Roll Up the Sleeves: The Top Must-Know Tips for Planning a Tattoo Sleeve

The Top Must-Know Tips for Planning a Tattoo Sleeve

Tattoo sleeves can look awesome. But, you need to plan them right. Read on to learn the top tips for planning a tattoo sleeve.

Thinking of getting a tattoo? You’re not alone: four out of ten adults in the U.S. have at least one tattoo.

However, if you really want to stand out then a tattoo sleeve may be the way to go. This high impact tattoo design typically starts at the shoulder and extends all the way down your arm, ending just before your wrist. It also covers your entire arm like a piece of clothing; hence, the name.

This type of tattoo is rather extensive, however, and requires some planning. Here are some tips on achieving the tattoo sleeve of your dreams that you’ll love for the rest of your life.

Take the Time to Find the Right Design

This is the most fun part of getting a tattoo sleeve, but it may also require a lot of research. Take the time to determine the tattoo design you want. After all, it’s only going to stay on your body for the rest of your life (or unless you decide to have the tattoo removed.)

You can start by browsing tattoo sleeve ideas online. Instagram, Pinterest, and of course, tattoo shop websites are great places to start to find cool designs.

It’s important to choose the right tattoo color. Do you want a full-color design or a black and white one?

Should the design have special personal meaning to you? Will it reflect perhaps your astrological sign, your favorite flower, movie, or music idol?

These are all important questions to ask yourself and you should definitely know the answers before you schedule a consultation with a tattoo artist. If you know someone with a tattoo sleeve that you absolutely love, it may be a good idea to choose the artist they used so you can achieve the same effect.

Prepare for Your Consultation

Once you determine a design or have some concrete ideas for one, now you can schedule a consultation with a tattoo artist. They will fine-tune the design idea for you and let you know how long and how many appointments the tattoo will require.

You should bring photos of the artwork you have in mind and the designs that you like. However, try not to overwhelm the tattoo artist with too many ideas and themes. You should decide for yourself some of the specifics so they can work with you and your vision to create a sleeve tattoo you’re in love with.

Prepare for Some Discomfort

The most nerve-wracking aspect of getting any tattoo is the pain factor. The good news is some parts of the body are more comfortable to get a tattoo on than others. You can refer to a tattoo pain chart to get a better idea of which body areas are the most sensitive.

The bad news is a tattoo sleeve involves putting part of the design on your shoulder, which does tend to be a more sensitive area for most people. The flesh around the shoulder bone is thinner, which makes this part of the tattoo a little more painful.

There are several layers to your skin. Tattooing requires that the tattoo needle be inserted into the dermis part of the skin, the deeper area that contains nerves and pain receptors.

The needle is basically injuring the area every time it’s inserted (which can be hundreds of times per second.) This sends a signal to the brain that something is wrong, which is the reason why we feel pain when getting a tattoo.

However, there are a few steps you can take to make the process more comfortable.

Prepare for Your Tattoo Session

One of the best things you can do the day of your tattoo appointment is to stay hydrated and eat a healthy meal. Try to avoid alcohol and drinking too many caffeinated beverages before your appointment as both can cause dehydration.

Keeping your body hydrated and eating a balanced meal the day of your session will help keep your blood sugar at a healthy level. This will help prevent you from passing out and it also helps the skin absorb the ink better.

Get a good night’s sleep the night before. Shower or bathe as usual and don’t apply any lotions, oils, or moisturizers to the arm getting the tattoo.

You’ll also want to avoid taking any over-the-counter medication until after your appointment. Many of these medications can thin the blood just like alcohol can.

You can ask your tattoo artist to stop by raising your other hand or saying something if a portion of the tattoo becomes very uncomfortable. Ask them if it’s possible to take a break from time to time.

Chatting with your artist (as long as it doesn’t distract them) is another good tactic to help keep your mind off the tattoo application.

Healing Each Section of Your Tattoo

A tattoo sleeve is a very involved design that can’t be completed in one sitting. So, you will need to follow the tattoo artist’s instructions on tattoo healing after each visit. This will help keep the area clean and prevent infection.

They may give you bandages to place over the tattoo for a specified amount of time. You’ll want to gently cleanse the tattooed area with a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water. You should also limit sun exposure to the area.

You’ll be repeating the process after each section of your tattoo is completed.

We Can Give You Your Dream Tattoo Sleeve

tattoo sleeveGetting a tattoo sleeve requires some preparation, but many people who have one will tell you it’s well worth it. A well-done tattoo sleeve leaves a lasting impression and helps you express your individuality.

Here at Skin Factory Tattoo, our tattoo artists are well experienced in tattoo sleeves as well as all kinds of tattoo designs. When you’re ready for a tattoo consultation, contact us.

To learn more, contact us here.

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