The online tattoo space is inundated with images of mini tattoos. From simple symbols gracing someone’s finger, to realistic animal portraits done on a tiny scale – it seems like whatever tattoo you could want, you can shrink it.
Before you jump on the tiny tattoo trend, there are some things to take into consideration. After all, a tattoo is a decision you make not just for the moment, but for many years to come – even the tiniest of tattoos is still a permanent mark on your body.
Tattooing Has Limitations
When you look through tattooers’ portfolios, you may come away with the impression that anything is possible in this world of ink and skin. Yes, while many incredible designs can be achieved with a tattoo machine in the hands of a skilled artist, the art form does have its limits.
If you’re under the impression that your chosen design of a miniature portrait of your cat full of fine details on your finger will hold its shape, and that there is nothing different about large tattoos compared with small designs except size, then keep reading.
Here are five things to know before deciding on a mini, delicate tattoo:
1. Fine Lines Just Don’t Hold Up
A fresh tattoo looks amazing – the colors are sharp, the lines are clean, and you think you’ll never regret this choice. However, time does take its toll.
As your skin ages and gets impacted by the sun, so does your ink – but, the larger the tattoo and the deeper the contrast, the longer it can stick around in its clear glory.
When it comes to delicate tattoos that only take up a small portion of your skin, a small, finer needle will need to be used to produce the fine lines and details that the mini tattoo requires. Also, compared with more traditional tattoos, way less ink is needed.
“If it’s a single needle tattoo, most artists cut the ink down because they can’t use just straight black because it bleeds out, so they cut it so it’s not as strong of a black pigment, so the body will actively remove it faster,”Brian Keith Thompson, celebrity piercer and owner of Body Electric Tattoo, told Bustle
Ink is a foreign substance that your body actively tries to get rid of – so the less involved it is in your tattoo, the less time it will take for your body to break the design down.
The less ink being used isn’t the only thing you have to worry about when it comes to fine lines.
2. Mistakes Can Be More Pronounced In Delicate Line Tattoos
When creating a large tattoo with lines made with a regular tattoo needle, any little mistakes – a shake of the hand while tattooing, or going slightly over the stenciled image – aren’t noticeable.
But, when it comes to delicate, tiny tattoos that feature thin lines, any mistake will be easy to spot.
Celebrity tattoo artist, Bang Bang, told Inked,
“If you have a very large needle and you need to make a line, any motion in your hand is very difficult to see, because that line is going to be quite thick. If you have a really thin needle, any motion is really easy to see because you will be essentially moving past the line’s thickness in any inaccuracy. So, it’s really hard to hide mistakes when you’re using very small needles.”
3. Blurring And Fading
In a delicate tattoo with precise details, often the lines are very close together. If the area of skin between two tattooed lines is really small, over time the two lines can blur together.
“Tattoos that have fine lines and detail are likely to blur over time, given their intricate nature. Designs that are close together may end up blurring over, too, thanks to your skin’s natural cell regeneration. If your tattoo has lots of small, negative spaces, these will tend to blur in time. This is because your skin’s elasticity will change over the years, which in turn will affect the boundaries of your tattoo,”Authority Tattoo
However, there are a variety of factors involved in the fading of tattoos, including how you look after your ink. Keeping your tattoo out of the sun or putting on SPF and following your tattooer’s aftercare instructions diligently can go a long way in upholding the longevity of your ink.
4. Mini Tattoos Can Be A Great Way To Put Your Toe Into Tattoo Waters
If you are intrigued by the idea of getting a tattoo, but the thought of the pain of going under the needle or the practically of getting a large design is holding you back, starting small can be a great way to test the waters.
While tattoos are a commitment, there is a big difference between getting your whole upper arm inked compared to getting a tiny lightning bolt on your ankle. You can judge the pain and the process, and decide from there if you’d like to add ink at a later stage.
A tiny tattoo can be easy to cover up – with ink if you want to go for a bigger design later, or with clothing.
5. Choose Your Artist Carefully
This is a good rule of thumb for any style of tattoo you want to get: make sure your chosen artist is well-versed in the type of design you’re looking for.
If you wanted an amazing birthday cake, you wouldn’t go to a baker that specializes in pies, right?
Do your research and go through portfolios so that you can choose an artist that is proficient in fine line and delicate mini tattoos.
Plus, an added bonus of going with a tattooer who has done a lot of mini tattoos is that they’ll be able to advise you on the design you want and whether it will work or not.
When it comes down to what kind of tattoo you want to get, you don’t need anybody’s permission! What matters is that you know the risks involved and accept them. If you’re happy to get a super delicate, highly detailed mini tattoo and enjoy it while it lasts, go for it!
For more on the top things to consider before getting a tattoo, click here.