If you are new to the world of tattooing, then you might get confused about what type of needle to use for coloring a tattoo as there are quite a few options to choose from. Selecting a proper tattoo needle will not only make your job of tattooing easy but also make the tattoo look good.
If you want to color a tattoo, you basically have to choose between three different types of needles: round tattoo needles, flat tattoo needles, and magnum tattoo needles. Moreover, the needle to use for coloring a tattoo will depend entirely on the type and the design of the tattoo you are drawing.
Not having proper knowledge about what needle to use for tattoo coloring can lead to many complications. For instance, using the wrong type of needle for coloring a tattoo can lead to skin trauma. It can even cause a permanent scar.
In this article, I will discuss about different types of tattoo needles and their usage. I will also share some important tips related to tattoo needles.
So, without further ado, let’s get started with the different types of tattoo needles.
Different Types Of Tattoo Needles
As mentioned earlier, there are three basic types of tattoo needles.
1. Round Tattoo Needles
You can most probably guess from the name that these type of tattoo needles are round in shape. Here, multiple needles are connected surrounding the central needle in order to create a circular pattern. For example, in a 7RL tattoo needle, six small needles are positioned along the radius of the circle, and one needle is placed at the middle.
Round tattoo needles can be classified into shaders or liners depending on how compactly the needles are arranged. If the needles are arranged very close to each other, then they can be classified as round liners (RL). On the other hand, if the needles are loosely packed to each other, they can be classified as round shaders (RS).
Round liners are very good at detailing and technical work. They can also be used for making clean and sharp lines. Most tattoo artists use round liners for drawing tattoo outlines.
Round shaders are used for creating thick and bold outlines because of their loosely packed construction. They are also used for color shading. Many tattoo artists use round shaders for color filling as well.
2. Flat Tattoo Needles
Flat tattoo needles are comprised of needles that are arranged and soldered together in a straight line. Flat tattoo needles are able to inject more ink into the skin because of their construction. They are also able to create much darker, more transparent, and deeper lines. This type of needle is generally used for lining.
Flat tattoo needles are also widely used for color filling. Large flat needles are very good at color filling because of their ability to deliver more ink in a single stroke. Moreover, flat needles are also perfect for drawing geometrical patterns. They are used for mandala works and semi-permanent makeups as well.
3. Magnum Tattoo Needles
The magnum tattoo needles are widely used for tattoo shading. Two-row of needles are stacked on top of each other horizontally in magnum tattoo needles. This type of needle can deliver more ink than the flat needles in one stroke because of having a larger contact area.
Tattoo artists can fill up a large area with color within a short time using magnum tattoo needles. Magnum needles are also less likely to produce skin trauma as you do not need to do multiple passes. Magnum tattoo needles can again be divided into three categories. They are:
3.1. Weaved Magnum Needles
Weaved magnum needles are not packed very closely. They are loosely stacked on top of each other resembling the shape of a pyramid. They are placed in such a way that for every one needle on the top, there are two more needles on the bottom.
They are ideal for filling, blending, and shading tattoos because they can hold more ink. Weaved magnum needles are commonly known as M1 needles.
3.2. Stacked Magnum Needles
The construction of a stacked magnum needle is almost similar to the construction of a weaved magnum needle. The only difference is, stacked magnum needles have needles that are very tightly and closely packed to each other.
This type of needle is used for faster shading, blending, and filling of tattoos. Stacked magnum needles are also known as M2 needles.
3.3. Round / Curved Magnum Needles
The tips of the curved/round magnum needles are arranged in such a way that they create the shape of an arch. The curved edges of a round magnum needle are gentler on the skin and tend to produce less skin trauma. This type of tattoo needle is relatively new to the tattoo industry.
Round magnum needles are able to distribute the tattoo ink on the skin more evenly and consistently. They are generally known in the market as RM needles.
4. Bugpin Tattoo Needles
The bugpin needles are made out of very thin needles. Standard tattoo needles generally have a thickness of 0.33mm to 0.35mm. But bugpin tattoo needles have a thickness of around 0.20mm to 0.25mm. This type of needle is very good at making portraits. They are also ideal for more detailed and fine work.
The usage of this type of needle entirely depends on the tattoo artist. Many artists prefer using bugpins, and others hate using them.
Things To Look Out For Before Using A Tattoo Needle
Many beginner tattoo artists tend to forget to inspect the needle before tattooing properly. As a result, they end up damaging their reputation and harming their customers. Before using any type of tattoo needle, do not forget to make a proper close visual inspection of it.
If you have just received a new shipment of tattoo needles, then look out for bent and dull needles. Using bent and dull needles can cause significant mechanical malfunction to the tattoo machine. Moreover, they can also cause severe damage to the skin.
Because of manufacturing defects, unsoldered tattoo needles can end up in your store. Unsoldered needles are hazardous and pose a massive threat while tattooing. They can come loose and end up being crooked. If not careful enough, the crooked needles can cause nasty injuries to the skin.
Many countries have mandated the usage of sterile needles for tattooing. So, be sure to use sterilized needles. It is better to buy pre-sterilized needles instead of sterilizing them manually. Buying pre-sterilized needles will save you a lot of time and money. Pre-sterilized needles will have a marking on their package and they will come with an expiration date.
Additional Read: How to Set Needle Depth on A Rotary Tattoo Machine
Hopefully, this article helped you to get a clear idea about the type of needle to color a tattoo. Check out the chart in this article if you want to know what size and group of needles to use to color a tattoo.