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Reddit Asks Tattoo Artists Their Biggest 'Oh Shit' Moment

Like a Jerry Springer marathon, I can’t seem to ignore a story on ‘tattoos gone wrong’.

What you don’t see a lot of, however, are the stories behind that very moment when the tattooist messes up.

Recently, that very question was thrown out to Reddit.

Eloquently titled: “Tattoo artists, what was your biggest ‘oh shit’ moment while tattooing?”, here are some of our fave responses...

My friend went to a guy he knew that did tattoos as a hobby at his house. He wanted "UNFORGIVEN" tattooed down his forearm. They decided to get drunk as he is getting the tattoo. My friend passes out. He wakes up a few hours later and looks over at the tattoo guy who is staring at the floor with a look of defeat on his face. "I fucked up man" he said as my friend looked down at his new "UNFORIEN" forearm tattoo.


My shop has a strict policy that you must give us a picture of what you want. In other words, I don’t read Japanese, so I just draw what you give me. Guy gave what he thought was the Italian flag. Looked right to me. Turns out it was the Iranian flag.


I've seen some doozies in my time. I've had clients give me the wrong spelling of their own kid's names.

Ex-girlfriend got a tattoo on a whim: “Expect nothing, Accept everything”. I was staring at it and it bugged me. I then had the fun time of telling her that he wrote “Expect nothing, Except everything”.


Biggest o-shit moment wasn't a misspelling, it was a faint. I was tattooing a guy's shoulder blade, so he was sitting upright facing away from me. It wasn't a big tattoo or anything, otherwise I usually lay people down for this, and it was busy, so just sit down and bang it out. Get about 1/3 into it, his skin goes clammy cold -big warning sign - so I start asking him if he's okay, and of course, he wants to be all tough guy about it and assures me he's fine. His face isn't too pale, so I go to start another line. He stands straight up like the Manchurian candidate, and like that, he's out. He tips forward away from me, I can't grab him fast enough with a tattoo machine in one hand and his chair in my way, and he crashes face first like a plank of wood hitting the floor. The only thing this poor SOB had going for him was that  he had a baseball cap pulled low and the brim saved his face from hitting full force. Everybody saw this, the whole shop, the lobby full of people, they probably heard it outside. I'm shedding gloves and putting stuff down, and my client is twitching on the floor like a fried egg. We get to him, roll him on his side, and he starts coming to, first thing he says really loud, "mmmmmMMMM PANCAKES!" Everybody burst out laughing, and my client is still pretty out of it, so he's coming to, on the floor, and everyone is doubled over in laughter. Took us a while to get him sorted and finally explain to him what happened. He had no explanation for the pancakes.

Not a tattoo artist myself. But a friend of mine got drunk at a party a couple of years back. There was this dude with a tattoo machine at the party and my drunk friend either got talked into getting his first tattoo, or just thought it was a brilliant drunk idea, I’m not sure. Anyways, even in his drunk state of mind, he figured he should at least get a tattoo that he can cover up. So, they decided that "face the facts" would be a rad tattoo on the side of his foot. However, when they were done the tattoo said "Face the face". It's still a running joke within our group and some friends of ours even named their band "Face the face".

A bloke I know got "Such is life" tattooed on his shin, but they spelled it "Sutch is life". Such is life, I guess.

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