Why Do Tattoo Artists Wrap Their Grips?

Why Do Tattoo Artists Wrap Their Grips?

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Why Do Tattoo Artists Wrap Their Grips?

Tattoo artist grips the handle of a tattoo machine during tattooing. The grip is one of the most critical aspects of how to tattoo.

If a grip is incorrect, it can lead to complications and poor-quality tattoos down the road.

Artists wrap their grips in rubber or cloth (a clean rag, t-shirt, or a paper towel) to keep their hands from slipping and sliding during the tattoo process.

This prevents any cuts or nicks when ink gets applied to the skin. The grip helps stabilize the artist’s fingers to move between different skin parts with pinpoint accuracy.It boast protection for both the artist and the person getting tattooed.

Most grip wraps boast selling in four-inch rolls, and you can find them at most art supply stores.

Some tattoo artists prefer to wrap their grips because they can get a custom fit to their attractive wraps that are too large or too small for a particular artist’s grip.

It’s customary for the client to tip the artist $1 for each wrapped grip.

What Do I Wrap My Tattoo Gun With?

You can wrap your tattoo gun with a piece of gauze, tissue paper, or regular paper.

The best choice is a thin layer of toilet paper because it will last the longest and won’t soak up your ink thoroughly.

A piece of cloth can also work well; however, you’ll want to avoid anything too thick or bulky.

Decide on which option you like the most and test it out before wrapping your tattoo gun with an expensive instrument.

If you wrap a tattoo machine without lubricating it, the paper will absorb more and more ink over time. Eventually, the paper will become too heavy for the needle to drag around.

The best way to avoid this is to put a light layer of baby oil or glycerin onto your gun before putting on any wrapping materials.

I’ve found that a couple of drops of both work well, but you can use more or less depending on how much lube you prefer. A tiny bit of lube goes a long way!

When wrapping the tattoo gun, make sure that there are no gaps in the paper. The paper should wrap tightly around the needle bar and all active components, including the coils.

There will be a gap between the bottom of the gun and the top of your wrapping paper, so do not seal it up too tightly.

The coils should have some room to breathe while they’re moving around.

If you have any gaps in your paper, the ink will leak out. The needle bar must get covered with tissue paper or have shallow line quality.

The motor’s vibration won’t be as strong if the coils are exposed. The coils’ wires can also get worn down if they rub against the paper too much.

If any of these things happen, stop using that gun immediately and replace all your wrapping materials.

To wrap your coil sleeves or cartomizer, first cut a piece of paper that’s large enough to cover the coil and wrap it around the sleeve or cartomizer, as shown below.

Next, cut another piece of paper and brush a baby oil on the wrap. Starting from the end opposite the coils, tightly roll up and place your coils inside.

Can I Put Saran Wrap On My Tattoo For Work?

No! You cannot put saran wrap on your tattoo for work. If you have to tattoo, make sure you put lots of lotion and completely cover your tattoo with plastic wrap.

Saran wrap is not breathable, which means it will stick to your skin and cause the ink to fade. It can also fall off in food if you work at a restaurant or grocery store.

The FDA protects you from this! Tattoos are permanent and boast regulation by the FDA.

The FDA does not regulate saran wrap; it does not fall under “tattoo ink” but instead falls under “electrics or dry erase pens.”

You could get in trouble with your state tattoo laws if you use saran wrap on your tattoo.

If you have a tattoo, let me tell you what I did to protect my ink. I used a Kinesis Freestyle tattoo machine(Amazon Link) and I wrapped my tattoo in two layers of medical tape.

Then, I gave myself a little bit of lotion to help the ink adhere to the skin. I also wore compression sleeves for extra protection from pulling my skin.

How Can I Make My Tattoo Grip Thicker?

You can make your tattoo grip thicker by putting a tattoo stencil around your hand, making sure it gets scorched, before using scotch tape to cover the stencil with paper.

After you have finished doing so, take a sharpie and draw over the shape of the tattoo. This will give you an idea of what it will look like when you finish your final product.

You should also consider getting another person to help you since hands will get needed during this process.

Although it might be challenging to pinpoint where to put the tattoo, drawing it over will make it easier.

After you finish with the drawing of your tattoo:

  1. Wipe off the sharpie with a wet sponge and let it dry.
  2. After it has dried, remove the top piece of scotch tape so that you can see your design.
  3. Are not lifting any skin from the bottom when you remove the scotch tape.
  4. Put the scotch tape back on and apply pressure until you get the size and shape of your tattoo that you want.

Once you have removed the tape, let it dry in a ventilated area.

If the tattoo is still not sticking, use clear glue to stick it down. Once this gets done, let it sit for about 20 minutes so that the glue can fully work on your skin.

Take off any excess with a rubber band pulled tight over your hand/fingers, but not too tight so that it does not hurt.

Why Do Tattoo Artists Use Grip Tape?

Tattoo artists use grip tape because it’s an adhesive material that helps them keep a firm grip on the skin during tattooing.

It also provides a barrier between their hands and the skin to prevent infection, so they must use it as needed.

Grip tape will typically have a thicker backing than other tapes because of its need to be applied to skin instead of, say, Styrofoam or paper.

The friction between the artist’s hand and this thicker backing will help him maintain control of his work while he tattoos.

Also, the grip tape is usually less expensive than other types of tape available at a shop.

Professional tattoo artists often use it because of its versatility and power to withstand the stresses of puncture wounds that can occur while tattooing.

An artist will typically remove the backing and adhere it to the skin with a thin layer of petroleum jelly to apply the grip tape.

He’ll then follow up with his hand to create the necessary friction between himself and the skin to hold his tattoo machine in place during tattooing.

The thicker backing on grip tape makes it easier for artists to handle and apply. It also helps to keep the artist’s hand from adhering to the skin, preventing inflammation and infection.

This is crucial for those who need medical assistance because they become further injured when pulling their hands away from the skin.

To ensure a more consistent grip, artists will also generate more heat as they tattoo.

They’ll apply more pressure and absorb more heat from their own hands than they would with a less durable tape.

This helps prevent injury to their hands and possibly means warmer skin when a tattoo gets completed.

How Do You Apply Grip Tape To A Tattoo?

You can apply grip tape to a tattoo by cutting it long enough to cover the tattoo and then use a clear, glossy top coat over the grip tape.

The friction of the grip tape against their skin should help tattooed individuals get a better hold on tattoos that are more prone to fading or tearing from excessive rubbing.

Grip tape tattooing involves using adhesive-backed grip tape such as skateboard tape.

It’s applied to a tattoo the same way it would be applied to a skateboard, covering the area of concern.

The grip tape prevents excessive rubbing, causing your skin to wrinkle, tear, or even fade away.

The idea behind grip tape tattoos is that it helps hold the original tattoo in place after healing and may prevent excessive rubbing from occurring in the future.

The grip tape also covers unsightly scar tissue.

Grip tape tattoos boast usage on the lower back, thigh, and neck tattoos. However, you can use grip tape for any part of your body concerned about excessive rubbing.

Here are a few more tattoo tips to help your tattoo last even longer and stay in the best possible condition:

Protect the skin from UV rays by applying a high SPF sunblock to the area. Don’t use a sunblock with a red or orange tint, as this can cause discoloration.

Use lotion or moisturizer to help the skin stay hydrated. Use lotion on your tattoo at least once a day, and reapply as needed.

Use unscented lotion on tattoos to avoid any smells that may irritate.

Avoid using soap on your tattoo; instead, wash your hands with a bar of gentle soap before wiping the skin dry.

This will minimize the chance of causing friction burns to the sensitive area.

Visit a professional tattoo removal specialist if you want to remove a tattoo.

The skilled hand can safely get rid of the tattoo without causing damage to your body or the skin surrounding your tattoo.

Why Do People Wrap Their Tattoo Guns?

People wrap their tattoo guns because they think it prevents the gun from getting dirty.

Some also wrap their tattoo guns when they don’t want them to get damaged by oils or skin cells build-up.

However, wrapping a tattoo gun does not affect how clean it’s and can cause damage to the tool if done improperly.

Additionally, some people wrap their tattoo guns because they believe tattoos should temporarily boast state or that tattoos do not work on other surfaces aside from skin.

In terms of cleanliness, wrapping a tattoo gun does not make it cleaner.

Someone can have their tattoo gun covered as they think they can and still have it just as dirty because the wrapping doesn’t prevent the machine from getting dirty.

To ensure that the device will not get infected, tattoo artists should clean their machines thoroughly before and after every tattoo session.

After every use, washing the tattoo gun with soap and water is the best way to ensure that your tattoo guns are completely clean. This is true whether you wrap your tattoo machine or not.

The main reason a person wraps their tattoo gun is to prevent damage from oils or skin cells build-up.

Wrapping a tattoo gun will never cause the dye to penetrate the machine’s metal and instead prevent it from getting dirty and potentially damaging the ink cartridges.

However, some people wrap their tattoo guns because they have old ones that are getting worn out and need to boast covering before touching them to keep working correctly.

Why Are Tattoo Grips So Oversized?

Tattoo grips are so oversized because they get designed for usage with gloves, and they need to give a generous amount of room for the wearer’s hand.

In addition, many grips need to accommodate a tattoo artist’s natural grip.

Finding a color that matches your finger’s feel, texture, and heft is integral if you want your tattoo grip to be comfortable for you.

If you’re looking for a tattoo grip that will last, you’ll want to invest in an acrylic grip. Acrylic grips are the most rigid, most durable grips on the market.

They are also the most expensive. You might try flexible plastic or rubber versions for a cheap and easy alternative.

Flexible plastic grips are soft and pliable. They can get shaped to fit your hand comfortably in all directions.

But they are also easily deformed, so they’re not recommended for long-term use or holding heavy items like ink vials or paper towels;

They’ll bend out of shape and probably snap in the process. Use them while you’re practicing a new style or getting used to a new grip.

Rubber grips are better for daily use but should get replaced when they become worn or sticky.

Rubber grips come from latex and some other synthetic material that makes them resistant to slipping.

If your hands tend to sweat a lot, you might want to go with rubber grips rather than cloth or plastic ones since the latter tend to slip out of sweaty hands more quickly.

Rubber grips are also excellent for people with allergies to latex.

It’s vital that you like the feel of a grip, no matter which kind you choose, because you’ll be using it every time you get ink.

If it feels uncomfortable in your hand, it will make tattooing more difficult and unpleasant than it needs to be.

Can You Reuse A Tattoo Grip?

Yes! You can reuse a tattoo grip once it’s clean. When reusing a grip, the sterilization process is the most important thing to consider.

Make sure you use a new needle for each customer and wipe the tattoo grip with an alcohol solution before and after each use.

The second most important thing to consider is which type of ink you will be using on your customers.

Anyone that will not get reactivated by alcohol should be used to ensure safety and sanitation.

After you are sure your grip is clean, wrap the grip in a new paper towel, apply packing tape over the paper towel, and store the grip in the sterilization box.

You can reuse this grip for future piercings. When using a tattoo grip that boasts usage before, you should make sure to check for any excessive ink residue or blood.

You will want to wipe down the tattoo grip before use and disinfect it with alcohol afterward. You can do this by simply wiping the hold with an alcohol-soaked paper towel, then back to full operation.

You will want to keep an eye on your tattoo grips that have been reused in this way, as they may not look as clean as new when back to full operation.

The only problem with reusing a tattoo grip is not knowing the conditions it has been in before and the sterilization process. 

Do You Have To Autoclave Tattoo Grips?

Yes! If you are not using disposable tubes/gloves, you should be autoclaving to prevent the transmission of infection.

A tattoo is a permanent mark left on the skin by inserting ink beneath the skin layer.

Tattoos are usually sought for aesthetic reasons but get used as self-expression and to signify group membership.

One crucial way tattoo artists and piercers can help keep their customers safe from infection is by ensuring that they have clean supplies on hand, including gloves and tubes.

A tattoo can be a long and painful procedure, so it is vital to have the right equipment.

Disposable and autoclave-safe tattoo tubes are available in several formats: disposable wristbands, gloves, and sleeves (with or without liners), surgical tubing, and gauze.

Disposable tattoo tubes(Amazon Link) are very affordable, but they are not always needed.

Tattoo artists sometimes use their own clean “pre-sterilized” tattoo supplies, such as surgical tubing or gauze.

A significant problem with tattooing is infection. The possibility of infection is incredibly high when using unclean or poorly sterilized equipment.

How Do You Sterilize Tattoo Grips Without An Autoclave?

You can sterilize tattoo grips without an autoclave by boiling them in a pot of water brought to a boil with two tablespoons of kosher salt.

After fixing and rinsing, you can place the grips on top of a cold pack or ice cube tray before your tattoo session.

After your tattoo session, make sure you sterilize the equipment between customers and replace it after each client.

Make sure you wash your hands with a disinfectant before starting to tattoo. With this method, sterilization will be slowed but not stopped.

This is an even more critical step since most clients have no idea of sterilization protocols and will use the sterilized equipment.


Tattoo artists grip tattoos using their hands in the same way musicians perform with their instruments.

The tattoo artist grips the skin with pressure and pulls it up away from the needle; instead of toward the needle-like, most of us hold a pen.

A tattoo artist’s job is to create an artistic masterpiece with a tattoo gun, and their skill at the grip determines how well they can do this.


I'm Vincent, a registered skincare specialist and an award-winning tattoo artist. I've been in the industry for over 10 years and have worked with some of the best tattoo artists in my field. I've loved everything to do with tattoos and arts in general, as well as exercise and wellness! This site is a place for me to share some of the expertise knowledge I have, as well as keep up-to-date with current research and studies. Tattoos are a huge passion of mine, I faced many questions from customers about different products, and there was hardly any help on the internet. I decided to start a blog and help other people!

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