What Impacts The Price Of A Tattoo?

Lion Half Sleeve Tattoo @kawi.ink

You got inspired by a design and now you’re ready to make an appointment to get inked. Hold up, you’ve got to be thinking, “How much will my tattoo cost?” There are a few things that impact the price of a tattoo, including the intricacy of the design, its size, and the tattoo artist you choose. 

Tattoo Details

The cost of your tattoo will greatly depend on how detailed it is. When a tattoo is highly detailed, it will be more difficult to tattoo, it will take more time, and it will require more ink. All this adds up to a hefty price tag.

Tattoo Prices By Size

How big or small your design is can make your tattoo more expensive or cheaper.

Patchwork Sleeve Tattoo @sunhan.tattoo

How Much Does A Full-Sleeve Tattoo Cost? 

A full-sleeve tattoo refers to a tattoo design that spans the length of an arm, from shoulder to wrist. A half-sleeve would be a tattoo on either the upper arm or lower arm. Because of the size of this placement, a lot of ink is needed, so this tattoo choice is on the expensive side. 

“These can run you anywhere from $2000 to $4000 for outline only, to upwards of $6000 for full color, as it can take the artist over two full days, either in large chunks of time or multiple shorter sessions,”

Plant Spine Tattoo @terryemi

Other expensive tattoo choices include full back tattoos, tattoo designs that encompass the whole chest, and large leg tattoos. These all run similarly price-wise to a full-sleeve tattoo.

If you choose a particularly challenging place to tattoo – such as the spine, the ribs, the stomach, or the throat – the price of your tattoo can also increase. Due to the difficulty, the tattoo process will take more time and therefore cost more.

Mini Skull Tattoo @taylorrauma

How Much Does A Small Tattoo Cost?

A tiny tattoo doesn’t take much ink or time to do, therefore they’re a lot cheaper and can be around $50 to $100. 

However, if you have your heart set on a tiny hyper-realistic tattoo with many fine lines and details, the cost will increase dramatically. This type of tattoo requires a lot of skill and time to do – it’s a challenge to get a ton of realistic detail into a small space!

If you want to save money on your tattoo, reduce the details instead of going to a tattoo artist who is less experienced. Going to a cheap, unprofessional artist increases the risk of infection, tattoo blowout, and mistakes.

Realistic Sunflower Tattoo @zihong_tattoo

Tattoo Artist

Generally speaking, the more experienced your chosen tattooist is, the more expensive getting tatted by them will be. They’ve spent years honing their craft, so you’re paying for these years of experience and the skills they’ve developed as well as your specific tattoo.

Not only that, but the price of your tattoo will also include the ink being used, the tattoo machine, and other equipment. 

“The tattoo artists need to pay for new needles, tattoo ink, gauze, tape, creams, tattoo covers, disinfecting equipment, special vegan products as well, soaps, ointments, etc. All of this adds up to the overall expenses, which further proves that the overall tattoo cost, though high, is actually completely justifiable,”

Saved Tattoo
Mini Watercolor Lotus Tattoo @handitrip

How Do Tattoo Artists Determine Their Prices?

Taking into consideration the cost of tattoo ink and equipment, as well as studio space and their expertise, tattoo artists usually charge different by-the-hour rates. 

According to Tat Ring, a beginner apprentice tattoo artist charges between $80 to $120 an hour; an established tattoo artist with five years of experience or above could charge between $150 and $180 per hour; and a popular tattoo artist can basically charge whatever they want (be prepared for over $180 an hour).

Red Ink Words Tattoos @onedimpletattoo

When it comes to choosing your tattoo artist, take your time. Explore social media profiles and portfolios to find an artist with a style you love and the expertise you need to create your chosen tattoo.

Also, you can book a consultation with a tattoo artist just to discuss your tattoo ideas and they can give you advice. 

Rather put your tattoo on hold so you can save enough money for your first choice of tattoo artist then go with someone cheaper but with whom you don’t vibe. 

Small Heart Collarbone Tattoo @tinytattooinc

What Is The Least Expensive Tattoo?

The cheapest tattoo you can get is small and minimalistic – the simpler, the less expensive! Tiny hearts, dots on fingers, small crosses, single lines around the finger, and star sign glyphs are all examples of tattoos that would most likely put you on the lower end of a tattoo studio’s pay scale. 

How Much Does Tattoo Removal Cost?

Tattoos aren’t entirely permanent – there is laser tattoo removal. However, this isn’t a cheap option. If you end up disliking your tattoo and want to get it removed, laser tattoo removal can set you back over $400 per session – the amount of sessions you need depends on the size and intricacy of your ink. 

Mini Finger Tattoos @orma_tattoo

What Else Can Make A Tattoo Expensive?

Poor Aftercare

The most important thing you can do for the longevity and quality of your tattoo is to take care of it during the tattoo healing process.

Not following aftercare instructions can lead to bacteria getting into the wound and infecting your skin. This can cause a tattoo to heal badly, so you then may need to go back to your tattoo artist to redo some sections, which costs more money.

Bat Stomach Tattoo @lewismckechnie

Color Ink

Black ink is the cheapest type of tattoo ink. So, if you want a colorful tattoo, expect to pay more. Saved Tattoo explains,

“…let’s say that the starting price for a tattoo is $100. Well, the same tattoo, only colored, can cost double or even triple the starting price for a black and white tattoo.”

Deciding to get inked is a big deal, not only because it’s difficult to get rid of, but also because they’re not cheap! Tattoos are not something to skimp on, however. Take your time to save money for a tattoo experience that will give you the design you’ve been dreaming about.

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