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Regret to Redemption: The Art of Coverup Tattoos

Are you feeling stuck with a tattoo that no longer speaks to your personality or reflects who you’ve become? You don’t have to live with tattoo regret anymore. This guide will help you transform your unwanted ink into a beautiful piece of art. 

coverup tattoos

The Basics

Many people have tattoos they wish they could get rid of, but are daunted by the removal process. Maybe they’re faded from sun and age, or simply of something you no longer identify with.

What if removal wasn’t the only option? What if you considered transforming that old tattoo into something new? That’s where coverup tattoos come in.

Coverup tattoos are an ingenious solution that employs artistry and technical skill to rework an existing tattoo or blend it into the background of a new design altogether. 

Of course, this process isn’t as straightforward as it may seem. Transforming an older tattoo into a new piece of art requires careful planning, a well-thought-out design, color matching, and perhaps most importantly, an experienced professional tattoo artist who specializes in coverups. 

Another crucial aspect to consider is that coverups often require a larger and slightly darker design to successfully mask the old tattoo. This is why it’s important to approach a coverup with an open mind and a level of flexibility regarding your new design. 

Choosing the Right Design for Coverup Tattoos

Choosing the right design for your coverup tattoo is a crucial step in the process. The design you select can greatly enhance the successful concealment of your existing tattoo, and you’ll want to consult an artist for help.

Consider the Existing Tattoo 

The specifics of your existing tattoo will play a key role in determining what designs are feasible for your coverup. Large, dark tattoos might require more elaborate designs to ensure full coverage, while smaller, lighter tattoos may give you a wider range of design options. 

Style and Personal Preference 

It’s essential to select a style and design that resonates with you, not just one that covers the old tattoo effectively. Remember, this is going to become a part of you, so choose something that reflects your character, interests, or values. 

Use Social Media and Online Platforms 

In this digital age, social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok are a treasure trove of tattoo designs. They provide a platform for artists to share their work and for users to catalog designs they love. Spend some time exploring these platforms and save designs that catch your eye to discuss with your tattoo artist later. 

Consult with a Professional 

You will hear us say this time and time again.

Professional tattoo artists know how to manipulate size, shape, color, and design elements to conceal an old tattoo effectively. They can provide valuable advice and recommendations based on their experience and understanding of tattoos. So, never underestimate the benefit of consulting with an expert in the realm of coverup tattoos. 

Whether you’ve got an idea of what you want or are completely lost but know you want a coverup tattoo, we’ve got you. Contact us at The Honorable Society for a consultation on covering up your tattoo. 

Take your Time 

Don’t rush your decision when choosing coverup tattoos. This is a process that deserves careful thought and consideration. For coverup tattoos, walk in tattoo shops shouldn’t be your first choice.

Understanding the Limitations of Coverup Tattoos

When it comes to coverup tattoos, expectations need to be tempered with a dose of reality. Though modern tattoo artists have developed lots of techniques for camouflaging existing tattoos, there are inherent limits to what you can achieve in a coverup. 

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Size and Color of the Original Tattoo 

Firstly, the size and colors of the original tattoo significantly impact the possibilities for a coverup. Since the new design must effectively mask the old one, a larger and more intricate original tattoo can limit what kind of designs are feasible for covering it. If your existing tattoo is small and light, your options for a coverup will typically be broader and more flexible. 

Location of Your Tattoo 

The location of your previous ink can also influence the chances of successful coverup tattoos. Some areas of the body, such as the chest or upper arm, typically handle coverups better than other regions like the fingers or feet. This is because the skin in the latter areas tends not to hold ink as well due to the more frequent cell turnover. 

Quality and Age of the Original Ink 

The quality and age of the original ink matter, too. High-quality older tattoos that have faded naturally over time are generally easier to cover than poorly done or relatively recent tattoos. In the case of the latter, tattoo lightening or removal sessions could be recommended before attempting a coverup. 

Color Composition and Saturation 

Color composition and saturation of the existing tattoo also play significant roles. It’s harder to cover dark, highly saturated tattoos than lighter ones. Certain colors are trickier to cover than others, too. For instance, black can be covered reasonably comfortably with other dark colors, but colorful tattoos may require more planning and precision. 

Summing up, understanding the limitations of coverup tattoos is crucial to setting realistic goals. By acknowledging these constraints, you can work more effectively with your tattoo artist.

The Art of Color Matching

Color matching is key in the tattoo coverup process. It uses different color palettes to hide the old tattoo and create a new art piece. Like all art, properly understanding and using colors is crucial.

Understanding the Role of Colors in Coverup Tattoos

Colors are more than just aesthetic choices. They play a crucial role in determining how well coverup tattoos can mask the old one. Certain colors are better at covering up others. For instance, richer, darker colors like blue or black can effectively hide old, faded tattoos or those with lighter hues. 

However, it’s not as simple as it may initially appear. Not all tattoos can be covered by dark ink. It heavily depends on the color, depth, and saturation of the old tattoo. Factors like your skin color and the tattoo’s visibility under natural and artificial lights can also come into play. 

Finding the Perfect Color Match 

Finding the perfect color match to cover an old tattoo can be a challenging process. If the original tattoo is embedded deeply into the skin, then it may require some clever color combinations to effectively cover it up. Also, if the old tattoo comes with different hues or has colors that have significantly faded, the tattoo artist will need to expertly blend the colors accordingly. 

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Color Matching Techniques 

Here are some techniques that may be used by the artist covering your tattoo:

  • Color packing: This process involves applying enough color to cover the old tattoo. Then, the new design can be added on top in a similar or contrasting color.
  • Complementary colors: This is employed especially when the old tattoo is colorful. These are colors that sit opposite each other on the color wheel, thus helping to neutralize the intensity of the old color when layered over it.
  • Negative space: Using the untouched parts of the skin to incorporate into the design, giving the illusion of a brand-new piece of art. This clever usage of empty space helps accentuate the new design and further detracts attention from the old tattoo.

Tips for Successful Coverup Tattoos

Unlocking the full potential of successful coverup tattoos isn’t solely dependent on the artist’s skill. There are precautions and steps you, too, can take to assure top-notch results. Here are some useful tips: 

  1. Choose a Seasoned Artist: Opt for a tattoo artist who has a proven track record with coverups. A seasoned professional will understand the intricacies and challenges associated with covering an existing tattoo better. We discuss this a bit in our article about how to find the best tattoo shops, give it a read.
  2. Quality over Cost: While everyone has a budget, trying to save a few dollars on your coverup tattoo might cost you more in the long run. Seek out a professional whose work you admire and decide if the investment is worth it.
  3. Keep an Open Mind: Be prepared to adjust your plans or expectations based on professional advice. Your artist is well-equipped to guide your design decisions based on a variety of factors like the original tattoo’s size, color, and location.
  4. Post-Tattoo Care: Aftercare is essential. Follow your artist’s advice on how to keep your new tattoo clean, moisturized, and protected for optimal healing and the best visual result. If you need a guide, you can learn about the tattoo healing process or just read the aftercare instructions we give to our customers.

In addition, it’s worth noting that the result of a coverup won’t be immediately perfect. It may take a few touch-ups and healing time for your skin to absorb the new ink and settle down. 

coverup tattoos

Addressing Fears and Concerns about Coverup Tattoos

As you contemplate the idea of getting coverup tattoos, it’s normal to have some fears and concerns. 

Lingering Imperfections 

One of the most common fears is whether the coverup will completely hide the old tattoo. In truth, while a well-done coverup can significantly diminish the appearance of the original tattoo, it may not eliminate it completely

Increased Pain 

Many people worry that a cover-up tattoo will be more painful than the original. While pain levels can vary for different reasons, the fact that your skin has been tattooed before may make the coverup a bit uncomfortable. However, be assured that it’s manageable, and your tattoo artist can likely provide you with numbing cream to lessen the pain.


The cost of a tattoo coverup can also be a cause for concern. Since coverup tattoos necessitate a higher level of skill and often involve more time and ink, they can be pricier than the original tattoo. While this could be a deterrent, remember you’re investing in a piece of art that you will wear every day. 

Unsatisfactory Results 

Concerns often revolve around ending up with a tattoo that is not satisfactory. To mitigate this, researching and selecting a professional artist who has significant experience doing coverup tattoos is vital. Don’t hesitate to view their previous work and ask for references, ensuring your artist understands your style and preferences clearly. 

Working with a Professional Tattoo Artist

Regrettably, not every tattoo artist has the skills or experience required for a coverup tattoo. This job asks for a unique set of skills, but with detailed research and asking the right questions, you can find the professional for you.

Here are some tips: 

Experience Matters 

First and foremost, look for an artist who has substantial experience in coverup tattoos. This type of work is profoundly different from traditional tattoos and needs a deep understanding of color theory, shading, and design creation. Don’t be hesitant to ask for an artist’s portfolio of coverup tattoos. 

Be sure to take a look at their social media, particularly their Instagram page, and other review platforms like Yelp and Google. Other customers may have written reviews that are relevant to your questions about their style specialties or whether they have had a positive coverup experience with that artist. Bonus: they may even post photos of the work so you can decide for yourself if it’s up to your standards.

Consultation Is Key 

In addition to reviewing portfolios, make it a point to have a thorough consultation with your preferred artist. This provides a great opportunity to discuss your vision and get professional feedback. A good tattoo artist will tell you realistically what can and cannot be achieved with your coverup tattoo. 

Comfort Comes First 

Lastly, you must feel comfortable with your chosen artist. They should not just have the necessary skills, but also the right manner and rapport. They need to make you feel at ease with their care for hygiene, professional conduct, and the overall environment in their workspace. 

Making the Most of Your Coverup Consultation

Consultations are pivotal when it comes to making the most of your tattoo coverup. It’s at this stage that you communicate your ideas, preferences, and concerns with the professional tattoo artist.

An effective consultation sets the groundwork for successful coverup tattoos, and understanding how to utilize this opportunity can make a significant difference in your tattoo transformation journey. 

Prepare in Advance 

Before entering the consultation room, dedicate some time to your research. Along with pictures, go into the meeting with an understanding of:

  • Tattoo styles you prefer
  • The complexity of your existing tattoo
  • Expected cost and time commitment

Having a clear vision of these things will lead to an easier conversation with your tattoo artist.

Express Your Ideas Clearly 

Communication is key in any creative process and getting a coverup tattoo is no different. Be open and clear about your likes and dislikes. Discuss any ideas, elements, or inspirations you want to incorporate into the new design. This will give your artist a solid understanding of your vision. 

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Bring Visuals 

Visual aids, like images from the internet or sketches, can significantly improve communication and reduce misunderstandings between you and the artist. These can be designs you admire, styles you’re drawn to, or representations of elements you wish to include in your new design. They can serve as springboards for brainstorming and discussion. 

Ask for Professional Opinion 

Remember, tattoo artists are not only implementors but also advisors with vast knowledge and experience. Don’t shy away from asking for their opinions or advice. They can provide valuable insights into what designs, styles, or colors would most effectively work for your coverup based on your existing tattoo’s specifics. 

The consultation is, in essence, your steppingstone to a successful tattoo coverup. Take this opportunity to lay the groundwork, communicate efficiently, and create a shared vision with your tattoo artist. 

The Honorable Society

If you’re looking for answers to your questions or some design guidance for your coverup tattoo, schedule a consultation with us. We can give you the insight you need to make your ideas come to life and give your old tattoo the refresh it needs. 

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