They say a tattoo is forever – and for the most part, this is true. But if you have profound tattoo regret and wish you had a much nicer tattoo in its place, consider getting a coverup tattoo!

Covering up tattoos is common. Super common. Celebrities do it all the time as they grow in fame, and there is no shortage of articles online in the vein of 22 times stars had to cover up their regrettable tattoos. Here are a few examples from that Insider article:

Amber Rose Replaces Ex-Husband With Slash

When Amber Rose split up with Wiz Khalifa after only 14 months of marriage, she replaced a tattoo of his face with Guns and Roses rocker Slash.

amber rose tattoo
Source: Jason Kempin/Getty Images and Instagram/@amberrose

Pete Davidson Replaces Not One, But Two Ariana Grande Tattoos

Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson’s relationship was fleeting, but he got one tattoo dedicated to her. He covered up the tattoo of her “Dangerous Woman” logo he had below his ear with a heart and below, see the one he replaced on the back of his neck.

pete davidson tattoo coverup
Source: UMV/Star Max/GC Images via Getty Images and Instagram/@jonmesatattoos

Nas Turns Ex-Wife Into a Lion Woman

Nas covered up a tattoo portrait of his ex-wife Kelis. He kept the body, just turned the head into a lion!

kelis tattoo coverup
Source: Don Petersen/AP Image and Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Zoe Kravitz Replaces Arabic Phrase Goof With Dragonfly

Kravitz wanted her Arabic tattoo to say “Let Love Rule,” but the word “rule” in this context also meant “camp” or “base” and associated with Al Qaeda.

zoe kravitz tattoo coverup
Source: Kevin Mazur/VF1/WireImage and Instagram/_dr_woo_

Thankfully, you don’t have to be a celebrity to have a tattoo covered up. A good artist will be able to figure how to cover up your design or work around it. 

Many people also choose to cover their tattoo since laser tattoo removal is often not 100% effective. It also gives you flexibility in choosing only to get a handful of laser tattoo removal sessions, rather than the 12 to 15 it can take for total removal.

You can cover-up a tattoo of basically any size and in colour or black and white. 

Read on to learn how a tattoo artist can help you develop a cover-up design.

How Cover-up Tattoos Are Designed and Performed

There is an art to designing a cover-up tattoo – Unfortunately, you can’t just slap a new design over a previous tattoo as if you were tattooing fresh skin.

Any cover-up work you apply on top of an unwanted tattoo will blend with the existing ink, even if you’ve had a handful of laser tattoo removals. 

Because of the above, tattoo artists will help develop cover-up tattoo ideas that tackle blending colour, shading, detailing and depth of colour to create your new design.

Common colour transformations include:

  • You can turn red to brown
  • Pink blends in well with magenta
  • Blue mixes with purple
  • You can always change yellow to green
  • Black can cover up anything!

Other Considerations

You should always be prepared for a coverup tattoo to be at least slightly larger than your original tattoo to ensure no element of the original design is still apparent.

To help inform the design, the artist may place tracing paper on your original design and trace it. They can then use that as a basis for covering up or working with your existing tattoo’s significant features.

Can I cover up an existing tattoo without getting the old tattoo removed?

This depends. The lighter the colours and the softer the application of the original tattoo, the more flexibility a tattoo artist will have. If your tattoo is already very dark, your options will be much more limited.

Also, if the original tattoo has minimal colours or graduated colour and no strong outlines, it will be easier to cover up entirely.

How many sessions do I need for a coverup tattoo?

As the new ink that your tattoo artist applies settles in, the old design might start peeking back through. You may need up to three touch-up sessions for your coverup design to fully overtake the previous design – but having some laser removal beforehand can minimize this.

Can you work with any element of an existing tattoo?

Sometimes when you’re fed up with a small tattoo, the easiest solution is to incorporate it into a larger tattoo design where it doesn’t stand out. 

Some of the most beautiful cover-up tattoos build upon an existing design and completely transform the meaning. Here are a few examples below:

creative tattoo coverup ottawa
covering a tattoo ottawa ontario
tattoo coverup ottawa

Is coverup tattoo aftercare different from getting a brand new tattoo?

The aftercare treatment of a coverup tattoo is the same as any other tattoo, but it’s even more vital that you don’t scratch your itch or pick your scabs. 

This can result in your new ink rubbed out of your pores and a patchy-looking coverup.

Be sure to read our comprehensive guide to Tattoo Aftercare for tips to help your tattoo heal quickly and prevent infection.

When you’re coming up with your ideas for a cover-up tattoo, you must be flexible. When you book your consultation with a tattoo artist, they’ll talk to you about your ideas and look at the original tattoo before working with you to develop a tattoo that will work. 

A good artist can turn lead into gold, so it’s essential to choose an artist you trust!

Ready to get rid of your old tattoo and move on? At Sage Tattoos and Art Gallery in Ottawa, we strive to create an environment that anyone can walk into and feel welcome, comfortable and confident that they will leave with a beautiful piece of fine art that they will love.
Book a free consultation with one of our talented artists today.