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Tattoos: Think Before You Ink!

Updated on May 29, 2014

Don't be like me

I got my first tattoos when I was just 14 years old. No. I didn't go to a professional. And No. I didn't sit down and think about what kind of tattoo I could get and not regret having 10 years later. I just sat there and let my 13 year old friend Kelly go wild with a sewing needle and ink. She gave me a total of 9 tattoos on both arms, both legs and my belly. So today I sit here with 2 smiley faces, a broken heart, a whole heart, my nickname, 2 red X's, a circle and I-heart-u permanently inked into my skin.

Aren't I so friggin cool?

My Homemade Tattoos

smiley face on arm

broken heart on arm

circle and X on arm

heart & smiley face on leg

red X on leg

I heart u! on my leg (written sideways)

my nickname (CJ) on my arm

this used to be a smiley face on my belly

Getting A Homemade Tattoo

This is basically how Kelly did my tattoos. Except she wasn't smart enough to put the needle into an eraser. Instead she just wrapped a bunch of thread near the point so the needle could only go in so far. She also wasn't smart enough to draw the design first.

Once again. Aren't I so friggin cool?

Would you ever get a homemade tattoo?

Would you?

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My Professional Tattoos

When I was 19 (and 5 months pregnant) I had a coupon for some free fake tattoos from a small tattoo parlor. When I went there to get them, she was out. Instead she offered me a free real tattoo. So I chose to get a rose with my sons initials (WJM) on my upper arm. I thought she did ok but my Dad said it looked like she wrote ZIGM instead of WJM. And, Wow! I didn't realize how faded it was until I took this picture!

The next tattoo I had done was this peace sign and rose on my belly. It used to be a smiley face (thank you Kelly). I went to a tattoo shop just to get a circle drawn around it and get it filled in with color, but the tattoo artist said he could do something better. We picked this design because it could cover the old tattoo. It's been 7 years and I think it's held the color very well.

By the way, I had this done just 3 weeks after I had a baby. Because my skin was still so pliable and stretchy, it ended up being a very painful tattoo.

Five years ago I went back to the lady that did my first tattoo. I asked her to tattoo some butterflies on my back (yes, a tramp stamp!). It took her 3 hours to do it. I don't know how I managed to get through it without crying. When she was on my back bone it felt like she was just slicing through me with a hot knife. But I got through it and when it healed, I loved it. So I went back to thank her and guess what? She didn't like it! She said the colors were wrong and asked if she could go over it again, free of charge. I swear that second time hurt more than the first. And, yes. This time I cried.

This is my latest tattoo. It's a Leukemia Awareness Ribbon. In July of 2012, my best friends 12 year old son lost his 2 year battle with Leukemia. He was such a special person, I wanted to do something to honor him. So when a local tattoo parlor held a cancer awareness event, I decided to get this tattoo. What made it extra special was knowing that all the money raised went to a local cancer patient who was struggling to pay the enormous hospital bills.

Would you ever get a professional tattoo?

Would you?

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Spiritual Tattoos Gone Wrong

Three years ago, Johnny and I held our spiritual wedding ceremony. Part of that ceremony included getting matching tattoos. We spent the day with the minister/tattoo artist and she helped us design a tattoo that showed who we were as a couple. I love our tattoo! But I would love them even more if they actually matched!

As you can see, my tattoo turned out ok. Not great, but ok. She messed up some of the lines (look at the left side on the left hand) and there was supposed to be a lot more color (there's no color in the lightning on the bottom). But at least with my tattoo, you can tell that it's two hands with music notes, fire and lightning.

Johnny's tattoo is completely messed up. Take a look at the "hand" on the right. Yeah. Do you see the light bulb? I shouldn't have to say anything else, but I will. Compare the lightning on both tattoos. The positioning of it on each tattoo is close but they don't match. Plus Johnny's lightning is completely colored in. Now look at the flame in the middle. On my tattoo, it almost reaches the hand on the right. On Johnny's tattoo, it just kind of stops in the middle.

We plan on having another ceremony later on so we can get the tattoos fixed.

My Mistakes

Where did I go wrong with my tattoos?

  • I let a 14 year old nut job use me as an art project.
  • I used purple ink as the major color in my first professional tattoo. Purple tends to fade the fastest.
  • I got a tattoo when I was pregnant. Never get a tattoo when you're pregnant!
  • I tattooed my belly right after giving birth. I can't tell you how much that hurt!
  • Hey! There ain't nothing wrong with a tramp stamp!!
  • We found out after the ceremony that the minister/tattoo artist was on drugs while she did our tattoos. Stupid minister.

My Advice To You

I'm not going to tell anyone not to get a tattoo. I think tattoos are a great way of expressing yourself. I'm even planning on getting a few more. I just want to tell you to be smart about it. Really think about it. Stop and ask yourself:

  • Why do you want a tattoo?
  • What do you want your tattoo to say to people?
  • Are you going to be happy with it 20 years from now?
  • Is this tattoo going to affect your job?
  • Are you going to be embarrassed to show it to your kids?
  • Will your tattoo affect future personal relationships?

Really take your time with it because this is permanent.

Alternatives To Permanent Tattoos

If you think you want a tattoo but you're not 100% sure, you still have some options.

You could try a temporary tattoo. and are both websites that will let you design your own temporary tattoo.

Or you could get a henna tattoo. The great thing about henna is that it lasts for a couple weeks. That should give you enough time to decide if you want to make it permanent.

Tattoo Designs

If you're still searching for that perfect tattoo, try one of these books filled with tattoo designs.

photo credits

All my tattoo photos were taken by me (which is why some of them are kinda fuzzy).

The graphics are from Free Squidoo Images & Decorations.

Henna tattoo picture can be found here.

Photos and text; © 2011-2013 Catherine Taylor. All Rights Reserved

Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

So, what are your thoughts on tattoos? Do you have any or are you planning to get one? Do you have a tip you'd like to offer?

All comments are moderated. All html is stripped.

What do you think about tattoos?

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    • LeCordonDude profile image


      6 years ago

      think before you ink is a great lens, I want to use those two temporary tattoo links in one of my lenses on tattoo guns! :) good job

    • Coreena Jolene profile image

      Coreena Jolene 

      6 years ago

      I like how you went through all your experiences. I am not into tattoos but I can appreciate the good artwork. My daughter has 2 amazing tattoos that go from her shoulder to her elbow on both arms. She paid quite a bit to a fantastic artist in San Francisco and is quite proud of them. I hope she is still happy with them when she is an old granny someday.

    • Cherry-Ambition profile image


      7 years ago from U.S.

      Just letting you know I FINALLY added this lens of yours to my Tattoo Lensography! I think this lens DEFINITELY helps people think twice before getting inked. Impromptu tattoos are NEVER a good idea unless it's something REALLY small (like a star or heart or something simple), but even then I'd be careful...

    • Andrea RM profile image

      Andrea RM 

      7 years ago

      You have great advice here. I got a professional tattoo when I was 18 and, though I cannot honestly say I'm thrilled about it now (mostly because I feel I've outgrown the motif), I'm not really bothered by it either.

      I DID at least think it over seriously and decided on a place that's easy to hide for job interviews or just because.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 

      8 years ago

      For awhile I wanted to move to Arizona and learn how to become a tattoo artist. That was in 2009. I actually had an invite from a very talented artist from Hawaii who wanted to start a second shop in Sedona. This year I was thinking about teaching ESL in Korea for a year- I was signed up to go, ordered my transcripts and copy of my degree- then body crashed and plane never left Canada. I too get on some mind trips that can mitigate some interesting manifestations (like homemade tattoos). I think Squidoo's a good place for us- we can use it as a kind of reality testing. Test it out on a lens before the body lol :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Well, I would probably not get one, but my daughter has three or four now. Hers are very well done, but we have had the conversation about whether she thought seriously about whether she would still want it when she was 80. She said, very sarcastically, "Really, Mom, are they permanent?" LOL

    • Othercatt profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @puzzlerpaige: The neatest tattoo I've ever seen was on an old man who was bald on the top of his head. He had a lawn mower tattooed on his bald spot so it looked like it was mowing his hair.

    • puzzlerpaige profile image


      8 years ago

      WOW, you have some stories! I will probably never get a tattoo, but I think good ones look neat on some people. Hubby wants a jumping marlin fish on his calf. On him, it would look good. Oh, and I saw a man with fish gills on the sides of his torso - I think that's the neatest one I've seen.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Oh dear, what a few tales you tell - I chose to visit this lens because my most successful blog is all about Tattoos ;) And yes, what you say about: "Really take your time with it because this is permanent" is something that most people should take note of :)

    • Othercatt profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      @glenbrook: Thanks! I'll definitely add that question!

    • SueM11 profile image

      Sue Mah 

      8 years ago from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

      Good advice about getting a temporary tattoo first. This way if a person doesn't really like the design they can still change their minds.

    • glenbrook profile image


      8 years ago

      Another question to add: "Will it offend a future potential mate?" My wife made me get one of mine removed before she agreed to marry me. Nicely done lens.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      8 years ago from Central Florida

      I like the idea of people trying a temporary design first. They should remember that in some job situations, the person hiring may discriminate against someone with tattoos. They need to hire someone that will project the image they want in their business.

    • jctatum profile image


      8 years ago

      great advise!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      8 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Very good advice based on your own experience. I once accompanied two friends to a tattoo parlor on a whim. (Theirs, not mine.) I kept wanting to say something--to tell them I thought they should sleep on it, think about it. But I held my tongue. One ended up with a dark sun around her bellybutton. The other got a DARK armband. Both were very unhappy campers the next day. I do kind of doubt anything I might have said would have made a difference, but I did regret not speaking up.

    • Pete D profile image

      Pete D 

      8 years ago

      Some good advice on this lens. I think everyone considering of having a tattoo should take under consideration some of your advice.


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