Eat about one hour before your appointment
- Eat right before your appointment — your pain tolerance is highest, and you’re calmer and less twitchy. After more than a couple of hours since eating, it hurts more, and you can get dizzy and sick during the tattoo.
- Eat a big meal – Protein and carbs are best. It’s also helpful to eat Vitamin K rich foods – they thicken the blood, and include broccoli, dark leafy greens, bananas, oats, blueberries, alfalfa sprouts, and yogurt
- Save sugary stuff until after your tattoo – you’ll do better if you’re not on a “sugar high” during your appointment.
NO Alcohol, Garlic or other blood-thinners beforehand
- Garlic – It’s great for you, but it’s a strong blood thinner. Milder hot foods like Hot chili peppers and root vegetables like horseradish and wasabi also thin the blood.
- Alcohol – the night before we recommend two drinks at the max, and no alcohol the day of the appointment until after you’re done.
- Aspirin and Advil/ibuprofen. and vitamin E oil
- Avoid large quantities of Mild blood thinners like onions, peppers, coffee and caffeinated tea.
If you take blood-thinning medications like Coumadin, talk with us first.
Don’t forget your ID
We are required to take a copy of your ID every time we tattoo you. ID must have both your (adult) photo and your birthdate on it, and should be current. We accept government-issued ID only: Driver’s licenses, State-issued ID cards, Passports, and Military ID. We do not accept student ID or birth certificates.
- We take cash and all major credit or debit cards.
- We do not accept personal, business, or Travelers checks
- Free parking anywhere behind our building and the house next door.
- Metered parking across the street, free after 6pm and on Sundays.
- Please don’t park at the Sportscar Shop on the other side of 6th Alley.
Please arrange childcare if needed
Noisy kids, even happy ones, make it hard for us to concentrate, and for you to relax. If you must bring kids, bring an adult to care for them.
Be ready to care for your tattoo
We’ll give you complete instructions in person, and in writing, after your appointment, but it’s good to know what we want you to do ahead of time. You can click here for detailed aftercare instructions. The short version:
It takes about 4 or 5 weeks for a tattoo to heal
Most people go through two or more weeks of “flaking and peeling” and another 2 weeks while the skin finishes healing.
You’ll leave your appointment with your new tattoo bandaged, and instructions on how to clean it and care for it while it’s healing. You should leave the tattoo bandaged for at least 2 hours, preferably more.
During the first two weeks
- Lightly lotion the tattoo every hour or two with a non-oily, fragrance-free lotion like Curél or Lubriderm. Always lotion your tattoo with clean hands.
- Don’t pick or scratch at the tattoo – if it itches, lotion it.
- Clean the tattoo once a day with mild soap, and more if it needs it – keep your tattoo clean to avoid infection.
- Stay out of the water other than cleaning it – no baths, hot tubs, saunas or swimming.
- Wear clean natural-fiber fabric next to the tattoo – cotton t-shirts are great, and other cloth made from plants: cotton, rayon, silk, linen, bamboo, hemp, etc. Stay away from polyester, nylon and acrylic, and anything fuzzy, loose-weave or lacy.
- Keep the tattoo out of the sun and tanning beds FOR AT LEAST A MONTH – No sunblock for 4 or 5 weeks, so keep it under fabrics or in the shade.
We will bandage your tattoo at the end of your appointment. Please leave the bandage on until you’re ready to clean the tattoo the first time – don’t peel it back to look at it or show friends. Get a picture before we bandage, and show people the picture until you have cleaned your tattoo.
First Time Cleanup
Leave the tattoo bandaged for 2 to 24 hours. DO NOT RE-BANDAGE or put Vaseline on the tattoo again.
- The first time you clean the tattoo, remove the bandage gently, getting it wet if it’s stuck.
- Wash gently with clean hands, and not a wash cloth. Don’t be afraid to really wash your tattoo thoroughly, or you won’t get the vaseline off.
- Use mild soap like Dove, Ivory or Dawn dishwashing liquid. It’s best to avoid very hot water.
- Be sure to remove all the Vaseline – it usually take 4 to 6 or more times washing and rinsing the tattoo before the vaseline is gone.
- Pat dry with a fresh, clean towel. A paper towel is fine if it’s not linty. Don’t rub the tattoo – just pat it. For cleanliness, don’t use anything that you or other people have already used.
- Apply a tiny amount of water-based lotion such as Curél or Lubriderm — most lotions are oily, and don’t let the tattoo “breathe.” We’ll tell you how much lotion to use for your particular tattoo, but in general, use an amount that absorbs completely in about 5-10 seconds when you’re rubbing it into the tattoo.
- You can also use bag balm or fresh aloe vera leaves (but not aloe vera products sold in stores, as they have stabilizers in them which aren’t good for your tattoo).
- You can remove tape residue by rubbing with olive oil, then wash with soap and water (try not to get olive oil in the tattoo).
PLEASE NOTE: We do NOT recommend Neosporin or similar ointments – they clog the pores and the antibiotic formula can draw out color.
Care during the first two weeks
The first half of the month of healing is when the top layer of skin over your tattoo flakes away like a sunburn. It’s usually about 14 days long, even if you can’t see any flaking, but sometimes takes longer. If you get to the end of the first 2 weeks and still see flakey skin on your tattoo, keep up the care instructions below until it’s completely smooth again.
Keep the tattoo clean
- USE GOOD HYGIENE! Always wash your hands before touching the tattoo, wear clean clothes next to the tattoo, and keep other people’s hands OFF your new tattoo. Good hygiene will prevent most infections.
- Wash the tattoo at least once a day, but don’t rub it with washcloths or towels for the first couple of weeks. If something touches your tattoo that is NOT freshly cleaned hands – dirty hands, pets, clothes, upholstery, etc — wash it as soon as possible
- Other than cleaning the tattoo, keep it out of the water until it’s done flaking and is at least 2 weeks old.
Lotion lightly and often
- Lotion the tattoo very lightly, and often – every hour is great. Use a small amount on clean finger tips, and rub it in gently. We’ll tell you the correct amount for your tattoo, and….
- Two good methods for getting the right amount of lotion are
(1) use an amount that soaks completely into the tattoo in 5 to 10 seconds, or
(2) for every area about the size of a man’s palm of his hand, use about a grain of rice worth of lotion. For tiny tattoos, scale back the amount.
- Be careful not to use too much – over lotioning feels great, but allows your skin to sluff off ink during healing. If the lotion leaves a sheen or film, you’ve used too much. Spread it out to the skin around the tattoo.
- When it’s been a long time since you last lotioned, still stick with that tiny amount each time you lotion it.
- If it starts itching or feels tight and dry, put a little lotion on it, rather than scratching it, even if it’s only been 20 or 30 minutes since you last lotioned.
What to wear over the tattoo
- Natural fibers are best. Cotton – especially cotton t-shirt fabric – is great. Along with cotton fabrics, silk, linen, bamboo, hemp and rayon are all good. All are made from plant fibers.
- Clean and smooth fabrics – nothing fuzzy, nothing lacey, nothing loose weave. You don’t want fabrics that snag the tattoo or keep it from getting enough air.
- Nothing too tight – waistbands, bra-straps, and other tight, binding clothes are NOT good for the tattoo when it’s healing.
What Not to Do
- DON’T pick at, scratch, or pull skin off your new tattoo (you will pull ink out). If your tattoo itches, or feels “tight,” lotion it instead of scratching at it.
- No baths, hot tubs, saunas, or swimming for two weeks or until the tattoo is done flaking, which ever is longer. Soaking can cause color loss. Showers are fine, but keep tattoo out of water as much as possible.
- SUN – Avoid sun on the tattoo for at least a month, and tanning beds for two months (tanning beds are harsh on new tattoos). Sunburning a new tattoo will ruin it, and can cause permanent skin damage. NO SUNSCREEN until the tattoo is over 1 month old (it’s too oily) – stay in the shade or wear loose clothing over it.
Care during the second half of the month
- Your tattoo may have a waxy or hazy look, or look like it’s losing color. Don’t worry – most of the time, this is just the skin going through it’s normal process, and the tattoo will “come back” and look great.
- Remember that while it’s okay to get in the water once the tattoo is done flaking and is at least 2 weeks old, keep the tattoo out of the sun for a whole month.
While your tattoo is healing, please give us a call or stop by if you have any concerns or questions. And when your tattoo is fully healed in 4 or 5 weeks, ideally it will be beautiful and just as we planned – please come show off! But if something didn’t take during the healing process, don’t hesitate to come back and talk to your artist about a touch-up.
Like most tattoo shops, we price by how long the tattoos are expected to take. We have a shop minimum to cover basic costs of doing the tattoo regardless of how tiny or quick it is (you can call for our current minimum). This is a session minimum, not a minimum for each tattoo done in a session, so sometimes it’s cheaper to do tiny tattoos at the same time as another tattoo, big or small.
We will give you a quote before your tattoo appointment, which is usually a range, depending on how long the tattoo actually takes. You might hear, for example, a quote of “$75 to $100” or “$200 to $300,” which is a best-case, worst-case scenario. Some people have skin that takes ink easily, some do not. Some people sit very still, other people are twitchy or have trouble not moving. The same tattoo on two different people can take very different amounts of time, and our pricing reflects that.
In our shop, the average hourly also drops the longer you sit for a tattoo — the first hour is the most expensive, the second a little less expensive, and the third hour is a little cheaper than that. This is because we can average out the cost of the materials and sterilization, which come to about $40-50 per session, regardless of the size or time needed to do your tattoo.
Our best deals are on Half-Day sessions, which save customers about $50-100 compared to our regular pricing, and on our Buy-a-Day full-day sessions, which can save hundreds of dollars when compared to doing a large tattoo in several small sessions, or doing several tattoos in separate sessions. If you’re thinking about multiple tattoos or large work like sleeves and back pieces, talk to us about our current pricing on Half-Days and Buy-a-Days.
Yes, you can work out, and engage in most sports, but there are a few precautions:
- Soaking the tattoo is out, so no swimming, water sports, etc.
- While working out, running or doing anything where you are moving and stretching a lot, make sure you lotion the tattoo before you get started. You want the tattoo to move with you, not dry out and crack.
- If you sweat a lot while working out, keep a clean cloth handy to pat the tattoo dry once in a while. Sweat itself is not a problem, but once it dries on the skin, bacteria starts growing and that’s of course not good for the tattoo.
- Wear clothes that allow the tattoo to breathe. Most sports clothing is made from synthetics and is not good over a healing tattoo. Cotton t-shirt fabric is best.
- Make sure the tattoo doesn’t touch surfaces like benches or equipment, so that your artwork doesn’t pick up bacteria.
- When you are done working out, make sure you clean and re-lotion the tattoo.
Oregon state law prohibits decorative tattooing on anyone under 18 years of age. There are heavy fines, and most tattooists follow the law.
We know that many people under 18 are anxious to get a tattoo, but we encourage you to wait it out and get a medically safe tattoo once you turn 18. Most people offering to tattoo minors are unskilled underground tattooists (aka “scratchers”) who not only give bad tattoos, but don’t have the knowledge or equipment to do medically safe tattooing. No one wants an infection, whether it’s a small staff infection in your tattoo, or something really dangerous like Hepatitis B or C, which can seriously damage your health or even kill you.
It’s better to wait till you’re legally able to get a safe tattoo in a shop. In the meantime, you can use the time plan the perfect tattoo once you’re of age.
In our shop, minors are welcome to visit, ask questions, and even get the design going for that 18th birthday tattoo. Get informed, plan carefully, ask the right questions, and give your design ideas some time to develop. You’ll be much happier in the long run with your tattoos and your health.
It is possible to design tattoos to work with scars and stretch marks, but there are some limitations.
- Scars should be at least one year old. We want them to have stopped changing texture and color before we tattoo over them.
- Many scars take pigment, but often heal uneven in color, or the texture of the scar shows right through the design. The best thing to do in these cases is to use images that have similar shapes to the scarring, and designs that avoid flat solid colors, which just highlight instead of camouflage the scar.
- Some scars and stretch marks just don’t take pigment well – they are too keloided (permanently raised), knotty, or delicate to get the ink in. In that case, we can try to design something that works AROUND the scar, or along with the stretch marks, leaving the untattooed skin as part of the design.
- Very light scarring or slight stretch marks usually don’t affect tattooing much, but we still try to avoid using flat solid colors over the scarred areas, as the texture pops right out instead of being hidden by the tattoo.
Every scar is different, and most tattoos designed to hide scars or stretch marks are custom designs. Come talk to us about your particular situation, and we’ll see what we can do.
We do not recommend getting a tattoo while pregnant. There are two concerns: fetal distress due to how the body responds to tattooing, and though it’s unlikely, there is some concern that the process can spark a miscarriage.
The good news is that in the month or two after having a baby, women find tattooing to be very easy to take. The body has been through such an intense process giving birth that, in comparison, a tattoo doesn’t cause much distress.
When you get a tattoo, your body responds by generating endorphins, Adrenalin and other normal processes. Sometimes this can “sour” the milk, or temporarily shut down your milk production for up to a few hours. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s good to be prepared.
If you are a nursing mom, have a backup of formula or pumped breast milk if needed, or make sure your older baby has other foods to eat.
We don’t recommend getting tattoo work on the breast if you are currently nursing. Your baby’s hands aren’t the cleanest little things, and your child touching the healing tattoo work could introduce bacteria to the area.