Covering Up Your Tattoo the Right Way — Tips for Getting Coverup Tattoos

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We love creating beautiful works of art on the skin that last forever, but we also know that sometimes you really wish that “forever” was a little more temporary. There are many reasons why people consider getting coverup tattoos. It’s been our experience that sometimes that love you thought would last forever doesn’t and just because you got a permanent tattoo for the former love of you life doesn’t mean you want that remind on your body for the rest of your life.

We also see people wanting to cover up old “stick and poke” tattoos, outdated trend tattoos — yes, we’re talking about you, tramp stamps of the world. Other examples of times you may consider getting a coverup tattoo include poor quality work, change in taste and too much fading. Maybe an amateur friend of yours had a tattoo machine in college and gave you a regrettable tattoo that you’d rather have covered. Whatever the reason, you can often get a coverup tattoo to replace the work you’re no longer excited about.

Tips for Getting Coverup Tattoos

When you decide to get a tattoo covered up, several factors come into play before any needles touch the skin. It’s important to work with your desired tattoo artist to plan the best course of action in covering up a tattoo. When you go to an artist, they may consider the following in determining how best to cover up your tattoo:

  • How old or faded is the tattoo?
  • What is the theme or subject of the tattoo you would like to cover it?
  • What colors does the original tattoo use and what colors will go into the coverup?
  • Are any components of the original tattoo salvageable?
  • How much solid black is used in the original tattoo?

Sometimes, you can work around elements of the original tattoo when planning the coverup design, but elements like how much solid black is currently in the skin can hinder the possibilities of a coverup.

Tip 1: Find the Right Artist

Coverup tattoo by Edward Kehoe

As with any tattoo or body modification, finding the right artist plays a large role in the quality of your coverup. Do research to find the right tattoo artist to complete your coverup. Seek out tattoo artists who specialize in coverups and have experience modifying tattoos. Covering up an old tattoo can be a difficult process depending on the original piece of art, the placement and surrounding tattoos. Choose an artist who has the skills necessary to completely hide your old tattoo and create something you’ll be proud to have on your body for the rest of your life. Covering up a coverup proves to be very hard for tattoo artists and is very limiting. Make sure your coverup is something you definitely want to have on your skin forever.

You’ll also want to find a tattoo artist who specializes in the style of tattoo you would like to have coverup the original. In many instances, you’ll have to go darker to cover up the original design, which means watercolor probably isn’t ideal for a coverup but can be depending on the piece. Many of the artists at Monolith have experience covering up old tattoos and can help you find the right design for your coverup.

Tip 2: Consider Laser Tattoo Removal to Lighten the Tattoo

Depending on how dark and saturated your original tattoo is, your tattoo artist may suggest a few sessions of laser tattoo removal in order to lighten the piece before attempting to cover it with a new design. The age of your original tattoo, how dark the colors are, what colors you want to be included in the coverup and the complexity of the new design contributes to the necessity for laser tattoo removal and fading. Having an old tattoo faded with laser tattoo removal can create an easier canvas to work with and may lead to more vivid works of art.

Laser tattoo removal by Fade Out Bend

If you don’t want to cover up a tattoo and would rather it be gone forever, laser tattoo removal is also an option. Fade Out Tattoo Removal is located inside Monolith Tattoo Studio for your convenience.

Tip 3: For Coverups, Bigger and More Detailed is Usually Better

For coverups, the design and colors used play a large role in the success of the new piece. We often suggest a new design include cool, dark colors, shading and fine details in order to completely mask the original tattoo. Work with your artist directly to determine the best course of action and design to best coverup the old tattoo. The new tattoo should be larger than the original in order to sufficiently cover the old work. Don’t be surprised if your tattoo artist suggests something double the size of the original tattoo, or even larger. Colors like deep, dark purples, blues, greens and reds paired with a lot of black shading can assist in the coverup process.

Tip 4: Stay Flexible

Remember when it comes to coverup tattoos, it’s important to stay flexible and adjust as necessary based on the tattoo artist’s suggestions. Depending on the design, placement and coloring of your tattoo, the artist may make suggestions to most effectively coverup the original design. Make consultation appointments with artists you are considering working with in order to gauge what they can do and what they suggest for covering up the original work. Come in with a couple of ideas and ask your artist for their ideas to coverup the old tattoo. Artists may suggest laser tattoo removal in order to lighten the whole piece or parts of the design. Tattoos are permanent and covering them up can be difficult, so it’s important to stay flexible.

Tip 5: Coverup Tattoos May Take Several Sessions

Be prepared to have your coverup tattoo take several sessions. We often find that in doing coverup tattoos one to three sessions may be needed to complete the initial design and for touchups. It’s possible that once the ink has settled, the old design may be somewhat visible and with another pass, the problem can be remedied.

Are you considering getting a tattoo covered up? Which Monolith Tattoo Studio artists have you used for a coverup and what do you love most about it. We want to hear from you in the comments. What other questions do you have about coverup tattoos in Bend, Oregon?

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