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Cover Up Tattoos NYC

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Tattoos are typically seen as permanent, but there are actually very select circumstances where you can essentially remove a tattoo. One is through laser removal, where the tattoo will be treated until gone. The other is through a tattoo cover-up, where the undesired design still exists, but can no longer be seen because it has been covered up. 

Whether you have a regrettable tattoo that you no longer want to show, have an old tattoo that has faded and doesn’t look great anymore, or just want to reuse that space on your body, a tattoo cover-up may be just the choice for you. There exists a way to change your ink while still having some great tattoos. 

Mikhail Andersson - First Class Tattoo

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Why Consider a Cover-Up Tattoo? 

The big reasons people opt for cover-ups revolve around some dissatisfaction with their current tattoo status, but they still want some ink. These reasons include:

  • Dissatisfaction with a previous tattoo 

  • Outdated or faded tattoos 

  • Personal evolution/change in preferences 

  • Unwanted memories or associations

Choosing the Right Design for Your Cover-Up 

Choosing the right design for a cover-up is extremely important and you should take the time to consult with an experienced artist for some professional insight. In the world of cover-ups, not all designs are created equal, and proper planning is key. 

Key factors when choosing the right cover-up design revolve around the size and color saturation of not only the new tattoo but also the one being covered. For example, a tattoo that consists of thick dark lines cannot be covered up with light colors without several rounds of laser first. A successful cover-up tattoo will completely hide the previous design, which means none of the existing lines, no matter how long and saturated, can be visible. 

anime tattoo 19
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Before the Cover-Up: Tattoo Fading Treatments 

When planning a cover-up, taking steps to fade the previous tattoo can go a long way. Fading the tattoo makes the covering process easier and more successful for the artist. When inquiring about a cover-up, the artist may suggest starting with a few laser removal sessions in order to lighten up your preexisting tattoo. This is to ensure that the tattoo you want to have covered will not show through. 

The Process of Getting a Cover-Up 


As mentioned, the planning process is huge for cover-up tattoos. During consultation, this is your time to communicate your desired outcome to the artist. From there, an experienced artist will be able to see any potential challenges and any solutions to these problems during the design phase. It is best for the artist to see the tattoo you want covered in person so they can assess the nature of the old ink and the surface area of your skin which will allow them to plan accordingly. This will create much better final products. 

Design Drafting:

As with any tattoo, your artist will create a design and you will be able to work with them on adjustments. Please keep in mind, that with cover-up projects, your artist may not be able to accommodate every change. The goal is that you will end up with a new tattoo you adore but that will successfully cover the tattoo underneath. 


Tattooing a cover-up requires a different approach and different techniques when compared to a fresh tattoo. For one, there already exists a lot of ink in the skin, which needs to be worked around. Too much ink will result in blurry lines and muddled colors, creating a bad final product. 

Also, depending on the care of the skin and any fading practices, the skin being worked on might be extra sensitive. Either way, a cover-up artist has to be more precise and meticulous when working with a cover-up piece. 


Aftercare with any tattoo, but especially a cover-up is key. Your artist will go over aftercare instructions once the session is complete. Keep the tattoo out of the sun for a while, don’t submerge the piece in water, and wear loose clothing in the area to prevent any excessive rubbing on the healing spot. A new tattoo is an open wound that can become infected if not cared for. 

Cover Up Tattoos Gallery

FAQs about Cover-Up Tattoos

Can any tattoo be covered up?:

Realistically, not every tattoo will be able to be covered, at least as is. Some pieces are too big and too saturated to cover straight up. Smaller, faded tattoos make for great options to cover as is, whereas bigger saturated ones will need laser removal to become more practical to cover. 

How much does a cover-up tattoo cost?:

Generally speaking, a cover-up will be slightly more costly than an initial tattoo. This increase in price stems from the more time needed to plan and the more time required to physically tattoo the piece. Of course, this final rate will boil down to the individual artist you plan to work with. 

Is the process more painful than getting a regular tattoo?:

This depends on the state of your skin. If you’re covering up a really old, already faded tattoo, you shouldn’t notice much of a difference. If the skin is sensitive from previous fading techniques, you may feel the tattoo slightly more. That being said, artists won’t work on skin that is too damaged. 

How can I prepare for my cover-up session?:

Fading a highly saturated tattoo is strongly recommended prior to the session. But also, take care of yourself. Make sure you’re eating and drinking water before arriving at the shop to be sure your body is ready for the tattooing process. Talk to your artist too, they may have specific suggestions for you to prepare for the session.

Tips for a Successful Cover-Up 

The best way to achieve a successful cover-up is by working with an experienced artist who can apply their suggestions based on hands-on experience. From there, being flexible and hearing these suggestions is key. Cover-up tattoos, unfortunately, don’t offer the same degree of customization as a fresh tattoo due to the need to hide any previous lines. And be patient; the designing and tattooing of a cover-up generally takes longer than an initial tattoo. 

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If you’re interested in getting one of your tattoos covered, get in touch with a trusted artist in your life.


If you need an experienced artist in the realm of cover-up tattoos, the team of artists at First Class Tattoo in New York City is a fantastic choice!


With so many cover-ups already under their belt, the artists at First Class Tattoo have seen it all and can use that experience to help you. 

52 Canal Street, New York, NY 10002  |  Tel: (646) 998-5203

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