Small Tattoo

Small Tattoos Explained: Price, Artists & Placement

Small Tattoos 

Small tattoos are a great choice if you prefer subtlety or you’re not quite ready for a large tattoo design like a sleeve.

As the saying goes: less is more.

They can be easily covered up, which may prove useful for certain work environments, and the end result is usually more focused than a sprawling tattoo with lots going on.

One final advantage is cost: the smaller the tattoo, the cheaper it’s going to be. 

What is considered a small tattoo? 

Tattoo size is subjective.

Each tattoo artist will have their own opinion about what’s considered a small tattoo (and how to price them), but there are some general guidelines when it comes to sizing.

In most cases, a tattoo that measures under 2 inches is classed as tiny, 2-4 inches is small, 4-6 inches is medium, and over 6 inches is large.  

  • How much do small tattoos cost? 

The cost of a tattoo depends on a few factors: the size of the tattoo, its complexity, the skill level of the tattoo artist, and where you are in the world.

In the UK, a small tattoo between 2-4 inches is likely to cost between £90-£150, while in the US the price will vary between $100-$200.

With the possible exception of single needle tattoos, a design of this size shouldn’t cost you any more than this. 

Regular tattoos use multiple needles, but a single needle tattoo only uses one.

They tend to be more expensive because they require a high level of skill and a greater amount of time to complete.

The cost of a small single needle tattoo could go up to $1800-2000 or even more.

But why use a single needle in the first place?

The results are even finer than fine line tattoos, meaning you can achieve a super detailed design with realistic shading.

Because of this, single-needle tattoos are particularly popular with small designs. 

  • Will small tattoos blur? 

Blurring can happen to any tattoo without proper aftercare.

While there is no correlation between the size of the tattoo and the likelihood of it blurring, finer tattoos do tend to lose their sharpness over time.

Areas of the body that experience more friction can also blur faster, including hands, feet, legs, and shoulders. 

  • How long do small tattoos take? 

The length of a tattoo session will vary depending on how intricate your design is, but most small tattoos take under an hour to complete.

For slightly larger tattoos the size of your palm, you should be prepared to spend up to three hours in the chair.

Remember, every tattoo is different and this is only a rough estimate. 

  • How do small tattoos age? 

One unavoidable fact about small tattoos is that they don’t age as well as larger tattoo designs with bolder lines.

The good news is they’re easier to fix; if your small tattoo has faded over time, you can have it reworked at around the ten-year mark to bring back the sharpness.

To prevent your tattoo from fading, try to avoid exposing it to UV rays from the sun or tanning beds. 

  • Can you cover small tattoos with makeup? 

Small tattoos can be easily covered up with specialized products or regular makeup.

If you’re using makeup, first cleanse your skin with a wipe or facial wash.

Take a cream or liquid concealer several tones lighter than your skin and apply it to the tattoo with a makeup sponge or stippling brush.

Gently apply a foundation that perfectly matches your skin tone and cover it with translucent powder.

Finally, use a setting spray to stop the makeup from rubbing off.

You should allow your tattoo area to dry before touching it or covering it with clothing. 

  • Can small tattoos be removed? 

Tattoos can be removed with energy from a laser, which breaks down the ink into small fragments that are safely absorbed by the bloodstream and passed out of the body.

This is a slow process that takes multiple sessions and can feel uncomfortable.

While small tattoos are much cheaper to have removed, it can cost around £50 per session.

Do not have your tattoo removed if you are pregnant.

You should also wait for a suntan or fake tan to fade before getting your tattoo removed. 

  • How long do small tattoos take to heal? 

A small tattoo may appear healed within a matter of days, but the full healing process will take around 4-6 weeks.

Any pain, cloudy skin, or peeling is a sign that your tattoo hasn’t yet healed.

Tattoos generally ooze for the first one or two days, so if you experience any oozing or discoloration beyond that, you should get it checked by a professional. 

  • How small can tattoos be? 

Extra small tattoos, known as micro tattoos, have become a popular trend over the past few years.

These can be smaller than 0.5 inches and fit onto the tiniest areas of your body – the earlobe and the side of the finger being good examples of placement ideas. 

  • Are small tattoos safe? 

In eight countries, including Italy, the USA, Australia, and the UK, over 40% of adults have at least one tattoo.

They may be more common than ever, but there are still risks involved with getting inked.

Allergic reactions, skin infections, inflammation, MRI complications, and even bloodborne diseases are all possibilities.

Safety precautions such as gloves and sterilized equipment help minimize some of these risks. 

  • Are small tattoos painful? 

All tattoos involve some level of pain.

The good thing about small tattoos is that you’ll be out of the studio quicker, so the discomfort will be short-lived.

Most pain comes from placement: areas close to the bone or with more nerve endings will hurt more than others.

The feet, hands, and ears are all popular choices for small tattoos with high levels of pain. 

  • Can small tattoos be detailed? 

In the hands of a good tattoo artist, small tattoos can be incredibly detailed despite their stature.

Micro-realist tattoo style or single needle tattoo style will give your tattoo the most detailed look, but remember that they will also fade quicker than larger regular tattoos.

Small lettering tattoos in particular will probably need to be reworked at some point down the line. 

Small Tattoo Ideas with Big Meanings 

Don’t be fooled by the size of a tattoo, small tattoos can have a lot of meaning.

Star signs and religious symbols are just a couple of examples of tiny tattoos that can mean a lot to the individual.

Other tattoos might represent overcoming a personal struggle or celebrating love or kinship with those closest to you.

We’ve put together a few ideas for you to consider when planning your next tattoo. 

Small Flower Tattoos 

Flowers have been a key theme in tattooing for as long as the practice has been around, and they aren’t about to go out of style any time soon.

Small Flower Tattoo

Whether you decide to go with your favorite bloom or perhaps your country’s national flower, there’s always a lot of meaning to be found behind each flower tattoo

Small Rose Tattoos 

A representation of love and romance across the world, the rose tattoo is without a doubt one of the top choices for a floral tattoo.

A rose’s thorns and deep red hue also have connotations of danger, which is why the flower is a key motif in gothic-themed artwork.

Small Rose Tattoo

Its easily recognizable look makes it a great choice for a small tattoo.  

Small Sunflower Tattoos 

Roses may be the most popular choice for a floral tattoo, but there are plenty of different plants to take inspiration from.

With its striking yellow petals, the sunflower tattoo is often seen as a symbol of happiness and optimism.

Small Sunflower Tattoo

We think it’s an interesting alternative that looks great as a small tattoo on the wrist, arm, or ankle. 

Small Infinity Tattoos 

With the semblance of a sideways number 8, the infinity tattoo is a symbol that’s used to represent eternity.

One of the reasons it’s such a good concept for a small tattoo (aside from how recognizable it is) is that it can be interpreted in so many different ways.

Small Infinity Tattoo

An infinity sign tattoo can represent love, the remembrance of someone lost, or endlessness in a wider, universal context.  

Small Semicolon Tattoos 

In grammar, a semicolon is used to connect two closely related standalone thoughts; a full stop marks an ending but a semicolon suggests that things can go on.

The idea behind the semicolon tattoo is that things will get better.

Small Semicolon Tattoo

Sometimes this means surviving hard times or overcoming an addiction.

There are many variations on this tattoo design, including adding butterfly tattoos or replacing the top dot with a heart. 

Small Tree Tattoos 

Trees are another tattoo motif that’s been around for centuries.

Tree tattoos can be used to represent your family tree or your strong ties to nature.

Small Tree Tattoo
Small Tree Tattoo

With so many different types of trees and styles of art to choose from, a small tree tattoo can end up being really unique. 

Small Butterfly Tattoos 

For such a small insect, the butterfly sure does live an interesting life.

Small Butterfly Tattoo

Its transformation from the humble caterpillar is a perfect metaphor for change, and a butterfly spreading its wings is often used to represent a feeling of freedom.

The eye-catching combination of different butterfly tattoo colors makes it an ideal small tattoo design. 

Small Arrow Tattoos 

An arrow as a tattoo generally represents direction and strength due to its use as a weapon and its pinpoint accuracy.

Small Arrow Tattoo

The straight shape of an arrow is a perfect match for a small tattoo on your arm or even your finger.

Some creative designs even combine the arrow tattoo with the infinity tattoo or the semicolon. 

Small Sun and Moon Tattoos 

Natural opposites, the sun and moon are tattoo symbols that represent balance and unity.

Small Sun and Moon Tattoo

Geometric and minimalist tattoo styles are popular choices here, as they really bring out the contrast of light and dark.

For placement, you can either position the celestial bodies next to each other or have them tattooed on symmetrical parts of your body, such as your left and right wrist. 

Small Compass Tattoos 

A compass tattoo can symbolize adventure and perseverance or serve as a reminder of your “true north” – your guiding set of principles.

Small Compass Tattoo

No matter where life takes you, a small compass tattoo could be all you need to remember your motivations and stay on course.

The arm is one of the most popular placement choices, along with the neck and ankle. 

Small Cat Tattoos 

As well as being adorable pets, cat tattoos have been known to represent luck, mystery, and superstition.

Small Cat Tattoo

Small cat tattoos come in many shapes and forms, from realistic depictions of a furry friend to minimal silhouettes.

The ankle and the arm are two top choices for small cat tattoo placement. 

Small Matching Tattoos 

Matching tattoos can be a great way to celebrate a loving relationship or show off a close bond between friends.

Small Matching Tattoos

The trick to matching tattoos is to make sure they look good on their own when the other person isn’t around.

You could go for tattoos that match exactly or different tattoo designs that fit together, like a sun and a moon, a boat and an anchor, or the two halves of the Yin and Yang tattoo. 

Tattoo Placement 

Now that you know a little more about small tattoos, it’s time to consider where on your body you’d like to get one.

Small tattoos are great because they fit pretty much anywhere!

Unless you’re feeling particularly tough, you may want to avoid some high pain areas, such as your ribcage, nipples, shins, and back of the neck.

Popular placement choices include the wrist, behind the ear, on the arm, and under the breast. 

If you want to be able to hide your small tattoo, the first thing to think about is placement.

Picture a hot summer’s day and a scenario where you don’t want your tattoo to be visible.

What might you be wearing, and where would a tattoo be hidden?

Anywhere above the shoulder and below the neckline should suffice for most professional environments.

If you want your tattoo to be on display some of the time, consider covering it up with makeup. 

There aren’t really any limits to placement with small tattoos, but here are some of our favorite spots. 

  • Small Tattoos behind the Ear 

Behind the ear is one of the top places to get a small tattoo.

Small tattoos behind the Ear 

It’s a subtle area that allows you to easily display your ink or cover it up with your hair.

Flower tattoos, feathers, and arrows are some of the more popular choices, but the only real limit is your imagination — that and the amount of skin you have available. 

  • Small Tattoos on the Arm 

The arm is one of the most frequently tattooed areas of the body, and it’s a great spot to highlight a small tattoo design.

Small Tattoo on the Arm

Nature tattoos and geometry are a couple of preferred themes when it comes to small arm tattoos. 

  • Small Wrist Tattoos

The wrist is another favorite placement choice for small tattoos.

Small Wrist Tattoo

Since we’re constantly using our hands to communicate and perform everyday tasks, it’s perfect if you want to draw attention to your new ink. 

  • Small Ankle Tattoos

Despite being one of the more painful areas to get tattooed, the ankle is one of the first placements that come to mind with small tattoos.

Small Ankle Tattoo

If you can handle the discomfort, it’s a nice spot for symbols such as heart tattoos, waves, and sun and moon tattoos. 

  • Small Under-breast Tattoos

If you’re interested in a more intimate tattoo, under your breast is the ideal spot for keeping your tattoo between yourself and those lucky enough to be granted a viewing.

Butterflies, nature tattoo motifs, and quotes that follow your curves are all popular choices.

Do bear in mind that this is another area that can be quite painful.  

  • Small Tattoos on the Collarbone 

Our final choice for small tattoo placement is the collarbone.

Small Tattoos on the Collarbone 

Writing, symbols, and nature motifs suit this area well, and can easily be covered with a high neckline if you feel like it.

Areas close to bone tend to hurt more, so it makes sense to keep your tattoo here on the small side. 

Tattoo Artists Specializing in Small Tattoos 

While plenty of regular tattoo studios will be able to offer you a small tattoo, you may want to get in touch with a small tattoo specialist for a truly next-level design.

Here are some of the top tattoo artists that specialize in small tattoos and examples of their handiwork: 

Kevin King Tattoo
Jay Shin Tattoo
Dr. Woo Tattoo
Ahmet Cambaz Tattoo
  • SOL – Seoul, SOUTH KOREA
SOL Tattoo
Alessandro Capozzi Tattoo

Conclusion 

Small tattoos are ideal for people who prefer a less noticeable style of body art and can act as a great introduction to the world of tattooing.

Unlike large tattoos, you can easily cover them up with makeup or clothes should you ever be in a situation that requires it.

The fact that they fit onto areas like your finger or behind your ear can result in some really creative designs.

If you’re planning on getting a small tattoo, don’t forget that details are likely to fade quicker. 


FAQ

How much do small tattoos cost? 

In the UK, a small tattoo between 2-4 inches is likely to cost between £90-£150, while in the US the price will vary between $100-$200.

What is considered a small tattoo? 

In most cases, a tattoo that measures under 2 inches is classed as tiny, 2-4 inches is small, 4-6 inches is medium, and over 6 inches is large.  

Will small tattoos blur? 

Blurring can happen to any tattoo without proper aftercare. While there is no correlation between the size of the tattoo and the likelihood of it blurring, finer tattoos do tend to lose their sharpness over time. Areas of the body that experience more friction can also blur faster, including hands, feet, legs, and shoulders. 

Are small tattoos painful? 

The good thing about small tattoos is that you’ll be out of the studio quicker, so the discomfort will be short-lived. Most pain comes from placement: areas close to the bone or with more nerve endings will hurt more than others. The feet, hands, and ears are all popular choices for small tattoos with high levels of pain. 

Can small tattoos be detailed? 

Micro-realist tattoo style or single needle tattoo style will give your tattoo the most detailed look, but remember that they will also fade quicker than larger regular tattoos.

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