Nailing the Magic of Glitter Tattoos with Amanda Graves | Painful Pleasures Community

Nailing the Magic of Glitter Tattoos with Amanda Graves

Glitter tattoos may look innocent, but they require a LOT of technical skill. Master the art of glitter tattoos with top glitter realism artist Amanda Graves herself.
by Danny Tress Last Updated: October 30, 2023

Glitter tattoos: they’re like a party on your client’s skin, but only if you’ve got the secret sauce to make them disco-bright. You might think these sparkling bangers are child’s play, but let’s set the record straight—they’re an art form that demands professional skill and attention to detail. We’re talking stippling, shading, blending, solid line work, and color packing… all coming together in one vibrant, show-stopping piece. And let’s not forget, these glittery wonders need to last longer than your last New Year’s resolution. Ever seen one of those dull, lifeless blobs that used to be a glitter tattoo? Yeah, you don’t want to take ownership of one of those. You want to make your work last—but how? 

Enter Amanda Graves, the Mother of Glitter Tattoos. A quick scroll through her sparkling Instagram portfolio tells you everything you need to know: she’s more than mastered the art of glitter tattoos and how to make sure they last. So, whether you’re an aspiring glitter tattoo guru or a tattoo artist looking to level up your game, it’s time to pay attention to Amanda Graves. 


Tattoo of a Lisa Frank unicorn with a cupcake and butterflies by Amanda Graves

Amanda Graves is the artist who can make your glitter tattoos shine brighter than hope itself. With a staggering 1.5 MILLION followers on TikTok, she’s definitely staked her claim as a client-favorite in her region. She’s also the proud owner of Dark Arts Tattoo Studio in Bel Air, Maryland, a place that Harry Potter fans might consider a second home.  

Dedicated to making sure her work continues to dazzle through the years, Amanda only takes clients who afford her total creative freedom. And for Amanda, that looks like shimmering subjects with feminine-fresh elements like hearts and cute eyes with catchlights. Of course… glitter tattoos don’t have to look like Amanda’s (and they shouldn’t since every artist brings something unique to the table). However, her professional tips and go-to supplies can help any glitter tattooer meet their goals. 


Glittery dagger tattoo by Amanda Graves

Let’s dive into Amanda’s setup and see how she pairs the right tattoo supplies with the right techniques to make her iconic glitter tattoos. Lucky for you, we’ve spent a lot of time with Amanda. So we’ve got the inside scoop on her top picks: 


Amanda will occasionally turn to a coil machine for a hard-hitting experience. But when it comes to rotaries, the FK Irons Flux Max is her ride-or-die. It may or may not surprise you to learn that she opts for the Flux Max in bubblegum pink, which is a staple color in her glitter palette.  

This pink powerhouse covers everything Amanda needs for top-notch glitter work, from bold lines to solid color packing, stippling, highlighting, and blending. The 4.0mm stroke is her go-to for laying down bold lines and packing in color. She dials down the voltage when it comes to tackling her seamless blends and softer shades.  

Amanda also digs this machine because of how lightweight it is. It keeps fatigue and wrist pain to a minimum, which is essential for tackling multi-technique pieces like glitter tattoos. 


For lining black, Amanda knows she can rely on World Famous Tattoo Ink. When setting up her palette, you might (at first glance) wonder why she isn’t using more colors. After all, her end result is always bursting with vibrant hues and tones. But Amanda is all about mixing things up. Using her trusty battery-powered ink mixer, she selects a reliable mid-tone color and then darkens and lightens it across the spectrum to achieve the perfect contrast in her glitter tattoos.  

Oh, and as you might have guessed based on her choice of machine color, pink is almost always a part of her setup. 


Peak Triton cartridges are Amanda’s trusty orange sidekicks. She might prefer them in pink, but when it comes to the configurations she needs for shading, linework, and delicate stippling, Triton has her covered. For shading around tricky corners and snuggling up against her linework, Amanda reaches for a 7 or 9 round shader. Conversely, for glittery effects, she counts on an 8 gauge 1 round liner and a bugpin tight 3 in her arsenal. These ultra-pointed, precise, and narrow needle configurations help her achieve that perfect stippling and peppering—subtle details that are also powerfully administered so they heal to perfection. 

Peak Triton also has a unique stabilizing system that keeps Amanda’s needles on track. This is especially useful when she’s packing in color or pulling single-pass lines. She doesn’t have to worry about any wobbling or shakiness. And her portfolio of impeccable work showcases her steady hand.


While Amanda typically relies on the Flux Max, she’ll occasionally work with a coil setup. And when that’s the case… Amanda opts for this power supply in bubblegum pink, because, why not? This power supply is a game-changer for Amanda—she’d venture to say she’s in love with it when she has a hard-hitting coil setup. It’s easy to wrap with barrier film, and the magnetic backing means it sticks to workstation surfaces like a boss, which is perfect for Amanda, who is super mobile while tattooing. In fact, she’s mobile by necessity, since she has to access her work from all angles (glitter tattoos require a lot of attention to detail and techniques, remember?)  So, this power supply affords her similar freedom of movement that she gets from a wireless machine.

The Peak Surge Power Supply also gives Amanda dual connections, so it keeps her shading and lining machines within arm’s reach, especially when she’s switching it up with a coil setup. 


This dynamic duo is Amanda’s secret to keeping her clients’ skin moisturized and inflammation-free. Too much inflammation and flaring up while tattooing can make color packing, single-pass lines, and (certainly) precise stippling much more of a challenge. But with these CBD-enhanced formulas, the skin stays smooth and calm and ready for her needles.  

Using a tongue depressor, Amanda applies enough CBD Glide to last a whole session to a dental bib. Having plenty of Glide on-hand ensures she doesn’t have to double-dip. Regularly applying the Glide before every technique—lining, shading, packing, and stippling—ensures her work goes on silky-smooth and stays dazzling. And coupled with the Foaming Soap, her clients’ skin stays happy. After all, skin that’s loved and less traumatized during your session will ultimately heal much faster and much better in the long run. 


Here’s the thing: odds are if you’re a glitter tattooer, you dig a little bedazzling in your setup too. At least, that’s certainly the case with Amanda, and who says the necessities can’t be fun? Cute, functional, and adding personality to her setup, Heart Ink Caps make Amanda’s soul happy. Aside from that, they just hold ink. And they do it well. 


Glittery muppet tattoo by Amanda Graves

Dive deeper into Amanda’s setup, see her in action, and hear the best advice straight from the mouth of the Mother of Glitter Tattoos herself. 


So, there you have it, folks—the secrets to glittering wizardry REVEALED. With Amanda Graves as your guide and these secret weapons for sparkle in your arsenal, you’re one step closer to mastering glitter tattoos and all their pizazz. Now it’s time to shine! 

Follow Amanda on Instagram at @amandagravestattoo.

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