Cover-ups can be a great way to fix up old tattoos, as well as to embellish or conceal them completely. In some situations, they are our only chance of improving a bad, old design or hiding a mistake from our past. Our tattoos are bound to fade in time, and this technique can also be used to spruce up an old design that bled out.
Choosing a Cover up Tattoo
There are, of course, countless cover-up design options available. However, there are a few things to consider before choosing your cover-up tattoo design.
The size is one of the main factors to consider, and if your current tattoo is tiny, the options for concealing it are endless. On the other hand, covering up bigger tattoos can be difficult, but with the right technique and good approach, it is doable.
A cover-up tattoo should always be the same size or larger than the existing tattoo, depending on how much you want to change or camouflage it. And if your tattoo is on the larger side, you might consider getting laser treatment beforehand or opt for a full black tattoo design.
The ink in your tattoo is likely to break down with time, causing your tattoo to fade, making it easier to camouflage older tattoos rather than newer ones. Different colors fade differently over time, with red and yellow being the first to go, whereas shades like black and dark blue remain the longest. Covering up a tattoo that’s at least a year old will be less time-consuming, and the result will be far more satisfying, since new tattoos are more likely to show through your new design.
The color of both your existing tattoo and your potential cover-up design are important factors to consider and discuss with your artist before deciding on a new tattoo. Most artists opt for black or dark shades to effectively cover existing tattoos and use bright colors to embellish designs already drawn with bright colors. It’s important to know that the new ink pigment doesn’t go on top but mixes and creates a new color, which is why darker shades will always be dominant and are the easiest way to cover up your old tattoo fully.
Covering up an old tattoo can be a hassle, and finding the right cover-up design that fits your specific tattoo can be challenging. However, it is as important as finding the right artist. Below are some cover-up tattoo ideas that will help you choose your perfect one.
1. Black Line Rose Tattoo
Roses have always been a popular choice for a tattoo design, as they can be feminine or classic and come in any size, style, or color. However, if the tattoo you want to conceal is black, you should avoid using bright colors because they will most likely end up being see-through. A black rose can easily cover letters of any color, and if you are a fan of fine line art and black tattoos, this design can be a great choice.
2. Colorful Paperflower Tattoo
This interesting Brazilian vine, called paperflower due to its leaves, comes in a few colors and is often used for bonsai. It tends to flower continuously and in bright, beautiful colors, and it can also be an excellent choice for a bold, feminine tattoo.
The meaning of this plant changes from one part of the world to another, but it most commonly symbolizes beauty and hospitality. It would be a perfect cover-up choice for old tattoos in color or even faded black tattoos, covering the darker areas with deeper shades.
3. Black Moth Tattoo
A moth tattoo can be a symbol of transformation, change, or regeneration, and as such, can be used to represent someone getting over a tough time. Moth tattoo designs can also signify determination in always following the light or a deep connection with the moon. No matter the meaning, many people find moths beautiful. They are also a good cover-up choice, as they are usually black and can hide an old faded tattoo quite nicely.
4. Red Stars and Clouds Tattoo
Clouds most commonly symbolize change, hope, or resilience, whereas the stars represent guidance and protection through life. No matter the meaning, a starry sky can be admired by all and is an inspiration for many. Here, the artist uses dark red tones for the clouds in order to fully conceal the old tattoo. The result is a truly amazing, realistic space-looking sky.
5. Black Monstera Tattoo
If you are a fan of nature and plants, a leafy tattoo design is a must! This popular tattoo motif can represent your love of nature or simply show off your favorite plant. The black Monstera leaves make quite a statement, and they can cover up your old tattoo really well, especially if you are willing to get them in a larger size. This Central and South American plant symbolizes long life and the respect and honoring of elders.
6. Koi Fish and Lotus Tattoo
Another classic is the Koi fish tattoo design, signifying the strength of character, courage, perseverance, and good fortune and success, while the lotus flower symbolizes purity and rebirth. This tattoo can be an excellent cover-up choice since the artist can play around with colors and conceal most old tattoos. If you appreciate traditional Japanese tattoos, this design is definitely something to consider.
7. Black Snake and Flower Tattoo
Another timeless symbol, the snake, remains a popular tattoo design among clients and artists alike. Snakes are meant to signify rebirth and transformation, although their meaning varies across different cultures.
The design options for snakes are many, and they are usually depicted wrapping around a flower or any other object the client chooses. For a traditional snake with roses tattoo, take a look at Snake and Red Roses design.
8. Watercolor Mandala Tattoo
A mandala can be an excellent cover-up choice for an old tattoo, as they are large, very detailed, and can conceal most existing tattoos. They are a spiritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, and they symbolize the universe, reflecting balance, eternity, and perfection. A mandala can represent your spirituality and the idea that everything is connected, and you can switch it up to create a more personalized design for yourself.
9. Tropical Floral Tattoo With Hummingbird
A more traditional style tattoo, this tropical design can be a fun cover-up idea. You can change it up to fit your preference, use different flowers or plants, and play around with your favorite colors.
The artist can conceal most things successfully with this kind of tattoo, especially old tattoos already done in color. The black ink might show through a bit, as in this photo, but artists can use shading and brighter colors to camouflage the dark tones as best as possible.
10. Blue Lotus Tattoo
Another floral idea for nature lovers, the lotus flower is truly a classic. You can find various designs done in color or black and white, in all styles, shapes, and sizes. This particular design is a deep blue lotus, with light colors used for shading. By using dark blue instead of pink or yellow, the artist can conceal the old black tattoo flawlessly, whereas using lighter tones couldn’t achieve the same effect.
The lotus flower represents enlightenment, purity, and rebirth. It can also be a symbol for non-attachment, as it remains firmly planted in the mud while growing high above the surface of the water.
11. Realistic Elephant Tattoo
Animal tattoos are always a great way to show love and appreciation for your favorite animal, with elephants being one of the most popular and beloved tattoo designs. And for a good reason, as they represent loyalty, strength, power, and wisdom, and are said to bring good luck. You can find various elephant design ideas, and this is just one of many, done in a realistic style, concealing the clients’ previous tattoo amazingly.
12. Joker Tattoo
If you are a fan of the Batman series, this tattoo design can be a great way to show off your love for your favorite character. The design is very detailed and pretty dark, and as such, works well as a cover-up even for old black tattoos.
The Joker is a colorful character played by many actors, so you have many iconic scenes and poses to choose from to make the design more unique and personal. In any case, a large scale tattoo like this one can do wonders in concealing your faded old tattoo.
13. Seahorse Tattoo
One of the cutest sea creatures, the seahorse, can be an adorable cover-up design idea that both conceals your old tattoo and shows off your love of the sea. This particular design is in black and white, with the artist using white color to camouflage even some of the faded black ink.
The seahorse can symbolize many things, including strength, power, and friendliness, and is also believed to bring good fortune, just like a good luck charm.
14. Tiny Watercolor Cat Tattoo
Cats can be used as a representation of grace, luck, liberty, and hope, or simply as a symbol of the love you have for your pet. They can be tiny and colorful, as seen in this design, or bigger and all black to cover up the darker and larger tattoos as seen here
They can look cute or fierce, gentle or tough, or just like a portrait of your beloved pet. To better hide your existing tattoo, you can add flowers or some other symbol significant to you and make it even more unique.
15. All Black Full Back Tattoo
Sometimes the tattoo you want to cover is too big and too dark, and there isn’t much you can do. But even though your choices are limited, you can still make it your own.
For this style, the artists will use the empty spaces on your body to make shapes, as seen in this full back tattoo design. You can change up the pattern, depending on your existing tattoo, and at least you will know for sure that your old tattoo will be concealed completely.
16. Tiny Colorful Landscape Tattoo
A landscape design can be a great idea for a unique and personalized tattoo, depicting your favorite place in nature, or just the sea and sky full of stars, as shown in this design. You can really experiment with colors on this one, making it easier to properly conceal your old tattoo, leaving you with a brand new and personalized tattoo.
17. Blue Orchid Tattoo
Plant and flower tattoo designs are countless, with orchids being one of the more popular flower choices. They can signify many things, but, most commonly they symbolize beauty, confidence, and strength, whereas when men get orchid tattoos, they are often used to represent power and nobility.
Different colors of this flower mean other things, with blue orchids signifying rarity, spirituality, and Zen. And as you can see, it is possible to incorporate your old tattoo, even the faded black lines, to fit the new design smoothly.
18. Mandalorian and Baby Yoda Tattoo
This design is a perfect choice if you are a true fan of the iconic sci-fi classics that are the Star Wars saga and the Mandalorian TV series. This large-scale tattoo depicts the Mandalorian holding baby Yoda, done in full color and a realistic style. It can be a suitable cover-up for concealing any old tattoo, even those done with black ink, as in this photo.
The design is dark and large enough that it can successfully hide most existing tattoos without being see-through.
19. Cherry Blossom and Blue Butterfly Tattoo
Here is a wonderful example of how an old tattoo can become new again, without changing it completely. Here, the artist uses the existing butterfly tattoo, and rather than covering it up, adds new colors and shapes to enhance it and bring it back to life. This can be a great option for your old faded tattoos and will surely cover up any old ink as the artists use similar colors in darker and deeper tones for the best result.
For another floral tattoo fix up, take a look at this watercolor purple flower.
20. Geometric Mandala Tattoo
This sort of geometric mandala, or simply geometric pattern tattoo, can be a perfect way to hide some of your larger old tattoos. In history, geometric tattoos were linked to spirituality and religion, but nowadays, they symbolize stability, balance, and eternity. The color, of course, will always depend on your existing tattoo, with black being the first choice.
You can adjust the design to best conceal your former tattoo or even incorporate some personal family ornaments or symbols that hold special meaning to you.
21. Colorful Peacock Tattoo
This remarkably beautiful animal can symbolize luxury, loyalty, glory and can also be a representation of hope, love, and optimism. It has numerous other meanings and is said to bring good luck.
A peacock can be a fantastic tattoo design idea, especially if you are willing to do it in a larger size, but it is not suitable for concealing darker tattoos, as it is too bright and busy, and the black ink would show-through.
22. Classic Red Rose Tattoo
The rose is a complex flower and the most popular tattoo design among all flowers, symbolizing numerous things, with each color carrying a different meaning. The traditional red rose represents love and passion and can also signify hope and a promise of new beginnings.
This design comes in various styles, so you have a chance to make it your own and adjust it to best conceal your old tattoo. For another different rose design, take a look at this tattoo.
23. Great Wave off Kanagawa Tattoo
Another trendy design, especially for those who love the sea or the ocean, is, of course, that of a wave. It can be a simpler version, or if you are looking to conceal something small, or a slightly wave based on the Great Wave off Kanagawa, as seen in this design.
A wave can signify many things like strength and faith, as well as represent water horoscope signs, or even show that you like to go with the flow. In any case, it can just be a cute design that simply shows off your love of water.
24. Full Black Circle Tattoo
Another great cover-up idea, the full black circle, can surely conceal any old tattoo, regardless of color, age, or design. The size is up to you and the size of your existing tattoo, and it can go well on pretty much any part of your body.
This design has always been popular across the world, as the circle is often used to represent perfection, totality, and eternity. The meanings behind this symbol are numerous. They signify different things in art, spirituality, and religion, so even though it might be a common design, it can represent something very special and personal to you.
25. Colorful Owl and Flower Tattoo
One of the most popular bird designs, the owl tattoo, brings many symbolic meanings. It can represent wisdom, knowledge, and intelligence, or mystery and magic. In Native American cultures, owls are commonly associated with the afterlife and are considered spiritual guides and guardians of sacred knowledge.
These motifs can be done in a cute and colorful design as depicted in the photo, or all black as in this one, to best fit the tattoo you are looking to conceal.
26. Colorful Tiger Tattoo
Another popular animal tattoo is the tiger, beloved by tattoo artists for their stripes and expressive eyes. They can signify power, courage, strength, independence, and a free spirit, whereas some of the less positive connotations include vengeance and danger. In any case, a tiger tattoo can be a beautiful new addition and a great and easy way to conceal some old ink, whether you choose a full black or a colorful tiger design.
27. Black Cat Tattoo
There are many cat tattoo options, and this one can be an excellent choice for a cover-up tattoo, especially if you don’t want your old tattoo to show-through. It can be cute and mystical at the same time, as black cats are usually used as symbols of witches and pagan religions. The black cat is thought to be the companion of witches, but even if you don’t believe in magic, the design can simply be used to show off your love for the animal or your pet cat.
28. Watercolor Purple Wildflower Tattoo
Sometimes, your blurred and faded old tattoo doesn’t have to be fully covered up, but just embellished. Not many artists like going over an old tattoo, but if you can find the right one that wants to give it a try, the effect can be even better than a cover-up.
If you don’t hate your old tattoo design, but just the way it looks, this option might be perfect for you. You can refresh your existing tattoo colors and make it look brand new, knowing nothing will be see-through!
29. Korean-Style Black Panther Tattoo
If you like the full black design but don’t want an all-black tattoo, this one can be a good alternative. It remains an excellent option for concealing even the darkest tattoos smoothly. Here the artist uses white ink to add contours and shapes.
This tattoo design shows a Korean style black panther that symbolizes strength, stamina, and power. A black panther is a timeless motif in traditional tattoos, and it can represent your courage and confidence.
30. Pastel Rose Tattoo
This large pastel cover-up is another different approach to the classic rose motif, and it can work as a beautiful, more romantic alternative for those that prefer pink tones. The design includes four flowers in different shades of pink, blue and purple, and you can alter the design to embrace your favorite rose colors. Each rose color has a different meaning, with pink representing grace and joy and the blue signifying hope and possibility.
31. Red Butterfly Tattoo
Butterflies are another popular tattoo design, especially among girls and women, and they can be used as a symbol with deep meaning or simply as a pretty design idea. These insects can signify beauty, freedom, and change, and a red butterfly usually represents romance and passion and is said to bring happiness.
A butterfly comes in pretty much all colors and patterns, so you can easily make this tattoo design more unique and personal.
32. Black Sunflower Tattoo
For the romantic nature lovers out there, the sunflower can be the right design choice, as it most commonly represents love in one way or another. This flower is a symbol of youth, joy, and everlasting and hopeful love.
You could get it in bright colors and at any size. However, black will always cover up the existing tattoo most effectively, especially if your former tattoo is black letters, as seen in this design idea.
33. Eagle Tattoo
Eagles are another popular tattoo design, as they can represent wisdom, power, pride, and spirituality. It is a national bird of the USA and was also used in various cultures, signifying masculine strength and virility in Greek culture.
The eagle can be done in any style, and they look great in color or simply black. The design depicted in the photo is a combination of both, done in freehand and great at covering the small old tattoo.
34. Black Ornamental Sleeve Tattoo
Ornamental and tribal tattoos have been popular throughout history, as they were used in rituals of many cultures. This tattoo design is eternal, usually done with black ink and, most commonly symbolizing special protection believed to bring help in difficult times. They can signify many things such as beauty, power or wisdom, or simply depict a beautiful design.
These tattoos are also an excellent cover-up choice, as they are big and black and can conceal old tattoos quite easily.
35. Japanese Traditional Sleeve Tattoo
Traditionally, Japanese tattoos were used as a charm for protection, depicting spiritual symbols that represented devotion, similar to modern religious tattoos. Nowadays, they are still prevalent, with many design variations and different ancient characters.
This particular design is a full sleeve dragon and warrior tattoo, done in a traditional colorful style. As such, it is another excellent cover-up choice, even for those detailed large-scale old tattoos. For another more feminine Japanese sleeve design, take a look at this option.
36. Black Octopus Tattoo
An octopus might not be as popular a choice as some other animal tattoo designs, but it is a perfect option for those who prefer to stand out more. In ancient culture, it was seen as an eight-legged sea monster, and now this animal is very diverse and can represent mystery, complexity, intelligence, insight, or flexibility. It can be a great cover-up that can conceal your old design quite well, especially if done in black, as seen here.
37. Snake and Red Rose Tattoo
Here’s another play on the classic snake tattoo design, this time with roses and done in a modern style. It’s perfect concealing the black and not easy to hide, old tattoos.
The snake wrapped around the rose, as seen in this design idea, can symbolize blinding passion, temptation, or eternal life. Even if you don’t care about the meaning, it can just be a beautiful tattoo design and a good cover-up choice.
38. Wolf and Sky Tattoo
This design could cover lighter colors completely, as well as a small faded black tattoo. The design itself is quite dark and detailed, with light ink for shading and contours. This cover-up tattoo is a beautiful portrayal of a lone wolf in the night, along with a large crescent moon. Wolf tattoos can represent family, loyalty, and spiritual guidance, while the crescent mood generally symbolizes motherhood or creativity.
39. Elephant With Flowers Tattoo
Here’s another variation of the elephant design, sowing the elephant in a more feminine and cartoonish style, perfect for those that love what the animal symbolizes but prefer tattoos in color. Compared to other elephant tattoos, this design is more playful.
It can be further personalized, adding your favorite flowers and colors, while still covering your old tattoo quite nicely. It can even portray Dumbo if you are a true Disney fan or just a way to show off your favorite animal.
40. Japanese Sakura Sleeve Tattoo
Another Japanese-style full sleeve tattoo, this black and red Cherry blossom design can be a more feminine alternative to the dragon warrior tattoo. It is also a nice cover-up idea since it is heavily black, with the red flowers adding a unique touch.
The Japanese Sakura, or Cherry blossom, is used as a symbol of beauty, love, and the passing of time. Because they don’t live very long, they can be used as a metaphor to signify the uncertainty and the fleeting nature of life, or they can simply represent your love of spring!
41. Colorful Peony Tattoo
Here’s another beautiful tattoo design where the artist used various colors of darker and brighter shades to perfectly camouflage a previous tattoo. The flowers seen here are peonies, and they can be a symbol of beauty, fragility, and love, or represent wealth, prosperity, and good fortune. The peony also comes in many bright colors, so you can alter it to best conceal your old tattoo.
42. Black Rectangle With Plants Tattoo
Another interesting way to cover up your old and faded tattoo, when you can’t really cover it, is to add more black again! In this design, the artist creates around the existing tattoo, adding flowers, circles, and shapes to make it unique and brand new. You could use the technique and add a rectangle or any other full black shape to conceal your old tattoo while adjusting the details to your liking.
43. Black Bird Tattoo
Birds can represent so many different things, which is why they have always been a popular tattoo choice. They can be a symbol of freedom, courage, peace, or even travel. You can choose your favorite type or simply a traditional bird tattoo, as seen in this photo.
And as always, black is the best choice for a full cover-up, especially if your existing tattoo is done with black ink. If your favorite bird is the eagle, take a look at this design.
44. Crown Tattoo
Most commonly, the crown symbolizes power, honor, and strength, and as a tattoo design, it is often used to represent victory and triumph in life. A crown tattoo can also signify royalty, wealth and prestige, and is a very popular design choice among men and women alike. It can be a nice cover-up solution for your faded old tattoo, giving you a fun and cute new design.
45. Black and White Owl Tattoo
As another variation of the owl design, this tattoo idea is perfect for those who prefer black and white instead of color tattoos. The artist uses black ink to conceal the former tattoo fully and adds white color to create more lines and truly highlight the details. This design idea is more mystical and ideal for people who prefer owls as a symbol of magic and mystery.
46. Blue Rose Tattoo
If you like the idea of a black rose tattoo, but prefer tattoos in color, take a look at this blue watercolor rose design. It is a gentler choice and can be a good alternative for the black design.
This one can work well if the tattoo you are trying to cover up is lighter in color or smaller, as the artist can use darker color leaves to conceal possible black ink. You can experiment with color and size and choose the design that best fits your old tattoo.
47. Black Dragon Tattoo
The black Chinese dragon is another classic that has become even more popular in recent years. It can be feminine or masculine and can fit amazingly almost anywhere on the body, as the dragon can curve up to best fit the chosen spot.
Dragons have many meanings, but in general, they represent wisdom, strength, and good luck. They can also be used to signify freedom, your soul, or life itself. The most common design is done all black or red, but you can play around and use the colors you prefer to best cover your old tattoo.
48. Lion With a Crown Tattoo
Another popular animal design is, of course, the king of the jungle, the lion. This design can look great in almost any style, but if the tattoo you are looking to cover up is dark, like this superman sign, the best way to conceal it is to go black and white.
Lions are a symbol of courage, strength, and bravery and are popular among men and women, as they also represent beauty. The crown of the lion can signify Christian beliefs or just depict the lion as the king of the jungle.
49. Hannunvaakuna Tattoo
Here’s one unique idea for a quick, easy, and cheap cover-up tattoo. The tattoo design itself is a pagan, Hannunvaakuna symbol, originating in Northern Europe and believed to repel the evil spirits and bad luck. Here, the artist uses a white-on-black-method for the old faded sign and does a wonderful job of making it look brand new! This approach can be used for many old blown-out black tattoo designs, especially if you want to keep your old tattoo.
50. Black Circle and Plant Tattoo
If you like circle tattoo ideas and their symbolism, as in full black circle design, this black circle and plant can be another excellent choice for you. It will also do wonders for concealing your former tattoo of any color and shade, and you can make it more unique by adding some plants or flowers around it, as the artist does in this photo.
This line art style has become very popular worldwide, as the fine lines are great for those who love detailed and precise tattoos. Even if you don’t care about circles and flowers, it can be a cool way to hide an old faded tattoo and get a new beautiful design.
Choosing the Right Cover up Tattoo Design
The ideal cover-up tattoo will be the one that best camouflages your former, most likely faded, old design.
You can never go wrong with a full black option like this one, but tattoos in color can also work well for some lighter cover-ups, like this rose design.
You can also choose to embellish your existing design instead of concealing it entirely and end up getting the tattoo you’ve wanted in the first place, like this design here. Or, you can decide to completely cover your tattoo with a brand new, fresh design.
No matter your style and color preferences, you should always discuss your priorities and wishes with your artist beforehand. That way, they can customize your desired design to fit your style and most effectively conceal your existing tattoo.
The design options for cover-ups are numerous, and though the existing tattoo limits them a bit, that doesn’t mean you can’t fix it up to get a unique tattoo that makes you happy and proud to show off your wonderful art.
In any case, don’t stress about any bad designs, as it’s possible to make a mistake and get a bad tattoo or to regret a tattoo that seemed like a good idea at the time. It’s possible to correct old, bad, and faded tattoos and replace them with something beautiful and meaningful to you, hiding the old one completely.