Want to know more tattooing terms? We’ve got you covered with our three-part glossary on words you should know when it comes to the world of tattoos.

In the third and final part of our tattooing definitions, we go from S to Y! Have you check out our first two parts yet?


A tattoo studio, or a tattoo parlour, is where a collective of tattooists work and conjure up their designs. You should always ensure the studio is licensed before booking with it.

Tattoo Chair (Or Table)

A tattoo chair and table are adjustable pieces of furniture that help keep the client comfortable while they’re getting inked. They also allow the tattoo artist to reach the area that they’re tattooing on. Often people will get tattooed for hours on end, so both client and artist must find a relaxed position to hold.

Tattoo Gun

People often call tattoo machines, tattoo guns, which is the wrong terminology, and often a disliked term by artists.

Tattoo Machine

This is the right term for the machine that does the inking. Machines are either rotary or coil operating.

Tattoo Tube

A tattoo tube connects the tattoo machine and helps the needles get into a client’s skin.


Tebori is a traditional Japanese tattooing method, in which the ink is carved into the client’s skin, rather than tattooed in with a tattoo machine. Japanese tattoos normally have major motifs like animals, figures from mythology, flowers and people. Younger generations in Japan have tried to preserve ancient methods like Tebori in contemporary tattooing culture.


After many years, tattoos may need a little touch-up, especially if the design has been exposed to the sun. The original tattoo design is retraced with fresh ink, filling in gaps and brightening the once faded tattoo.

Trash Polka

Trash polka is a style of tattooing founded in Germany. It consists of abstract imagery, lettering, scattered realism, and even geometric designs. The tattoo design is often made up of red and black ink.


Tribal tattoos are a common style, which have been modernised from traditional tattooing techniques throughout history.

UV Tattoo Ink

UV tattoo ink is what is used to create ‘invisible’ or black light tattoos. As it glows brightly under black lights, UV tattoo ink is often used to create cool and surprisingly parts of tattoos that can only be seen when under the specialised lighting.


Watercolour tattoos are an artsy design that takes aspects from watercolour paintings, such as the brushstrokes, pastel and light colours and motifs.


A workstation is where all the magic happens! This is where the artist can store all their supplies, including the machines and ink, to complete their work.


Yantra is a tattooing method that originated in Ancient South-East Asia. It involves a sharp-ended bamboo stick embedding ink into the skin, much like the stick and poke method mentioned in the second part of our glossary. Yantra tattoos are often thought to promote protection and power, so the designs are often rooted deeply in local Asian and traditional folklore.

Written by Wayne Grant