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Can I Design Over a Bad Tattoo?

Is There Such A Thing As A Bad Tattoo?

We love the art of tattooing! It’s an amazing process, and if done right, a tattoo can be an expressive, unique piece of art, an exquisite celebration of your individuality!

However, just because most tattoos are gorgeous tapestries of ink doesn’t mean there aren’t a few less-than-ideal tats out there. Poorly-designed tattoos happen, and while rare, they can be a literal and figurative eyesore for the tattooed subject. No one wants to have their perfect tattoo design turn into a distorted mess of color, and bad tattoos can be a real drag on the subject.

Your subpar tattoo might impact your self-esteem or the clothes you wear. It might affect how others perceive you. It might just be frustrating to have a tattoo that you were excited about take a left turn into mediocrity! Regardless of your use case, know that there are options. The fact that you have had one bad experience with a tattoo artist doesn’t mean there aren’t incredibly talented shops and artists ready to help you salvage your bad tattoo.

There are so many great Dallas tattoo artists and shops out there. It’s a shame to sport a tattoo you aren’t in love with when there are so many talented tattoo artists in Dallas who can fix the problem.

“My tattoos are like a scrapbook of my life. Sometimes you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin, so covering it up with pictures helps.” — Frank Iero

Why Do Bad Tattoos Happen?

In our experience, fears of bad tattoos are overblown. It’s perfectly natural to be skeptical and wary when considering a tattoo, but the industry has implemented many safeguards to prevent this. Choosing the right shop, seeing examples of an artist’s work, reviewing a stencil prior, and taking the time to properly discuss and design the ink and aftercare will prevent most tattoo issues. Plus, the available tools for tattoo artistry are improving by the day!

Still, we do see bad tattoo recipients walk into Lamar Street Tattoo Club to discuss removal or redesigning, and there are some commonalities we’ve noticed, including:

You’ll notice that these are all preventable causes. It’s extremely rare for an experienced and well-reviewed tattoo shop to just have a bad day and mess up an otherwise perfect tattoo. Usually, the selection process and aftercare routine are the culprits and causes of any bad tattoo.

While that might be helpful context, it doesn’t help if you’ve already received a bad tattoo. If that’s the case, what do you do?

We’ve put together our thoughts on designing over a bad tattoo to help walk you through the process.

Designing Over a Bad Tattoo Tips & Tricks

Bad Tattoo Redesign Tip 1: Figure Out if This Is Right For You

It can be a great option if you want to use that piece of your body for another beautiful bit of ink. But for some people, tattoo removal is a better option. We highly recommend consulting with our FAQ page on laser tattoo removal for a little more color.

Bad Tattoo Redesign Tip 2: Meet With the Artist First

If you received some bad ink in the past, your choice of artist was likely the main culprit. We absolutely recommend taking the time to talk to the artist first to see if they are a good fit. After all, they’re going to inject ink into your skin via an open wound – you need to know they understand what they’re doing!

Usually, we recommend…

Bad Tattoo Redesign Tip 3: Use Darker Colors

This one shouldn’t be a surprise. The darker the colors, the easier it will be to cover up the bad ink. Now, this doesn’t mean you can only choose Gothic designs for your tattoo cover-up. However, blacks, blues, magentas, and greens can all be useful. Even a darker shade of the past tattoo’s base color can be enough.

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Bad Tattoo Redesign Tip 4: Go Bigger

Typically, you will need to design a bigger tattoo to cover a past failed design. You don’t need to place a tapestry over your entire back to cover up one subpar shoulder blade tattoo, but you will probably need to go at least 50% larger than the past tattoo. This is to ensure that the fresh, new ink completely obscures it. Keep this in mind when budgeting – both money and time.

Bad Tattoo Redesign Tip 5: Utilize the Previous Tattoo’s Design Elements

Any quality tattoo artist can look at your past ink and see where past design elements can be repurposed. Maybe some past script can be repurposed into a tribal or runic design element. Maybe a heart can be transformed into a rosebud. The more you can take bits and pieces of your past tattoo and mold them into the new design, the better.

Contact Lamar Street Tattoo Club for a Recommendation

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