Tattoo Removal For Coverup Tattoos

A tattoo coverup can be a great solution for people who just aren’t a fan of their existing tattoo. Removery works with people on a daily basis who want to fade or remove their tattoos in preparation for a new design. When expert artists and laser specialists work together, amazing things can happen.

Intrigued by this idea? Read on to learn all about how to cover up tattoos with new tattoos!

What Is a Tattoo Coverup?

A cover up tattoo is a design that’s tattooed over the top of an older tattoo, so the older one is no longer visible.

In some cases, such as blastovers, blackouts, and heavily saturated tattoos, an artist can do a coverup tattoo without fading the original. However, in the vast majority of cases, tattoo fading will produce better results. Why? It gives the artist a clean (or cleaner) slate to work with, which gives them the freedom to create the exact design you want.

We find that people get tattoo coverups for various reasons:

  • Simply disliking the design
  • An old tattoo fading or blowing out
  • Personal tastes changing
  • Errors in the old tattoo
  • Realising the tattoo is offensive
  • Being reminded of difficult past events

We find that many of our coverup clients get tattoos at a young age, often by a mate or acquaintance not really thinking about which artist or tattoo concept to choose.  That’s where a tattoo coverup comes in. Through tattoo removal, the old tattoo can be faded enough to allow a new design to be created over the top of it—a design that truly fits that individual’s personality and preferences.

In some cases, covering up tattoos plays a vital role in moving past difficult circumstances. For example, Ink-nitiative clients who are reentering society after prison might remove gang or hate tattoos. This helps to shift perception and gives our clients a fresh start.

Expand Tattoo Design Options

Learn from NYC tattoo artist Jon Mesa about his approach to coverup tattoos and why he considers tattoo design and level of detail when starting a new coverup project.

Learn More

Tattoo Removal vs. Tattoo Coverup

Maybe you’ve already decided that you want to get rid of an old tattoo. Should you opt for full tattoo removal or a coverup? Here are some of the considerations that our clients look at when deciding to get a coverup tattoo or fully removing it.

Full Tattoo Removal

If you have a tattoo in a prominent place like your hand, neck, or face, and you’re concerned about how it affects others’ perception of you, full removal might be the clear answer. People choose full removal when they simply don’t want a tattoo on that part of their body anymore. One of our tattoo industry partners, Brian, chose full removal for a tattoo that had been hidden by his hair when he started losing his hair!

A career change often prompts the decision to remove a tattoo completely, as full removal lets people appear more professional in some fields like the airline industry or military. Laser tattoo removal can fade a tattoo so much that it ultimately becomes invisible.

Tattoo Cover Up

If you still like the idea of having a tattoo where your old design is located, a tattoo coverup might be the best option for you. Maybe you want to cover up tattoos on your arm with a new sleeve coverup that’s better designed, for instance. Or, maybe you want to cover up a script tattoo with something else, like a floral design. With a coverup, laser tattoo removal lightens the old design rather than fully removing it. A few laser tattoo removal sessions are usually necessary to fade the tattoo enough for a coverup. In some cases, specific areas of the tattoo take more sessions to lighten than other parts, due to factors like saturation, ink type, or tattoo pigment colour.

The Tattoo Coverup Process

What does the tattoo coverup process look like? Here are the steps, in a nutshell:

  • A specialist talks with you about the type of coverup tattoo you want. At  Removery, the specialist will also ask if you have an artist in mind. If not, she’ll make recommendations at this stage, since close communication with the artist throughout the process is ideal.
  • The specialist determines the approximate number of sessions needed to remove your tattoo, based on your desired outcome.
  • You have a laser tattoo removal session about every six weeks, to give the skin time to heal between sessions.
  • After the old tattoo is sufficiently faded and the skin has healed, work on the new tattoo can begin!

If you don’t know exactly what you want your new design to be, your laser specialist might talk with you about your desired style and recommend some artists. If you find an artist you really love, they might come up with a personalised design idea for you.

Coverup Tattoo Factors

An array of factors can affect what you can accomplish with your coverup and how long it will take.

Talk these factors through with your laser specialist and tattoo artist to make informed decisions throughout the process. At Removery, our experienced specialists are skilled at addressing all factors. They examine each tattoo and make recommendations on a case-by-case basis to ensure the removal and coverup are tailored to your needs.

How Soon Can a Tattoo Be Covered Up?

It depends on the style. As mentioned, you must wait 6 weeks between laser removal sessions to ensure your skin heals fully. Then, you must wait 6 to 12 weeks after your final laser removal session before beginning work on the coverup tattoo. The total amount of time needed will depend on how much fading is required. For a coverup that uses a traditional design with bold, dense lines, 4 to 5 sessions may suffice. That adds up to 24 to 36 weeks or about 6 to 9 months.

If you want a delicate, feathery tattoo or a geometrical design–which both have a lot of negative space—more fading will be necessary. These cases might call for 8 to 10 sessions. This adds up to 48 to 66 weeks total, including the waiting period at the end, or close to a year.

Remember, this waiting period ensures that your skin can heal completely before the artist begins the coverup tattoo. It might take some patience, but the results will be worth it when you get the tattoo you actually wanted!

Benefits of Covering Up Your Tattoo

Replacing an old tattoo with a new design can enhance your confidence. It can also affect the impression you make on others. If the design you chose as an 18-year-old no longer resonates with you as you enter your thirties or forties, a coverup can vastly improve how you feel when you look in the mirror.

Curious about the results others have seen with their tattoo coverup and laser removal? Check out some tattoo coverup before and after examples to see for yourself!

Partner Up with a Tattoo Artist

Removery has partnerships with a wide range of tattoo artists, giving you access to the best talent. Browse through our tattoo artist partners to see if one of these great coverup artists is right for you!

Matt Driscoll - Realism and New School Specialist

Matt Driscoll, owner of 9th Realm Gallery in Salem, explains how he approaches older tattoo coverups using his unique real school style. Finding the perfect coverup artist before you even start removal will allow the laser technician to consult with the artist about exactly how much ink must be removed.

Keith Kuzara - Color Tattoo Coverup Specialist

Keith Kuzara, owner of Sink Or Swim Tattoo in Niagara Falls, relies on laser tattoo removal for both himself and his clients’ coverup tattoos. Keith knows to creatively use the existing linework in your old tattoo to create a new tattoo design. Keith stresses how when the colours in the new ink and old tattoo blend together new textures can be achieved.

Evan Olin - Realism Tattoo Artist

Evan Olin, owner of Powerline Tattoo in Cranston, works to use art school based design principles in his composition of coverup tattoos. Skilled artists know how to choose the right colours for the job. They’re also adept at creating a vision for a new design that seamlessly blends in the remnants of the old one. With Realism, it's important to know how to design new patterns based on shapes in the old tattoo.

Cover Up Tattoos