8 Stages of Rib Tattoos
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Student Life

8 Stages of Rib Tattoos

It hurts more than you think

8 Stages of Rib Tattoos
Alexandria O'Connor

This summer, I got two tattoos. The first was wasn’t bad at all. It rests below my right shoulder blade, and the feeling was more annoying than painful. After about three months, I wanted another one though. My parents were afraid that I would go tattoo crazy, which is understandable. Less than a week before I left for college, I got tatted again. This time, it was on my ribs, and let me tell you, it hurt a hell of a lot more. This is the 8 stages of rib tattoos.

Wanting a rib tattoo.

You look in the mirror wearing your bathing suit and just think about how cool it would be to have some sort of design or phrase on your side. Completely obsessing over it. You pin pictures of rib tattoos on your Pinterest and share pictures on to facebook. Is there anything else you actually do with your life other than look at tattoo designs?

Finding the perfect design.

Alright, so it took you about four million pins and half a dozen years, but you finally found that design that you want. It was on one faithful day that you scrolled through facebook, and BAM! The design that you’ve been searching for for years, the design that you were too mediocre of an artist to draw up yourself, pops up on your newsfeed. The second that you see it, you just know, that is your design.

Talking to your artist.

Next thing you know, you’re finding an artist or texting your artist to see if he or she can fit you in this week. Your excitement is building because in T-minus 7 days you’re going to have some new art on your body. Your artist says that he or she will draw it up, and then he or she asks you to give a deposit. You happily drop at least $20 and say that you’ll be back soon.

The night before.

And the freaking out starts. You’re texting every person you know just so that you have some company while a needle pushes into your skin for the next 3 hours. Everyone is busy with work or school, and even your own mother doesn’t want to go. Luckily, one of your friends is there to hold your hand, and she even goes to breakfast with you beforehand. How sweet.

The stencil.

When your artist shows you the line work, you fall in love with the design all over again. Your excitement peaks when it’s finally on your body. You lay down, after looking in the mirror, in the most awkward position possible. Get used to it though, you’ll be staying like this for a while.

Line work.

Line work is the worst part. It hurts, it stings, and it’s the majority of the tattoo. The more detailed your design is, the more line work that is involved. (ouch!) You’re a tough cookie though, hold your bud’s hand and don’t cry. You got this!


Shading is like a walk in the park compared to line work. You went from wanting to cry to wanting to tear up. I’m not going to lie to you, it all hurts whether you want it to or not. There is no amount of Tylenol or numbing cream to make that pain go away.


The healing process hurts too. The area is tight and it hurts to move around for a little while. Remember that you got the tattoo on a very sensitive area and that you move that part of your body when doing pretty much everything. A hot compress the first three nights and A+D ointment twice a day. You’ll be fine. You were a tough cookie and now you’ve got a badass rib tattoo. Go you!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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