Cover-Ups: What You Need to Know

Let’s face it: we all make mistakes. Some (unfortunately) are more permanent than others.

If you’re facing tattoo regret, have hope.  A talented artist can transform ink you can’t stand (did a “forever love” end up having an expiration date, for example?) into a work of art you’ll finally love.

Here’s what you need to know before your tattoo makes its disappearing act:

Your Cover-Up Is Going to Be Bigger Than Your Original Tattoo

For a cover-up tattoo to work effectively, it will need to be around two to three times bigger than the original piece in order to disguise your old tattoo.

The New Ink Doesn’t Cover Up the Old Ink – They Combine

Getting a cover-up done is not like painting over a wall in your apartment or house; it’s a little more complicated than that.

“When your tattoo was first done, the ink was deposited approximately one millimetre beneath the skin, into the dermis, which is the layer below the epidermis,” explains TatRing, a site created by artists and enthusiasts sharing knowledge on tattoos and piercings.

“As your cover-up gets tattooed, the new ink is also deposited within the dermis, along with the old coloured ink. The pigment in the new ink does not go over the top of the old tattoo’s pigment; rather the two colours combine to make a new colour, although the stronger or darker-coloured ink becomes dominant in the mixture. For example, red and blue ink mixed together make purple, underneath the skin or elsewhere.

“When a tattoo artist is designing a tattoo cover-up, they consider the colour in the old tattoo, and how it will mix with the new ink’s colour. Talented tattoo artists work out a strategy for placing the new design and colours over the old one.”

It’s Possible You Might Still See Remnants of Your Old Tattoo

While the talent and imagination of trained tattoo artists can work wonders, there’s a chance you’ll still be able to spot your old tattoo once the cover-up is done. It really depends on the new design you’ve chosen, and the colours in your new tattoo.

You’re Going to Have To Be Open Minded

You may have an amazing idea in mind of what you want done as a cover up, but it’s important you don’t get too ahead of yourself without discussing your ideas with your tattoo artist. There’s a chance what you want simply won’t work.

Our advice? Be willing to hear your artist’s ideas, and prepared to work together to come up with a final design that’s going to be equal parts effective and attractive.

There Are Other Options

In some cases, a tattoo artist will be able to utilize their one-of-a-kind skills to incorporate the design of your old tattoo into a completely new one. Don’t be afraid to ask us what your options are!