55 Great Cover Up Tattoo Ideas (and Guide)

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So, you’re looking for cover up tattoo ideas? You’ve come to the right place. Not only have we compiled the 55 best cover up tattoo ideas, but we’ve also created a short guide to picking a cover up tatt as well. Furthermore, if you scroll down to the end of this article, you’ll find some helpful information on other tattoo cover up methods too.

This is a no-judgement zone. Whether you’re in a hurry to remove your ex’s name, or just don’t want that drunken Vegas mistake permanently on your body, we can help you find a cover up. It will be like that inked mistake never happened…

How Can I Cover Up a Tattoo?

Tattoos are permanent. Even with natural aging and sunlight exposure, tattoos will never fade away until they disappear. So that leaves you with a dilemma.

For most people, the best way to cover up a tattoo they no longer like, is with another tattoo. It’s the best way to 100% guarantee that the old tattoo won’t be seen. You also get some fresh new ink in the process!

Unlike laser tattoo removal, tattoo cover ups don’t leave an undesirable scar. It’s often much cheaper to get a new tattoo compared to laser removal as well.

Note: Most tattoos can be covered up with the right inks. However, if your tattoo is black (e.g. a thick band of tribal tattoos) or uses very dark inks, it can be tricky to find a good tattoo that will cover it up properly.

What Makes the Best Cover Up Tattoo Idea

You might think that a bright, bold color is the best way to cover up a tattoo, but that’s not strictly true. For example, if you tattooed a plain, block color red square over your ex’s initials, you’d still be able to see the initials through the color.

So, the best cover up tattoos are highly detailed, colorful and use plenty of lines and shading. This way, you can easily cover up any lines that show through.

Intense floral designs, detailed lettering, American traditional tattoo styles, and other detailed patterns like mandalas and animal prints are best.

5 Tattoo Name Cover Up Ideas

A name is usually quite an easy tattoo to cover up, thankfully. Any detailed, swirly pattern over the lettering will hide the name. Name tattoo cover up ideas are really common, so ask your tattoo artist what they’ve done in the past for further inspiration.

Detailed Shape Idea

Detailed Shape Idea
Credit: Instagram

This woman has covered up her text tattoo just above the elbow crease with a triangle showing the galaxy, with some floral detail. You’d never guess a word was hiding beneath!

Watercolor Abstract Tattoo

Watercolor Abstract Tattoo
Credit: Instagram

Technically, this wasn’t a name. But you can see how expertly the word has been covered up with a black watercolor stroke. It’s abstract and beautiful – perfect for covering a name.

Colorful Frog Design

Colorful Frog Design
Credit: Instagram

Sorry, Samantha, but your tattoo just needed to be covered up! This quirky frog on a log scene covers the old ink nicely with added color to distract you from it.

Read More: 40+ Popular Frog Tattoos With Their Meanings (2021 Updated)

Intense Black Work

Intense Black Work
Credit: Instagram

When the name tattooed on your body is this large, you need a large and powerful tattoo to cover it up. This black ink design with piercing blue eyes does an excellent job.

Tree Trunk

Tree Trunk
Credit: Instagram

The dark ink used to create the tree trunk is ideal for hiding the old ink in this cover up. It also provides an opportunity to tattoo a scene on your body.

Read More: 40 Best Name Cover Up Tattoo Design Ideas (2021 Updated)

5 Small Tattoo Cover Up Ideas

Just because a tattoo is smaller, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s easier to cover up. Placement and ink colors matter just as much. Hopefully these 5 ideas will give you some unique inspiration for your small tattoo cover ups!

Foot Tattoo Cover Up Idea

Foot Tattoo Cover Up Idea
Credit: Instagram

This small tattoo was easy to cover up with a pretty butterfly design. The colors are bright and light, with black detailing. As a result, the cover up doesn’t feel too heavy.

Initial Cover Up

Initial Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

Initials may be small, but when you want the ink gone, they can feel huge. This tattoo shows how an elegant rose can be used to cover up an old initial.

Expanded Forearm Cover Up

Expanded Forearm Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

It’s hard to believe that there’s a small lizard tattoo hiding beneath this gorgeous foliage ink! This cover up tattoo does an excellent job of hiding old ink and celebrating the new.

Back of Neck Tattoo Cover Up

Back of Neck Tattoo Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

Was this tattoo a good idea in the first place? Nope! But thankfully, this small tattoo was easily covered with a stunning galaxy eye tattoo.

New Lettering Tattoo

New Lettering Tattoo
Credit: Instagram

Sometimes it’s the tattoo you want… but not the right font. So, this tattoo cover up hides the old lettering and makes space for new lettering. A neat idea!

5 Black Tattoo Cover Up Ideas

Black ink is one of the hardest to cover up. You usually need more black ink to cover it, or a skilled tattoo artist who can use color to mask it. We hope these 5 ideas will give you inspiration for how to cover up your own black tattoo.

Black Sleeve Tattoo Cover Up

Black Sleeve Tattoo Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

The original tattoo included a fair amount of shading, all in black ink. To cover this up completely, the artist has used a photo-realism style in solid black ink.

Black Text Cover Up

Black Text Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

A beautiful mandala featuring sunflowers is the perfect cover up for this woman’s vertical text back tattoo. We have a few more back tattoo cover up ideas below!

Adding Vivid Color

Adding Vivid Color
Credit: Instagram

Instead of covering this text tattoo up with more black ink, this artist has used red roses, black detail and green foliage to artfully hide the regretful text beneath.

American Traditional Style

American Traditional Style
Credit: Instagram

The black panther is an American traditional style tattoo and it’s great for cover ups as it primarily uses black ink. You can also add red at the mouth.

Black Floral Design

Black Floral Design
Credit: Instagram

This tattoo cover up hides colorful yet faded lettering with a stunning black design. The coverage is flawless and it’s perfectly inked. Kudos to the artist behind this one!

5 Tribal Tattoo Cover Up Ideas

Tribal tattoos usually consist of big, thick and heavy bands of black ink that are notoriously difficult to hide with makeup. And although black ink is effectively removed by laser, a large tattoo will require many expensive sessions to remove. So, re-inking the tatt is a good option.

Jesus Cover Up

Jesus Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

Detailed portraits and intricate designs, like Jesus and the church windows in this tattoo, are perfect for covering up the thick bands and stripes of tribal tattoo styles.

Animal Portrait

Animal Portrait
Credit: Instagram

Just like human faces, animal faces can be great as tribal tattoo cover ups. The more detailed and shaded the fur is, the better coverage you’ll get over your tribal tatt.

Skull and Roses

Skull and Roses Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

Skulls and roses are a classic combination that’s perfect for any tattoo cover up. Romance, honor, life and death – all wrapped into one amazing tattoo design.

Hummingbird

Hummingbird Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

Birds and small animals are great for covering up small tribal tattoos. You can see how the existing curves and lines of the tribal tattoo easily melt into a hummingbird shape.

Floral Tribal Tatt Cover Up

Floral Tribal Tatt Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

Like birds, the natural curves of petals and flower blooms are great for hiding tribal tattoos. This side body tribal tatt is easily hidden by this floral motif.

5 Cover Up Tattoo Ideas for Females

As you may have noticed by now, many tattoo cover ups require bold, dark designs that can correctly hide the ink underneath. But that’s not always compatible with the delicate, elegant and feminine vibes you’re going for. So, here are 5 female cover up ideas for you!

Improve The Original Design

Improve The Original Design
Credit: Instagram

This tattoo cover up replaces the old lip print with a newer (and vastly improved) lip tattoo. It’s a cool way to cover up a tattoo. This one is placed on the ass.

Coloring In the Lines

Coloring In the Lines
Credit: Instagram

Floral tattoos are lovely, so why cover them up? This tattoo revamp job added color and expanded a drab greyscale floral motif on the side of the upper thigh.

Flower Tattoo Cover Up

Flower Tattoo Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

Instead of choosing a thick, bold design to completely cover the tattoo, why not enhance it? This elegant feminine tattoo cover up adds exquisite style.

Spread Your Wings

Spread Your Wings
Credit: Instagram

We often thing that wings below on our shoulders, but this tattoo cover up shows how detailed wing tatts can be used to cover up old ink elsewhere on your body.

Full Back Tatt

Full Back Tatt
Credit: Instagram

We’re not sure what original tattoo was here, but we do know that this was a cover up job. Don’t be afraid to go big. A full back tattoo can be as feminine or masculine as you want.

3 Arm Tattoo Cover Up Ideas

Arm tattoos are usually either small or medium sized, or a full-blown sleeve – with no in-between. But that’s okay. A skilled tattoo artist will still be able to cover up your tattoo or improve it. As your arms are more likely to be on display than other areas of your body, taking good care of your tattoo to prevent UV rays fading it is important.

Upper Arm Cover Up Idea

Upper Arm Cover Up Idea
Credit: Instagram

This tattoo cover up keeps the elements of the original tatt that we like, but revamps the parts that we don’t. It also adds more depth and shade. It’s a huge improvement!

Sleeve Cover Up Tattoo

Sleeve Cover Up Tattoo
Credit: Instagram

With a sleeve tattoo, there’s not a great deal of space to “cover” that tatt, so improving it until you’re happy with it is a better option. See these pics as an example.

Forearm Cover Up Tattoo Idea

Forearm Cover Up Tattoo Idea
Credit: Instagram

Both the old and the new tattoo work well in the forearm space. We love the Venom design too! Although, you may want to consider a design that’s more timeless.

3 Wrist Tattoo Cover Up Ideas

Your wrist is a very public spot, so it can be disheartening when you have a tatt here that you dislike… and everyone can see it. Thankfully, you only need a small cover up to hide your wrist ink, so the cost won’t be too high and the session will be short.

Small to Large Wrist Cover Up

Small to Large Wrist Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

The original wrist tattoo was quite small, but the cover up extends along the forearm to hide the ink and create a more detailed design. We love the shading on this.

Chinese Symbol Cover Up

Chinese Symbol Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

We love the floral design used to cover up the original symbol tattoo. The contrast is amazing. The origin was bold and bleak, while the cover up is delicate and fresh.

Well-Placed Leaves

Well-Placed Leaves
Credit: Instagram

This is clever. The rose used to cover up the tattoo draws your eye to the pretty, delicate petals… and away from the leaves, which actually hide the old ink!

3 Chest Tattoo Cover Up Ideas

Chest tattoos, or breast tattoos for women, are not as popular as other tattoo placements. Still, there are some ideas you can draw from if you have a tattoo in this area that you need to get rid of.

Breast Tattoo Cover Up

Breast Tattoo Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

The shading behind the butterfly doesn’t just make it pop off your skin, but it also helps to cover up the ugly tatt that once lived behind it! Artfully done.

Chest Scar Cover Up

Chest Scar Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

Another butterfly but in a different location. This ink has been used to cover up a scar! We think it looks beautiful and hope it inspires confidence. Body art is good for that.

Full Chest Cover Up

Full Chest Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

This is a work in progress tattoo right now – you can see the writing beneath the crocodile that will be covered completely once the artist is finished. Cool, huh?

Read More: Best Chest Tattoos for Men: 70+ Design Ideas (2021 Updated)

3 Back Tattoo Cover Up Ideas

Back tattoos are one of the easiest types to cover up, as you have plenty of space to use a large design. Even if the new cover up design needs to cover a full back tattoo, it can curve over your shoulders and around your ribs to provide full coverage.

Lower Back Tattoo Cover Up

Lower Back Tattoo Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

Why not go more decorative with your cover up tattoo? If you’re unhappy with the style of your lower back tatt, a cover up like this is ideal.

Upper Back Tattoo Cover Up

Upper Back Tattoo Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

The detailed wing of a butterfly perfectly covers up the vertical writing hidden beneath. With back tattoos, you can go large with the design to cover up a small tatt.

Tribal Back Tattoo Cover Up

Tribal Back Tattoo Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

This is another “tramp stamp” that needed covering up. The tattoo artist has created a solid black design that stretches to mid-back. It is a really flattering design.

3 Neck Tattoo Cover Up Ideas

Few people have the balls (for lack of a better term) to get a tattoo on their neck. But if you do get one here, and you do end up regretting it, then these cover up neck tattoo ideas will be a life saver.

Behind Ear Tattoo Cover Up

Behind Ear Tattoo Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

This tattoo by the ear and side neck covers up a small scorpion design perfectly. We love the minimal palate scheme, with just black and white inks used to create it.

Name Cover Up Tattoo

Name Cover Up Tattoo
Credit: Instagram

Rose and scorpion! Such a classic combination. Love, but with a sting. This is a very sexy tattoo and a nice cover up job. You’d only spot the letters if you knew they existed.

Neck and Shoulder Tattoo Cover Up

Neck and Shoulder Tattoo Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

This image shows you the before, during and after of the cover up tattoo process. The artist has drawn on the squirrel so you can see how it will mask the original ink.

3 Hand Tattoo Cover Up Ideas

The hands are tricky areas to cover up. If you have just a small tattoo on the side of one finger, for example, it can be hard to cover it up with a larger tattoo because there’s not much space! But don’t fret, you still have some options.

Finger Lettering

Finger Lettering
Credit: Instagram

Letters on each finger can be cool, or even badass… when they’re in the right font and inked professionally. This cover up job shows how finger tattoos can be revamped!

Portrait Revival

Portrait Revival
Credit: Instagram

Instead of covering up this full hand tattoo, it has been artfully restored like a master’s painting. We love how well it has been shaded and etched.

Matching Queen of Hearts Tattoo

Matching Queen of Hearts Tattoo
Credit: Instagram

The small queen of hearts on one finger is usually associated with a partner (who has the king of hearts tattoo). But this spider tattoo covers up the design nicely.

3 Leg Tattoo Cover Up Ideas

Leg tattoos tend to fade fast when they’re exposed to sunlight regularly. So, whether you want to cover up a faded tattoo or bring new life to an old favorite faded design, these 3 ideas may give you the inspiration you need.

Lower Leg Tattoo Cover Up

Lower Leg Tattoo Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

Using dark grey for the elephant and surrounding it with watercolor splashes is a genius way of covering up a medium-large leg tatt while retaining some elegance.

Back of Leg Tattoo Cover Up

Back of Leg Tattoo Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

This simple symbol tattoo on the back of her calf was easily covered up with a stunning black and grey shaded floral motif. It’s absolutely beautiful!

Leg Side Tattoo

Leg Side Tattoo
Credit: Instagram

Feathers are almost as popular as flowers and butterflies for covering tattoos. The long, elegant and detailed shape of a feather is ideal for covering quote tatts.

3 Ankle Tattoo Cover Up Ideas

The ankle is a bony area, so tattoos around here are usually just above or below the ankle bone. When you need to cover up an ankle tatt, however, you might want to consider a tatt that runs from above to below the ankle. This allows for maximum coverage.

Faded Black Ankle Tatt

Faded Black Ankle Tatt
Credit: Instagram

We love the punchy colors in this cover up tattoo! It perfectly covers the faded ink beneath it. Dark blue is a great cover up color if you aren’t keen on black.

Orca Ankle Tattoo

Orca Ankle Tattoo
Credit: Instagram

A killer whale, also known as an orca, is technically a dolphin. It’s also one of the best animals to get tattooed as a cover up, thanks to the smooth dark black skin.

Floral Stag Motif

Floral Stag Motif
Credit: Instagram

There are flowers, but it’s not too floral. The doe tattoo is a really sweet way to cover up an old tattoo, whether it’s on your ankle or elsewhere.

3 Finger Tattoo Cover Up Ideas

Even the smallest tattoos can be covered with unique designs! The trick with finger tatts is to not be too adventurous. Getting a lot of detail into a small space is difficult. Keep it simple and you’ll love the results.

Feather Tattoo

Feather Tattoo
Credit: Instagram

Another example of how a feather tattoo is perfect for covering up words and names… even small ones. It’s a very elegant way to cover the side of one finger.

Tiny Skull Cover Up

Tiny Skull Cover Up
Credit: Instagram

No regrets here! The small skull is a great finger tattoo cover up idea – it can be inked in a small scale with minimal detail, or scaled up with more detail.

Bow Tattoo

Bow Tattoo
Credit: Instagram

Tiny flowers, bows and birds are great for covering finger tattoos, as long as you keep them simple. The small size fits neatly and looks great between finger joints.

3 Shoulder Tattoo Cover Up Ideas

Your shoulders are always a good place for a tattoo. You also have plenty of space to expand… or cover up a small tattoo with a large one. These three ideas will help you imagine the kinds of designs that work well for shoulder tattoo cover ups.

“Love” Tattoo

“Love” Tattoo
Credit: Instagram

The original “love you” tattoo was just a bit too ugly, so this talented tattoo artist saw the potential and turned it into the stunning ink artwork it should have been.

Shoulder Wing Tattoos

Shoulder Wing Tattoos
Credit: Instagram

Wings are really popular tattoos for shoulder areas, whether they’re angel wings or bird wings. Either way, the large scope of a winged tattoo is great for covering old mistakes.

Floral Name Motif

Floral Name Motif
Credit: Instagram

The small old tattoo in the center is perfectly covered up with dark shading, then surrounded by roses and the names of loved ones. It turns a mistake into something beautiful.

Other Ways to Cover Up a Tattoo

If the thought of getting another tattoo isn’t very appealing, you still have cards on the table. Laser tattoo removal is a very permanent (and expensive) option, while makeup cover ups are temporary but quite affordable in comparison.

Here’s our advice on both methods to help you decide.

Laser Tattoo Removal

Laser Tattoo Removal
Credit: Instagram

Laser tattoo removal is the option many people go to when they need a tattoo removed – without a cover up. It involves firing lasers at your skin to break down the ink particles so your body can naturally remove them.

There’s a misconception that laser tattoo will leave scars. Technology has advanced so that modern laser tattoo removal machines rarely leave scars. They are very effective. Over multiple sessions, they can completely remove a tattoo with no or minimal scarring.

However, compared to getting a tattoo, laser tattoo removal is more expensive and takes longer. Between sessions you’ll have a patchy tattoo as some ink disappears faster than the rest.

If you’re looking to remove a tattoo completely with no trace left behind, it’s still your best option.

Read our guide to laser tattoo removal to learn more.

Makeup for Tattoo Cover Ups

This video shows you how you can cover up tattoos with makeup, if you need a temporary cover up for a work meeting, photo shoot, or event. Bear in mind that there are several steps and products you need to achieve a flawless look, which can be quite expensive. If you don’t normally wear makeup, you might find that the products expire before you can use them all up!

Anyway, we’ve covered up our own tattoos with makeup numerous times and have a few recommendations. Try to use products that are full coverage, matte, and oil-free. This is the key to long-lasting coverage that’s thick enough to conceal your ink.

Kat Von D Lock-It Concealer – this is our favorite product from the Kat Von D line. Her foundation and concealer products are designed for covering up tattoos, so you’ll find that the coverage is superb.

Nars Soft Matte Complete – for darker skin tones, we recommend checking out the Nars range of concealers. This Soft Matte Complete concealer is usually great for acne and discoloration but can be used for tattoos as well. If Kat Von D is too pricey for you, then this option will be appealing!

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