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Tattoo Artists Describe Their 'Oh Sh*t' Moments

Updated July 31, 2019 59.9k votes 14.5k voters 506.8k views10 items

List RulesVote up the most horrifying mistakes.

Tattoos, like diamonds, are more or less forever, so tattoo artists need to be extra careful with their work. But, hey, everyone can have a bad day, as you'll learn from this list of tattoo artist mistakes. Whether it was through a plain old error on the part of the artist, or awful customers making the job more difficult, these tattooists faced some major challenges, all accompanied by that split-second moment of blazing panic that can be summed up in two words: "Oh sh*t." 

We've all made mistakes on the job, but when you throw permanent ink into the mix, along with questionable requests from customers, the stress level goes up a notch or two. Tattoo artists on Reddit shared their most memorable "Oh sh*t" moments, and how they kept their needles steady in the midst of panic.

  • 1

    Mid-Tattoo Is A Bad Time To Learn About A Break-Up

    From Redditor /u/ItsJustGizmo:

    Dude's getting a big rose with a name through it... his wife's name... During the tattoo, he was getting texts or something and he started going quiet. He asked for a quick smoke break.

    Twenty minutes later, he returns. I casually get started again. By this point I’m doing the shading, about halfway through he says, "I dunno what to do man. She’s just told me she’s been cheating on me and we’re over." F*cking bombshell.

    I finished the dude's tattoo, spoke for a bit, got paid, haven’t seen the guy since. Such a shame.

    Is this a terrible tattoo moment?
  • 2

    The Customer Who Caught On Fire

    From Redditor /u/refridgerage:

    I was tattooing this girl and I had just really started out and this was my first time on my own. I was scared as sh*t. Anyhow, I was going pretty strong and everything looked pretty good and my boss stepped out to grab food really fast. Right after she leaves, the light she had clamped to the station above the girl I was tattooing fell and the bulb exploded on her back on impact and caught her shirt on fire...

    That lamp was there over a year and never fell. I got so lucky. I tattooed a really nasty line right through the flowers I was mid-stroke on. Yeah, it took months to get over that for me. She was cool though... It was definitely the biggest immediate "oh f*ck" I had there.

    Is this a terrible tattoo moment?
  • 3

    That's Not How You Spell 'Thirteen'

    From Redditor /u/sokiraxi:

    Friday the 13th, we do a $20 tattoo special. I had been working for about 12 hours, and I go to tattoo this girl. She gets Finn from Adventure Time and the word "Thirteen." As I’m tattooing, the stencil starts to rub away and I realize I spelled "thirirt."

    I stop and say out loud "oh f*ck." I tell the girl and she agrees to let me cover it with roses.

    Is this a terrible tattoo moment?
  • 4

    Accidentally Punctured By The Tattoo Gun

    From Redditor /u/crash11b:

    I was an apprentice and... tattooing this guy. Somehow, the customer bumped my hand that held the machine and the needles punctured my finger. Internally I had an "Oh f*ck!" moment. I told him what happened, changed out the needles and tube, and finished it. I was freaking out inside...

    I got tested. Thankfully I was clean. I was stressed out until I got the results.

    Is this a terrible tattoo moment?