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Not all tattoos have a positive meaning or bring happy memories. Since they’re permanent, the feelings, circumstances, or beliefs behind them may change over time. Some relationships may have ended badly, and the tattoo you thought was a great idea at the time could now be a reminder of that painful experience. Others may have gotten tattoos when they were young and impulsive, but as they’ve grown older, their tastes may have changed.

Factors to Consider Before Getting A Cover-Up Tattoo

Before jumping into covering up a tattoo, there are some important factors to consider:

Size and Color of the Old Tattoo

Obviously, a larger, darker, or more complex tattoo will be harder to cover up. You’ll need to find a design that can hide or incorporate the old one seamlessly, perhaps add onto it or disguise it within the new design. Some common techniques include using darker colours, shading, or creating a larger and more intricate design on top of the old one. Here’s are some examples:

  • covering up a name with flowers or vines
  • adding an image on top of a faded or blurry tattoo
  • incorporating an old symbol into a new one, such as turning a  star into a sun or transforming a skull into a flower

Professional Advice and Skill of the Tattoo Artist

From the get-go, if you’re seriously considering a cover-up tattoo, consult with experienced and skilled artists who can assess your specific case. Be sure they have experience with cover-ups and can provide examples of their work. Not all tattoo artists are comfortable, experienced, or skilled in cover-up tattoos, so do your research beforehand to find the best fit for you. Should you decide to go ahead with it, your artist may tweak the design you have in mind to further improve it.

Cover-Up Tattoo Process

With these factors already at the top of your mind, the process of getting a cover-up tattoo should go smoothly. Here are the typical steps you can expect:


At the heart of it all, the consultation is crucial to determine your needs and expectations. This is your opportunity to lay down your ideas, expectations, and worries to your tattoo artist. They’ll assess the old tattoo, your skin, and recommend the best approach to cover it up. Use this time to also gauge the artist’s experience and personality to feel confident about your decision.

Design Approval:

Once you’ve chosen a design or agreed upon one with the artist, they’ll create a stencil for you to approve. See to it that you’re fully on board with the design and size before giving the green light. If you have the slightest doubt, communicate it before the artist starts tattooing. You’re free to experiment with the design until you’re satisfied with the result.


Expect more maintenance and aftercare for a cover-up tattoo than you would with a new one. Your skin, especially if it’s a bigger design, may take longer to heal completely. You may also need touch-ups after a few weeks or months as the ink settles and reveals any areas that need more coverage. To help you avoid exposing the tattoo to sunlight or picking at scabs, your artist will give you specific aftercare instructions, usually for a week or two. Following them strictly will help your cover-up tattoo heal beautifully and retain its vibrancy.

Get in touch

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Saturday – 9:30am-6pm

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Wednesday – 10:00am-6:00pm
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