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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Personal Care & Body Art > Tattoo

Tattoo Cost


How Much Does a Tattoo Cost?

 
 average costMedium: $75-$150 per hour 
Typical costs:
  • For a small tattoo like a short phrase or an animal inked onto a wrist, the price range is $50-$200, with an average cost of $132. Most tattoo artists charge an hourly rate that varies from $75 to $150 an hour.
  • A more elaborate tattoo like an elephant on the forearm or upper back that takes 2.5-6 hours typically costs $200-$600 with an average cost of $316.
  • The length of time it takes to do a tattoo can vary from one to many hours, depending on the size and complexity of the design. Tattoo artists in large urban areas tend to charge on the higher end of that range, or even more, while those in small towns often charge the lower rates.
Related articles: Tattoo Removal, Mole Removal

What should be included:
  • The tattoo artist will create a stencil of the client's chosen design - usually using a special machine - and will then disinfect the tattoo site and transfer the stencil onto the skin. Then, the tattooist will pour ink into the tattoo machine, which has tiny needles that inject the ink into the skin. Using the machine, the tattoo artist will first trace the outline of the tattoo, then add color and shading.
Additional costs:
  • Some tattooists charge 10 percent to 25 percent extra for work on a part of the body that is more difficult, such as the lower back. And some artists will charge extra for custom designs, but it is more common to ask for a deposit of about $50.
  • If you are unhappy with your tattoo, having it altered or tattooed over might cost hundreds of dollars and removal is even more expensive - up to $10,000 in some cases.
  • Your tattoo will fade over time, so you probably will have to get it touched up in the future.
Discounts:
  • Because tattoos can be difficult and expensive to remove, it is important to choose an artist based on quality, rather than on price. And for regular customers or someone who is getting a lot of work done, some artists will offer a lower hourly rate.
Shopping for a tattoo:
  • Tip: Keep an eye out for people who have tattoos that appeal to you, and ask where they got them done. Because tattooists are artists, your choice will be subjective and partly based on your taste and sense of aesthetics. The Alliance of Professional Tattooists[1] provides an online pamphlet with advice on choosing a tattooist. When you find a tattooist, ask about qualifications and experience, and take a look at a portfolio.
  • Tip: To minimize health risks, make sure your tattoo artist has been certified by the Alliance of Professional Tattooists, a nonprofit organization that uses a strict set of standards to make tattooing as safe as possible. Also, learn about the health risks, which are minimal, but still exist, in tattoo parlors that follow strict sanitation guidelines. The National Institutes for Health[2] provides an overview of the possible risks, which include infection, allergic reaction to dyes, and exposure to bloodborne diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Also, check with your state and local health departments to see how tattoo parlors are regulated in your area.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
 
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What People Are Paying - Recent Comments

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Saving money andfugured out had much..
Amount: $350.00 Total
Posted by: a user in Boca Raton, FL.Posted: November 28th, 2021 08:11PM
Tattoo Description: 1Time Total: 100.00
I felt 300.., pafull. 2 middle simple tats. 2 Tatoo 225'00
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Arrow tattoo
Amount: $0.00 Total
Posted by: Archery competitor in Houston, TX.Posted: May 27th, 2021 04:05PM
Tattoo Description: Arrow tattoo on outside of forearmTime Total: ?
I want a custom arrow on the outside of my forearm, but don't how much or how long. About what would the price be?
Recommendations on place? (Conroe-Houston TX area
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Uneven dream catcher
Amount: $250.00 Total
Posted by: Hi I’m... Not that satisfied but accepted my fate in Manassas, VA.Posted: August 3rd, 2019 09:08PM
Tattoo Description: Dream catcher size of qtipTime Total: 1 hours
Freehanded. Non symmetrical. Guy was a douche. I like the feathers on I think atleast.
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The problem with cheap-minded people
Amount: $0.00 Total
Posted by: Me.E in New York, NY.Posted: July 4th, 2019 12:07AM
Tattoo Description: your walletTime Total: 0
Maybe show some pictures of work done for context on this site.. this is all subjective bullshit.. a guy says he payed $650 for a half-sleeve lol! I’ll bet it’s awesome.. cheap-minded people (and this is directed to a few of you who have posted) garner cheap things, don’t expect it to be anything more and hopefully, nothing less.
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First tattoo
Amount: $300.00 Total
Posted by: Sierra Kennedy in Atlanta, GA.Posted: June 24th, 2019 07:06PM
Tattoo Description: M9 combat knife w/ NF logo inside bladeTime Total: 1.5 hours
Full foreArm tattoo. Sketchy tattoo shop. Overpriced. Black ink only.
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Second Tattoo
Amount: $350.00 Total
Posted by: Miranda74 in El Paso, TX.Posted: March 21st, 2019 10:03PM
Tattoo Description: Multi-colored PineappleTime Total: 4 hours?
There is a Tattoo Expo tomorrow (March 22nd thru the 24th). I know tattoos are cheaper at expos and I want to get this 5 colored pineapple skull tattoo. It’s outlined black and has green, yellow, pinkish-red, and blue. I need an estimate on what the actual price will be, but I’m hoping no more than $400
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Half sleeve
Amount: $630.00 Total
Posted by: JoshFox7 in Houston, TX.Posted: October 9th, 2018 11:10AM
Tattoo Description: Cross with Piano wrapped aroundTime Total: 6 hours
In total, it took about 5.5 hours!
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first time
Amount: $300.00 Total
Posted by: Hunter123 in battle creek, MI.Posted: September 21st, 2018 04:09PM
Tattoo Description: Sea TurtleTime Total:
I would like to get a sea turtle tattoo but I don't know how much it will be, The size of this tattoo I want is 4-5 inch long and 3-4 inch wide.
I would like a good recommendation for an artist. Thank you
the limit i would like to stay at is $300
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First Tattoo
Amount: $50.00 Total
Posted by: a user in Marshall, MO.Posted: January 26th, 2018 05:01AM
Tattoo Description: Small infinity sign on my wristTime Total: 20 minutes
He did an awesome job. The infinity sign is wrapped with the words “live the life you love, love the life you live” and the life is the point where the phrases intersect.
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cross
Amount: $120.00 Total
Posted by: dustin marat in dublin, GA.Posted: April 28th, 2017 07:04AM
Tattoo Description: crossTime Total: 2
want it so bad
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Tattoo cover up
Amount: $0.00 Total
Posted by: TiffanyRose in Marysville, WA.Posted: April 18th, 2017 08:04PM
Tattoo Description: Wanting to cover up writing with animalTime Total: ???
I was looking to cover up a tattoo that I had done, it's a memorial tattoo and I accidentally gave the tattoo artist the wrong date so I'm planning on getting it covered with a buffalo but not sure what I would be charged per hour if an artist can do this
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Black crown
Amount: $130.00 Total
Posted by: Sofiamonique in South Side Pittsburgh, PA.Posted: April 9th, 2017 03:04PM
Tattoo Description: 1.5 inch blk princess crownTime Total: 1 hr 20 min
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American traditional sun
Amount: $150.00 Total
Posted by: Davidw4141 in Greensboro, NC.Posted: March 23rd, 2017 09:03AM
Tattoo Description: Hand size tattoo on upper thighTime Total: Little over an hour.
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Single needle line and color
Amount: $160.00 Total
Posted by: Broomstick88 in Seabrook, NH.Posted: March 15th, 2017 04:03PM
Tattoo Description: Rose with three leavesTime Total: 3.25 hours
My rose tattoo is approximately 4.5" x 4.5". It took about three hours the roses color of the leaves are black and white. It is a mix between classic Americana and coloring book style. It took about three hours and a tattoo artist uses A lining middle for all black and color portions. My tattoo was a walk in appointment at a shop that requires you to bring your own line art and does not do custom designs.
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Tattoo
Amount: $275.00 Total
Posted by: Abigail in Warrenton, MO.Posted: February 14th, 2017 02:02PM
Tattoo Description: Moon phaseTime Total: 15 Minutes
It's the worst tattoo ever. And as well my first. I regret ever going there even he did have a great portfolio he didn't fu*king care. It's very blotchy, out of shape. And very dark.
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First tattoo
Amount: $20.00 Total
Posted by: Bethanie in Petersburg, VA.Posted: January 14th, 2017 04:01PM
Tattoo Description: Infinity sign with two paw prints and aTime Total: 10 minutes
Absolutely perfect. He took his time really well and it was my first tattoo and it was on my shoulder blade and it only burned.
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First Tattoo
Amount: $100.00 Total
Posted by: a user in Statesboro, GA.Posted: December 10th, 2016 08:12AM
Tattoo Description: 2 lines from a poemTime Total: 1 hour
I got the last two lines of the poem "Invictus" on my upper left thigh. It says "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul". It was $100, and I gave a $20 tip
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6 symbols, about 1.5 inch diameter
Amount: $180.00 Total
Posted by: Rebeccafp in West Palm Beach, FL.Posted: November 10th, 2016 12:11AM
Tattoo Description: 6 SymbolsTime Total: 1.5 hours
I had the concept that I wanted 6 symbols to reflect the blind men and the elephant parable. The artist did the design and color, aesthetic... nailed it.
He charged 120 per hour, I'm not sure how he calculated when it began, like design, when he stenciled, when he put ink to skin...
Actual inking was probably only and hour, maybe a little more. It is a little nerve racking to hear how much it costs after it's done... i think maybe it's common to round the time up or I just offer so little resistance. Was a great experience and tattoo, I'm just as unsure about everything as the people who are surely on this page.
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Chicago Flag (minus the stars) tattoo (two blue stripes)
Amount: $80.00 Total
Posted by: Rebeccafp in Chicago, FL.Posted: November 10th, 2016 12:11AM
Tattoo Description: two blue stripesTime Total: 30 minutes
I went to two different places that were known for being less expensive (but well reviewed) and was quoted 80$.
I read after I got it that tattoos are something that are meant to be tipped so I went back and tipped 15.
My first tattoo, I made a section not heal so good by putting a bra on too soon. The rest of it is kind of spotty and I'm not sure how it's my fault but I know it is. Hope to get a touch up when I'm back in town (hopefully for free?)
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First tattoo
Amount: $0.00 Total
Posted by: MRH in San Marcos, TX.Posted: September 10th, 2016 11:09AM
Tattoo Description: Quote on my ribs.Time Total: ??
I want my first tattoo on my ribs and its a quote. Pretty small and simple. I don't know how much it'll cost though.
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First Tattoo
Amount: $200.00 Total
Posted by: Chrissy3 in Normal, IL.Posted: September 2nd, 2016 09:09AM
Tattoo Description: Multicolored turtleTime Total: 1 hour
Best decision ever. It's absolutely gorgeous and I love it.
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Janesville,wi
Amount: $100.00 Total
Posted by: Aislan in Janesville, WI.Posted: August 19th, 2016 11:08PM
Tattoo Description: Water color hummingbird.Time Total: 45 minuets
It's a side veiw of a humming bird. It didn't hurt at all,because it was on my dominant arm and almost on my sholder. It's about 4 inches wide and 4 inches long. Obscura in janesville is the place to go. I'm going to my artist in a few months for a forearm tattoo.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.safe-tattoos.com/pamphlets/basic.html
  2.  www.niehs.nih.gov/external/faq/tattoo.htm
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