The original DIY method that's been used in various cultures for centuries is usually cheaper and seems easier. Many people do it by taking a needle, attaching it to a pen or pencil, dipping it in India ink, and repeatedly poking individual dots into the skin until the picture forms. Because of this and depending on who uses the technique, it's harder to be precise and there may be more blood.
"Stick ’n' pokes are cool if they're not done by a drunk buddy in a kitchen," Côté says. "People underestimate the importance of doing them in a safe and clean environment. It's very dangerous to reuse needles, and to use anything other than certified tattoo inks."