FAQ

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.

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.

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

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

No. Due to Covid-19 we are required to make appointments only.  Please start by filling out the Booking Form.

Please start by filling out the Booking Form.

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, 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.

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

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

Our minimum charge is $75 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.

No. We do not price over the phone or social media but you CAN get a quote by filling out our Booking Form. The second best way to get a price is to physically come into the shop due to the many complexities involved — if you need dedicated talk-time with an artist feel feel to request a consultation by telephone or by stopping by and chatting with reception.

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.

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 also, although a deposit is required for us to work on any tattoo design.

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.

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.

  1. First be on time. Providers schedule work based on your punctuality; their very livelihoods depend upon it, so please, please, please be on time.
  2. Get plenty of sleep the night before.
  3. Drink plenty of fluids the day of your appointment.
  4. Eat sensibly and eat directly before your appointment. You are less likely to feel faint if your blood sugar level is normal.
  5. 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.
  6. Bring your i-Pod. Music helps. Seriously.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Do NOT apply Emla cream. The law forbids us to work on you in such a case. Emla & lydocaine creams make your tissue swell and resist the needle. Swelling 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.
  11. 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 tattoos or piercings; tattoos and piercings hurt and that is simply the truth. Bearing the sensation is simply part of the process.

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!

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 like the result enough to get more than one tattoo.

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.

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.

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. Check out our artist’s portfolios on the website or drop by the studio and talk with our staff to discover just how artistically versatile our artists are.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Yes. Tattooing does not retard hair growth.

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.

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. Please read our aftercare instructions HERE.

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.

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.

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

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.

Please read our aftercare page HERE to learn how to care for your new tattoo.

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!

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.

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

Covid-19 Guidelines

At this time we have new guidelines we must follow moving forward. Please join us in working towards everyone’s health and safety!

  1. Moving forward we can only work by appointment. No walk-ins.

  2. Clients must come in alone and must wait in their vehicles until the appointment. Call when you arrive in the parking lot to let reception know you are present. Reception will call you back when your artist is ready. (540)288-8370

  3. We ask all people to wear masks at all times.

  4. Only bring your cell phone, car keys, ID, and payment method inside. Please leave ALL purses, coats, backpacks, vapes, extra stuff, etc. in your vehicle. This is critical to stop the spread of germs.

  5. No food/drink/gum/mints/etc allowed. Please step to your car for all needed consumables.

  6. Call to reschedule if you’re sick, have been exposed to Covid-19 or are in quarantine. Cancellation policies are waived.

  7. All tattoo consultations will be performed remotely. Please install Zoom on your phone, tablet or laptop in advance of your remote consultation. Make sure your thoughts are organized. Be as precise as possible. Have visual references available to email directly (no links please).

  8. Please make use of frequent hand-washing and hand sanitizer.

  9. We will, as always, make use of single use tattoo equipment and PPE. We will, as always, maintain our vigorous facilities cleaning using fast-acting medical grade disinfectants.

  10. Our facility will utilize its high powered industrial air exhaust system which was installed when the space was a nail salon to change out the studio air continuously.

  11. We will be taking temperatures to ensure no one has a fever.