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How much do full sleeve tattoos cost

How Much Do Full Sleeve Tattoos Cost? We Do a Deep Dive!

How much do full sleeve tattoos cost

If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably been searching online for prices of full-sleeve tattoos. If you’ve read some articles already, you’re probably frustrated by not getting a straight answer! But don’t despair, as the Ape has been hanging out in tattoo parlors all week to help you answer the question, “How much do full-sleeve tattoos cost?”

How much do full-sleeve tattoos cost?

It would be best to consider a few things before getting a reasonable estimate of the cost of a sleeve tattoo. It’s important to consider how large you want the tattoo to be, the exact placement of the tattoo, the amount of detail you require, and finally, the amount of shading your sleeve tattoo should have.

Getting a sleeve tattoo is a fascinating and sometimes emotional journey. We guess you’ve been dreaming about getting a tattoo for months, maybe even years, and now you’re “chomping at the bit” to get started.

By the end of this article, we hope you have a good idea of the cost of your perfect sleeve tattoo so that you can schedule your appointment and get that work of art on your body.

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What do you need to know to get a price for a full-sleeve tattoo?

Be there in person to talk to your chosen tattoo artist

The first step in getting a sleeve tattoo (or any other kind) is to arrange free consultations with 2 or 3 tattoo shops. During the meeting, you’ll have the chance to talk to a tattoo artist, look at their previous work and chat about your intended tattoo and the cost of getting it done.

Know the size of the tattoo you want & the level of detail

The first question a tattoo artist will probably ask is how big the tattoo will be. Is it a full-sleeve, half-sleeve, or perhaps just a few smaller tattoos that will later lead to a full-sleeve tattoo?

Know exactly where you want the piece.

This may appear to be a silly point, but sleeve tattoos can vary in placement. They can be placed on the upper arm, lower arm, or entire arm. Usually, sleeve tattoos are wrapped around the whole arm, starting at the wrist and finishing at the shoulder. They can also spread onto the chest and back areas.

Know the design of the tattoo you want

If you have no clue about which design to get, you need to slow down and spend a bit of time looking at the kind of sleeve tattoos that other dudes are getting for some ideas.

An excellent place to start is Instagram. Thousands of guys love to show off their tats on this social media platform. You can even find similar designs to the tattoo you want and send the proud wearers a message asking them for more info about their skin work. If they’re on Instagram, they’ll probably be too pleased to get some attention!

You can also check out 20 of our previous article’s most popular tattoo styles.

Factors that determine the cost of your tattoo

The skill & experience of the artist

This is the leading factor in determining the price a tattoo artist charges. A professional tattooist will charge more for their service. They usually charge by the hour but will charge per piece if the tattoo is small and can be finished in one sitting.

If the artist has tattooed for ages but has little skill, or they have a lot of talent but little or no experience, they won’t be able to charge top dollar. A tattoo artisan must have both attributes to ask for higher rates.

The amount of color in the piece

Tattoos with only one color are cheaper than those with many colors. The reason for this is that colored tattoos require more detail, and that means more time and more cash (as the artist will usually charge by the hour).

If you are interested in watercolor tattoos, get your credit card ready, as they can cost up to $400 for a four-inch-wide tattoo. Something else to remember is that colorful pieces require filling, which takes time and can be tedious and painful.

The location of the tattoo studio

The geographical location of the studio can be a significant factor in the pricing of tattoo artists. The price will be higher in big cities than in small towns.

In the United States, a full sleeve piece can cost thousands of bucks in metropolitan areas but only hundreds in a small town or a different country. As a rough guide, getting a tattoo in California is about double the cost of getting one in Arkansas.

The detail in your design

Another contributing factor to your tattoo piece’s cost is the complexity of your chosen design. As we mentioned, if you want a lot of color or shading, you’ll spend more money and time in the tattooist’s chair. Watercolor tattoos are costly as they require a lot of colors and a highly skilled artist.

If you have gone through the trouble of drawing or buying custom-designed artwork, this can also push the price. The artist may not have experience with your proposed piece, so finishing will take longer.

Can I get a tattoo designed before I go to the tattoo studio?

Yes, you can! We recently came across a website that will create a custom design tattoo just for you!

Custom Tattoo Design brings tattoo ideas to life. Work with their fantastic staff from anywhere in the world. Getting a tattoo is a life-long decision, and ensuring your tattoo is 100% perfect should be at the top of your priority list.

Designing a custom tattoo properly takes 5x longer than actually getting your tattoo completed. Their professional artists spend hours researching quality references and ensuring the composition flows perfectly together. Whether you’re looking for a simple tattoo design, custom tattoo sleeve, cover-up, or a personalized memorial, they would love to help you with your design.

How much do tattoo artists charge?

A tattoo studio in Bangkok will not charge the same as one in New York. This article focuses on prices in the United States (as most of our readers are from the U.S.).

As you start shopping around for tattoo prices, you’ll soon realize that prices can vary quite a lot. But to keep things simple, the industry standard is around $150 per hour for experienced tattoo artists in the United States.

You may find artists charging as little as $100 per hour and others charging as much as $200 – $250 for each work hour. If you have your heart set on one of the top tattooists in the country, don’t be surprised if they quote $300 – $500 bucks per hour for the privilege of getting their work placed on your skin.

Consider the cost of getting a crappy tattoo removed to put things into context! Tattoo removal is pricey, with each treatment costing around $200 for just 15 minutes (yes, that’s 800 bucks per hour!). Remember that you might need eight or more treatments to remove a large design. So don’t get too annoyed if your tattoo artist seems expensive because the price of getting a bad tattoo will be much higher!


“So, just how much is a full sleeve tattoo?” – A reasonable estimate for you to work from is $150 per hour. It may sound like a lot, but you can choose how many hours of work you can afford each week (or month) and spread the cost over any period that suits your budget.

And if you want to know how long the tattoo will take, you might as well ask how long is a piece of string. The best answer we can give is that, on average, a full sleeve tattoo takes around six or more 6-hour sessions, with the average client waiting about one month between visits.

If you are considering getting inked, you will probably need information about which tattoo is right for you.

Matt Francis
Matt Francis

Hi, I'm Matt Francis. A Product Reviewer, Web Developer, Blogger, and all-round Good Egg!
I am the brains (and brawn) behind Everyday Ape.