FAQ

Where are you located?

Our studio is located at 395 Garrisonville Road, Unit 103, in Stafford, Virginia next to the 610 Car Wash and Vinny's Pizza in Stafford County. The nearest cross street in Onville Road across the street from Arby's, RadioShack and CVS. Plenty of off-street parking is available in our lot.

Do you do body piercing?

No. We are a tattoo studio only. We no longer offer any form of body piercing (no removals, no insertions, no adjustments, no trouble shooting, nothing whatsoever to do with the art of body piercing). We do sell some jewelry but again, we don't do insertions, adjustments, change-outs ect.

 

What are your hours of operation?

We operate from noon-8 pm Wednesday to Sunday. We are closed for inclement weather and all major American holidays.

 

What forms of payment do you accept?

Cash, Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover credit/debit card, DHT gift cards.

 

Do I need ID?

Yes, we require valid government issued identification each and every time even if we’ve worked with you before.

 

Does getting a tattoo hurt?

Yes, tattoos hurt but most tolerate the sensation better than they imagine they would. Tattooing is a stinging sensation. Some areas are more painful than others depending on the person and her or his individual tolerance to discomfort. Happily, most folks tell us it’s not as bad as they imagined it to be.

 

Can you price my tattoo over the phone?

No. We do not price over the phone, through email or social media. The best way to get a price is to physically come in to the shop due to the many complexities involved -- if you need dedicated talk-time with an artist feel fee to request a consultation by telephone or by stopping by and chatting with reception.

 

Should I tip my provider?

Please do! All providers work on straight commission and tips account for a large portion of their income just like waitresses or stylists. That being said, a tip is based on your satisfaction and not required. What is a typical tip? Use a waitress’ scale – 20% is common for good service.

 

Are tattoos addictive?

Not in the clinical sense, but once someone knows what a tattoo feels like, their fear level goes down and he or she usually gets more than one. Acceptance is very high for tattoos and because body modification doesn’t carry the stigma it once did, more and more people feel free to express themselves as individuals. All this means, is that you might the like the result enough to get more than one tattoo.

 

Do you accept minors for tattoos? Do I need to bring anything?

Dark Horse Tattoos chooses to accept minor clients on a case by case basis. Each tattoo artist may have his or her own guidelines. Please feel free to call or check with the provider on staff that day.

Minors must be at least 16 years old and bring their legal parent and provide the following:
state ID, driver’s license, or passport

AND
birth certificate

AND

parent’s or legal guardian’s state ID, driver’s license, or passport (parent must be present). In the case of legal guardianship, according to the law, we must see the court documents and cannot accept your word for the relationship.

Also note:
If there has been a name change (ie, child’s name does not match parent’s), you must provide documentation of the name change.

 

How much does a tattoo cost?

Our minimum charge is $60 for tattoos but many factors effect the price including the size, placement and detail of the design. Coming in to the studio in person with your design (if you have one) is the ONLY way to get a price on a tattoo as we can’t price designs over the Internet, by fax, phone or mail.

Our tattoo prices cover one of the very cleanest and safest environment in which you can be tattooed. Regardless of the size of your tattoo, from a full sleeve to a tiny dot, the single use set up costs the artist the same which is why there is no discount for multiple people getting the same design.

For small designs we can usually quote a flat fee for the work. For larger designs, we will quote an hourly fee or a session fee. If your dream tattoo costs more than you expected, it’s best to save your money so you can get what you want rather than compromise your standards because after all, tattoos last a lifetime.

REMEMBER: The sweetness of a cheap price is long forgotten over the lingering bitterness of a bad tattoo.

 

Are the needles new?

YES! In accordance with Virginia law, all needles are brand new, sterilized and single use for each and every client. Needles are discarded in an approved sharps container after use.

We use the same hospital-grade sterilization as hospitals or dental offices through the use of one of our two new Tuttnaur 1730 autoclave sterilizers. Autoclaves combine extreme pressure and high temperatures to destroy microbial agents (bacteria & viruses) resulting in sterility. Our autoclaves are subject to spore testing by an independent agency to ensure they are properly functioning.

 

Are the inks new?

YES! The pigments used in tattooing are poured into tiny single use ink caps and discarded after the tattoo is completed.

 

What else do you do to protect my health?

All providers are trained in CPR, Basic First Aid, & Universal Precautions and are licensed by the state for their vocation. All items that a provider uses including arm rests, wash bottles, power dials and machine cords are covered in a non porous barrier such as plastic bags, barrier film, dental bibs or finger cots. All horizontal surfaces are disinfected before and after use with a hospital grade disinfectant known to be effective against blood borne pathogens. Finally we sweep the area with UV light which is known by the CDC to destroy the DNA/RNA of all bacteria & viruses.

 

Are you licensed?

Our studio itself and all our artists & piercers are licensed by Virginia’s Department of Professional Occupational Regulation. Feel free to come in and check out our licenses which are posted in plain view.

 

Can I get my tattoo in private?

Absolutely. We have private procedure rooms to serve you in the case of a private location. You do, however, have the option to bring 1 guest into your procedure room if it comforts you. And remember, ALL minors can have a parent present.

 

Can I get tattooed TODAY?

Maybe. We take walk-ins and if there is time and an artist is available, we will tattoo you. If there isn’t time enough to tattoo you, all our artists are booked, or you don’t want a long wait, we take appointments every day although each artist does not work every single day. We highly recommend appointments if you don’t want a long wait or if your work requires custom drawing (although sometimes quick art modifications can be done on the spot).

 

How do I set up an appointment?

For a tattoo, you must speak to a tattoo artist in person during a free consultation prior to getting an appointment for a tattoo so we know how much time to book and what is involved in your piece. A $50-$200 NONREFUNDABLE deposit is required for all appointments and no artist will work on your artwork without a deposit. Deposit amounts are based on the size and difficulty of the project.

Once you have reviewed our portfolios, you will have an idea whose style you like. Not every provider works every day and you must speak to the artist in person during a consultation before an appointment can be set. This consultation gives you and the artist time to discuss your ideas.

Your artist will ask you exactly how you want your tattoo to look so it is important to have given this permanent change in your appearance lots of thought. If you can’t convey what you like, it’s very difficult for even the most talented tattoo artist to guess correctly, so if you have reference material (images from magazines or the internet), bring it with you so the artist can see what you like.

Once you have consulted an artist in person you may set up an appointment at the time of the consultation. Sometimes detailed custom work must be drawn up prior to getting an accurate quote and a deposit is required before any artist will work on your tattoo design. This ensures artists aren’t wasting their time drawing art for people who are not actually ready to get tattooed.

 

What is your deposit policy?

  1. All appointments (and custom art) require a $50-$200 non-refundable, non-transferable deposit; deposit amounts are based on the size and difficulty of your project. Deposits are always non-refundable under all circumstances even if you decide not to get tattooed or simply do not show up for your appointment for any reason.
  2. Deposits come off the total cost of your tattoo. In the case of a multi-session tattoo, tattoos are taken off the LAST session.
  3. Deposit are for a specific design, date and artist, so if you change any of the afore conditions you will lose your intial deposit and will be required to put down a new deposit if the artist put work into custom art based on the original idea you set the appointment for. Appointments can be changed but a minimum of 48 hour hours notice is required so the artist can fill the slot in her or his schedule.
  4. If you are asked to bring reference material in advance of your appointment so the artist can work on your design and you fail to do so as requested, you can lose your deposit.
  5. Deposits are for a tattoo not artwork; the artist retains the artwork which was created for the appointment. Artwork cannot be emailed, texted or photographed to protect the artist's work.
  6. All deposits expire if work is not under-taken within 6 months of today’s date unless other arrangements are agreed upon in writing.
  7. We allow TWO reschedules per tattoo because we know things can come up and life is unpredictable. After two reschedules for the same design, you must prepay all future appointments for that design in full prior to arrival.
 

Can I bring my own picture in?

YES! We encourage you to bring pictures in to help describe how your tattoo should look. Images help artists and clients to get on the same page when discussing styles, colors and symbolism. Even if the image isn’t exactly what you want if there is something about the picture you like it can help convey to your artist the final look you’re going for and almost any image can be turned into a custom tattoo made to fit. Naturally if you need us to redraw a sketch you have, we can do that to although a deposit is required for us to work on any tattoo design.

 

How do I care for my new tattoo?

You were tattooed in a modern studio with sterilized instruments and pigment. The long term appearance of your tattoo is dependent on the care it receives in the next few days. Following these instructions will ensure that it heals quickly and remains attractive.

  • After approximately 2 to 4 hours, remove the bandage that the artist applied. If you notice that the bandage has dried to the tattoo simply wet the bandage with luke warm water and remove it slowly.
  • Wash the tattoo with a mild hand soap and warm water, rubbing the tattoo with your fingers until all of the dried blood has been removed. DO NOT scrub or wash your tattoo with any type of abrasive cloth.
  • Once the tattoo is clean, blot it dry (being careful not to use anything abrasive). Allow the tattoo to air dry completely.
  • Then once the tattoo is dry to the touch, apply a very small amount of a mild dye-free, scent-free moisturizer (available for purchase at the front desk) to the tattoo and surrounding tissue. Massage the lotion into the tattoo with your fingertip. It is VERY important that you use a very tiny amount of lotion, just enough to make it moist. If you see a greasy sheen, you have applied too much. If this occurs, gently blot the excess off.
  • Clean the tattoo and apply the lotion every two hours for the first 2-3 days. After the third day, apply lotion 3-5 times a day until the tattoo is completely healed.
  • For the first two weeks, do NOT go into the swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, tanning bed, or lay out in the sun. The only exposure to water should be your regular showers. Be careful not to let the shower water beat directly on the tattoo for an extended period of time.
  • Do NOT re-bandage the tattoo. Use only lotion. Keep clean, loose clothing over the new tattoo.
  • Do NOT scratch, pick at, or peal the new tattoo.
  • Do NOT expose your new tattoo to direct sunlight.
  • Once the tattoo is healed we recommend using 15-30 SPF sunscreen when the tattoo is exposed to the sun.
 

How long will it take for my tattoo to heal?

Generally most tattoos heal in 2-3 weeks depending on its location, the care given while it’s healing and the general health of the client. You may notice some slight swelling and soreness for a day or two afterwards. Most people peel/flake like a bad sunburn. Generally, the peeling starts in 3 or 4 days after you are tattooed and tends to be very itchy. Don’t pick at a flaky tattoo!

Sometimes people get scabs. This usually happens if the client was a heavy bleeder, clothing created a friction burn or the tattoo got water-logged. If this happens do not pick the scab! Let the scab fall off naturally.

Healing a tattoo is not like caring for any other wound. Never use peroxide, rubbing alcohol, aloe, cocoa butter or other products we don’t recommend. Don’t take advice from your friends, the internet or other tattoo studios. Part of the price you paid to get your tattoo is for our expertise in the art of tattooing. Call the studio or stop by if you have questions.

 

Can I get my fresh tattoo wet?

You must wash your tattoo and your friends really like it when you shower regularly. However, you should avoid soaking in any type of water. So if you plan to go to some decadent tropical location go on Spring Break, get your tattoo after you come home!

 

I want a tattoo, but my job/school/family/etc wouldn’t like it, can you tattoo with white ink?

We offer white tattooing with a special waiver explaining the risks of all-white tattoos and we do not do free touch-ups on all white tattoos.

 

Do you sell body jewelry?

Swing by the shop! We’re have a small retail selection of jewelry but we do not remove, insert, trouble-shoot or pierce anyone.

 

How many tattoos is it possible to get at one time?

We usually say that two procedures at once won’t over-tax your body. Remember your body has a limit to how many wounds it can handle healing at one time.

 

How long do I need to wait to go swimming after a tattoo?

For a tattoo we recommend you wait a minimum of three weeks. If you can’t avoid the water, we suggest waiting to get your new tattoo since sand, sun and water are generally not good for fresh wounds.

 

How long after getting a tattoo do I need to wait to start tanning again?

We recommend waiting at least three weeks until your tattoo is completely healed Once you are healed use SPF-30 or higher to limit the inevitable fading that tanning and sun exposure causes.

 

My tattoo is peeling, flaky or scabby. Is that normal?

Yes, sloughing off the skin is a natural part of the healing process and it’s best to let the scabs fall off on their own, so don’t pick or scratch and you’ll be just fine!

 

Do you offer apprenticeships ?

No.

 

Do your tattoo artists only offer one style of work?

We’re artistically versatile and offer many styles of work from simple small pieces to glorious large scale custom creations. Our portfolios feature many styles including, but not limited to, traditional American and neo-traditional work, Japanese work, photo-realism, grey-wash, black-work, portraiture, cartoons, and more. Drop by the studio and talk with our staff to discover just how artistically versatile our artists are.

 

Do you mostly tattoo men or only have designs that appeal to men?

No! Our clients represent a nearly perfect 50/50 split in gender! And don’t forget we can take your special idea and make it into a custom tattoo just for you.

 

Are you hiring?

We’re always willing to review talented professional artists’ portfolios. We also always accept applications from reception staff.

 

Can I get an infection from a tattoo?

There is virtually no chance of getting an infection from the PROCESS of getting a tattoo since we sterilize all procedural equipment and use new sterile needles for each and every client. That being said caring for your new tattoo or piercing while it is healing is up to YOU and if you don’t take care of it properly as we advise, you CAN get an infection. After all, tattoos are OPEN WOUNDS and must be treated appropriately.

 

What do I do if I think I have an infection?

If you think you are in dire need of medical attention, see a doctor immediately because we are not doctors nor should any of our advice be construed as a medical diagnosis. If you don’t believe you are in dire need of medical attention but still have questions, come by the studio for a provider to take a look if you are concerned.

Please do not CALL and ask our opinion on a procedure we are unable to SEE; you must COME IN.

 

How long will my procedure take?

Tattoos vary greatly in time based on the size, placement, details of the design, skin condition and client tolerance. Small tattoos can usually be estimated very accurately in terms of the time it takes to complete them (barring unforeseen circumstances) so ask how long your piece will take when you sign up. A general guideline in time estimation is below for multi-sitting, large-scale work but this is only an estimate not a guarantee:

  • Full Back Pieces: 75 hours and up
  • Full Arm Sleeve: 25 hours and up
  • Half Sleeve: 5 hours and up
  • Quarter Sleeve: 3 hours and up
  • Forearm Gauntlet: 5 hours and up
  • Rib Panel: 5 hours and up
  • Chest Plate: 10 hours and up
  • Leg Sock: 15 hours and up

Large scale work is paid for over time with payment due at the time of each session rather than beforehand or after it’s finished. It is expensive based on the time, creativity and attention to detail involved but paying as you go helps. Your best bet for an estimate is to consult with an artist so you can discuss your tattoo specifically.

 

Can you tattoo ANYTHING?

No. Not every image is tattoo-able though most any image can be modified to become a successful tattoo if you take your artist’s expertise and experience into account. Some details might need to be removed or the scale or placement might need to be changed. You are paying in part for our expert advice in the skill of tattooing, so we heartily recommend you accept our goal is your satisfaction with a tattoo that will be successful and gracefully weather the years to come.

 

Can I get a color tattoo if I am dark skinned?

Just because you aren’t ghostly white, doesn’t mean color is always precluded. Ask you artist what will work best with your skin tone but do realize even the most bright & vibrant of colors will look duller on darker skin.

 

Why can’t I have a detailed tattoo design done super small?

Be afraid! Too small tattoos just don’t hold up over time. Teeny tiny tattoos will turn into an indistinguishable blob. Every tattoo expands with age in every single person. The body is a living canvass and life means wear and tear; biological change is inevitable. Your artist can explain scale limitations in person.

 

What should I do to prepare for my appointment?

  • First be on time. Providers schedule work based on your punctuality; their very livelihoods depend upon it, so please, please, please be on time.
  • Get plenty of sleep the night before.
  • Drink plenty of fluids the day of your appointment.
  • Eat sensibly and eat directly before your appointment. You are less likely to feel faint if your blood sugar level is normal.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. We need bare skin to tattoo and we don’t want to mess up fancy clothing. Think ahead about what needs to be exposed and then dress appropriately with something loose-fitting.
  • Bring your i-Pod. Music helps. Seriously.
  • Do NOT bring a gaggle of friends/family to your appointment; only 1 guest is allowed in the procedure room and that guest must be at least 16 years old. Remember this is permanent and your provider must concentrate.
  • Do NOT bring children. Our liability insurance bars them from entering the procedure rooms for everyone’s safety and we regretfully do not provide baby-sitting services.
  • Do NOT drink alcohol or take drugs. The law demands we turn you away in such a case and you would lose your deposit. In fact, we prefer you don’t drink the night before either; ANY alcohol thins out the blood resulting in excessive bleeding which can negatively impact your work’s results.
  • Do NOT apply Emla cream. The law forbids us to work on you in such a case. Emla & lydicane creams make your tissue swell and resist the needle. In the case of a piercing swell can make jewelry placement crooked. In the case of a tattoo swell hinders the needle’s penetration so depositing tattoo pigment doesn’t work well – your tattoo would end up looking faded and old from the get-go.
  • Do NOT take painkillers. All OTC and prescription drugs have a blood-thinning agent meant to assist the effect of the drug upon the body. Drugs are not very effective in blocking the pain of tattoo or piercing; tattoos and piercings hurt and that is simply the truth. Bearing the sensation is simply part of the process.
 

What do I do if I feel faint, light-headed or nauseous before, during or after a procedure?

Tell your provider immediately. Do not try to ignore your body! While feeling sick is fairly uncommon, it’s not unheard of and we know what to do. Let us help!

 

Can you complete unfinished work or fix a bad tattoo?

Possibly. Show us what you have and we’ll talk about the possibilities.

 

Can you rehabilitate an old tattoo?

It depends on the tattoo. Most of the time we can re-work old pieces to make them look like new again by re-coloring them. Sometimes, especially in cases where tattoos were done too-small in the first place, you may only have covering it up or lasering it off as an option. We’ll give you our best advice if you show us what you have.

 

Can you cover up a tattoo I am no longer satisfied with?

Often times we can but sometimes we can’t (especially in the case of a very dark dense black piece or a situation where you are trying to cover up something that’s already been covered once). Cover Ups are a more specialized art unto themselves and not every artist wants to deal with fixing a bad piece of work. If we think we can create a successful tattoo, we will. If not, we might recommend lasering the tattoo a few times to lighten it to the point where your cover up options greatly expand.

 
 

Can you tattoo me with glow-in-the-dark (black light reactive) ink?

No. Our insurance forbids it. Additionally, no one here is really convinced it’s safe or long-lasting.

 

Will my hair grow back over a tattoo?

Yes. Tattooing does not retard hair growth.

 

Can you tattoo over scars or stretch-marks?

Maybe. It depends on your skin and the marks in question. We have to see your skin to make a determination but in general marks must be well over a year old and must not be too bad. Because the density of tissue is different in a scar, it often times it resists tattoo pigment by taking it unevenly resulting in “patchy” coloring.

 

Can you tattoo ANY body part?

All skin can be tattooed but not all skin tattoos well. For example, the palms of the hands do not tattoo well because you simply “wear off” the tattoo in most cases.

 

Can you remove any tattoo by laser?

Not necessarily. The owner has had laser removal done on some of her tattoos and one can see a “ghost” outline of the former tattoos. Swing by the shop if you want to talk to her about the process. The only way to completely remove a tattoo is surgery and in such a case, a scar would inevitably result. While lasering is a great option, it’s not realistic to expect it to restore skin to it’s pre-tattooed state. It can definitely lighten work, especially black and color to a lesser degree, which can give more cover-up options.