Making mistakes is an everyday part of life. However when it comes to choosing your tattoo design, you’d hope it’d be would be something to cherish and admire for a long time, especially since it is a permanent part of your body.

However there is a rising trend for people regretting their tattoo decisions and wanting them either removed or transformed into a new design.





Common reasons for regretting a tattoo

  • Partner’s name they are no longer with
  • Out of fashion – “tramp stamps and tribal”
  • Drunken mistake
  • Change in physique has distorted tattoo
  • Faded/damaged design
  • Visibility when job hunting
  • Change in interests/hobbies
  • Music bands/TV shows finish
  • Poor quality tattoo


When wanting to change a tattoo, many people opt for a cover up option that will transform their unwanted tattoo into a stunning piece of artwork. However, this is not always as straightforward as it seems. Finding a tattoo artist that is talented with cover up work can be tricky, as blending the two designs together is a very complicated process. The success of the cover up is a combination of the artist’s talent, the pigmentation and size of the original design, as well as the new outline that is created in the fresh ink.

Researching a cover up artist is very important and you may want to spend a considerable amount of time doing this, especially if you regret the original piece due to poor workmanship. Finding a tattoo artist that is experienced and may even specialise in cover ups is a great start, as they are often a little more creative in how they incorporate the old design.  In getting a cover up, your options on size and design may be a lot more limited.

Factors that can affect a cover up tattoo are elements of the old design such as:

  • Placement on the body
  • Ink density
  • Age of the tattoo
  • Size of design
  • Available space for new tattoo
  • Colours used in the old design


Dense, black ink can be extremely difficult to conceal and cover up in a new design. Be sure to look at an artist’s cover ups either in real life or see aged pictures. This is the true test of how well they can cover up old designs, due to the fact that many will use colours over black which quickly fade in a matter of months leaving the old design showing through the new design in a horrible mash up. A talented artist will use the new design to cover and distract from the old tattoo, using the correct pigments to balance out.

Cover up tattoos are often much larger than their original design. This is due to the fact that all designs have elements of light and dark. Often the darker areas of the new design need to be big enough to cover the old tattoo, leading to an overall larger piece of body artwork. Heavy or dense areas of ink in the old design may not be suitable for a cover up, if they have not been treated with a laser removal process first. This helps to break up the pigment and fade the ink. The cover up can then disguise the area with a new design.