Tattoo Sizing Guide: Knowing What You Want

Want to get a tattoo, but not sure what size to get?

Or maybe you’ve heard terms like ‘6-inch’ thrown around and have absolutely no idea what that means or how a ‘6-inch’ tattoo would actually look on your skin?

Perhaps you have an idea of what you want to get, but are having difficulty figuring out how your desired tattoo size is priced?

Our Sizing Guide can help you figure this all out! From learning how to properly measure a tattoo to knowing what to tell your artist when they ask you – “what do you really want?”

Tattoo Measurement

Tattoo Measurement

Why Measure a Tattoo?

You might wonder what the point of measuring a tattoo is – just go in and get it done, right?

WRONG! Size matters. Well, at least for a tattoo it does!

Tattoo Design

Firstly, size impacts design. You can’t get a tattoo that has a lot of detail done in an extra small size, because many of the details might get lost.

Think of trying to get a beautifully detailed portrait of a loved one to fit into an extra small tattoo – doesn’t really work, does it? At least not unless you invest in a VERY skilled artist!

Tattoo Price

Tattoo Price

Secondly, size impacts price.

While some artists charge an hourly rate, most tattoo artists will charge per square inch. That means the larger your tattoo, the higher the cost.

So how much would a tattoo cost by size? Let’s say you choose to get a 6 square inch tattoo. The average cost of a tattoo in Bangalore, India is RS 500-1000/- per square inch. So a 6-inch tattoo will cost you anything between RS 3000/- and 6000/- depending on other factors, such as detailing and placement.

This price will also vary based on the artist, studio, and materials used.

If the price is an important factor for you, choose a smaller tattoo or alternatively break a larger tattoo into multiple sessions so it fits into your budget.

This is a much better option than choosing a less experienced artist because they charge a lower rate – trust us!

Tattoo Pain, Care, and Healing

Thirdly, tattoo size impacts healing and aftercare.

Smaller tattoos will hurt less since it takes much less time to ink them. They will often heal faster, especially with proper aftercare.

Most people get small and extra-small tattoos on their hands, feet, face, lips, and neck. They’re easy to hide and usually look beautiful on these placements. Unfortunately, these tattoos also mean more aftercare and potentially many, MANY touchups!

Not only are these some of the most painful places to get a tattoo, they’re also the placements where tattoos fade faster due to daily wear and tear and exposure to water and sunlight. In addition, lip and finger tattoos are known to smudge.

So if you’ve ever heard someone say ‘finger tattoos are a bad idea‘ – that’s why!

Tattoo Materials

Tattoo Materials

Fourthly, tattoo sizing impacts which tattoo materials are used.

Tattoo needle sizes vary depending on the tattoo being inked. Smaller, more minimal tattoos would generally require a single needle for fine lining, while very large tattoos with lots of filling and shading will require larger clusters of needles.

Tattoo Placement

And finally, knowing what size tattoo you want to get narrows down the places on your body you can get it inked on.

For instance, you can’t get a large size tattoo on your finger. Knowing how small or big you want your tattoo can help you pick the right placement for your new ink.

Putting It All Together

Putting It All Together - tattoo

Let’s say you want an ankle or wrist tattoo. These are small areas, so you’re looking at getting a small tattoo. But how small?

Consider getting a tattoo that is 2 inches in height and 1 inch in width. Multiply 2*1 to get 2 square inches. Based on our guide below, that makes it an extra-small (XS) sized tattoo.

It would look a little something like this:

Fits perfectly, doesn’t it?

An extra-small ankle or wrist tattoo would cost about RS 1000/- to 2000/- based on the average cost of tattoos in Bangalore.

If you want a much larger tattoo on the same spot, you’d either need to extend it into a band or half-sleeve going around your calf – or you’d need to pick a different spot. And that will naturally cost a lot more!

So when someone says ‘a 6-inch tattoo’, you know now that what they’re talking about is a tattoo that is 6 square inches in size. This could mean anything from:

  • a 2*3 inch or 3*2 inch tattoo, to
  • a 1*6 or 6*1 inch tattoo.

It all depends on the design of the tattoo, but all of these dimensions will result in a tattoo that is 6 square inches in size, which makes a small tattoo.

How big is a medium-size tattoo? Usually, about 15 square inches. We recommend this size and larger for any tattoo with detailing. For instance, a portrait tattoo should be about a medium-size or larger.

Now you’re probably having some unsavory flashbacks to that one time in high school where you had to answer a math problem and said ’42’ because isn’t that the answer to everything?!

So enough with the numbers – and the flashbacks! – What do these sizes look like in actual tattoos?

Go on and check out our visual sizing guide below!

How to Measure a Tattoo

How to Measure a Tattoo

Step 1: Measure the height and width

Knowing how to measure a tattoo will help you explain to your artist what size tattoo you want. It also helps you estimate a price based on the artist’s rate. So how do we do it?

Start by measuring the height and width of the design you want to get.

Next, convert it into inches – tattoos are almost always measured in inches and square inches. So when you work out what you want, make sure you make a note of your tattoo size in inches.

Step 2: Convert to square inches

Lastly, multiply the height by the width to get the square inch size. This is what you’ll tell your artist when you discuss your design with them, so be sure to double check that you’ve got the right size!

And that’s it!

Now go on and get inked!

Final Words

In conclusion, understanding the size of your desired tattoo is crucial in determining its design, cost, healing process, and placement. It’s not just about the aesthetics, but also about the practicality and longevity of your tattoo.

So, before you step into a tattoo studio, make sure you’ve done your homework. Measure, calculate, and envision your tattoo properly. This way, you’ll be more confident and satisfied with your decision. Remember, a tattoo is a lifelong commitment, so make it count! Happy tattooing!