How Much Does Tattoo Ink Cost?
When thinking about a tattoo the first thing one might think about is the color or ink. This is what brings any tattoo to life. The ink is the depth and personality of the tattoo. The next thing one might consider is the cost of the ink. That cost is a considerable factor in the total cost of the tattoo. While they may think about it, most people who get tattoos do not give the price of the ink a second thought since this is rolled into the price that they were quoted for the tattoo. The people who do need to be concerned about the price of tattoo ink are the tattoo artists. If you own your own tattoo shop, you will have to think carefully about the price that you charge people to get a tattoo. Some things that you may need to consider are paying employees (or yourself), the time it takes to do a tattoo, and how much ink a tattoo will take to complete.
How much is it?
- Starter kits are available which include guns, different shades and types of ink, needles, and power supplies. These kits can range in size and vary in the amount of equipment included. You can purchase a kit containing just one gun, four inks, a few needles and one power supply, or kits are available with four or more guns, 40 plus inks, several needles and multiple power supplies. Complete kits start at around $80.
- Tattoo ink is normally sold in packages that contain multiple bottles of ink. An eight color kit, for example, can be found for under $20. But, they range in size from four colors to over 40 colors per kit. On average, be prepared to spend about $5 to $12 per one-ounce bottle or less than $2 for a 1/2 ounce bottle.
- For example, 20 colors from Iron Sakura retails for $25 to $50.
- YupTattoo.com has ink that ranges from $5 for a single bottle to as much as $50 for a 20-color kit.
What is going to be included?
- Tattoo ink can come in a variety of colors. Common colors include red, yellow, green, white, black, blue and other combinations of colors. While most artists purchase tattoo ink pre-made, some will mix their colors using a dry pigment and carrier.
- Ink has to be regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It will only be sold to a tattoo artist that is licensed and registered.
- Aside from permanent ink, other common types of ink include glow in the dark, removable, and black henna.
- Bottles of tattoo ink can come in 1/2, 1, 2, 4, 8 and 12 ounce bottles. Sets can often include up to more than 48 smaller bottles of ink. It is estimated that a 1/2 ounce bottle of black ink could potentially cover an entire arm.
What are the extra costs?
- Obviously, in order to insert the ink, you need a needle. Considering they need to be disposed of after their initial use, this is a cost to keep in mind. They come in a variety of sizes and range from $0.14 – $0.25 each. This does not sound like much but at multiple needles per day, it is a cost which can add up. Once you have used the needle, you need to dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way. Equipment that helps you with disposal can be purchased for around $50. Once you have filled the box with used needles, you ship it back to the company and they provide you with a new box.
- Ink caps, holders, and cups will all be necessary to properly hold the ink. Caps can cost as little as $3 per 100. These caps are used to hold a small amount of ink and make it easier to get more ink in the needle since it is an open cap.
- Equipment does wear out and sometimes upgrades are desired. Individual guns start at about $30 and go up from there. In order for the gun to work you need a power supply. This consists of a foot switch and clip cord. They run from five to ten dollars for the set. SEE: “How much does a tattoo gun cost?” It does not matter how much these cost since they are all vital components in being a tattoo artist and cannot be avoided.
How can I save money?
- Consider your options when choosing ink. If you are going to purchase online, consider finding a retailer that can give you multiple discounts to returning customers.
- If you are unsure of what colors to use, many companies offer small sample packs that can cost less than $1 per color.
- Find a tattoo ink supplier that you like and that provides good service, and then stay loyal to that company. You will get a cheaper price if you purchase from them on a regular basis.
- Be careful not to waste the ink that you have; take care of it and so that you do not need to replace it so soon.