Tattoo Mistakes

Tattoo mistakes

From misinterpreted artwork to a hasty decision to tattoo a lover's name, tattoo mistakes are unfortunately common.

Choosing to Be Tattooed

Choosing to get a tattoo can be a big decision. After all, while tattoos no longer need to be permanent, removing one can still be a time consuming and expensive process. No one likes to think they'll be making a mistake with their tattoo, so consideration from the design to the artist must be carried out in full detail.

While some tattoo mistakes can be eliminated by the use of tattoo stencils, careful selection of the artist and avoidance of hasty decisions, others mistakes are extremely common, yet not considered.

Several Tattoo Mistakes

To avoid having your new ink turn into a mistake, take these all-too-frequent errors into consideration.


One of the biggest mistakes made in tattooing is size. Some designs lose detail and interest when they get too small. Others can overtake their section of canvas by getting too large. Avoid making the size mistake by using a tattoo stencil and wearing your tattoo in various sizes before getting inked.


Even the best designs can begin to go wrong if they're poorly placed. The curve of muscles beneath the skin, the size of a limb or even the visibility of the tattoo should all be taken into consideration. Failure to do so could render your tattoo a mistake.

Lover Tattoos

It's an all too common story: lovers ink a couple tattoo only to break up. Instead of getting a name or initials tattooed, if you must show your passion for someone, why not get a tattoo of a shared ideal. If you met while surfing, and surfing is still a passion of yours, consider an ocean tattoo. Music lovers can have lyrics from a favorite song like the one that was playing when you met. There are many ways to honor a relationship with a tattoo that won't be a mistake in hindsight if you break up.

Hasty Decisions

While most tattoo parlors are filled with flash for you to look at, it's not a great idea to simply go in, choose your image and get it inked in one day. Take some time to think about the design, what meaning it may have for you and whether or not you'll really want that image on your arm 20 or 30 years from now.

Poor Translations

Getting a character or rune is a hot tattoo design. Make sure you double check the meaning of your tat before getting it inked to avoid a missed translation. Characters that have been inverted can also take on different meanings, so if possible have a linguist take a look to make sure your new tattoo for "peace" really means just that.

Freehand Designs

Do not simply hand a photograph to a tattoo artist or describe what you want without getting them to draw it out on paper first. Too often, a freehand design can go very wrong on the skin; always get a stencil before getting inked.

What to Do About Tattoo Mistakes

Wrecking Balm Tattoo Removal Kit

If you've made a mistake with a previous tattoo, you do have options. Small tattoos can be covered up by larger and more detailed designs. Tattoos you'd really rather disappear forever can be removed with lasers or dermabrasion. Some lotions and creams are also available which claim to fade tattoos, if you want to cover a more detailed tat with something new, but results do vary widely.

All of these options can be expensive, however, so take steps to prevent the mistake in the first place if at all possible.

Tattoo mistakes have been around as long as tattoos have been done, and will probably be around for years to come as well. Do your best to avoid making your new ink one of them by paying attention, giving it some thought and taking your design for a test drive first.

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Tattoo Mistakes