Setting the correct needle depth on a tattoo gun is an important part of the tattooing process. The tattoo needle should only penetrate the upper most layers of skin and should not go any deeper than the second layer. If the needle depth is too deep, then it can cause unnecessary pain for the recipient so it is important to get it right. Finding the right needle depth takes practice and knowledge of different skin types. The best way to learn the tattooing technique is by completing an apprenticeship under a skilled professional.
Familiarise yourself with tattoo needles and the tattoo gun. Before you attempt to tattoo, you should learn as much as you can about the process of tattooing and the equipment used. The best way to do this is to partake in an apprenticeship where you can learn the tricks of the trade from a professional.
Learn about human anatomy in relation to tattooing. The most important thing to know is how deep you should be setting the needle. Tattoo needles should only penetrate the uppermost layer of skin known as the epidermis and go no deeper than the second layer of skin know as the dermis. Estimating skin thickness will take practice so you should familiarise yourself with the skin on different parts of the body.
Remove the needle from the sterilised packaging and bend the needle gently so that it arcs very slightly.
Hold the tattoo machine at the top and bottom before carefully inserting the needle through the front and connecting it to the bar of the tattoo gun.
Install the needle tube by sliding it up and over the tattoo needle, ensuring that the needle tip does not come into contact with the sides of the needle tube.
Position the needle tube so that the needle protrudes slightly. Tighten the lock by turning the bar clockwise to secure the needle tube and set the needle depth.
Test the needle depth before beginning your tattoo. Experience tattoo artists will be able to judge the needle depth by looking at it. A good way to check if your needle depth is correct is to experiment on a grapefruit. If the skin of the grapefruit shreds, the depth of the needle is too deep, and you will need to readjust.