How to Make Tattoo Ink with Pen Ink and Pencil Lead

Does your tattooist know how to make tattoo ink? What goes into your mind when your artist mixes some ink colors?

It is scary, isn’t it?

Having to tell the truth to someone about tattoo ink poisoning who may not want to hear. The brutal honesty will set you free.

It sucks to see your client having a tattoo that scabs badly and takes longer to heal. I always talk to my clients before making an appointment for body inking.

The thought of hurting your client with the truth is scary. And I do not want to do that. This is the reason why a prepared this post to teach you how to make homemade tattoo ink.

Homemade tattoo ink is suitable for those youth with the aspiration to get tattoos but they do not fall in the majority age according to the rules of the U.S.

Homemade tattoo ink is also an alternative for those individuals with less budget but they have that strong desire to have a tattoo on their body.

Sometimes finding the right colors for your tattoo design can be difficult. This is because you need colors that are appealing especially on something that is going to stay forever on your skin.

About four people out of ten in the United States of America have a tattoo according to several surveys conducted by our experts.

FDA does not regulate the number of people getting tattoos but it is much concern about the ingredients used in making tattoo inks.

I am glad you are still reading. Let’s start…

In this post, you are going to learn about the composition of tattoo ink and how it is created. We recommend you visit a professional in order to get a tattoo. This will reduce the chance of getting an infection since they tend to use hygienic equipment.

Well, in case you find a professional who wants to use homemade tattoo ink that is fine. Let’s continue…

What Is Tattoo Ink Normally Made Of?

There are huge jargons that are used to describe how the ink pigments spread around the tattoo design but let us keep it easy for you.

You will need a solvent for dissolving the ink pigment so that it can spread out easily from the point where the needle was inserted.

The common solvent used in many tattoo parlors across the U.S include ethyl alcohol, distilled water, and propylene glycol among other antiseptic formulas.

The application of alcohol swab on the skin before tattooing is specifically meant for increasing the permeability of the skin.

According to studies, these pigment colors contain some heavy metals like mercury for red, lead for yellow and nickel for black.

The common organic chemicals contain carbon from ash or soot, arsenic, beryllium, calcium, and lithium. In addition, natural ingredients derived from plants can also make a good vegan tattoo ink.

Do you know how to make tattoo ink with pen ink? Does your artist know how to make tattoo ink with pencil lead? Continue reading in order to learn how to make tattoo ink with food coloring.

Unfortunately, there are some tattoo ink manufacturers who always do not want to disclose the ingredients of their inks. The majority tend to use lightening agents such as lead or titanium so as to reduce the production cost.

It sucks to see such companies existing modern society despite having tough regulations in the tattoo industry.

According to the environmental health news report, the presence of benzo(a)pyrene in black tattoo ink is known to cause cancer in animals.

Is It Possible To Make Your Own Tattoo Ink?

Lots of tattoo specialists have decided to mix their own inks in order to be sure of the content. Majority of these simple recipes are non-toxic and they are said to be similar to those of Native American tribes.

It is good to ask your tattooist about the content of the tattoo ink before considering body inking especially if you are concern about ink poisoning.

I normally start with a base of witch hazel or sometimes I may intend to use other antiseptic solutions such as vodka.

I would then proceed with a little bit of propylene glycol alongside the similar amount of medicated grade glycerine. Then, I finalize by mixing the pigment powder in order to acquire the required tattoo ink color.

You can buy your own pigment powder from a reputable tattoo ink supplies company and then make your own at home.

It is recommended to perform the activity in a very clean environment. Remember to wear the masks and gloves in order to ensure no germs enters your mixtures.

Sterilize the container where you are going to store the ink and keep it away from direct sunlight so that the colors do not fade away.

DIY tattoo ink is also known as “prison tattoo ink.”

Does it mean you rob a bank first? NO.

DIY tattoo ink is quite common in many prisons but you can make it at home. Unfortunately, prison tattoo inks are prohibited in many prisons across the U.S like the famous Indiana Maximum Prison.

However, this does not imply that it is no longer used. There are some prisoners who serve death sentence and they happen to be fond of these body inking since it is no longer a problem.  

Do you know how to make tattoo ink from wood ashes? Here is the way…

You will be expected to have baby oil, water, tin can, and charcoal. Burn the cotton wool in the tin can filled with baby oil. The tin can helps to make the soot black. Scrap off the black powder and mix with water to form the ink.

In case you have a limited budget then I recommend you try the prison ink. Carbonized black ash from burnt wood can make a very dense ink. For DIY tattoos, it is recommended to use Vodka instead of water. This because it is antiseptic and has a clear appearance.


Each states health department in the U.S regulates various tattoo shops and studios. However, the rules do not inhibit tattoo specialists from exploiting their talents and skills.

Tattoo inks are considered to be part of cosmetics according to the FDA and it is the reason why it does not apply some regulations at this time.

Therefore, when you prepare your own ink, it is up to you to make sure it is safe and device methods that will protect you while undergoing body inking.

Unfortunately, lots of homemade tattoo ink usually wash away or fade out with time. This will force you to consider a professional touch up or opt for tattoo removal.

I recommend you buy professional ink rather than making homemade tattoo ink since it will save your money and also time. Moreover, professional tattoo inks are much safer than homemade. The decision is now in your hands.