Body Piercing Supplies

Okay, we’ll admit it: We focus a lot on tattoos at Element Tattoo Supply. Hey, what can we say? It’s in our name! However, piercings are a significant part of almost any tattoo shop around the world. In case you didn’t know, we actually carry a lot of high-quality piercing supplies in our online store! To familiarize you with our growing supply of piercing tools, we’ve created this roundup of piercing equipment essentials to stock up on in your next supply haul.

  1. Piercing Needles

Quality body piercing needles should be at the forefront of importance for professional piercers since they’ll enable a better piercing experience for your customers. Find bulk piercing needles in a variety of sizes, including a 14 Gauge Sterilized Piercing Needle 100-Pack and a 16 Gauge Sterilized Piercing Needle 100-Pack. These straight piercing needles are individually packaged and arrive pre-sterilized to maintain high hygienic standards. The best part? These needles are currently on sale! Shop either (or both) for only $5.99. Please note these needles are intended for professional licensed use only.

  1. Forceps & Pliers

They say the tools make the master, and we have a variety of forceps and pliers to make piercing a smoother experience for you and your client. These stainless steel piercing tools are sturdy and stay in place. In addition to being easy to sterilize, these tools assist in holding jewelry in place, clamping rings closed or prying loops open. While normally sold at retail price, our small ring closing pliers, Pennington forceps and opening pliers are currently on sale for $2.

  1. Aftercare

Piercing professionals understand the importance of proper aftercare whenever a body piercing has been performed. In order to allow the skin to heal properly, daily cleansing is very important to prevent infection and secretion build-up. Those with a new piercing might think rubbing alcohol or strong soaps might be the best way to clean their new piercings, but these might actually end up damaging the skin during its healing process. Customers might also be tempted to rub on thick ointments; however, proper air circulation is critical to healing skin, and an ointment will prevent air from reaching it. Additionally, many at-home piercing cleaning solutions contain harsh ingredients that aren’t safe for long-term use, and healing can take some time depending on the location of the piercing.

This is why specially designed piercing aftercare should be the first line of defense when protecting a new piercing. The System One Piercing Aftercare is a convenient spray that is specially formulated to clean piercings to ensure proper healing. Because of the unique ingredients, this spray won’t corrode or damage jewelry, as so many harsh products tend to do. Because of the moist environment around a lip or tongue piercing, healing can take a lot longer. However, keeping it as clean as possible is paramount. The H2Ocean Arctic Ocean Mouth Wash is actually alcohol and fluoride free and contains sea salt, which includes natural enzymes found in saliva. This makes it a more pleasant and less irritating mouthwash. These two products are not only useful to have in a shop, but they add great value to your piercing customers as well.

  1. Sterilizers

Maintaining your piercing utensils sterilized is vital. Make the cleaning easier and more effective with a powerful high-performing cleaning system such as the Crest Ultrasonic Cleaner. Utilizing ultrasonic technology, this benchtop cleaner provides optimal cleaning power and reliability. Opt for different sizes that work best for the size of your piercing studio, including a half gallon, a three-quarters gallon and a gallon. All of these cleaners ship free.

At Element Tattoo Supply, we aim to make shopping for tattoo and piercing essentials a breeze. We never compromise on quality, and yet our piercing supplies are available for purchase at an incredible value. Enjoy free shipping on most orders and be sure to follow us on social media for future sales and discounts.

Tattoo Artist Holiday Gift Guide

Those of us in the tattoo industry pride ourselves in being different. We go against the grain and consistently work on pushing ourselves to become stronger, more diversified tattooers. Our commitment to our own craft sets up apart from traditional society. Contrary to what some may think, tattooing isn’t always glamorous and for many tattoo artists, we don’t exactly rake in significant cash everyday despite our professional experience. This is why, for those of us that celebrate, we appreciate receiving tattoo-related gifts during the holidays! While our personalities obviously aren’t all the same – we do share an affinity for high-quality tattoo products. Navigating the tattoo world might make it difficult for loved ones that want to purchase a thoughtful yet useful present during the holidays. This is why we’ve created this handy tattoo artist gift guide for any celebration from Christmas to Hanukkah to Kwanzaa to birthdays.

  1. Eternal Colorful Tattoo Ink Set

The Eternal Ink Set helps create vibrant, powerful tattoos and this 25-color set is an incredible value! From every day black ink to neon colors like nuclear green and bright orange, this tattoo ink set really allows a tattoo artist to explore new color combinations. Eternal is also lauded as an incredible ink company used by professional tattooers around the world making any of their products great gifts for tattoo artists.

  1. Boog Flow Complete Script & Lining Tattoo Ink Set

If the gift recipient in mind enjoys tattooing intricate lettering – this set has everything they need to complete their work. With five different tattooing inks that include light, medium, dark, high white and a black lining bottle, this ink set is ideal for those that specialize in script or lining tattoos. They’re also able to try this specialized ink created by Boog Star also known as the “Scriptfather”, a world-renowned tattoo artist recognized for his superior letter infused art.

  1. Light Boxes


A light box is a really great gift for those of us that can’t put our sketchbooks down. Available in pink, blue and yellow, these LED light boxes can easily fit in a backpack or portfolio because of its travel friendly, ultra-slim size. Your beloved tattoo artist is able to take this to conventions or pick and sketch from just about anywhere. These light boxes allow for the artist to easily trace and perfect their stencils.

  1. Element Tattoo Gift Card

If you’re not quite sure what the right gift is, go ahead and opt for a gift card from Element Tattoo Supply! They’re able to pick exactly what they need. Whether it’s restocking tubes or saving up for a new tattoo machine, we have gift certificates available in $20, $50 and $100 denominations.

Just like gift buying for anyone else, it’s important you keep your loved one’s aesthetic and style at the forefront. Study their work on others and the tattoos on themselves; this should be a great indicator of their personal style. Remember that the tattoo artist in your life is a creative and talented individual and this uniqueness should be celebrated with unique tattooer gifts. Happy shopping!

Permanent Makeup Tattoo Inks: Cosmo Premium Pigments

permanent makeup tattoo inks

The art of permanent makeup or micropigmentation is a unique form different from traditional tattooing. As such, the ink utilized must be especially designed for face, eye and lip procedures. Any professional tattoo artist understands that cosmetic pigments must meet FDA regulations. The FDA has a large say as to the particle size, carriers, color additives and specific pigments that can be inside of any cosmetic product sold in the United States. While there isn’t any extensive American regulation on tattoo inks, because permanent makeup falls into the cosmetics category, the makeup ink utilized for a variety of these procedures is more heavily regulated to ensure the overall safety of users.

Micropigmentation is best described as the insertion of pigment below the skin for cosmetic or corrective enhancement on the body. Many individuals opt for permanent makeup solutions to save time in their day-to-day routines, while others opt for “makeup tattoos” when diagnosed with vitiligo or alopecia or to reconstruct the appearance of the areola or nipple area after breast surgery. Some of the most common techniques include adding eyeliner to the eyelids, creating a more defined lip line to the lips, and enhancing eyebrows through microblading.

Cosmetic tattooing requires a special formula to ensure concentrated and pigmented results that truly last. Just as regular tattoos fade, so do permanent makeup tattoos; however, opting for a high-quality formula ensures a more natural, gradual fade.

At Element Tattoo Supply, we understand the need for quality permanent makeup pigments for tattoo artists around the world. Since the permanent makeup trend seems to be even more popular year after year, we’ve searched tirelessly for a cosmetic pigment label that ensures performance and quality. We’re proud to recommend Cosmo Inks. Cosmo premium pigments for makeup solutions meet the high standards of the FDA after rigorous testing. Ingredients include iron oxide pigment and USP witch hazel with alcohol, recognized and approved by the FDA as being cosmetic stabilizers. All other ingredients are nontoxic but should be spot tested for any possible allergic reactions. These pigments have been sterilized and can be used with traditional tattoo coil or rotary tattoo machines, but our recommended use is with pen-style tattoo machines for the most precise application.

Cosmo premium pigments are available in popular color choices like soft black, brown, mocha, dark chocolate, light brown and black for the most common permanent procedures for the eyes and eyebrows. Also available are corrective skin tone colors as well as camouflage and concealer colors like olive, gray and pink mauve for the lips.

Separation is normal for this type of formula, so always be sure to shake well! Cosmo inks can also be mixed with other pigments in the same line to create a more custom, personal color. Maintain the strict standards of professional tattoo artists with micropigmentation ink colors made in the USA.

Have questions about micropigmentation or Cosmo premium pigments? Shoot us a message, and we’d be happy to help!

History of Friday the 13th Tattoos

Friday the 13th brings about feelings of bad luck and dread and an overall ominous vibe that makes many of us feel overcautious. It’s said that this day is the unluckiest day of the entire year. How did this spooky day become associated with $13 tattoos? The truth is nobody can really pinpoint the exact origin. However, we’ve tracked down the history of Friday the 13th tattoos as best we could! Interested? Keep reading to find out more.

A Friday the 13th can occur up to three times a year. Each one is a sort of holiday for tattoo shops, akin to a Black Friday type of sale that occurs for just about every other retailer the day after Thanksgiving. Before we delve into how the 13th became associated with tattoos, let’s backtrack to the historical significance of Friday the 13th. Frankly, there are many origin theories, but these seem to be the most widely accepted.

Theory #1

According to Nordic legend, Baldur, Odin’s son, was one of the most beloved gods due to his generosity and courage. After he dreamt of his own death, his mother, Frigg, in an attempt to protect him, traveled around the world asking every creature alive for an oath promising no harm to Baldur.

Loki, god of mischief, became irritated by the rally around Baldur. He disguised himself as an old woman and found out from Frigg that the only thing that could ever hurt Baldur was a mistletoe plant. Frigg admitted she had not found it worth it to ask for an oath from this small plant. At a party celebrating Baldur, Loki secured some mistletoe and tricked another god into throwing the mistletoe at Baldur, which instantly killed him. Loki was said to be the 13th – and uninvited – guest at this party.

Theory #2

Another possible origin of unlucky number 13 is derived from Christianity. In the Bible story of the Last Supper, Judas was a disciple and the 13th member at the supper table. Judas eventually betrayed Jesus, which led to Jesus’ crucifixion and death.

Theory #3

It is said that in a meeting of witches, 13 attendees are required. A complete witches’ coven is made up of 12 witches. The additional – and 13th – member required to complete the Witches’ Sabbath was said to be the Devil himself.

Whatever the theory, one thing is certain—tattoo artists have reclaimed the “unlucky” number 13 and turned it into a cool, fast and cheap statement. Nowadays, customers line up in tattoo shops across the world that offer Friday the 13th specials to get a small tattoo inked on their bodies for a mere $13. Tattoo shops often stay open for long stretches of time, often 24 hours and referred to as a “tattoo marathon,” in order to accommodate the waiting customers. These tattoos are usually small, about the size of a quarter or slightly bigger, contain the number 13 somewhere in the design and cannot be customized. What you see on the tattoo flash sheet is exactly what you’re getting—nothing more and nothing less.

Oliver Peck, famed tattoo artist and owner of Elm Street Tattoo in Dallas, Texas, gets the majority of the credit for hosting the first tattoo marathon on Friday the 13th in December of 1996. While $13 tattoo specials may have just started 20 years ago, there is historical significance in that sailors used to get tattoos with the number 13 to ward off bad luck. It is said that almost 90 percent of sailors had a tattoo by the 19th century and that the number 13 was a conscious effort by the tattooed community to embrace and even celebrate that whichothers might fear.

How do you feel about Friday the 13th? Will you venture out in search of new ink on the next Friday the 13th? Show us your special Friday the 13th ink below!

Ethical Inking: Comprehensive Guide to Vegan Tattoos

vegan tattoo ink

In a world where information is so easily accessible, it’s no wonder people are becoming increasingly conscious about the foods they choose to eat. Whether it’s avoiding produce that has been genetically modified or choosing hormone-free alternatives, adhering to an organic lifestyle has become all-encompassing. It comes as no surprise then that veganism, a lifestyle devoted to abstaining from any animal products, has sustained a recognizable surge in popularity in the last couple of years. In fact, veganism has grown 500% since 2014 in the United States alone! Just three years ago, a mere 1 percent of people identified as vegan, but recent statistics have shown that the percentage has raised to 6 percent. Veganism is defined by a lifestyle devoted to moral-responsibility that goes beyond ethical eating but incorporates cruelty-free philosophy into all aspects of life. This means that everything from shampoo to clothing – and yes, tattoo ink – all have to come in accordance with strict animal and cruelty-free guidelines.

Tattoos are undeniably a beautiful way to express yourself, but it is important to note that not all tattoo inks are created equal. While tattoo ink seems like an unlikely culprit for vegan scrutiny, many popular inks contain bone char, gelatin and glycerin. Bone char is typically used to make black ink, the most commonly used color in tattoos. As an ingredient made from burnt animal bones to achieve the darkest shade of black, bone char is as unpleasant as it sounds. Gelatin is an animal product found in several non-vegan products and foods. It is made from the boiled connective tissue of cows and pigs and serves as a binding agent in many varieties of inks – grizzly, we know. Lastly, glycerin is found in several popular ink brands and is a derivative of animal fats that acts as a stabilizer and makes the ink easier to deal with. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you have to go the rest of your life tattoo-less, for there are several plant-based inks that are completely devoid of any animal products!

In an effort to support veganism as an emerging lifestyle, many ink companies are readily choosing more natural and organic ingredients in their products. Keep in mind that tattoo inks are not FDA regulated, so many products may contain ingredients that are damaging to the skin. To ensure the ink you choose is safe for your skin, consider having a talk with your tattoo artist or with a representative from the ink company itself. Also, be cautious of where the tattoo ink is made, for the products made in China and Japan do not have to meet the same strict guidelines as those from other countries.

A common misconception about plant-based inks is that they fade faster. However, vegan inks do not fade any faster than conventional inks with animal products, and the longevity of your tattoo ultimately comes down to how you care for it. Practicing good aftercare routines and preventing fading from sun damage is key in maintaining the vividness of your tattoo design and can make it look fresh and bold for years and years. In an effort to support the vegan lifestyle, we provide several vegan and plant-based inks on our online shop.

Kuro Sumi Japanese Outlining Ink - 12oz

One of the most popular animal-free inks we feature is Kuro Sumi ink. This ink is made right here in the United States and is widely recognized for its bold and bright colors. The product has origins in Japan, hence its name, and the color is derived from burnt plant materials, making it completely vegan-friendly! We carry two kinds of Kuro Sumi ink, an outlining ink and a shading ink, both of which are able to be used in a wide variety of eye-catching tattoo designs and styles. Kuro Sumi has quickly made its way into the hearts of tattoo fanatics and artists alike as it is incredibly easy to use, heals beautifully and retains its bold, black color for an extremely long time!

Eternal Top 25 Color Set-1oz

We also proudly include a wide variety of Eternal Inks in our inventory. These inks are a popular choice among tattoo artists everywhere and pack a real vivid punch of color. Featuring a wide variety of deeply saturated colors that are pleasing to the eye, these inks are made entirely of natural pigments, deionized water and hamamelis water, making it completely devoid of any animal products. An additional benefit of these inks is that none of them are tested on animals and they are regularly evaluated for testing and quality assurance. Whether you’re looking for a traditional black tattoo or a design with a bright pop of color, Eternal ink is the perfect choice for tattooed vegans everywhere!

Intenze Tattoo Ink 10-Set - 1 oz

Intenze, an eminent brand of tattoo ink, was the first ink manufacturer to sterilize their ink and raise the industry’s health standards to brand new heights. Not only do they practice clean and safe protocols, but all of their inks are 100% vegan! These products are made entirely in the United States, and the company adheres to cruelty-free practices through their decision to never test on animals. Featuring a full rainbow of beautiful colors, Intenze inks are perfect for all you color-lovers out there! Whether you add a little or a lot of color, these inks will give your tattoo designs the ability to stand out against the crowd, no matter where you find yourself!

Alla Prima Periwinkle Ink Set

Alla Prima are plant-based tattoo inks that have been trusted by several tattoo artists for years. Known for their easy manipulation, bendability on skin and their fade-proof formula, Alla Prima inks have become one of the most widely used colored inks in the industry! These inks, which include a wide range of plant-based ingredients, are easily recognizable with their vibrant bright inks and dark, bold black inks, making them perfect for a far-reaching array of tattoo styles and designs!

Starbrite Chocolate Brown Tattoo Ink - 1oz

The tattooing possibilities with Starbrite inks are truly endless. Whether you are looking for a complete set of colorful inks or for individual bottles, these plant-based tattoo inks will surely give you a vibrant, beautiful tattoo design. Starbrite color tattoo ink is fully compliant with U.S. FDA requirements regarding sterilization, testing, bottling, labeling and shipping, and their pigments have a worldwide reputation for being some of the finest, cleanest tattoo inks available anywhere!

Here at Element Tattoo Supply, we are happy to accommodate a variety of lifestyles, including veganism, and pride ourselves on our expansive collection of plant-based tattoo inks. Did we miss your favorite vegan tattoo ink in our guide? Share your thoughts and your favorite plant-based ink brands in the comment section below!

Best Tattoo Drawing Supplies

As a tattoo artist, you have many items making up your studio (no matter how big or small it is) and you also have a lot of things to tackle—from tattoo idea inception to execution. We thought we’d make your life a little easier by recommending some quality tattoo artist supplies for everything from the doodling phase to the stencil transfer phase. After all they say tattooers are only as good as their tools.

Drawing Supplies

Most times, the best artwork and your most memorable ideas can appear out of a simple doodling session. Often times, doodling or simply leisurely sketching can relax you and really help in bringing out the most creativity that packs a solid punch. Don’t let subpar tattooing pens or pencils get you down. When searching for drawing utensils, you want to keep in mind three things: ink/lead quality, feed and the barrel diameter. The ink or lead quality will allow seamless sketching. The feed, like ballpoint or fountain, will affect the flow of ink to paper. Lastly, the barrel diameter will determine how comfortable your grip around it will be.

You don’t want supplies that will interrupt your process aka pens that bleed too much, pencils that don’t have the grit to lay down smooth lines or paper that keep getting torn up. We’ve broken up our recommendations by our favorite pencils and pens.

First, here is our recommendation for the best pencils for drawing tattoos.

Hands down, our favorite pencil is the Dixon Ticonderoga pencil in black. Referred to as the world’s best pencil, this one in particular has an exclusive #2 HB graphite core lead formula. What does that mean exactly? You can expect a satin smooth black finish and performance each and every time you use it! Featuring the cool black barrel, this pencil is actually crafted from reforested quality cedar wood. Find it here for only $1.99!

Now if you’re much more comfortable and feel your creative juices flow a lot better with a smooth pen, these are our recommendations for the best pens for drawing tattoos on paper.

The Sakura Pigma Micron Ink Pens are smooth, skip-free drawing pens that lead to consistent lettering and lines each time you tap ink to paper. Depending on how fine you want your lines, you can choose nubs between 0.45mm (05) and 0.50 mm (08). In addition to their intense pigmentation, they’re also waterproof and permanent. If fine-point pens are your preference, you’ll really enjoy these! Also available in red ink:0.30mm (03) and 0.45 mm (05).

Stencil Supplies

Stenciling is a different game entirely. You need tracing pens, markers, and stencil and transfer paper that will ensure a smooth, crease-free transfer onto skin. Luckily, you don’t have to spend a lot to receive quality tattoo stencil-making products. Because how you decide to transfer drawing to skin is really a personal preference, you can choose to utilize duplicating carbon, hectograph ink and utilizing thermal copier machines.

If you’re into using carbon paper or even free-handing directly onto the body, then trust these stencil tracing pens in black, blue and red. These don’t bleed, are smooth and really give you the freedom to free hand.

When it comes to skin marking ink almost nothing compares to the Viscot Mini XL Markers with an ultrafine tip. Because of its fine tip, you can create sharp, clear, long-lasting lines that stays visible up to 10 times longer than traditional ink skin markers (even after prepping the skin with common alcohol-based antiseptics).

Lastly, we’re big fans of the thermal fax stencil paper by Spirit. Officially called the ReproFX Spirit Thermal Tattoo Transfer Papers, these papers are available in a variety of lengths and sizes and its compatible with all thermal and fax-style burners. With 2, 5, 10, 25 and 100-sheet options in a package, this paper created with high-contrast pigments and stable waxes to product crisp, clean burns and clear transfer. This paper has really become an industry staple, so if you don’t currently own some—you’re missing out!

We hope you’ve found this list of tattoo artist supplies helpful. Think of it as your back-to-school supplies list for the optimum tattoo drawing kit! Have your own recommendations? Comment below.

Essential Tattoo Medical Supplies to Ensure Healthy Clients


As a professional tattoo artist, you have a responsibility to provide your clients with a positive, health-conscious experience. In order to build customer loyalty and a solid reputation for yourself, you need to maintain an extremely clean work environment and have an arsenal of medical supplies at your fingertips. Building a repeat customer base is 10 times easier when your clients know they aren’t at risk of catching any life-threatening diseases by getting a tattoo from your studio.

Disinfectant Wipes

The most obvious necessity to ensure cleanliness is the disinfectant wipe. Not only do you need to keep your needles and other supplies sterile, you also need to keep your client’s tattoo area clean and free of germs and bacteria. These wipes come in packs and can usually be bought for less than 10 dollars.


Wearing quality gloves while tattooing a client is critical for your health. There are a bunch of deadly diseases that are transferred via blood that you don’t want to take a risk of catching. Tattoo gloves are typically made of thicker material than the gloves you’re used to seeing medical staff wear.

You’ll want to use non-latex gloves, as some customers may have a latex allergy. Talk to them about their specific allergies beforehand, as an allergic reaction during the procedure is a nightmare for all parties involved. Gloves that don’t have any powder on them are ideal.

The color of the gloves you wear is important as well. Since your customer may watch the tattooing procedure, he or she will almost certainly see blood. Since some people begin to feel nauseous and uneasy at the sight of blood, most tattoo artists prefer to wear black gloves instead of white or light-colored gloves. Black gloves are the most commonly sold, although tattoo gloves come in any color you prefer. Always keep in mind what’s best for the client rather than your own color tastes. After all, the tattoo session is an experience for the client, whether he or she is a seasoned tattoo lover or someone brand new to body art.

Tongue Depressors

These simple little tools are great for transferring ointments from one container to another without contaminating either container. You can get hundreds of these in a box for less than 10 bucks, and they’ll last you plenty of sessions. Most tongue depressors are splinter-free, have polished edges and can be used for plenty of other things you may encounter while tattooing.

Cord Sleeves

An often-overlooked item that helps keep your workstation sterile is the cord sleeve. These disposable sleeves are placed over the cord of your tattoo gun and prevent ink and blood from plastering the wire. Once you’re done with your current device and need to switch to another, you can do so without worrying about the possibility of cross contamination. These are lightweight and won’t distract you from your project. They’re also manufactured in a way that keeps them snug on the cord but won’t restrict its mobility, allowing you to move freely while tattooing.

Sharps Container

It would be insane to throw needles or wipes into a regular trash can. Getting rid of needles and other medical waste that comes from all these disposable supplies is made way easier when using a sharps container. These are the red containers you see in doctors’ offices and other medical facilities. There’s a max fill line about two-thirds of the way up on the container that should always be considered. You don’t want to overfill these waste containers, as they’re carrying hazardous waste.


We can’t discuss must-have medical equipment for tattoo professionals without mentioning autoclaves. This is the one device you do not want to be without. An autoclave is a device that decontaminates your tattoo equipment by exposing it to intense steam at high pressure. It takes around 40 minutes to completely sterilize the tools and have them ready for use again. It’s important that you buy an autoclave that is made by a reputable company, as there are many inexpensive versions that have a high failure rate and can put you and your clients at risk. This is true of autoclaves just as it’s true for your favorite tattoo machine or tattoo gun. The most reliable medical equipment often comes at a higher price tag.

Keep in mind, state laws typically regulate which medical supplies tattoo artists must keep in their studio. Regulations also outline very specifically the types of cleaning procedures that must take place before, during and after a tattoo session. These regulations are in place to protect both you and your clients. Regulators are swift to revoke licenses for even the slightest infractions or disregard of these regulations. And with online reviews being so easily accessible for nearly anyone to read or write, a negative review about the uncleanliness of your tattoo studio can be detrimental to your business.

Choosing the Best Type of Tattoo Machine for You

Any tattoo artist can attest to the importance of a tattoo machine— it becomes a true extension of your arm through and through. If you’re just starting your venture as a professional tattoo artist, you might not have developed a preference just yet and would like some guidance!

Everyone wants to know what the best tattoo machines are and sure, who doesn’t? However, the “best” really does differ from tattoo artist to tattoo artist because of unique tattoo styles and techniques. To help you decide what works best for you, we’ve created a comprehensive tattoo machine guide to help in picking the right tattoo machine!

Tattoo machines or tattoo guns can be broken down into four main camps of machines: coil tattoo machines, rotary tattoo machines, liners and shaders. Liners and shaders are, for the most part, coil tattoo machines but we’ll come back to that later. The main difference between coil and rotary machines is the internal workings on of each—coil machines run on coils while rotary machine run on a wheel.

Coil Tattoo Machines

Let’s start with coil tattoo machines. A coil machine is powered by the charging of internal coils that create an electromagnet. This electromagnet, in turns, pulls the tattoo machine’s armature bar which then pushes the tattoo needle down into the skin and back up again. While dual-coiled machines seem to be the more popular choice, single-coiled and triple-coiled machines are also available in the market. When you walk into a tattoo shop, you can almost instantly recognize whether a tattoo artist is utilizing a coil machine because of the hammer-like sound it creates. You can’t miss it! There’s also a vibration coming off the machine which some tattoo artists prefer.

Rotary Tattoo Machines

A Rotary tattoo machine is a lot different in comparison because it doesn’t operate in the same magnetic draw and release method as above. Instead, it runs on an internal pulley system composed of an electric motor that rotates the armature bar. This actually increases the gun’s stability making rotary machines gentler on the skin because it doesn’t “hammer” in and out like a coil tattoo machine; instead, it keeps a steady pace of inserting and releasing the needle.

Lining Tattoo Machines

Clean lines are the basis of all tattoos. A machine that is created specifically for executing crisp line work is called a liner. Most do run on coils and a lining machine will use groups of needles in a circular pattern to deliver ink to skin. Most liners are lightweight giving ultimately giving you more control of the intricacy and precision of your line work.

Shading Tattoo Machines

Most shaders also run on coils. Used to deliver larger swaths of color, shading or depth, shaders tend to be a lot heavier because of larger coils that are more powerful and because they contain a larger grouping of needles. The heavier weight is ideal when shading because you actually want the machine’s weight to help you push ink in without forcing it too much on your own.

To break things down even more, we created this infographic to demonstrate the key differences between coil and rotary machines. Because each machine’s pros can be the other’s cons, we thought we’d keep it positive!

coil tattoo machines vs rotary tattoo machines

It’s also important to remember that every tattooer’s experience is very different, adding individual brands and machine sub-types, can also really skew preferences. It’s important to talk to your mentors, advisers, fellow tattoo artists, and gauge their own personal choice in what machine works best for them. Ultimately, most tattoo artists actually own different machines and interchange them regularly depending on the type of tattoo they’re creating.

Check out our extensive collection of professional tattoo machines in both coil and rotary formats from industry-leading brands! Want a personal opinion on what you should get, contact us! We’re seasoned tattooers ourselves and run a successful tattoo shop, we’d love to help you out.

Do you prefer one over the other? Did we miss a pro? Let us know!

Product Spotlight: TAC Sciences Tattoo Anesthetic Cream

There’s no denying tattoos can be a painful experience for many, whether they’re first-timers or seasoned tattooed individuals. After all, a needle is creating punctures in the skin. Other factors, such as personal skin sensitivity, the size of the tattoo or the location of the tattoo on the body, can often heighten the pain threshold for many. However, most professional tattoo artists aim to create a more comfortable environment for customers—and this includes decreasing some of the pain that comes with getting tattooed by smoothing on topical anesthetic creams that effectively and quickly provide pain relief.

Not all anesthetic creams work the same. Why? Simply because they contain different percentages of active ingredients. You’ll find a range of natural additives in topical tattoo creams, such as tree tea oil, menthol, witch hazel, nutmeg and more. However, more effective and common chemical ingredients include lidocaine, tetracaine and benzocaine. These ingredients also work quickly after the initial application. Instead of waiting around for two hours or more, you’ll find that creams containing these ingredients can work in less than 15 minutes.

Which one is right for your customers? The question is subjective and dependent on your personal preferences as a tattoo artist. However, it’s important to understand that part of your job is to set your customer at ease whenever possible. Remember to be flexible and do your best to create a positive experience for your client. You’ll gain a satisfied customer who will spread the good word of his or her awesome new tattoo artist!

One of our best sellers at Element Tattoo Supply is the TAC Sciences Tattoo Anesthetic Cream because of its effectiveness in neutralizing pain. Developed by both tattoo artists and dermatologists, this tattoo anesthetic cream can only be purchased by licensed tattoo artists. This product is for professionals only.

Referred to most frequently as TAC, this tattoo cream works by targeting tattoo pain at its source. Its main ingredients are prilocaine and lidocaine— effective topical anesthetics. These chemicals work by temporarily deadening the nerve endings in the skin and blocking the nerves from transmitting pain impulses or signals to the brain, neutralizing tattoo pain at the source!

Other ingredients include: peg-9 stearate, water carbomer and phenoxyethanol.

TAC Sciences Tattoo Anesthetic Cream is also unscented, non-greasy, quickly absorbed, paraben-free, cruelty-free and made in the USA.

Before you decide to slather this on all of your customers, it’s important to check on any possible allergies to the ingredients listed above. Possible side effects may include slight burning, reddening of the skin, swelling or an allergic reaction.

How exactly do you use TAC Sciences Tattoo Anesthetic Cream? For fast and effective pain relief, this tattoo numbing cream can actually be used before and during the tattoo process.

Before Tattooing


  1. Before the cream’s application, wash hands thoroughly and wear disposable tattoo gloves.
  2. Clean and shave the area of the body receiving the tattoo. Dry completely.
  3. Use the included applicator to stir TAC, apply a small amount of the cream to the cleaned area, and let it sit at least 10 minutes before wiping it off completely.


During Tattooing


  1. Apply tattoo stencil and tattoo the outline first.
  2. As you’re working, apply dime-sized amounts of TAC through any shading and color session. Keep in mind its potency—a little goes a long way.
  3. According to TAC creators, if you’re utilizing white ink, clean the tattoo. Apply a thick layer of TAC, wrap the area for 5-10 minutes, and tattoo atop the cream.

Tattoo artists commend the TAC Tattoo Anesthetic Cream for its versatility and it’s effectiveness on sensitive clients. In addition to its numbing properties, the cream pulls blood away from the skin’s surface for a significant amount of time. In addition to admiring its numbing and pain-reducing capabilities, tattoo artists have also taken note of less scabbing during healing.

While there’s no magic cream, the TAC Tattoo Cream seems to come close! Investing in this jar will assuage any doubts and provide almost instant relief to your customers. Pick this up at Element Tattoo Supply and enjoy free shipping.

Have you tried this numbing cream for tattoos on yourself or your clients? What are your experiences with it? Let us know in the comments below!

Must-Have Tattooing Supplies for Traveling Tattoo Artists

Travel has gone hand in hand with a tattoo artist’s lifestyle for as long as tattooing spread its ink across the globe. Engrained in tradition, travel has become more than simply a source of income— it’s a source of inspiration and an opportunity to infuse new techniques into your artwork. Travelling from city to country, from convention to tattoo shop, it’s all a chance to spread your own notoriety and knowledge of global tattoo culture. If your journey as a travelling tattooer is only beginning, it’s a good idea to reevaluate the tattoo supplies you’ll need to make each trip much easier. We’ve compiled the top five tools you need as a travelling tattoo artist to ensure a smooth passage!

Pack Lighter & Smarter

If you’re on the go, you need to think lighter and smarter. It doesn’t matter if you’re hopping on planes or subways, travelling can take a heavy toll on your body especially if you’re packing some serious power and machinery. Solution? Think mini.

  1. Our first recommendation is a smaller machine. Not only does a mini tattoo machine double as a reliable back up back in your own shop or workspace but also it makes travelling a snap! At Element Tattoo Supply, we have a few miniature tattooing machines for you to choose from like the Apex Nano Rotary Tattoo Machine weighing a mere 82 grams. If you’re a tried and true script artist, our very own Element Tattoo Mini Size Liner is perfect for you. It’s also available as a mini shader.
  2. With a smaller machine, you don’t have carry as much power. Lucky for you, you can pack a reliable and straight-to-the-point mini power supply the size of a quarter— seriously. Element’s NEW Black Mini Power Supply is no taller than a quarter upright!

Think Disposable

Travelling doesn’t have to get grimy. With our disposable tattoo supplies, you can ensure you maintain a high level of sanitation expected from a tattoo artist. With our multi-pack options, you also don’t have to break the bank in order to get your hands on sanitized and individually packed professional tattoo equipment. Not only will you avoid any cross contamination possibilities but you also won’t have to lug any cleaning supplies meant to scrub your gear thoroughly.

  1. Our assortment of disposable cartridge grips are available in a variety of grip sizes from 1.2 to 5 inches. Designed from a variety of extra comfortable materials, choose a grip appropriate for your needle. This type of single-use set up means you’ll bring less stuff with you and maintain cleaner equipment all in one go!
  1. If you’re on board with disposable grips, then purchasing assorted disposable tubes is a no brainer. You’ll find sterile disposable tattoo tubes in various designs that suit your particular tattooing styles and overall budget.

For the Convention Regular

Finally, this last tool is the ultimate piece of equipment for those of you well versed or just starting the convention circuit. Conventions tend to be filled to the brim with people and their equipment. This doesn’t leave much room for the individual tattooer.

You can make up for the lack of space with the Conartist Portable Travel Station. This 20-pound water-resistant table can easily fold into a metal case for hassle-free transportation. It also includes a built-in rinse cup holder, paper towel holder, power supply compartment,     and portable shelf for ink and machines.