Tattoo Time Frames

Here are some time frames so you can get an idea of how long your tattoo might take. Exact estimates are not possible because some people take longer to tattoo than others. For example, sensitive areas like the ribs take longer to tattoo because many people flinch; loose or damaged skin takes longer to tattoo; some skin chemistries are rougher due to dryness or hormone levels. I don't recommend sitting for more than 4-5 hours. Longer tattoos will be divided into several sessions with 2 week healing periods between them. 

general Time Frames 

These time frames are approximate and apply to black tattoo work. If your tattoo idea requires lots of fine line patterning (such as snake scales or feathers) or you are adding full color to areas, double the time required. 

  • 4"x4"/PALM SIZED TATTOO: 1 hour or less
  • 8"x4"/HAND SIZED TATTOO: 1.5-2 hours
  • 8"x7"/SHOULDER CAP: 2-3 HOURS
  • 9"x12"/QUARTER SLEEVE OR THIGH TATTOO: 3-4 hours
  • SIMPLE HALF SLEEVE: 4 hours
  • DETAILED HALF SLEEVE: 7-9 hours
  • SIMPLE FULL SLEEVE: 10 HOURS
  • DETAILED FULL SLEEVE: 17-20 HOURS

One Hour (or less)

1.5 HOURs

2 HOURS

3 HOURS

4 HOURS

5 or more HOURS (multi-session tattoos)