Some things you just can’t DIY

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Some things you just can’t DIY

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DIY or “stick and poke”tattoos dating back to ancient forms of body art is quietly circulating  Bellefonte High School and many students have varying opinions about the new, potentially dangerous fad. Stick and pokes are even illegal depending on the circumstances but that hasn’t stopped students from seeking out self proclaimed “tattoo artists” for an affordable job.  

Stick and poke tattoos are created by coating the skin in vaseline and poking a design into the coated area with a needle wrapped in string, sterilized with rubbing alcohol, and soaked in non toxic India ink.

Many teens are drawn to this because of how easily accessible all the materials are.  

“I did it when I was 13. I was with friends and I didn’t really think about it. My stick and poke took a long time to do and I’m really proud of it, ” an anonymous BAHS junior said.“It’s sloppy but that’ what makes it personal to me. I totally look forward to doing more in the future.”  

One 14 year-old freshman girl with a smiley face tattooed on her by a friend is all for the trend. But did this trend hurt her and was it worth it?

“Yes and yes. I like how it looks and it has some good memories behind it.”

Another BAHS student, a 16 year-old sophomore said he, “loves his tattoos and the meaning behind them.”

He has a “999” on his wrist, his mom’s initials on his right ring finger, and a little spaceship on his neck.

“The only one I was apprehensive about was the one on my neck only because it hurt the most and I didn’t want the ink to get in my blood even though its non toxic, so far nothing has gotten infected”.

These tattoos don’t come without a price.

“I didn’t tattoo them myself. I don’t trust myself enough. I have shaky hands. I only paid $20 for each one and the girl who did it did a good job,” the anonymous sophomore said.

No matter how happy some may be with their tattoos, tattooing without a license makes stick and poke tattoos a misdemeanor of the third degree. A misdemeanor in the state of Pennsylvania is punishable by no less than a year in prison but a misdemeanor of the third degree is the least serious degree of misdemeanor.  

Not everyone is in support of the trend, especially those who are concerned about the health risks. School Nurse Mrs. Val Fulton provided insight to the risks of stick and poke tattoos.

“Skin protects us from the outside world and is our first defense against bacteria, viruses and other pathogens” she said.

According to Nurse Fulton, if a stick and poke goes wrong it can result in, “significant pain or even a stay in the hospital,” and in some cases it may cause, “severe lifelong problems.”

Despite the risks of stick and poke tattoos many kids are still set on getting them and have no trouble finding who to go to to have it done.