Crazy Hurt (Tattoo Under Toenail)

Pete sends in a photo of a toe tattoo — done literally under the toenail — and it’s quite something… It was done by John at Holdfast Tattoo Co in Atlantic City… Pete tags the photo with the following keywords: “tattoo under toenail, tattoo, toenail, toe tattoo, ouch, pain, blood, ink, crazy, hurt.” Click through to watch the video.

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

47 thoughts on “Crazy Hurt (Tattoo Under Toenail)

  1. Ewwwwww dirty toenail fungus. And that would hurt like a bitch. Kudos to him for his pain threshold I guess. And for being original in placement, though 13 is old.

  2. my brother’s thumbnail fell off and he tried to get a tattoo underneath it, but no one he knew would touch it. he even got kicked out of one shop for suggesting it.

  3. It does hurt! He removed or filed of the nail before the tattooing. By my own experience that is not necessary. Using the poking or dotting method you can tattoo right through the nail. You just have to go little slower to let the needle penetrate the nail. Of course the needle will get blunt faster than on normal skin, but the area is also small, so in effect you can do a few nails per needle…
    The advantage of not removing the nail is that the fingertip or toe remains protected afterwards.

  4. I had my toe stepped on so hard that te nail fell off and the area became less sensitive over time.. maybe if he had waited after getting the toenail off it would reduce the pain.

    i wonder if the tattoo will look warped or like a blob under the nail once its grown back

  5. My toe looks the same way, only mine is ravaged by years of DIY “surgeries” to keep the growth in check. It hasn’t had a nail in so long I feel no pain from its absence. I’ve always thought tattooing the nail-bed would be an awesome idea but never seen it done before. Very cool.

  6. we always tattoo funny things on top of our fingernails and leave them grow out, never even crossed my mind tattooing under the nail!

    toenails are real thick, and in this guys case, yellow. i cant imagine you seeing too much of it when the nail grows back!

  7. brilliant…was nervous watching…take my hat off to the guy and the artist for doin it hahahha

  8. I lost a fingernail after slamming my hand in a car door, and I looked into getting a tattoo on the nail bed, and I was met with the most overwhelmingly negative response ever. I thought it was funny, because the reason that I was given by the artists was that it would be visible at all times, and because I was still young, I’d regret it. I laughed. Apparently, the tattoo artists I spoke to wewen’t aware of the existence of nail polish.

  9. The cross contamination bothered me more than the tattoo, butt fuck that must have been unpleasant. I’ve lost a nail before. That was some sensitive damn shit!

  10. Maybe I judged to quick. It just bothered me to see that gloved hand touching a whole bunch of shit that looks unlikely to be clean. But I’m ignorant as to whether it actually was.

  11. I bet he’s a runner. That’s what my feet look like after I run a marathon. I lose toenails every time. And that whole area hurts like a bitch until the nail grows back.

  12. I work outside in routinely wet conditions, and toenails fall off all the time. It sucks. Just touching them hurts. I can’t imagine sticking a pulsating needle into it. Thats nuts. But awesome all the same.

  13. Hmm..I’m missing a fingernail on my left middle finger..Maybe I should get something tattooed there..

  14. Well, you did it. After 10 years of being active on BME/iam, you’ve grossed me out for the first time. I can’t stand feet to begin with, and this just takes the cake. It’s terrible and awesome at the same time. You must be proud just for sitting through it!

  15. wow, that anonymous poster on the video comments is definitely not a pete patrick fan.

    oh, and HAHA @ 18 CutThroat – you said “butt fuck”


  16. cutThroat every thing he touched had barrier film. lol. take a better look. our saftey aswell as our clients and friends saftey is very important to us.

  17. i’m interested in whether the 13 is even visible when the nail regrows. this opens up whole new avenues for permanent, nonchip-able nail colors…although i don’t envision much of a market to be honest….

  18. My boyfriend has been wanting to do this for two years but we haven’t been able to find a willing studio. Keep us updating on how it heals Shannon!

  19. It will be visible, but very pale bluish and details will be lost. It will be difficult to read it.

  20. the feet made me wanna puke too. but the video is fucking awesome. and just the fact that the kid that did it was brave enough to go through with it. kudos to him. he is johns roommate thats why john did it for him.
    i will post a pic after its all healed and the nail has had a chance to grow back.

  21. I am a close personal friend of John (The Artist) and Chris (The guy in the chair) and was there when this video was taken. The armrest was wrapped in clear plastic as was the bottle. John didn’t set up for this to be filmed and it was filmed with a digital photo camera. But if you notice there was blue barrier film on the light so stop with cross contamination crap. Everythinhg had barrier film on it.

    Chris lost his toenail because he kicked a chair while chasing John”s daughter. It wasn’t filed or anything like that. Also he’s a mechanic in work boots for 10 hours a day then we go skate. He also has psoriasis, so his toenails aren’t really his fault.

    The toenail has grown back to just about where the tattoo is so once it grows back (and I finish the Holdfast website) there will be pictures.

    If you would like to contact John, you can at and you can also check out some of his other work while you’re there.


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