How to Upgrade Your Tattoo: Tips and Tricks for Adding Onto Your Ink

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Are you looking to expand upon an existing tattoo but don’t know where to start? Adding onto an existing tattoo can be a tricky process, but with the right advice and guidance, it can be both an enjoyable and rewarding experience. This complete guide for tattoo enthusiasts will provide you with the steps you need to know in order to add onto a tattoo safely and effectively. From researching designs to finding the right artist for the job, you’ll be able to expand your body art with confidence.


Preparing for the Process

Preparing For The Process

Choosing an Artist

Finding the right artist to add onto your existing tattoo is key. You should look for someone with experience in both the original tattoo style and the style of the desired addition, who can help you find the best way to bring the two together. Ask for recommendations from friends who have had positive experiences or research online forums or social media for reviews of local artists.

Booking an Appointment

Once you have selected an artist for the job, it’s time to book an appointment. Be sure to explain the details of your existing tattoo and the addition that you would like to make. This will help the artist to get an idea of what you want, and to determine whether the desired effect can be achieved. Additionally, it is important to make sure that the artist is comfortable with the style of tattoo that you would like to add.

Designing the Tattoo

Designing The Tattoo

Design Ideas

When considering an addition to an existing tattoo, it’s important to consider the existing design and what kind of elements could be added to it. Brainstorming ideas is a great way to get a better understanding of what you are looking for. Start by looking at images of existing tattoos and make a list of elements that you would like to incorporate. Consider the size, shape and design of the tattoo, as this will help to determine which elements you can add.

Refining the Design

Once you have an idea of what you would like to add to your existing tattoo, it’s time to refine the design. Take your ideas to a professional tattoo artist and work with them to create a unique design. They will be able to tell you what can and cannot be done with your existing tattoo and will be able to give you advice on how to make the addition look great.



When adding onto a tattoo, placement is key. Consider where the existing tattoo is located and how the new design will fit with it. Make sure the new design will enhance the original piece without detracting from it. If the tattoo is in an area that is difficult to expand upon, such as the wrist or ankle, talk to your artist about possible options.

Considerations for Placement

When considering placement, think about the color palette, size, and shape of the original tattoo. All of these elements will affect how the new design will look alongside the existing tattoo. Make sure to discuss all of these considerations with your artist before getting started.

Working with the Artist

When working with an artist to add onto a tattoo, it’s important to be open and honest about your desires. Be sure to communicate your vision clearly and provide references or sketches if you have them. Your artist will be able to provide guidance and advice on how to best add onto the existing tattoo. They will also be able to help you decide on a design that complements the existing tattoo and fits with your individual style.

The Process

The Process

Pre-Tattoo Care

Prior to getting a tattoo, it’s important to prepare the area. Ensure the skin is clean and free of any bacteria. If the skin is dry or flaky, moisturize it with a light lotion or petroleum jelly. Do not apply any lotions with fragrances, alcohol, or dyes.

In the Chair

During the tattoo procedure, the artist will begin by outlining the piece. The artist will then begin shading and adding color. It is important to communicate with the artist throughout the process to ensure the tattoo is to your liking.


Once the tattoo is complete, the artist will apply a thin layer of ointment and wrap it with a bandage. Leave the bandage on for a few hours, then remove and gently wash the area with a mild soap and warm water. Apply a thin layer of ointment and keep the area clean and moisturized. Avoid direct sunlight, hot water, and swimming pools until the tattoo is completely healed.



The cost of adding onto a tattoo largely depends on its size and complexity, as well as the artist’s own prices. Generally speaking, the larger the tattoo and the more intricate the design, the more it will cost. It is important to ask your artist for an estimate before getting the tattoo. A simple design can cost anywhere from $50 to $100, while a complex one can cost up to $1000 or more. Additionally, a touch-up session may be necessary to ensure the tattoo looks its best, and this will incur additional costs.

The following table outlines the average cost of adding onto a tattoo of different sizes:

Tattoo size Average Cost
Small $50 – $100
Medium $150 – $400
Large $500 – $1000


Always Use Sterile Equipment. The most important aspect of safety when adding onto a tattoo is to use sterile equipment. It is critical that all needles, tubes, and machines used to do the tattooing are sterilized before use. It is also important that the artist wears gloves and uses sterile ointments to minimize the risk of infection.

Choose a Reputable Artist. It is vital to research the artist you choose for an added tattoo. Look for an artist with a good reputation who can provide you with quality work.

Consider Your Skin Type. Different skin types require different types of inks and techniques. People with sensitive skin may need to use more gentle inks and techniques in order to avoid scarring or other issues.

Use Sunscreen. Sunscreen should be applied to the tattooed area after it has healed in order to avoid fading and discoloration. This can be especially important if the tattoo is in an area that is exposed to the sun.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Best Practices for Adding Onto a Tattoo?

  • Do Your Research: Before getting a new tattoo, make sure to research the design and placement options that will work best with your existing tattoo. Look into different artists, styles and techniques that will fit seamlessly with your existing tattoo.
  • Consult Your Tattoo Artist: Talk to your tattoo artist about the design, placement and any potential problems that could arise from adding onto an existing tattoo. Your artist should be able to provide you with valuable advice and insight.
  • Prepare for Pain: Depending on the size and placement of your new tattoo, it can be quite painful. Make sure to be mentally and physically prepared for the process. Take deep breaths and stay relaxed throughout the procedure.
  • Be Patient: Adding onto a tattoo can take some time. Allow your artist to take as much time as necessary to make sure the tattoo looks perfect. Patience is essential for a successful tattoo.
  • Take Care of Your Tattoo: After getting a new tattoo, be sure to take proper care of it. Follow your artist’s instructions for aftercare and keep the area clean and moisturized.

What should I consider before adding onto a tattoo?

  • Placement: Consider where you want the new design to be placed. It is important to think about the overall design of the tattoo and how the new piece will fit into the current design.
  • Design: Think about the design of the new tattoo. Consider the shape, size, color, and placement of the new design and how it will fit into the existing tattoo.
  • Pain: Adding onto a tattoo can be painful, so it is important to consider how much pain you are willing to endure.
  • Timing: The timing of when you add onto the tattoo is important. Make sure to give your existing tattoo enough time to heal before adding onto it.
  • Cost: Adding onto a tattoo can be expensive, so it is important to consider the cost before committing to the new design.
  • Artist: Choose an experienced and talented artist to add onto your existing tattoo. Make sure the artist is knowledgeable and experienced in adding onto tattoos.

Are there any tips to make the process of adding onto a tattoo go more smoothly?

  • Choose an experienced tattoo artist: An experienced tattoo artist will be able to match the color and style of your existing tattoo so it looks seamless.
  • Plan ahead: Have an idea of what you want before you go to the tattoo parlor. This will make it easier for your artist to understand your vision.
  • Research: Do your research on the artist and the style of tattoo before you make an appointment.
  • Be patient: Adding onto a tattoo can take time, so make sure you are prepared to sit for a few hours.
  • Take care of your skin: Follow your artist’s aftercare instructions to make sure your skin heals properly.

How Should I Choose a Tattoo Artist to Add Onto My Existing Tattoo?

When choosing an artist to add onto your existing tattoo, it is important to consider their skill level and experience. Research their portfolio to see if they have experience with similar styles, the use of shading, and understand the composition of the tattoo. Additionally, make sure they have a good reputation amongst other tattoo enthusiasts and have sterilization protocols in place. When possible, visit the tattoo shop and talk to the artist directly to get an idea of their work and professionalism. Ultimately, the choice of an artist should be based on their ability to create the desired design and a comfortable atmosphere.

Is there anything I should look out for when adding onto a tattoo?

When adding onto a tattoo, it is important to consider the tattoo’s existing design and the size of the tattoo. It is important to take into account the balance between the existing and the new design, as well as the size of the tattoo. It is also important to ensure that the new design does not clash with or overpower the existing design. Furthermore, the size of the tattoo should be considered as well as the placement of the tattoo on the body. Lastly, it is important to have the artist go over the tattoo design with you to ensure that the design is what you desire.


Adding onto a tattoo requires careful consideration of the design, location, and artist. It’s important to review the original tattoo, consult with a professional, and plan ahead to ensure that the new design looks great and complements the original artwork. With the right approach, adding onto a tattoo can be an exciting and rewarding experience.


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