Tattoo FAQ

Shop closed through June 8th in compliance with DC’s order to close all non-essential businesses due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Piercings: If you have any piercing issues or aftercare questions, please feel free to reach out to Mantis at or @mantisxwildflower.

Tattoos: We can do tattoo consultations by email – Please see FAQ/#Consultations if you’re unsure of what information to include in your email, and we’ll ask any necessary follow up questions.

If you have emailed and haven’t gotten a response yet, please be patient. Like you, we’re dealing with a lot of unforeseen circumstances during this time, and we’re unsure about when we can start scheduling appointments again. Know that we miss you all, and we’ll be back to work as soon as possible.

Thank you for your patience, and be safe.



Have a question that isn’t answered here? Give us a call at 202-986-4239, email us at, or come by the shop!

Frequently Asked Questions

Be prepared to get tattooed: What do I need to bring with me? What do I need to do before getting tattooed? Can I bring a friend? Is it going to hurt??
Consultations: Is it better to do a consultation in person, by email, or by phone? Do I need to schedule a consultation? What information should I include about my tattoo for an email consultation?
Pricing: How do I get an estimate? What is pricing based on? What if I have a budget?
Walk ins: When do you take walk ins?
Appointments: How do I set up an appointment? Will I see the design ahead of time? What if I need to reschedule or cancel? How long is my deposit good for?
Tattoo Aftercare: How do I take care of my new tattoo? Do I need to buy any aftercare products beforehand? What should I avoid while my tattoo is healing? How long does it take to heal? What if I need a touch up? What should I know about long-term care?
Employment / Apprenticeships: We are not currently hiring or offering apprenticeships.


Be prepared to get tattooed

First tattoo? Or first tattoo in 15 years? Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through everything! Getting tattooed can be a bit nerve-wracking, even if you already have a few, so being mentally and physically prepared is helpful.

Eat a good meal before getting tattooed – there are lots of great places to eat near the shop. If it’s a long session, feel free to bring snacks with you.

Be sober – we will not tattoo you if you have been drinking, or are on any other fun drugs. It’s also not the best idea to drink heavily the night before. Getting tattooed hungover can be a pretty miserable experience.

Wear comfortable clothing. Wear clothing that allows us to easily get to the area you want tattooed, if possible.

Feel free to bring a friend to distract you. Friends are welcome to sit in the tattooing area with you (room permitting), but please leave under-aged children at home.

Everyone asks… “Is it going to hurt?” The short answer is, well, yeah. But in our experience, the anticipation is usually worse than the actual feeling. (We think it feels like an electric cat scratch!) Pain shouldn’t be a factor in deciding where to put your tattoo. Sure, some areas hurt more than others, but you should get it where you want it to be on your body forever. Once the actual tattooing is over, you won’t remember what it felt like anyway. If you need to stop and take a breather at any point during your tattoo, just let us know. Our eyeballs and backs need breaks periodically too, so we’re usually happy to stand up and take five with you.

Your tattoo may take longer than expected, so give yourself plenty of time. Feel free to ask questions. Relax and have fun!

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In person

For any custom work, coming into the shop for a consultation in person is best. If we can speak with you in person, we can make sure we understand all aspects of your design, see the area we’ll be tattooing, and give you a more accurate idea of cost and how long your tattoo will take.

You don’t need to schedule a consultation, you can come by anytime during shop hours. If you’d like to speak with a specific artist, it’s always a good idea to call before you head over to make sure that artist is in that day.

By email

We can do limited consultations by email. Please provide as much information about your tattoo as you can in your email:

  • What is your tattoo? What kind of imagery do you want to include? Please include any photos or references you have. Even pictures of things you don’t like can be helpful!
  • What kind of style do you have in mind? If you’re not sure what to call it, feel free to send example pictures, even if they’re not the same subject matter.
  • Do you want any color, or black & grey, or just an outline?
  • Approximately how large will your tattoo be? Please provide measurements in inches or centimeters – ‘small’, ‘medium’, and ‘large’ are relative and we won’t know what that means to you! We also can’t determine size based on a photo of a body part, as everyone comes in very different shapes and sizes.
  • On what body part will your tattoo be going?
  • If you’re getting lettering, let us know what font you’d like to use. Check out for hundreds of options.
  • Any other relevant information? Is it a cover up, are we working around another tattoo, are there any scars  or moles in the area you want tattooed, etc.?

We may recommend coming in for a consultation if we feel that we need more clarification before we are able to give you a useful time & price estimate. We try to answer emails as quickly as possible, but we spend a majority of our day away from the computer, so please be patient if we are unable to respond right away.

By phone

We can’t do consultations over the phone, sorry!

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The best way to get an accurate estimate is in person, but we can also give general estimates by email if we have enough information. Pricing is based on a lot of different factors, including overall size, amount of detail, color, shading, what part of the body it’s going on, etc. See Consultations for a list of information you should include in your email about your tattoo. We cannot give estimates over the phone.

For tattoos that can be done in one session, we will be able to give you an estimated price range. We can’t give an exact number until final size and placement is decided on the day of your appointment, but we won’t go above our estimate unless there are any changes that affect how long the tattoo will take.

If you have a budget, it’s okay to let us know! Because we do custom work, we can design your tattoo with your budget in mind so that you can still get a great piece of art without having to survive on Top Ramen for the following month. Come by for a consultation and we can discuss your options.

For very large or multiple-session pieces, we charge an hourly rate, so you don’t pay for the entire project up front, only for the hours you are sitting for that day. We will give you an estimate for the first appointment, which is usually the longest session, since we generally need to get all of the outlining done in one shot. After the first appointment, you can schedule longer or shorter sessions as your budget (or pain tolerance!) allows, since shading and coloring can be done a little at a time. We can try to give a general estimate for the total number of hours or sessions for the tattoo, but please keep in mind that larger projects are a time commitment and financial commitment, and there are too many factors that can affect how long it may take to complete to be able to give an accurate price cap.

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Walk ins

We are happy to take walk ins when we have time open. You must be 18 years old and have a valid, government-issued ID. Walk ins are done on a first-come, first-served basis. Give us a call before coming in to check the schedule for the day to see if we have any walk in availability. It’s always better to call rather than email about walk ins, because we may not see the email in time to get you in. For larger custom pieces, we may suggest setting up an appointment if we need time to draw.

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We take a nonrefundable deposit for all appointments, and that goes toward the total cost of your tattoo. You must be 18 years old and have a valid, government-issued ID. We prefer to set up appointments in person so that we can make sure we understand all aspects of your design, give you a price estimate, and figure out how long your appointment needs to be, so bring in your references and ideas and come chat with us! We can take a deposit over the phone in special circumstances – if you’re coming from out of town, or have been in for a consultation very recently, or it’s a piece that we’ve already started, etc.

For custom work, we prefer not to email designs ahead of time for a few reasons, one of which is that it is much easier for us to make any desired changes while you’re physically present so we can ask questions as we draw. There can be too many misunderstandings trying to adjust designs over email and we may end up redrawing things unnecessarily. (Ever play the Telephone game as a kid? Imagine that, but with drawing!) We understand that it can be daunting to walk into an appointment without seeing the design ahead of time, but know that our goal is to give you a tattoo that you love, and we will work with you to make that happen.

Rescheduling or cancelling an appointment

Need to reschedule your appointment?  Just give us a call us during business hours or email us at least 24 hours in advance of your appointment and we will gladly reschedule you. Please be aware that any cancellations or reschedules within 24 hours of your scheduled appointment may be subject to deposit forfeiture – we don’t want our artists’ time or your money wasted!

If you need to cancel and are unable to reschedule right away, your nonrefundable deposit is still good for 6 months from the date you put it down, so just reschedule whenever you’re ready.

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Tattoo Aftercare

We will explain how to take care of your tattoo and give you written instructions. If you’d like to review those instructions beforehand, you can find them here. Those are our general recommendations, and we may give you more specific instructions for certain parts of the body, or for larger or more heavily saturated tattoos. Everyone’s skin is different, so once you have healed a few tattoos, you’ll figure out what works best for your skin.

We will give you A&D ointment for the first 2-3 days of healing, so you don’t need to purchase anything ahead of time. After the first 2-3 days, you will need a fragrance-free lotion. If you’d like to get that while you’re here, there is a CVS within walking distance, but you won’t need it right away. We can give you specific recommendations if you have sensitive skin.

Tattoos generally take about 2 weeks to heal – sometimes a little less if it’s just linework or lettering, sometimes a little more if it’s a large area, heavily saturated, or on a high-movement area on/near a joint.

During the healing period, you’ll want to avoid soaking the tattoo, which means no swimming or sitting in a bath or hot tub. Avoid wearing tight or abrasive clothing that will rub on the tattoo – this includes waistbands, bra straps, shoes, socks, etc. Avoid touching the tattoo with dirty hands or dirty surfaces such as gym equipment, computer keyboards, etc.

We will happily answer any questions about aftercare if there’s something that you’re not sure about, and you can always call, email, or come by if you have any concerns about how your tattoo is healing.

Touch ups

We want you to be happy with your tattoo. We know that even if you followed aftercare instructions to the letter, sometimes shit just happens. It is skin after all, and not paper. We will do most touch ups on our own work at no charge, with the exception of hands, feet, and anything from the neck up. We take pride in our work, and we want you to be proud to wear it. If you notice a spot that needs a touch up, just give us a call to set up a touch up appointment. Please give your tattoo at least three weeks to heal before requesting a touch up – sometimes that one spot that looks a little lighter is just still healing.

Long-term care

Tattoos will age just as your skin ages. Over your lifetime, the ink will spread a little and the colors will fade some. You can keep your tattoo looking fresh and bright longer by avoiding sun exposure and keeping sunscreen on it. Ink quality has improved a lot over the years, so tattoos tend to hold up better over time now. You can also have old tattoos touched up if you want to freshen them up a bit.

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