It's a Free Tattoo, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

It's a Free Tattoo, What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

The quick answer? Everything. Need more detail? How about infections, scarring, disease, and some terrible art? Don't fall for this trap.

Part of working here at Tattoodo is keeping your finger on the pulse of that tattoo industry. How do we do that, you ask? Through an intense web of contacts developed over the period of decades, deep journalistic sleuthing... and a Google News bulletin for the word "tattoo."

Thanks to the good folks at Google we've been noticing a pretty horrific trend — complete amateurs advertising on Craigslist that they will tattoo you for wicked cheap, or even worse, completely free of charge. Look, we never want to be on the side of telling you to turn down free things, but, getting a free tattoo from a rando on Craigslist is one of the worst ideas ever. Period.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with getting a cheap/free tattoo from an apprentice. Hooking their friends up with some mediocre tattoos is where everybody begins, but this isn't what we are talking about. These Craigslist scratchers aren't inviting you into a shop where they have been apprenticing for the last couple of years, there's a world of difference. 

To give you an idea of the kind of crap that we are seeing, and to make absolutely sure that you know what to look out for, we're gonna break one of these ads down Fire Joe Morgan style. The bold type is the ad, the regular print is our commentary, which should become abundantly clear damn near immediately.  

Honestly, this is a best case scenario for you. Gross. (Via IG - suckytattoos) #funny #tattoo #tattoodonts

I'm looking for volunteers to let me tattoo them.
Sounds good so far... 

Limitless tats per customer...
And we have our first major red flag! Being offered a free tattoo is one thing, being offered an infinite number of free tattoos is quite another thing indeed...

unless a ton of people are interested. 
Hopefully this is not an issue. 

Anything you want, but don't bring references as I probably can't replicate them well or at all.
Ooooh, goodie! You know what gets me really excited about a free tattoo? Knowing that it is going to suck. 

I have very little experience with a tattoo gun,
It's not a tattoo gun, it's a TATTOO MACHINE. Guns kill people, tattoo machines create art. 

actually none,
Check that. In the hands of a complete amateur with no blood borne pathogen training maybe it is more appropriate to call it a tattoo gun, because you're putting yourself in a very unsafe situation.  

but I bought one off eBay because I told someone I was a professional tattoo artist and that I'd tattoo him next month.
Unless this mystery person that you are trying to impress is blind, or at the very least has never seen a tattoo in their life, we're fairly confident that they'll be able to notice that you aren't a professional. 

I need as much practice as I can get before then so I don't look like an idiot. 
1. Too late. 2. Skilled professions can't be learned through trial and error in a month. I once invited a bunch of people to my apartment, gave them some weird gasses, and removed a bunch of their teeth, but you don't see me running around claiming to be a dentist. 

If you're willing to be my canvas you will be compensated with beautiful or just okay everlasting body art.
Even "just okay" might be setting the bar way too high here. 

Let's go get a free tattoo! Sound good? Have you even been reading this article? Nothing good is waiting for you down those stairs. (Photo by Charlie Connell) #tattoo #funny

Look, we understand that the idea of a free tattoo is tempting. Hell, we almost replied to the ad just to see what exactly was going on with it. But then we remembered that non-sterile needles are gross, unlicensed tattooing is irresponsible, and a tattoo isn't free if you have to cover it up/remove it because it's so heinous. 

So if free tattoos are what you are looking for, go and make friends with a tattoo apprentice. They'll hook you up, you'll help them learn, and they won't give you a communicable disease or a horrifically bad tattoo. This is not a promise that the tattoo will be good, just not "I bought a machine from the internet and have no goddamn clue what I'm doing" levels of terrible. 

If laughing at horrible tattoos, like the one above, is your thing please check out our article about SuckyTattoos. 

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