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How to Make a Prison Tattoo Gun

We are fully aware that tattoos were initially associated with criminals. Thanks to the realizations of modern society, tattoo designs nowadays are as normal as pierced ears.

But back to that early association of tattoos to gangs and criminals, it somehow follows that tattooing is quite a normal routine done inside prison cells. There, in the absence of appropriate materials and sterilizing tools, a prison tattoo machine (tattoo gun) has been created. The homemade version of the real deal accomplishes the same goal, minus the assurance that the procedure is safe and clean. But who worries those little sanitary concerns in prison anyway?

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In prison or from the comfort of your own home, if you want to make an impromptu tattoo machine, you need these materials:

  • 1 bic pen
  • electrical tape
  • guitar string or stiff wire
  • tooth brush
  • battery-operated motor
  • pencil eraser

The bic pen is the tube that will house the needle, which is the guitar string or the stiff wire, whichever is available. You need to cut at least 5 inches off the guitar string to make the needle. A battery-operated motor (the small one) can come from a vehicle toy or a walkman.


The procedure

  1. Remove the ink tube of the bic pen and get the ball out.
  2. Insert the needle into the pen. Voila! Your needle is ready.
  3. Prepare the toothbrush by removing the bristles. You can cut the head off in order to hasten the process. Heat it up in the middle using a lighter to bend the toothbrush to a 90-degree angle.
  4. Attach the pen to the toothbrush with an electric tape.
  5. Attach a pencil eraser to the center of the motor shaft.
  6. Stick the bent end of the guitar string into the eraser.
  7. Now to make the thing work, you need a power source. This requires some know-how on electricity. For example, you can connect batteries to a switch that powers the motor to get that thing running.

You could then use a cheap deodorant and an ink pen for your tattoo. Go try it yourself. Or better yet, try it on a banana for testing, like this guy.


If you’re going to design your own tattoo gun, go for one of these gun tattoo designs.

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18 Comments on "How to Make a Prison Tattoo Gun"

  1. avatar SWISHER Says:

    i guess..but how do you take out the motor?

  2. avatar metal408 Says:

    you break the shit open and find the motor. dont be a bitch. why the deodarant though?

  3. avatar Sam Says:

    You need the deoderant to lub the skin.

    Don’t be a bitch, get a tat and you’ll know.

  4. avatar anthony Says:

    hey i made one just now how do u make tha ink stay on thfe needle

  5. avatar Bob Says:

    I don’t get how to do the power source part

  6. avatar dread Says:

    i am 13 years old and trying to make a simple tatto machine

  7. avatar king vidor Says:

    im havin some trouble getting my motor/motors to work reliably, i have 3 that are doin the same thing. they dont seem to spin every time a lot of the time they just hum. i havent even put the gun together yet i wanted to make sure everything worked first. what could i be doin wrong? im guessing its the power supply im using theres no adjustable voltages on it. it says on it “pri:240v~50hz” and “sec:9v~300ma 2.7va” too much?

  8. avatar Jesus Says:

    Wat i want 2 learn is how to make a tattoo machine so i can learn how to tattoo and get a degree on how to tattoo and to be the best at tatooing and become d best and succed in my life i want 2 get a job at a tattoo parlor so i can finally be somebody.

  9. avatar agnes Says:

    We sell Tattoo guns from China. Our company,Yingwei Electronic one of the biggest tattoo equipment manufacturing. Our company specializes in producing and selling tattoo machines, needles, tips, grips, power supplies, etc.

  10. avatar colorz Says:

    ok i put the thing together just as instructed right but whne i jab the guitar string into the earser the motor doesnt spin at all fro some reason any tips?

  11. avatar William Says:

    i have made the gun and everything works fine but the ink wont stay in the skin what have i done wrong and what can i do to fix it.

  12. avatar Dick Says:

    William: what was excluded from this article was that the needle must be very sharp. Try cutting the tip of the needle at an angle.

  13. avatar Austin Says:

    what can i get a motor out of?

  14. avatar johnnytattoo09 Says:

    i my self am a tattooist and you guys have to be the biggest dumb fucks. one of you stupid fuck is going to get hep c or some nasty ass infection doing shit like this.word of advice get a job, save some cash and buy a real machine or pay a professional. don’t listen to all the idiots on the internet.

  15. avatar demon Says:

    we just or they just want tattoos

  16. avatar Neil MacLennan Says:

    U need the deodorant to transfer the design from the paper to the persons arm. You draw the design heavily in Bic pen and then using the deodorant on the persons arm place the drawing on it and rub it. the deodorant transfers the image to your arm. The ink can be made of many things but the best ink is either the soot from burnt wood or you burn a razor blades handle under a microwave glass plate collecting the soot. the ink from that carbon source is the darkest. I have a few jail tats and the work from these guys is amazing. Well from most of them anyway. and normally it is a paperclip that is used for the needle and sharpened first with emery cloth that’s smuggled from the workshop and then it is finely sharpened using the ceramic tiles in the bathroom. The best motors are taken from the rumble packs in video game controllers or CD players. I used to draw the designs for people you can check them out on my Facebook page @ neil maclennan my avatar is a pic of me and my wife. she’s kissing my cheek. Any way one thing that is also not shown clearly in the drawing is that where the needle connects to the motor you have to use a cam so that the needle moves up and down. the erasers from pencils or regular erasers work best. ANd you have to remember that the cam is what sets the depth so it is critical to have it set right. Too shallow and the ink falls out and too deep and you turn the guys arm into hambuger. Ohh and make sure the needle is as sharp as possible otherwise it hurts like hell. That’s why u use the ceramic tiles to finish the point. The best point is a four sided type not a “round as you can get it” type. It’s easier to sharpen it this way and provides the best point, it’s a diamond point design and they use it with K-wires in hospitals when pinning bones together like in your thumb when u uppercut someone with the wrong part of your thumb lol

  17. avatar Ester Says:

    Hey Dennis, I am hoping you’ll be down with me borrowing one of the photos from this article for my blog. My brother is in prison and wrote about tattoos in prison. I’ll link the photo credit back to you. Check it out here:

  18. avatar FAT TAT PHIL Says:

    Wow some crazy ways ha ha, Easy way to make a decent machine, use a electric toothbrush (if available)take the end off, use the plastic pen top off a ballpoint pen, cut a piece of guitar string, poke it through the pen top to create a nib for your needle (cut string on a angle to make it sharp) cut a piece of rubber erasure, make a hole to fit the string, push string through and bend the end 90 degrees to attach to rubber, push rubber onto end of toothbrush firmly, take the pen nib and tape it over rubber and hey presto away you go. But hey guys honestly go to a professional tattooist like me or at least get one off E,BAY cheap as chips to buy.

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