Frequently Asked Questions

We compiled some of the most common tattoo questions for your convenience.
How do tattoos work?

If this is your very first tattoo, you may have some questions about how the tattoo process works. Tattoo application uses a mechanized needle to puncture the skin and inject ink into the second layer of skin which lies just below the epidermis. The ink particles are too large to be broken down, therefore the tattoo becomes permanent.

What sterilization methods do you employ?

At Black Gate Tattoo Studio every team member is required to be certified with proper BBP techniques, cross contamination prevention techniques, and CPR techniques. The safety and comfort of our clients is our highest priority.

Every surface on the tattoo station is sterilized, then covered with a single use protective barrier. Each needle comes pre-sterilized and pre-packaged, is opened for each individual client, and properly disposed of in a sharps container after use.

Will my tattoo hurt?

The short answer is yes. Although, depending on your own personal pain threshold and where the tattoo is placed, some tattoos may hurt differently than others. One common misconception is that fatty areas will hurt less. This is not actually the case as nerve endings lie above the fatty tissue. Typically we say a tattoo will feel like a hot cat scratch, it will be uncomfortable, but bearable.

How much will my tattoo cost?

The studio minimum at Black Gate is $100, so for even the smallest, simplest of tattoos we charge $100. This minimum price covers not just the setup of the tattoo, but the rent for the space, and all of our bills. This allows us to offer you an awesome experience.

The studio rate is $160/hr and pricing will be discussed with your artist during the consultation. If you have a budget in mind for your piece, don’t be afraid to let your artist know. For large scale pieces (full back, full sleeve, etc.) you can expect the total price to be somewhere in the thousands. However, since we charge an hourly rate the cost is broken up into much smaller amounts.

What’s my next step?

The tattoo process usually follows this schedule:

  1. Contact Black Gate Tattoo Studio
  2. Set up consultation
  3. Come for consultation
  4. Leave deposit
  5. Schedule tattoo appointment
  6. Get tattooed
Are consultations necessary? What if I live out of area?

We love to accommodate our clients as much as possible, however consultations are a vital element to the artists’ process. There is no substitute for seeing the canvas in person and having a one-on-one conversation to go over design, expectations, questions, pricing, etc. We also use our consultations as the time to place deposits and schedule tattoo appointments.

What should I bring to my consultation appointment?

A good consultation will lead to a good tattoo! We ask that you come prepared with any reference materials, questions, and ready to collaborate with your artist. It is our job to take your concept and artwork and translate it into a tattoo that be lasting, quality artwork! If you haven’t yet placed a deposit, you’ll also want to bring $80 to the consultation, as we will schedule your appointment(s) at that time.  

How do deposits work?

Deposits are an important part of the tattoo industry. They keep the client and the artist accountable to one another and ensure that we are able to cover the expenses we incur whether you are tattooed or not, like web and email hosting and the time we spend responding to our clients. Our deposits are $80 and are due at the time of consultation, when booking your tattoo appointment. Your deposit will be held until your final tattoo appointment, at which time it will be credited toward the amount due. For in-depth information regarding deposits, please visit our Deposit page. 

What if I need to reschedule my appointment after I’ve booked it?

Life can be unpredictable and we like be accommodating of that fact. We ask that you let us know a minimum of 72 hours prior to the scheduled appointment, to allow our artists to fill their time. No show appointments and appointments changed without 72 hours notice will forfeit their deposit.

What should I do to prepare for my tattoo appointment?

The night prior to your tattoo do not drink or use drugs. We like our clients to be comfortable, healthy, and ready to be tattooed! Being tattooed can take a toll on your body so try to get a good night’s sleep, and show up hydrated and well-fed.

What should I bring to my tattoo appointment?

For a detailed list of what you’ll need to bring the day of your tattoo appointment, please check our What to Bring page!

How much should I tip?

It is customary to tip your tattoo artist, as you would anyone else in a skilled trade position, and we greatly appreciate whatever amount you feel is appropriate. The rule of thumb tends to be either 15-20% or $25 per hour.

Do you do _______ tattoos?

Whether you want to tattoo your head, neck, hands, face, or fingers, we want to help bring your concept to life and, upon consultation, we will gladly do your tattoo. We also do inner lip, single line, white ink and watercolor tattoos, although the longevity of these tattoos is not guaranteed.

What tattoos won’t you do?

Our shop is a private haven where our clients and artists can come to create, and as such we insist that it must remain a hate-free space. We appreciate violence, nudity, sexuality, and general crassness in the context of art so long as it stops short of bigotry. Tattoos will be judged at the artist’s discretion.

Can I bring a friend or family member?

Yes! We want you to feel supported and at ease so we happily accommodate any moral support you bring, ideally we ask that you limit it to 2 people.

My artist is booked out for many weeks, how can I get in sooner?

Our artists are typically booked out a month or more in advance, so there is little we can do to get you in sooner. We maintain a Waitlist for each artist in the event that an appointment opens up. Another option is to come see us at a convention, we participate in several a year and you can find information on those at our Event page.

What about touch ups?

We do offer complimentary touch ups as we also want your tattoo to look it’s best! We ask that you allow at least one month for your tattoo to completely heal before a touch up, and no longer than 6 months after your initial appointment. Keep in mind that most tattoos won’t need a touch up if you’ve followed our aftercare instructions.

Do you have gift certificates?

Absolutely! Since the shop is appointment only, we will schedule you a time to come in and purchase one, so we can figure out the right amount with you and get some information on the client.

Do you accept cards or are you cash only?

We are Cash Only at the moment, there are many ATMs in the downtown Olympia area so don’t forget to plan ahead!

Will you continue another artist's work?

There are circumstances in which we will continue a tattoo that has already been started, but we will need a consultation before we commit to doing so. The tattoo industry has an unwritten code of conduct so it’s not as simple as coloring in an outline and we will want to know why the original artist isn’t able to complete the design.

What is your policy regarding children in the studio?

Our goal is to make each client’s time in our studio is as relaxing as possible, and in general tattoo studio are not kid-friendly spaces, so we do not permit children (even our own!) into the studio.

Can I use a numbing cream?

At Black Gate Tattoo our goal is to make you as comfortable as possible. That being said not all numbing creams are created equal and in personal experience we find it can actually cause the tattoo to hurt more as the cream wears off, so for a small to medium sized tattoo it should not be necessary. If you have a numbing cream you’d like to try, bring it with you to your consultation or tattoo appointment and discuss it with your artist!


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