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It happens to the best of us: we were young; we were drunk; we didn’t research our tattooer. Whatever the reason, we made poor choices and now we have tattoos we wish we didn’t. And so the cover-up. Successful covers up can happen but there are some important things to understand before you jump in.

Do you want a cover up or a redo?

Sometimes a tattoo has potential but the artist just didn’t execute it well. Clean up some lines, redo some color and voila it’s better than new.


Most of the time however we aren’t that lucky. You have a tattoo that sucks, and just want it gone.  You have our sympathy. To do a good job, you will have to be flexible. It’s gotta be bigger, bolder, and or brighter.



In most cases to cover a tattoo well, the eye must be distracted away from the original tattoo and to do that well the new subject matter’s focal point must reside somewhere else. So that makes your average cover up 3 times the size of the original.

Example:  In this example I was able to hide the script in one of the folds of the woman’s head covering. There is so much more going on — you would really have to be looking for it to find where the original design was.


Some dark colors can cover black (see below), but in the end nothing covers black better than black. Don’t expect to cover your tribal armband with a whimsical pink script. We can distract the eye from your 90’s mistakes and give you a reason to roll up your sleeves again.


It’s not always the case, but in a lot of cases, a color like purple or blue will do wonders in helping to cover black.

Example : I normally wouldn’t advise covering a tramp stamp with a bigger tramp stamp but this client wasn’t unhappy with the location; it was the dated design. So in a matter of an hour or two I was able to do a combination of black and darker purple to cover this 90’s design.



If you have a tramp stamp, chances are you wish you didn’t. If you want to cover your tramp stamp, you have two choices, either a full back piece or a tattoo on your butt cheek(s) that comes up your back.  Anything short of that… you end up with a bigger tramp stamp (as shown above).

Example: Here we have another 90’s attempt to be sexy, which I’m sure worked at the time but now just looks silly. The way to move the eye around the body was simply to go up the whole back.  I don’t have a pic of the tattoo without my new line work on top but you get the idea of what I was dealing with.



On rare occasions, if your tattoo is really dark, the best option for a cover up is to get a couple of laser removal sessions first. It won’t take the whole tattoo away but it will lighten it up a bit.  I’ll be able to tell you if that is necessary.

It should be noted that Laser Removal on DARK skin sometimes removes melanin too! That's ok if we are going to be covering that area with a tattoo but be forewarned. 



As a final note, sometimes people have scars they wish they didn’t. Maybe it’s a tummy tuck, maybe you were once a “cutter” and don’t want the stigma attached. Tattoos can be a great solution.

As a rule of thumb, your scar should be two years old or more and as with other cover-ups you should be prepared to go bigger. Here are some examples:
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