Tattoo needles are usually used in groups, allowing the tattoo artist to create lines or shade. The groups can be round, used for creating lines, or flat, used for shading. Depending on the regulations in your state, tattoo needles may be used and sterilized or new. Ask your tattoo artist, if you're not sure whether the needles will be new or used. Either way, be sure the needles used are clean and sterilized.
Giving the best possible tattoo requires more then just great ink. A good quality needle is almost as important. The way a needle
is put together is referred to as its configuration.
Configuration indicates how the needles are grouped together. The configuration determines the shape or pattern of how the ink will go into the skin. So in the example of 1207RL, where 12 is the diameter, 7 is the count, RL, indicates the configuration. RL stands for round liner, a round liner is a formation of needles in a tight circular formation which is used for lining. The other configurations are RS = round shader, F = flats, M1 = weaved magnum, M2 = stacked magnum and RM = round magnum.
Tattoo Needles Type
These configurations make up the different tattoo needle types or groupings. RL or round liner needles grouped together in a
tight round formation. RS or round shaders are grouped together in a loose round formation. F or flats are grouped together in a line formation. M1 or weaved magnum are grouped with 2 rows of needles in a weaved formation, so for example a 7M1 will
have a bottom row of 4 and an upper row of 3. M2 or stacked magnum are grouped in the same way as M1 but are tightly stacked together hence the name stacked magnum. RM or round magnum are grouped the same way as M1 but the points are arranged
in a curved arch.
RL or round liner needles are used for lining. RS or round shader are used for shading. Flats are used for areas with geometric shapes and shading. Weaved magnums are used for shading, blending and coloring large areas. Stacked magnums are used
for shading, blending and coloring tighter large areas. Both can be used for lining if you turn the needle to the side. This does
take a bit of skill to do, so only do it if you have practiced the technique enough or else you may end up damaging the skin. Round curve magnums are used for shading, blending and coloring large areas with less impact to the skin. The needles are made in
an arch formation to better deflect the skin when it goes in and out. With a regular magnum, there is potential for the edges of the mag to dig into the skin, with a round magnum, the arch of the needle will allow you to move more freely on the skin without the
risk of the edges digging in.