Tattoo Money Jar

Tattoo Budget – A Help Guide

Tattoo Budget – A Help Guide

You’ve heard the siren song, you’re itching to get inked, but funds are tight?  There are ways to work within your budget and still get the tattoo of your dreams.

The first thing to bear in mind, even though you’re on a budget, is that a good tattoo is never cheap, and a cheap tattoo is never good.  When you pay for a tattoo, you are paying for the artist’s skill, quality supplies, and a safe and clean environment.  Skimping on any of these will result in, at best, a poorly done tattoo; but at worst, a significant risk to your health.   As tempting as it may be, resist the urge and save up that money so that you get the work that you deserve.   A reputable studio is worth it’s weight in gold; not only will they support you before and during the tattoo, but they will be there after for any follow up advice, or questions that you may have.  (And, of course, the next tattoo on the list…)

Get free online consultation

Timebomb’s online consultation service is a fantastic way to get a baseline price based on the ideas and size that you submit.  Once you have that rough idea, you can take into account the below and get something perfect for you.

Budgeting for your tattoo

There are a few main areas to consider when it comes to the cost of your tattoo:


Some areas of the body are more challenging than others to tattoo.  Areas with thinner skin, for instance, such as hands, neck or feet.  This requires more skill by the artist to make a design that will work well in that area.  The ink placement on thinner skin is also a consideration.  Areas such as upper arms, thighs and shoulders are typically less challenging to work on for the artist.


It probably goes without saying that the larger the tattoo, the higher the price.  A small heart on a wrist will cost far less than a dragon that covers most of a bicep, for example.  There will be a minimum size that your artist will advise to make your tattoo look its best, but it is something worth bearing in mind.


Clearly a simple design is going to take the artist less time to complete.  Designs that are especially intricate will take far longer, requiring more time and therefore, will cost more.   When taking your ideas to the artist, mention your budget upfront and they will design the finished product to within that price range.

Colour vs Black and grey

A tattoo that completed in glorious technicolour will automatically cost more than one that is finished in linework and shading.  You don’t, however, need to forgo the idea of having full colour tattoos if you are on a budget.  You and your tattooist may decide to colour in only a small section, or to break the work up into multiple sittings.

Visit the tattoo studio

All this being said, this doesn’t mean that you have to completely change your idea in order to fit within your budget.  One of the best tools at your disposal is the studio itself.  Pop in and talk to your artist about what you want to achieve, and be open to their suggestions.  They are very used to working within a budget and will best be able to advise you.

You may be able to break your tattoo into multiple sittings, working on different areas each time.  This breaks your tattoo into manageable chunks and thus helps spread the cost over numerous weeks and months.  Your artist may work on the line work in one sitting, shading in another, and finally, complete the colour in the final sitting.  While this may cost a little more than completing in one sitting (as each session will require setting up of needles, ink, tubes and other supplies), it does mean that you can budget for each sitting.  You can spread the sittings in timescales that work for you; helping you to manage your budget.

If it’s a more extensive project you’re working on, such as a sleeve, you may want to complete each area individually, joining the final pieces at the end.   Again, discuss this with your tattoo artist, so that they can ensure that placement works to expand upon as each piece is added.

Multiple tattoos

If you are looking to get multiple smaller tattoos, it’s also worth bearing in mind that it may cost you less to do this in one sitting.  As said above, studios have fixed costs for each tattoo – supplies such as the needles, ink, sterilisation and tubes are required for every tattoo session.  By sitting for multiple tattoos in one sitting, this will only need to be set up once, and therefore will cost you less overall when you break it down per tattoo.

There is absolutely no reason you cannot get your perfect tattoo, even if you do have to work within a strict budget.  Make sure you use all the tools at your disposal; take on suggestions, and remember, a tattoo is for life!

Written by Laura for Timebomb Tattoo

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