This Is How Much a New Tattoo Really Costs (2024)

Looking to join in on the tattoo fun? Whether you're specking out your first-ever design or doing research for a new addition, choosing the right parlor and artist is essential in walking away satisfied. But one other factor that is often overlooked in the tattoo planning process is cost. While the total cost can vary based on the location on the body, geographic region, and the artist's level of expertise, there is a general threshold to expect to pay based on the type of tattoo you desire.

To help you avoid sticker shock when you show up for your appointment, and so you can best plan your tattoo to be within your budget—we spoke with tattoo artists Nancy Rose McLaughlin and Dillon Forte and did a little digging of our own to learn just what you can expect to pay for your fresh ink.

Ahead, the experts share how much tattoos cost, based on tattoo size, body placement, and the intricacy of the design.

Meet the Expert

  • Nancy Rose McLaughlin is a popular tattoo artist based at Ink & Ivy Tattoo Studio in New Jersey. She specializes in floral and animal tattoos, including roses, lilies, birds, butterflies, and more.
  • Dillon Forte is a celebrity tattoo artist whose work can be seen on clients such as Usher, Kehlani, Kat Von D, and more.

How Tattoo Artists Determine Pricing

Tattoo prices vary based on the complexity of the art, how many sessions a piece will take, and the artist's experience. As Forte explains, "Tattoo prices can range dramatically, from hundreds to tens of thousands.The range an artist might charge is completely dependent on demand." McLaughlin backs that up, saying, "It all really depends on the artist. The longer the artist has been tattooing and the more clientele they have, the more they can charge."

"Tattooers—like other fine artists—charge in a variety of different ways," explains Forte. "It's common for tattooers to charge by the hour or day (i.e., a day rate or per session.)." But generally, all tattoo shops will begin at a minimum cost. McLaughlin's charges a floor of $60, though it's common for shops in larger metro areas to charge $150 or more as minimums. "Around that price, the tattoos are super simple black outlines like a heart, a star, or four-leaf clover," Mclaughlin explains.

In her experience, McLaughlin says that full sleeves and full back pieces, or a full leg sleeve take the longest and are the most labor, time, and cost-intensive. They are among the most expensive tattoos she's ever done, and she says, "They can take anywhere from two to three months to finish. One to two sessions to outline, and then another two to three sessions for shading and color, depending on the client's pain tolerance."

Another financial factor to consider? The deposit. Most popular parlors will require a deposit to hold your appointment, which is then applied towards the final cost. Now that you've gotten the basics, here are the general price ranges, broken down by area.

The Cost of Each Type of Tattoo


A full-sleeve tattoo is about as committed as you can get in terms of getting inked. It includes designs and color (if you prefer) and goes from wrist to shoulder, typically requiring multiple sessions and lots of patience. These can run you anywhere from $2000 to $4000 for outline only, to upwards of $6000 for full color, as it can take the artist over two full days, either in large chunks of time or multiple shorter sessions.

Full Back

Similar in pricing to a full sleeve, this tattoo will typically cover your entire back, from the bottom of your neck to your waist. If you're looking for something complex, colorful and detailed it can cost you about $2500 to $5000 for the outlining, and up to another $200 for filling in with color. All in all, you're looking at about 40 to 55 hours of work total, so be sure to keep that in mind when factoring costs.

To be a bit more budget-friendly, consider taking this slow and going piece by piece.


Half the length and more than half the price of a full sleeve, a forearm tat will run you anywhere from $250 to $1300 based on size, design, and color. As always, full color will find you on the higher side, with simple outlines or lettering on the lower side of the price range.


Depending on the design you're after, these will take anywhere from six to 10 hours of work, and can run $600 to $2000 depending on color, size, shading, and, of course, the artist's level of expertise.


Considering a tattoo but not yet ready to commit to something large or colorful? Then a finger tattoo might be just what you're looking for. For a simple outline design, these can be as little as $50 to $100. But if you want something with detail or perfectly sharp lines, you can expect to pay as much as $500. It really depends heavily upon the design, the artist, and where in the world you're getting your tattoo.


A standard-size hip or thigh tattoo (about 12 inches in length) will run you about$500 for outline only, or anywhere from $1500 to $2000 for full color.

Shoulder Tattoo

One of the more popular locations for a tattoo, a standard shoulder cap (think around the circular top of your shoulder) will begin around $800 or $850 and increase in cost from there.


A standard ankle tattoo will run you anywhere from $50 to $250 depending on the details you're after.


If cosmetic tattoos are more your speed, those are, of course, an option too. For eyeliner, lip liner, or even freckles, these will generally cost between $500 to $3000 depending on the artist.

Full Body

If you're looking to fully and fiercely commit to the world of tattoos, there's always the full body. From neck to toe, this can cost you a mere $100,000 or more. (Give or take a few thousand, that is.)

Tiny Tattoos

A subtle nod to tattoo artistry, something simple like a permanent wedding band, a tiny heart or cross, or another meaningful symbol will probably run you the shop's minimum, whether it be $50 or $150.

How to Tip a Tattoo Artist

Tattooing is a service and one where the final results are reflective of the artist's experience. The final design you walk away with is worth much more than the price of ink and hours of labor. It's also the years of training the artist went through to hone their craft and the many hours it took them to flesh out the design on paper before ever drawing a needle to your skin. As with any service, it's customary to show your appreciation by tipping your tattoo artist anywhere from 15-30 percent of the total tattoo cost. This percentage serves as a general base, increasing with the level of intricacy and detail in the final piece.

The Final Takeaway

When it comes to beauty and body art, a tattoo is about as permanent as you can get, so it stands to reason that you want to be as prepared as possible before taking your spot in the chair. Remember to always factor in the size and intricacy of the design, as well as the area of the body it will cover, when estimating pricing. Don't forget to consider the initial deposit, as well as tip, if anticipating to pay over several installments.


  • How much does a small tattoo cost?

    A small (really small) tattoo might just be around $50, if you're not getting any color, and if it's very simple. But the cost will go up from there according to size and design.

  • How much does a full sleeve tattoo cost?

    A full sleeve tattoo can cost anywhere from $1000 to $6000, depending on the hourly rate of the artist and how much time the art takes to complete. For a design in full color, expect to spend at least two full days sitting for the piece, or be prepared to sit for multiple sessions.

  • How much does tattoo removal cost?

    Laser tattoo removal cost varies depending on the size of the art being removed, but you can expect to spent around $200 to $500 per treatment. Keep in mind that some art requires multiple treatments to remove, so those costs can go up quickly.

Glow-in-the-Dark Tattoos: Everything You Need to Know

This Is How Much a New Tattoo Really Costs (2024)


This Is How Much a New Tattoo Really Costs? ›

Things like materials, size, location, and type of tattoo affect the tattoo price. On average you can expect to charge $50-100 for a small tattoo, up to $200 for a medium tattoo and over $250 for a large tattoo. The sky is the limit though when it comes to very large pieces.

How much do tattoos actually cost? ›

Things like materials, size, location, and type of tattoo affect the tattoo price. On average you can expect to charge $50-100 for a small tattoo, up to $200 for a medium tattoo and over $250 for a large tattoo. The sky is the limit though when it comes to very large pieces.

How much does a 3 inch by 3 inch tattoo cost? ›

For designs under 2x2 inches, you can expect to pay our shop minimum, around $100. If you're considering a 3x3 inch design, the price typically falls within the $150-$200 range. For larger tattoos measuring 4x4 inches or more, prices start at approximately $250 and go up from there.

How big is a $500 tattoo? ›

A standard-size hip or thigh tattoo (about 12 inches in length) will run you about $500 for outline only, or anywhere from $1500 to $2000 for full color.

How big is a $600 tattoo? ›

A palm-sized tattoo usually runs between $200-500, and medium to large tattoos (about 8”) usually range from $300-600. Half sleeves typically start around $1,000 and full sleeves often range from $2,000-$4,000.

How much is a full sleeve tattoo? ›

ShoulderSmall-Large$350 - $900
Half-SleeveLarge$800 - $3,500+
Full-SleeveLarge$1,500 - $5,000+
CalfSmall-Large$300 - $700
26 more rows
Jan 29, 2022

How big is a $200 tattoo? ›

$150 – $450 Medium Tattoo

Average tattoo prices range from $30 to $100 for sizes under 2x2, between $100 and $200 for a 3x3, and around $250 or more for a 4x4 tattoo. Prices depend on where you live, the experience level of the artist, and their hourly rates.

What size is a $400 tattoo? ›

Tattoo Size Chart
Tattoo SizeNumber of SessionsApprox. Cost
3-4 inches2$200
4-5 inches2-3$250
5-7 inches5$300
7-10 inches7$400+
5 more rows

How big is a $1,500 tattoo? ›

On average, a half-sleeve tattoo, covering either the bicep or forearm, costs $500 to $1,500.

How big is a 5 hour tattoo? ›

Tattoo Size Chart
SizeHoursBest Placement
2-3 inches2-5Ankle, calf, wrist, upper arm
3-4 inches4-5Lower arm, neck, chest
4-5 inches5-8Thigh, lower back, shoulders
5-7 inches8-11Upper back, half-sleeves
5 more rows
May 12, 2022

How to calculate tattoo cost? ›

Since tattooing is an art form, The price essentially depends upon the artist and the work involved. The skillset, experience and class of the Artist, The intricacy and size of the Tattoo would influence the pricing. At Eternal Expression, the price can vary between 1500-3000 per square inch depending on intricacy.

What does a 50 dollar tattoo look like? ›

$50 tattoos are approximately one inch by one inch in black ink on arms or legs.

Is $1000 normal for a tattoo? ›

A larger or more intricate tattoo could run you a minimum of $500 for a sleeve size and as high as $4,000 for areas like the back or chest. Any kind of custom tattoo is likely going to be upwards of $1,000.

How are tattoos priced? ›

The cost of your tattoo is influenced by the amount of time the artist spends tattooing you, which is why most artists charge either an hourly rate or a day rate. But it's important to appreciate that the time they take tattooing you is NOT the only time they spend on your tattoo.

How much to tip $700 for a tattoo? ›

The general consensus in the tattoo community is that 20 percent is the typical amount to tip—just like at a restaurant or a hair salon.

Is 250 an hour a lot for a tattoo? ›

Average Tattoo Artist Rates: On average, tattoo artists charge between $100 and $250 per hour [1]. This range can vary depending on factors such as the artist's experience, demand, location, and skill level. Factors Affecting Pricing: Several factors can influence the pricing of a tattoo.

Is $300 expensive for a tattoo? ›

On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $300 for a 1-hour tattoo.

How big is a 150$ tattoo? ›

Tattoo Size Chart
Tattoo SizeNumber of SessionsApprox. Cost
1-2 inches1$100
2-3 inches1-2$150
3-4 inches2$200
4-5 inches2-3$250
5 more rows

Is $2000 a lot for a tattoo? ›

Large tattoos, such as full sleeves, back pieces, or expansive designs that cover multiple body parts, can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000, or more. The price will depend on the design's detail, the artist's rates, and the number of sessions required to complete the tattoo.

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