Power supply

A dependable power supply is the electrical heartbeat of your tattoo machine. It provides the necessary electrical current to operate the machine and move the tattoo needle. When selecting a power supply, consider the voltage control, display options, and stability.

A digital power supply, like the Critical, offers precise control with a digital display that shows voltage levels and other essential information. This level of precision ensures you can achieve consistent and accurate results in your tattoo work.

While some artists opt for analogue power supplies without digital displays, having access to voltage data can be beneficial for fine-tuning your machine's performance and adapting to the unique requirements of each tattoo. A reliable power tattoo supply is essential for maintaining a steady and controlled tattooing process, ensuring both the artist's confidence and the client's comfort.

7. Transfer paper

Transfer paper is a critical tool that aids in translating your creative designs onto your client's skin. This essential item creates a precise outline, serving as the blueprint for your tattoo work. There are several methods to transfer a design, but transfer paper is a tried-and-true method widely embraced by tattoo artists.

Sterilization equipment and medical supplies


tattoo supplies


  • Medical masks: Disposable masks to protect against airborne contaminants.
  • Nitrile gloves: Durable, powder-free gloves to protect the hands during tattooing.
  • Bandages: Sterile bandages for post-tattoo wound care and protection.
  • Gauze: Sterile gauze pads for blotting excess ink and blood during tattooing.
  • Workstation disinfectants: Disinfectants designed for cleaning tattoo workstations and surfaces.
  • Sterilising products: Autoclaves and sterilization equipment for sterilising reusable tattoo equipment.
  • Needle cleaner: Cleaning solutions to maintain the cleanliness of tattoo needles.
  • Surface steriliser: Disinfectants for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in the tattoo studio.
  • Cover sheets: Disposable cover sheets to protect equipment and furniture from ink splatters.
  • Machine covers: Protective covers for tattoo machines to prevent contamination.
  • Vaseline: Petroleum jelly is used as a protective barrier and lubricant during tattooing.
  • Waste disposal container: A designated container for disposing of biohazardous waste.
  • Cleaning set for tubes and tips: Cleaning tools and solutions for reusable tattoo tubes and tips.
  • Sterile ointment: Ointments for post-tattoo care and healing.
  • Numbing creams: Topical numbing creams for client comfort, especially for sensitive skin.


The essential tattoo tools and supplies discussed here are the foundation upon which a tattoo artist can build their empire of artistry and professionalism. These tools serve not only as instruments of creativity but also as guardians of safety and hygiene.

Whether you're just starting your journey as a tattoo artist or seeking to expand your empire, investing in the right tattoo supplies and tools ensures the satisfaction of your clients, the longevity of your artwork, and the reputation of your tattoo studio.

Remember, in the world of tattooing, mastering these essential elements is what sets apart the ordinary from the extraordinary, helping you create lasting impressions, one tattoo at a time.


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  • Mark Joshua Luz