Many tattoo shops hold sales for Friday the 13th.  Customers pick through a series pre-drawn images, referred to as “flash,” to be tattooed onto their body. Typically, the flash for these Friday the 13th events are smaller tattoos, drawn in the american traditional style, often with subject matter relating to good or bad luck, and often feature prominent numeral 13s.

Flash sheet courtesy of David Groth

But why did this tradition start? Urban legend says that one would get a 13 tattoo to protect themselves from bad luck. The idea was that bad luck would see the tattoo and assume that its owner has enough bad luck already. This began the tradition tattooing good luck charms. Today, the Friday  the Thirteenth tradition has expanded beyond symbols of good and bad luck to appeal to more clients.

Rather than reuse the same sets of flash from one Friday the Thirteenth to the next, Steel and Ink artists create a new set of flash for each event. The flash sheet pictured above will be available for customers of Steel and Ink Studio on February 13th 2015, but the full set will only be shown in the studio on Friday the Thirteenth.