Cover-up (tattoo)

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Metal vocalist Mitch Lucker was known for the cover-up black bar tattoos on each of his fingers, which previously displayed the letters "FORXEVER".

A tattoo cover-up is the act of tattooing over a previous tattoo with a new modified tattoo. Tattoo cover-ups are either seen as removing the original tattoo with a new and improved one, or having th It is usually seen as being one of two options of removing an unwanted tattoo; the other option being laser removal. Covering up an unwanted tattoo is generally cheaper than tattoo removal.


Poorly applied, faded, or light tattoos are the easiest to cover and can only be covered up using the same or darker ink. White ink may sometimes be applied to lighten the old tattoo before proceeding with the cover-up.

Cover-ups could completely hide the old tattoo with a new design, or the cover-up could incorporate elements or the whole of the existing tattoo.

The new ink being deposited over the old ink is combining together to create a new color which is why it is easier to use black ink for most cover-ups. The focus is on the color of the existing tattoo and how to incorporate the new color and best conceal the tattoo.

Cover-up designs will always be bigger in size compared to the previous design as it helps to hide the design completely. A cover-up is not a new tattoo as some of the previous tattoo is still visible.

Finding an experienced tattoo artist is highly suggested because the cover-up process is time-consuming and requires effort. Invest time and do your research to find an artist best at concealing. Remember, some tattoo artists refuse to do a cover-up as well as they want do not want to tattoo their art on previously inked skin.

There are a few tricks that tattoo artists have learned along the way in quick and effective cover-ups. For example, keeping the cover-up design close to the old design, fading a tattoo by removing excess ink, and strengthening weak lines are just a few tricks.

When researching tattoo artists take a look at their portfolio and previous tattoo work which can be accessed directly from the artist at their shop or on their own social media platforms. Some artists will directly let you know when you reach out to them if they do cover-up tattoos or not. Also, take a look at the type of style of each artist as there are many different types such as new school, traditional, watercolor, portrait and realism which are only a few examples.

White-out technique[edit]

Nowadays, it is possible to cover a dark tattoo with white ink. Artists use a technique known as the white-out technique.[1] In this technique, white ink is used over the dark-colored tattoo to lighten it up. This technique is now commonly used by utilizing the best quality white inks to cover up the previous tattoo.


  1. ^ Martin, Steven (2020-05-14). "Best White Tattoo Ink To Try in 2020 | Top-Picks, Reviews & Guide". Best Tattoo Ink. Retrieved 2020-07-11.