Time For A Cover Up Tattoo? A Guide to Erasing Past Mistakes

As time has gone by, the perception of tattoos has changed as they have generally become more acceptable. It’s also become a lot more accessible to get tattooed – which also means its a lot easier to let impulsivity run its course and end up with a tattoo you regret, or a tattoo that could have been executed better, or better placement… the list goes on.

A cover-up tattoo is a perfect choice for those wanting to transform or conceal an old tattoo with a new design.
Life is a weird one, something you may align with in your 20’s, may not necessarily be the same thing you align with in your 40’s – we’re only human after all. So maybe you even have some tattoos from past life experiences that you want to forget, or want to empower yourself by making a transformative step into getting a new design to match your new life expectations and aspirations.

Cover Up Tattoo

Understanding Cover-up tattoos

What is a cover up tattoo?

A cover-up tattoo typically involves incorporating a new tattoo design over an existing one, to hide the previous piece. The new tattoo is usually larger and includes elements that can effectively obscure the old tattoo, all while creating a fresh and appealing look.

Why Get A Cover-Up Tattoo?

  • Changed Mind or Age Old Regret: As we mentioned earlier, your tastes and preferences might have evolved since you first got the tattoo (this happens to more of us than you would think).
  • Poor Quality: The original tattoo might have faded, blurred, or had been executed on a sub-par level.
  • Change in Personal Circumstances: Life happens and our views change, as well as career shifts, personal relationships etc, these types of situations can make the original tattoo less desirable.
  • Upgrade: Sometimes, we just want a new design that reflects more of our current self compared to the past versions of us, as we go through life.

Cover Up Tattoo

Steps to Getting a Tattoo Cover-Up

1. Study Your Existing Tattoo

Take note of the size, colours and condition of your current tattoo. Tattoos that are larger and darker can be a bit more of a challenge to cover up – but always remember that the right experienced artist can work wonders, if the design is right. Here at The Hangout Studio, we have quite a few clients dropping by who would like cover-up tattoos and a lot of careful consideration is put into place to come to a solution.

2. Research Tattoo Artists

It’s important to note that not all tattoo artists specialise in cover-ups. Look for artists with a strong portfolio of successful cover-ups. Check online for reviews, ask around for recommendations, and don’t be afraid to book a few consultations with different artists to discuss what options you have.

3. Consultation

When having a consultation with your artist, discuss what your ideas are as well as what you’re hoping to achieve with a cover up. Be very open to the artist’s suggestions, as they have the skills and expertise to know what will work best.

4. Design Process

This is where teamwork really comes into play. You and your artist will work together to create a design that will effectively cover up the old tattoo while aligning with your vision. This process may take a few iterations to get it the way you’d like it.

Cover Up Tattoo

5. Laser Tattoo Removal

In certain cases, lightening the old tattoo with laser removal first, can make the cover-up process easier and more successful. This can be especially helpful for very large or very dark tattoos.

6. The Tattooing Process

Be sure to follow your artist’s pre-tattoo instructions and prepare accordingly. This usually involves avoiding alcohol, staying hydrated, eating a good meal before your booking, and ensuring your skin is in good condition (don’t go sunbathing the day before your tattoo, as an example).

Keep in mind that the cover-up session might take longer than a regular tattoo, depending on the size and complexity of the design.

7. Aftercare

It’s hyper important to follow the aftercare instructions meticulously to ensure correct healing and optimal results. The main steps involve keeping the tattoo clean, moisturised and protected from the sun. We also have a comprehensive guide to help you out if you’re getting a tattoo whilst you’re in Hoi An.

Cover Up Tattoo

Tips and Advice for a Successful Cover-Up Tattoo

1. Be Realistic About Your Expectations

It’s important to understand that cover-up tattoos have limitations. Some designs or colours might not be feasible, and remember that the new tattoo will likely be larger and darker than the original design underneath.

2. Put The Research In

Like we mentioned earlier, finding a skilled artist with cover-up experience is crucial. They can navigate the challenges and create a design that effectively hides the old tattoo from sight.

3. Consider the Option of Laser Removal

If your original piece is too dark or large, a few sessions of laser removal can significantly improve the cover-up outcome. This can open up your options with designs.

4. Be Open-Minded

Be aware that your original idea for your cover up may not be suitable once you’ve discussed it with your artist, as a lot of factors need to be taken into consideration when thinking about a design.
You may need to compromise on certain elements of your desired idea to ensure the old tattoo is covered effectively.

5. Take Your Time

Just like getting a new tattoo – don’t rush the process. Take some time to find the right artist, the right design, as well as possibly undergoing laser removal. All these steps will ensure the best possible result.

6. Plan Accordingly

Depending on the size and complexity of the cover-up, you may need to sit for multiple sessions. Be sure to discuss with the artist the rough estimation of time to complete, so you can be aware of possibly needing another session etc.

7. Follow Aftercare Instructions

Proper aftercare is essential to the healing process, as well as affecting the final appearance of your cover-up tattoo. Be sure to follow your artist’s advice closely.

Summing it up

Cover-up tattoos can offer a fantastic shot at a second chance, an opportunity to transform old into new. By reading this article you’ve hopefully got a bit more information in that noggin of yours to help with making a decision about what you want to cover up, as well as what to expect when getting a cover-up tattoo.

Remember: The key to a great cover-up tattoo lies in choosing a skilled artist, being open to their advice and expertise, and taking the necessary time and approach to plan and execute the final transformation.