How Long Does It Take To Get A Tattoo?

February 21, 2018


How Long Does It Take To Get A Tattoo?

Table of Contents [ Hide ]


Tattooing had been used as an ancient art in many parts of the world. Many archaeological findings suggest that tattoo has been existing from 4th millennium BC [1].  

In many cultures such as China or Greece and Rome, tattoos were signs of criminals. Criminals and slaves were given tattoos on their revealing parts of the body like faces or arms. Meanwhile, in cultures like India and Indonesia, tattooing implied a cultural meaning.

The meaning and practices of tattoo have gradually changed over time. In Japan, for example, tattoos were used by the native Ainu for spiritual purposes until the 17th century when tattoos were signs of social status for the underground world [2].

After years of being regarded as “signs for criminals,” getting a tattoo nowadays have become a popular trend among young people and accepted by the old generations. Tattoos only have the decorative purpose.

So are you deciding to have a new tattoo? You must wonder how to get one and how long does it take to get a tattoo. If so, you’ve landed in the right place. In this article, we will answer the question “how long does it take to get a tattoo.”

Preparing for your first tattoo

Before answering the question how long does it take to get a tattoo, let’s first have a look at how you should prepare before getting one.

Deciding on your tattoo

“Think before you ink” is the wisest advice you will receive before going for a tattoo. If you go for a permanent tattoo, it’s even critical to think carefully which tattoo, how large, how much money you can afford. Getting a tattoo doesn’t mean you just go straight to a tattoo artist and ask him or her to give you one.

Usually, if it’s your first tattoo, you’d better start small. Small tattoos do not take long to get. Plus, you will have a chance to see how a tattoo is done so you can better prepare for the next time (if you still want to have the second one) and see how long does it take your body to heal after you get a tattoo.

Your pain tolerance

Your pain tolerance
Tattooing will be even more painful even though the needle will not go through your skin.

Remember how much you cried during your first injection? Tattooing will be even more painful even though the needle will not go through your skin. So, for the first tattoo, it’s wise not to push yourself too hard.

You should avoid certain areas of your body that are sensitive to pain such as ribs, backs of knees, groin areas, neck, and ears. You can always have a tattoo there when you are familiar with tattoo pain.

Who do your tattoo be important?

Remember tattoos are permanent. It’s not a joke to put something that lasts very long on your skin without knowing who will have it done for you. Choosing a good tattoo artist is vital.

You’d better choose a famous artist or someone who has good reviews. Make sure that he or she uses inks with excellent quality. Make sure that you like their previous works and styles before contacting them for your tattoo. And it’s important to discuss beforehand how much you can afford for your desired tattoo. When your tattoo takes long to finish, and your body does not maintain the fluid level, it‘s likely that you will have a headache and uncomfortable feeling during the time you take to get a tattoo.

You can maintain your body’s fluid level by drinking water, soups, juices and any kinds of herbal teas. Furthermore, providing your body with vitamin C from citrus fruits and vegetables such as sweet potato, cauliflowers, and cabbages is a wise move. These natural medicinal veggies will boost the healing the process

Don’t rush

You may get excited about the idea of getting your first tattoo. However, it’s better to give yourself time to decide and be completely happy with your choice of tattoo, artist, placement and so on. After all, your tattoo will stay with you for a long time, and you have to make sure that you won’t regret having it after a few months.

Food and drinks before getting a tattoo

Getting a tattoo means getting a wound on your body. Therefore, it’s essential to care for your body before you get a new tattoo. Things like alcohol, coffee, and aspirin should not be consumed before getting a tattoo because they’re blood thinners which could cause unwanted bleeding [3].

It’s also important to keep yourself hydrated. Since dehydration during tattooing can cause a headache increase uncomfortable feeling, you should drink water, juices and herbal teas as much as you can before getting your tattoo.

Vitamin C from citrus fruits and vegetables such as sweet potato, cauliflowers, and cabbages are good for your new tattoo. You should also eat them before to help boost tissue repair and recovery. Avoid eating dairy products, sugar, and processed foods since they will slow down the healing process of your tattoo.

Before tattooing

How to be ready for your new tattoo? When you know where your tattoo should be, you should wear comfortable cloth which enables the artist to access to that part of your body.

Sometimes, extra jacket or sweater will be helpful since you might feel cold when it requires a long time to finish your tattoo. Things you should bring with include music and earphones, a water bottle and some snacks. If you feel uncomfortable going to get your tattoo alone, a friend who can support you is someone you need during your tattoo session.  

When you are ready mentally, getting a new tattoo is not that scary anymore. However, “how long does it take to get a tattoo?

How long does it take to get a tattoo?

At first, how much the tattoo costs is what most people concern. However, it’s clear that getting a tattoo is not really as fun as sounds. It would be painful from the first moment your skin get inked. So how long does it take to get a new tattoo?

The length of each tattoo varies greatly depending on many factors. The size is significant, but other factors such as color and placement of the tattoo are vital too. Especially, when you want to have your tattoo designed, it often takes a long time for the artist to draft your tattoo idea and put it on your skin.

How long does it take to get a tattoo? We will have a look at different factors right below.


The tattoo size is probably the most significant factor of how long it takes to finish a tattoo. A coin-size tattoo will take up 20 minutes depending on its complication to complete. A simple quarter-size tattoo can take up to an hour to finish. Large tattoos, on the other hand, can take 10 hours. Some tattoos even require multiple sessions in order to finish.    

Some artists charge the tattoo by hours. So if your tattoo is small, it does mean that you will not only be less painful but also pay less.


Color tattoos are often more complicated than black and grey ones. Therefore, they require a longer time to finish. How long does it take to get a color tattoo? Color tattoos need delicacy and proper personal techniques for the tattoo artists. It also depends on how colorful and how complicated your tattoo is that the length of a tattoo session extends.  


A complex tattoo with a lot of beautiful details, colors, and shading will take hours to finish.

When it comes to details, it’s unsurprising to say that the more detailed and complicated your tattoo is, the longer you have to wait for your tattoo to finish. The question is how long does it take to get a tattoo like that?

Other factors are included in this case. A complex tattoo with a lot of beautiful details, colors, and shading will take hours to finish. Typically it’s up to 10 hours or less depending on your pain tolerance. If it’s too complicated, then several sessions are needed to finish the tattoo.

Ok, then I will choose a simple one. A simple one is undoubtedly quicker than a complex one, right? If your mindset is in that direction, maybe you should change it before heading to the tattoo shop. Sometimes, simplicity requires a lot more attention and mindfulness than complexity [4].

Pain Tolerance

Pain tolerance seems to be the biggest challenge for those who want a tattoo on their bodies. Chances are you can’t sit still during the whole tattoo session without asking your tattoo to stop for a moment, especially when you are too sensitive.

Some parts in your body are more sensitive to pain than others. Those such as ribs, knees, and foot are where most of the nerves are located. Having your tattoo in these area or bony areas can be extremely painful.

How does it affect the length of a tattoo session? Some people who can’t stand the pain will only have part of their tattoo done, go home and rest, then come back to finish the tattoo on another day. Some will ask the artist to take a break and continue later.


Skilled tattoo artists are often busy; therefore if you can have your tattoo done at a go, you may have to wait a bit longer to finish it. Moreover, making another appointment while you have a tight schedule is also a tough nut. Your schedule and the artist’s schedule can extend the length of your tattoo session.

How to care for a new tattoo?

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR A TATTOO TO HEAL? In theory, your new tattoo will need 2-3 weeks to heal. When you see no infections taking place, it means that your tattoo-scar is going to the right direction.

Life after a tattoo can be a bit hard. Sunburn and water can have a negative effect on your tattoo, then how should you take a bath? If you wonder the same question, the article SHOWERING WITH NEW TATTOO will give you some information and tips. Normally, you should wait at least 24 hours before having your tattoo washed.  

If you get a small tattoo, the sleeping position will not a problem. However, if you have a big tattoo on your back or somewhere around your ribs, sleeping can be uncomfortable. HOW TO SLEEP WITH A NEW TATTOO will help you with this problem.

What about your diet and exercise after getting a tattoo? What should you avoid eating and drinking? Should you work out after getting a new tattoo? Don’t let these questions bother you. Let’s take a look at the two article WORKING OUT AFTER TATTOO and CAN YOU DRINK AFTER GETTING A TATTOO for more information.

After you tattoo is finished, your tattoo artist will give you some instructions to take care of your tattoo for optimum outcome. Lotions, creams, and oils are recommended to use after having your tattoo to boost the healing process of your skin. There are thousands of after-care products for a tattoo, and often you will find yourself confused looking at them.

BEST LOTION FOR TATTOOS, IS AQUAPHOR GOOD FOR TATTOOS and WHAT IS THE BEST SOAP FOR TATTOO CARE are 3 useful sources of information, where you can find details on which products you should use for your new tattoo.

Bottom Line

How long does it take to get a tattoo? Many factors that affect the length of a tattoo session. Normally it will take a few minutes for a small and easy tattoo to several hours, and even several days for a big and complicated one.

It’s essential to prepare yourself before coming to the tattoo session. You should decide and commit to your tattoo design. Also, booking a tattoo session in advance will help you be ready for it mentally.

After getting your tattoo, remember to take care of it carefully. You should not only choose a suitable lotion or after-care product but also drink well and eat lots of vitamin C from citrus fruits and vegetables as well.

If you find this article useful, please LIKE and SHARE it with your friends!

Related Post