How to Set Up a Tattoo Gun for Lining

Lining in tattoo designs is the creation of the outlines that make the design. These lines may be bold or thin and they can be straight or curved. They are probably the most difficult portion of the tattoo because they have to be precise, and placed perfectly to create the artistic image that you are trying to achieve.

Before the lining can begin you have to set up the machine and get things ready.

Things Need to Tune or Set up a Tattoo Machine

Things to Remember Before Buying a Tattoo Artist Chair

Before you start to do any tattoo lining you need to have a steady hand and a few things on hand to do the work with. You need latex gloves, a lining needle, a tattoo machine, a dime to set the gauge on the machine, a rubber band, your preferred ink, and patience.

Latex Gloves


Latex gloves are mandatory for the artist applying the ink to have. The gloves protect your hands from being exposed to any blood or bodily fluids that could possibly be contaminated with diseases like HIV, hepatitis, and more. The gloves also protect your customer from being exposed to any disease or contaminant that might be on your skin.

You should put on a new pair of latex gloves for each customer. If you have to get up and leave the customer while applying the tattoo the gloves should be removed when you stand up and new ones should be put on when you return.

Latex gloves also prevent any bacteria from being introduced to the tattoo machine. That means you have a more hygienic set-up that is less likely to cause any infections or irritations.

This is the biggest part of personal protection you can offer during these procedures, and it is the least expensive protective measure you can take.

Tattoo Machine

How Deep Does a Tattoo Needle go into Your Skin

If you are going to be doing tattoos then you need a machine to do the work with. To perform the act of creating lines you need to:

  • Put on your gloves
  • Set the gap between the spring of the armature bar and the screw tip to the thickness of a dime. This is 1.25 mm. Once the gap is right you screw down the binding post.
  • Choose your outline needle. Use a new needle that is still in the package.
  • Put the needle in the gun tip first. While you are positioning the needle take care and avoid allowing the needle tip to come into contact with any portion of the machine. This keeps your needle sanitized and ready to use.
  • On the end of the needle opposite the tip there is a loop. Connect that loops to the top-hat grommet. You will secure this in place using a rubber band. The rubber band should be placed around the shaft of the needle and around the frame of your machine.

You can adjust the amount of play that the needle has by adjusting the tightness of the rubber band. The tighter the rubber band ii the less play that the needle has.

Lining Needle

There are several lining needles to choose from. The most important thing about your lining needle is for you to have a new needle that is still in a sealed package.

The needles are primarily flat and soldered in a straight line. They have sharp points that allow them to deliver a greater quantity of ink each time they penetrate the skin. 

Using these needles creates clearer and darker lines with fewer pokes.

These needles may be called standards or referred to as a #12gauge needle. They are generally 0.35 mm.

Finer lining needles have needle groupings that are smaller so they offer thinner lines for greater detailing. These needles are said to cause less pain but that is not always the case.


The lining is the most critical part of the design process. You need a steady hand and you must pace yourself to get the perfect image created through a series of lines.


  • Try to rush through the lining and outline of the design
  • Use a needle that has not been kept in a sealed package
  • Work without wearing latex gloves
  • Use inferior ink
  • Push to finish the line past the point of tolerance the person getting the tattoo has. If they move while you are creating the lining then the entire design can be ruined.


A tattoo artist must be able to create the lining of a tattoo with crisp lines that are clear and concise. It will behoove you to do exercises and practices where you hold your hand slightly above in a position similar to the one you will be in while holding the tattoo gun.

By doing this you can strengthen the muscles in your forearm and gain control over your hand. This will let you develop fluid movements and the ability to do the work without shaking or getting a cramp. The more you practice the better you will get.

Leave a Comment