How To Cover Up A Tattoo

Written by: Jason White

People often get tattoos to stand out, show others their outlook on life, and decorate their bodies. However, time goes on. Worldviews and preferences can change radically, the body also changes with age causing the tattoo to lose its clarity. Over time it can also turn out that inks used were of poor quality and therefore the image gets faded. Similar consequences occur if the tattoo artist has done the work badly. Therefore, when the old tattoo looks bad, there is a need to cover it, that is, the old tattoo is remade, completely covering it with a new one.

Related: How To Cover Up A New Tattoo For Work?

What You Need to Know About Tattoo Cover Ups

To cover up a tattoo you need to choose the right colors and sketch for the new design, as not all of them will be suitable for covering up.

The new tattoo must completely cover up the old tattoo. Therefore it is not possible, for example, to cover a black picture with yellow ink. As for the black tattoos, they are closed only with black dye. The sketch can have colored fragments, but they will be applied to “clean” areas of the skin. Darker, deeper-colored tattoo inks can be used for a faded-colored tattoo.

New design elements should coincide with the main lines of the old tattoo, as if subordinate to it. For example, it will not be possible to draw a portrait over a geometric image with clear lines and angles. The tattoo artist’s task is to pick up or design a sketch that will “lie” on the old tattoo and cover it up.

Importantly, the new tattoo is performed with certified quality supplies. Such tattoo inks are inert and do not react with other chemicals, so you can not fear that the covering of the tattoo will be harmful to your health.

It takes 3 to 4 weeks after a bad tattoo has been applied to correct it before it can be covered up. The skin must fully heal and regenerate. Otherwise, the unhealed skin layers will be traumatized and cause scarring! If the mistake is already made and the tattoo is done, be patient for a month to avoid aggravating the situation.

How Can You Correct A Tattoo?

Laser removal

Laser tattoo removal will remove the tattoo completely in a few visits to the salon. It will take 5 to 10 treatments to remove a colored one. You can remove the inscription in 3 to 7 sessions.

Cover up Tattoo

Covering implies applying a new design on top of the old tattoo. This is a more complicated procedure, which only a professional artist with extensive experience can perform. The artist, taking into account the peculiarities of the failed tattoo, will help to choose a suitable sketch and color scheme, which can most successfully re-ink the tattoo.

Partial Correction of tattoos

It costs much less than a full covering, since there are minimal corrections made to the drawing or inscription. Depending on the specific case, the price for the service may vary.

Reasons Why You Might Need A Tattoo Cover Up

There are a number of reasons to cover up a tattoo. The most common are:

  • Lost Relevance. Usually images are corrected as a result of a life change or new fashion trends, and inscriptions are corrected when the relationship with the person to whom they were dedicated ceases.
  • Low-quality performance. The person’s expectations do not always coincide with the final result of the tattoo artist’s services. Choosing the wrong colors, shoddy tattoo technique or other things can disappoint the owner of the new tattoo. If this happens, you have to look for a better tattoo artist and cover up the image again.
  • Deformation or fading. A tattoo can become deformed or lose its vibrancy for various reasons. As a result, the picture or text becomes unattractive and requires a professional tattoo artist’s intervention.
  • Changing Style. Over time, a person can radically change their appearance, and with it the existing tattoos.



First, this task can not be done by everyone. You have to consult a master who already has extensive experience in this kind of work. Secondly, you should understand that the new design will be larger and darker than the old one. Also, in some cases, preliminary lightening with a laser will be required. But in general, yes, it is possible to cover up a tattoo!


Basically, it is possible to cover absolutely any tattoo. Another question is with what and how.


Unfortunately, you can’t use white to cover the black tattoo! As well as any other color lighter than the original tattoo shade (flesh, blue, red, etc.). The reason is that the black tattoo ink will always come through a lighter color. As a result, looking at the new drawing on your skin, you will still see the old one underneath.
However, there is a way out. If you don’t want a black tattoo, you can attend a laser lightening procedure as many times as you need in your specific case to acquire that shade that can already be covered with a lighter dye.


An old colored tattoo can be covered up with a new one. However, the sketch must be chosen very carefully and competently.

Worth understanding, it is impossible to choose any drawing you like and merely ink it on top of your old colored tattoo. The color scheme of the new sketch should be darker, and in size it will be a little larger, so that the old picture does not go over its edges.


Bottom Line

If you want to get the quality covering effect of the old tattoo, it is necessary to be thoughtful in choosing a new sketch. The best way is to have it drawn by the artist, who will carry out the correction in the future, because then the features of the old tattoo will become obvious to him and he will be able to choose the best variants of covering. You should only give an idea of what you would like to see as a result, and not to interfere with the artist to translate the idea into the sketch. Only an experienced specialist can do it, as only a virtuoso of his profession can create a completely new tattoo in its place.

At the same time, he is severely limited in creativity by the shape, size and location of the old tattoo. Working on a new sketch is a mass of nuances, starting with the wishes of the client and ending with a harmonious image view on the body. Only if these are met, it will be possible to hide the contours of the old tattoo and play around with its features, so that they will not be conspicuous, even if they will be seen from under a fresh paint.

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