Cover up Tattoos

Cover ups are tattoos that go over another tattoo and hide the old tattoo.  There are a few ground rules for cover ups.

  • The only thing that completely covers black is black.
  • You can’t cover a darker color with a lighter color.
  • Cover ups need to be larger than the original tattoo.  Usually, significantly larger
  • Tattoos do not change the texture of the skin so if there are any scars they will still be there after the cover up is done.

(There can be acceptations to some of these rules by very skilled cover up artists with a lot of experience but it will take a long process with many sessions to be successful.) What makes for a good cover up tattoo? It depends a lot on what the tattoo that’s being covered up is.  For purposes of this blog, we will assume it’s a fairly small design with a black outline and a few colors. Good choices for cover ups are organic designs like flowers or filigree and have adjustable elements.  By adjustable, I mean that parts of the tattoo can be redrawn to accommodate the cover up without distorting the image.  Things like branches or leaves that can be moved and rotated and it still looks planned.  If there is good flow and movement in the design then it will distract the viewers eye enough that the texture of the skin (scarring) or any small areas of the old tattoo that show won’t stand out and almost seem to disappear. Flowers, trees, filigree, ornamental work, some animals, images with large areas that are very dark or black are all ideas that may work for some cover ups. Sometimes the old tattoo can be used in the cover up.  If there are lots of warm colors like orange and red in the old tattoo doing a red flower over it will be a good choice.  Sometimes the lines of the old tattoo can be used in the new one.  If there are some flowing lines that can be used to create petals or branches then it’s good to use them in the design. color_wheel Basic color rules need to be followed.  Think of the ink like colored plastic wrap.  If you put red plastic over orange plastic it still looks red.  If you put red plastic over green plastic it will look brown.  The same rules apply to tattoos because the ink all goes to the same level of the skin and essentially “mixes” with the old color.   Colors that are next to each other or near each other on the color wheel are good choices (as long as they are not lighter) and colors that are opposite on the color wheel will turn muddy or brown.   If you add yellow to blue it will look green and if you add red to blue it will look purple.  If you add yellow to red it may look orange but since yellow is lighter than red the red may overpower it and it will still look red.  If you add red to green it will be dark brown or almost black.  If you add orange to purple it will have the same effect. So you can see that it takes a  lot of skill and knowledge to do cover ups. The larger the cover up the better its effectiveness.  If there is only a little bit of area around the cover up spot then it all ends up being very dark.  If there is lots of room then there only has to be a small area that is dark and it doesn’t stand out, it blends in.  Then you can’t even tell where the old tattoo was. This is one great option for covering up an old tattoo that you don’t like but what if you don’t like your tattoo but you don’t want to get a huge cover up?  The best option for that is laser tattoo removal.  You can get it completely removed or you can just get it lightened up to the point where a smaller cover up is possible.  This has to be done under a doctor’s supervision in Washington state so be sure to go to a licensed and reputable place.  We like Caddell’s Laser Clinic in Bellevue.  They work with tattoo artists to remove tattoos with the intention of having them covered up with other tattoos.  They will also completely remove your tattoo if that’s what you’re looking to do.  They don’t remove tattoos because they don’t like them, they remove them because they like good tattoos!  You can see examples of what they are capable of by clicking here.   Caddell’s Laser Clinic If you have any questions about a cover up that you want to be done feel free to contact us through email.  Include a photo of the tattoo you want to cover and images of ideas you have in mind to use for the cover up to