Some tattoos are more special than others. Scar tattoos are one such example as they represent healing, acceptance, and resilience. We all weather difficult situations in our lives and for many, that involves needing surgery to address a health issue. For others, scars from self-harm or even an attempt at taking their own life are lasting reminders of pain that has been overcome.
Scar tattoos serve as reminders of endurance and overcoming those tough times. They turn the pain that exists or existed near the scar into a beautiful work of art and statement of strength, grit, and determination. We wanted to get a better idea of the possibilities and limitations of scar tattoos or scar cover-up tattoos so we turned to social media to discover the latest and most dramatic designs. Now, we would like to share them with you. You are going to love the way these artists have transformed scars into gorgeous tattoos.
Modest Koi Cover-Up
Let’s kick things off with a modest scar tattoo in the shape of a koi fish to help cover the unique shape of the scar. In the photo to the left, you can see that the scar is nearly impossible to see. For some, complete coverage is the goal, and for others, they want the scar to peek through. There’s no right or wrong way!
Straight Down the Line
Here’s a rather long scar that starts at the upper thigh and extends down to the knee. A stylish Mandala-inspired design cleverly covers most of the scar. We love the bejeweled look of the decorative lotus at the top and the lightness of the feathers below.
Floral for the Win
For deeper scars, scar tattoos that have elements that seem to dip in are a smart idea. In this example, we see the center of the flowers placed right into those deeper intentions on the skin, giving the tattoo a 3D feel.
Really, They Do the Work
Florals are the name of the game when it comes to scar tattoos. They provide the most excellent coverage while also symbolizing life, growth, and inner beauty. For this large leg scar, the tattoo artist has used delicate lines to bring it to life.
Draped Over the Shoulder
There’s a scar right beneath this person’s collar bone and the cascading florals create the perfect shape to mask it. Find yourself an artist with experience with scar tattoos and you could walk away with a piece that really camouflages the existing mark.
Feathers and Flowers
In addition to flowers, feathers are also great candidates for scar tattoos. Anything with an organic shape that can be manipulated for more coverage is going to be your friend. We like the addition of white ink highlights to help brighten up this wrist tattoo.
A Positive Message
“Love yourself,” this scar tattoo says to the left of a flower that is covering up a mark on the shoulder. We can think of no better excuse to get a positive affirmation than a scar tattoo. Messages of love, strength, and enduring are all welcome here.
Sweet Cherry Blossoms
Cherry blossoms are mildly popular among scar tattoos (we will show you another example as this list continues). Take a look at how the artist has created a branch in the exact shape of the scar. It looks natural and organic and you would never know a scar was beneath it.
Where did it go? Placement is a huge deal when it comes to scar tattoos. It’s often a better idea to have a tattoo that extends beyond just the scar to help hide it (if that’s the goal). The artist who completed this design understood this by creating a tattoo that starts further to the left of the scar and that falls down a few inches beyond it as well.
Here is a scar tattoo from France. We find scarring on the hip and thigh here that is perfectly covered by some beautifully colored butterflies. While black and grey ink are the standards for scar tattoos, they are not the only way to go. We encourage you to explore color options with your tattoo artist if you’re not married to the idea of just black ink.
We find a good deal of scarring on the abdomen in the above example but the scar tattoo turns it into a masterpiece. We find robust blooms, decorative elements, and even birds. They all look so natural even though we know each one was intentionally placed for coverage.
A Little Can Go a Long Way
For small scars, you do not need to go huge to cover those little babies up. Small scar tattoos can get the job done without much commitment. You would never know these little, circular scars were there, would you?
As promised, here’s another scar tattoo that uses cherry blossoms for coverage. What makes this one stand out to us is the addition of “Momma” among those flowers. The person who shared the image offered no explanation but we feel it’s likely that this could be a memorial tattoo that is related in some way to the scar.
As we mentioned, placement is a big deal for scar tattoos. This artist understood the assignment and created a bird in a shape that mirrors that of the scar. The flowers follow that same C-shape making the scar all but disappear.
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A Big Bloom
We must tell you that any tattoo is painful in the armpit. This person was a real trooper by getting this very bold flower design there. Like, this is some serious dedication. We think the end result is stunning and we hope it was well worth it for this individual who took a risk that really delivers.
Warm It Up
There are two sorts of techniques that tattoo artists use for scar tattoos. One is to use delicate lines to disguise a scar underneath. Another way to go is to crank it up with bold, dark, colors that can perform the same take. These moody black flowers sure are handsome.
We find the texture inside the botanical elements of this scar tattoo really covering the thin, long scars beneath. Bold black lines paired with those minute details really make this design dynamic.
Let the Sunshine In
We have seen a lot of floral scar tattoos but it’s not the only way to go. This wave and sun-themed design really covered up this shoulder scar well. Take a look at the center of the “sun” and you will find that it has been filled with hundreds of tiny dots. That’s another technique that works extremely well for scar tattoos.
Here, we find a maximalist approach to the scar tattoo. The theme is electricity and we are left wondering if that is somehow related to the cause of the scar. At any rate, it is a dramatic and vibrant scar tattoo unlike any other we came across.
A Rose Will Do
A handsome black and grey rose covers the length of this scar that stretches from the sternum to the belly button. You do not have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to your scar tattoo. We know florals work and that’s a rock-solid way to go in most instances.
Now You See It…
Now you don’t… Where did that horizontal scar go? The tattoo artist has managed to completely obstruct it from view in this light and airy floral scar tattoo. Find yourself an artist with a proven track record of success with scar tattoos and you could walk away with something equally as effective.
Snake and Rose
Similar to the rose we saw before, this scar tattoo has taken that scheme to the next level. For any tattoo, black and red ink paired together is going to look dynamite. The red blossoms of the rose really pop next to the black and grey snake. If you are not interested in full color but want just a pop of it, red could be the answer.
A Flashy Feather
This peacock feather scar tattoo covers a lot of ground here. Bold colors really do help mask the scar beneath but we can still see the scarring. If you want a design that is gorgeous but still shows off the things you have overcome, something similar could be perfect.
What a Dream
Here’s yet another snake and red flower scar tattoo. This one is much larger and has way more detail than the last. The tattoo artist has truly worked some magic here as you can see the scar beneath was rather extensive. Bravo!
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Here’s an excellent example of how you can create continuity for scars that are not close together but, instead, are rather spaced out. Gorgeous decorative lines help tie these butterflies together. Each one covers a scar but it looks like a very intentional design choice and not one dictated by the scars beneath.
There you go! We hope you found these scar tattoos inspiring and beautiful. As you have seen, there is no right or wrong way to go about getting a scar cover-up tattoo. You will just need to work with an artist with experience tattooing over scar tissue to help you realize your vision. Now, if you want to see even more stunning cover-up tattoos, keep reading for more ideas.
Discover the Best Tattoo Cover-Up Ideas That Upgrade Old Ink Below.
Black Ink Will Do It
Big, bold, and black is, by far, the most popular and forgiving option when it comes to covering up an old tattoo. As you can see in the above example, you would never know that a tattoo existed there before.
It Really Gets the Job Done
Here’s another example that’s a bit more delicate that shows how black ink can be used to disguise older tattoos. Notice all of the tiny dots used to give this cover-up texture. The technique also helps hide old lines.
Vibrant Color Works Too
Black ink is not your only option of course. For your tattoo cover-up ideas, feel free to envision bold colors. A lot of color offers a lot of coverage. This design is so clever in that it hides the existing turtle in the colors of the turtle’s shell.
Blackout tattoos are a huge trend and you can cover a lot of ground with bold, black ink like this. Imagine also, bands of black which can also be used to cover your tattoos in unique ways as well.
What’s Old Is New
Texture is another form of cover. For this feather, we can see a ton of tiny little lines that provide cover for the existing design. Notice how the shape mimics what was already there but takes it to a more dramatic level.
Big, Bold Florals Are Your Friend
If you take one thing away from this list of tattoo cover-up ideas, please let it be big florals. Floral patterns cover old tattoos better than almost any other type of design. Their organic shapes can be altered to provide the best coverage. You will see a good deal of further examples of this on this list. So, if you’re feeling floral, really lean into it.
Really, We Mean It
Here’s another example that finds pink and purple flowers on top of an old phrase tattoo. Botanicals cover more tattoos than you’ll likely ever know.
Go big with your designs. Oversized scenes really mask old tattoos well. The above example is a very intricate one that contains so much visual interest that you can’t place where the old tattoo exists beneath it.
Do It with the Background
If you’ve got an idea of the subject matter you want but the shape might not be just right for ideal coverage, try a background. For your tattoo cover-up ideas, think of clouds, a sun, a textured backdrop, or anything else in that category to offer extra coverage.
For smaller and modest-sized tattoos, you can simply pick a shape that will frame it, in this case, a heart, and then black out the inside of the shape you’ve chosen.
Blackout & White Ink
Use your imagination and invent new possibilities for your tattoo cover-up ideas. A blackout tattoo with white ink is a perfect way to cover up something old and upgrade it with something cool and fresh.
Consider a Watercolor Look
Tattoos with a watercolor effect are one of the biggest trends today. Hallmarks of this style include ink that looks like wet paint and dots that look like droplets. “Brushstrokes,” “droplets,” and other organic effects can be used to mask an old tattoo well.
Old Tattoo Becomes a Shading Guide
Your tattoo artist can use an existing design as a shading element if they get the placement of the cover-up in the perfect spot. Notice how the purple shades of the flower are informed by the frog underneath? It’s tough to see which is proof that it works well.
Bold, geometric, and abstract designs should inform your tattoo cover-up ideas. Mandalas or tribal-inspired designs often contain large, graphic elements that can cover a tattoo really well.
RELATED: 30 of the Craziest Tattoo Cover-Up Ideas
Just because you might need to go with dark ink colors for coverage does not mean that you can’t add plenty of expression to your design. This artist really nailed it.
Play with Shape
If you were brainstorming tattoo cover-up ideas for a lengthy phrase like the one above, you might first consider something long and slender as a cover-up. But, we encourage you to expand for better coverage and a tattoo you’ll actually be proud of.
Add Definition with Black and White
As black ink tattoos fade, they often turn a dark grey or bluish-grey color. If you still want that design, your artist can go back in and add black lows and white highs to provide more definition that your old tattoo lacks.
Hallmarks of traditional and neo-traditional tattoos include bold shapes that are basic and unfussy, primary colors that pop, and simple motifs for an understated but strong design. All of those elements make traditional tattoos like the one above good candidates for real coverage.
Traditional Styles Will Do It
Sit with traditional tattooing while coming up with your tattoo cover-up ideas. Skulls, snakes, roses, and more can be found on every tattoo artist’s “flash” or portfolio. Lean into those old designs and you will not be disappointed.
Disguise and Enhance Color
If blue ink is already there, consider adding more. It will easily mask the old tattoo and reintroduce the color in a bolder fashion. This person could have gone larger but they found a solution with florals in the same shape that totally work well.
Try an Opposite Color
For your tattoo cover-up ideas, you should also consider opposing colors if the tattoo has faded significantly. The red ink above is so bold that it easily counteracts the blue beneath. What a winner!
Remember to Express Yourself
Don’t get too tied to what you think your tattoo cover-up ideas should be. Talk to your artist about the design that you want to replace it with and ask them if it’s possible. Think outside of the box and you could walk away with something equally cool.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. If you like your little heart tattoo but think it could use some sparkle, sparkle you can have. This artist knocked it out of the park with this diamond effect.
It Was Never Really There
Here’s another floral example that completely swallows the hold tattoo whole. By placing the center of the flower over the existing design, the artist has made it look as if that shading was meant to be there.
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Here’s an example of a big cover-up that totally swallows the old tattoo whole. Textured designs (like the spots of this cat) will allow artists to cover a tattoo well.
Did we get you covered? We hope you found some worthwhile tattoo cover-up ideas for your own tattoo. As tattoos age, they can fade and become dull. Further, as we age we might age out of a tattoo that we got at a younger age. With these tattoo cover-up ideas, you can come up with your own way to upgrade that ink. Happy tattooing!
Andrew is an Assistant Editor for Mamas Uncut with over ten years of experience as a writer in the creative, marketing, and blogging spaces. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a passion for telling stories in a variety of mediums. Obsessively making lists, reporting celebrity news, and diving into emerging pop cultural topics are a few of his interests.
- 0.1 Modest Koi Cover-Up
- 0.2 Straight Down the Line
- 0.3 Floral for the Win
- 0.4 Really, They Do the Work
- 0.5 Draped Over the Shoulder
- 0.6 Feathers and Flowers
- 0.7 A Positive Message
- 0.8 Sweet Cherry Blossoms
- 0.9 Floral Camo
- 0.10 Butterflies
- 0.11 Breathtaking Coverage
- 0.12 A Little Can Go a Long Way
- 0.13 With Tribute
- 0.14 Clever Shapes
- 0.15 A Big Bloom
- 0.16 Warm It Up
- 0.17 So Subtle
- 0.18 Let the Sunshine In
- 0.19 Electric
- 0.20 A Rose Will Do
- 0.21 Now You See It…
- 0.22 Snake and Rose
- 0.23 A Flashy Feather
- 0.24 What a Dream
- 0.25 Just Amazing
- 1 Discover the Best Tattoo Cover-Up Ideas That Upgrade Old Ink Below.
- 1.1 Black Ink Will Do It
- 1.2 It Really Gets the Job Done
- 1.3 Vibrant Color Works Too
- 1.4 Complete Blackout
- 1.5 What’s Old Is New
- 1.6 Big, Bold Florals Are Your Friend
- 1.7 Really, We Mean It
- 1.8 Complete Coverage
- 1.9 Do It with the Background
- 1.10 Frame It
- 1.11 Blackout & White Ink
- 1.12 Consider a Watercolor Look
- 1.13 Old Tattoo Becomes a Shading Guide
- 1.14 Abstract Imagery
- 1.15 Be Bold
- 1.16 Play with Shape
- 1.17 Add Definition with Black and White
- 1.18 Go Traditional
- 1.19 Traditional Styles Will Do It
- 1.20 Disguise and Enhance Color
- 1.21 Try an Opposite Color
- 1.22 Remember to Express Yourself
- 1.23 Get Clever
- 1.24 It Was Never Really There
- 1.25 Meow
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