Tutorial: How to Set Up a Tattoo Workstation Like a Pro

How to Set Up a Tattoo Workstation like a pro

Anyone who wishes to offer tattoo services must create a clean environment. Because tattooing is prone to cross-contamination, it is your responsibility to take serious precautions to protect your clients.

Cleaning requires attention to detail because many workstation parts must be sterilized before the tattooing begins. The more procedures performed, the faster the workstation becomes contaminated by harmful pathogens, implying that cleaning should be done more frequently.

It would be best to address this safety concern at the basic level by dedicating the room solely to tattooing. As long as the service is in progress, the room should not be used for other projects.

Are you a beginner looking to learn how to set up a tattoo workstation?

You’ve come to the right place. We’ll give you advice on setting it up and keeping it clean.

Keep reading to learn more.

Things You’ll Need Before Setting Up a Tattoo Workstation


Setting up a tattoo workstation requires a certain amount of planning and preparation.

Be aware that each tattoo artist has a unique setting for their workstations.

Prerequisites for setting up a tattoo workstation

The following list is meant to serve as a basic guideline, not a substitute for professional advice. You can alter it to suit your tastes and the style of tattooing you desire.

  • Tattoo machines
  • A clip cord
  • A foot pedal
  • Green soap
  • Plastic wrap
  • Dental bibs
  • Sharps disposal container
  • A disinfectant spray
  • Zip lock reclosable bags
  • A disposable razor
  • A tattoo design
  • Tongue depressors
  • Ink caps
  • Ink bottles
  • Rubber bands
  • A rubber band jar
  • Pattern transfer agent
  • Tattoo aftercare kit
  • Medical nitrile gloves
  • A task light
  • Tubes that suit the needles you’ll use
  • Needles still sealed in their packets.
  • A roll of paper towels
  • Wax paper
  • Some plastic cups with water in them – the number should correspond to the variety of inks used
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Tattoo Workstation Set Up


1. Use a tattoo workstation with non-absorbent properties. Plastic, glass, and metal are non-porous materials typically safe for this environment.

2. Keep the workstation uncluttered and only essential supplies on it. Other items should be separated and kept in different storage spaces.

3. Use antiseptic soap to wash your hands. The palms, the areas between the fingers, and the underside of your nails should all be rubbed evenly. It’s also worth noting that longer nails tend to harbor dirt and germs, so keep them trimmed regularly.

washing hands before tattooing

4. Put on a pair of medical gloves. Remove them from the box and discard the already used ones. You can also hang a dispenser on the wall to easily access these disposable gloves. It’s also a good idea to put a trash can next to it. These protective gloves should only be used once. Toss them out once you’re done cleaning.

5. To protect against disease-carrying microorganisms, spray surfaces with a disinfectant. If you want to buy it online, make sure it’s labeled medical-grade. This label certifies that a product meets medical applications’ quality and safety standards. After spraying, allow it to sit for 5 to 10 minutes before wiping it away with a clean paper towel. 

6. Clean all other tattoo supplies thoroughly with the same agent and water, including bottles, trays, and other essential items you use during the tattooing session.

READ ALSO:  How to Become a Tattoo Artist? A Simple Guide You Can Follow.

7. If you have liquid containers that you frequently use to the point where they need to be refilled, simply fill them to capacity the first time. This eliminates the need to fill them multiple times, increasing contamination risk.

liquid container for tattooing

8. Use plastic wrap to protect surfaces, especially those you frequently touch. Examples include where the task lamp, power supply, and bottles are displayed. The wrap can also be used to protect electronic devices. It acts as a barrier to keeping sanitized parts sterile throughout the process.

9. A dental bib is another useful item for protection. It can be placed on top of the workstation, knowing that it will be a crowded space once everything is placed on it. This item is normally used to shield patients from liquid spills. However, because tattoo artists often work with ink, it makes sense to use them in a tattoo shop. And because of their porous nature, dental bibs can help reduce the risk of staining.

10. Take a few paper towels from the roll. To avoid touching it again while the procedure is in progress, grab a few handfuls. This also helps to reduce contamination risks. In case you accidentally touch the roll with dirty gloves. In that case, it’s best to assume it’s no longer hygienic because contaminants were transferred through direct contact. Simply throw it away and replace it with a new one.

11. Another thing to remember is that tattoo machines should only be used while wearing gloves. Sterilize them using the recommended method, such as an autoclave, after being cleaned. After that, store them in sealed bags until you’re ready to use them again.

READ ALSO:  How to Become a Tattoo Artist? A Simple Guide You Can Follow.
sterilizing tattoo gun using autoclave

12. As you’re waiting for the next client, ensure that all tattoo supplies are ready on the workstation. Remember to place some dental bibs beneath the supplies. Also, if the procedure comes in blister packaging, don’t rip it open before the process begins. This is done to reassure clients that the equipment is brand new.

tattoo needles for a workstation

13. Keep a disposable container nearby, but not near the essentials. To prevent needles from poking through, they must be puncture-resistant. You can avoid the hassle by purchasing one designed for sharp objects.

Wrap Up


As a tattoo artist, you are responsible for your client’s safety. Not only do they deserve it for the money they paid for the service. But, more importantly, you don’t want your business license revoked because something bad happened to your client due to your poor business practices.

That’s why it’s so important to follow tattooing best practices and government rules when running a tattoo parlor.

Aside from hygiene, knowing what to put on your workstation can help you work more efficiently.

And because certain items may not be required based on your requirements, not all are supposed to occupy the tabletop. Please review the list we provided above and select the ones you use the most.

Hopefully, after reading this article, you now understand how to set up a tattoo workstation. It takes time to get used to it, but since it is a repeated process, we are confident you will improve over time.

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