150+ Cover Up Tattoos Ideas for Man and Woman (2019)

The motherland of “cover up” is considered to be Japan. In the Middle Ages, the tattoo in this country was a sign of shame rather than honor. People made tattoos to stigmatize criminals, but they did not want to show the “dark spots” of their biography. So, they found an original way to “rewrite the history” and corrected their stains by application of a new complex pattern over them.  It is believed that this was the way of originating the art of Japanese multicolor tattoo.

Reasons for cover up” tattoos

The desire to get rid of the tattoo can be caused by different reasons:

the old one started to annoy the owner;

it isn’t enough bright and cool and looks poor;

your tastes have substantially changed;

you are an impulsive nature and made a tattoo under the influence of strong emotions, but now it isn’t essential, and you regret about it.

To correct any tattoo is possible. It is not necessary to take it out, you can simply apply the new one on the place where the old is. The sketch chosen in a right way will look better and more interesting!

It is important to find a good master, who will help you to choose a sketch for the “cover version” to hide an old tattoo completely.

Peculiarities of choosing a sketch for cover up

Sometimes the tattoo of poor quality can be modified so that it will look better. In this scenario, the result will be different from the original image, but the overall essence of the picture will be maintained. Technically, the repainting can be done by increasing the contrast of colors, alignment, and painting over the defects. There aren’t certain rules how to do this, the options will depend on the characteristics of each individual tattoos.

Another solution to the problem is “cover up”. The design of sketches for “cover up” must be specifically chosen to overlap an old tattoo entirely. Qualitatively “cover up” will look like new independent composition different from the old pattern. It is important to consult with the master when choosing the sketch for “cover up” because technically the process is more complicated than simply tattooing.  It should be mentioned that carelessly made “cover up” may look worse than the original picture. 

What images are best suited for “cover-ups”? Everything depends on the characteristics of an old work. The master will offer you the options based on the place and form of your old tattoo. To create a beautiful “cover-up”, it should be about twice as much as the old picture.

It is desirable for the “cover up” to contain images of textures or patterns. If the “cover up” is of one flat color, it is likely that the old tattoo will shine through it, even if the color is darker than that of the old picture.

The most suitable design for “cover up” is motifs of flora and fauna – the leaves and petals of plants, fish scales and fur of animals. The colors used for the “cover ups” can be artfully woven into the old image or overlapped with new darker colors. 

The most common options for cover ups

Here are some examples of choosing sketches for “cover up” tattoos. Very often people overlap the letters and quotes on their body with:




old school tattoos,



These sketches are usually seen on the female bodies. 

The tattoos of large scale may be covered up with:

Polynesian patterns;

black work tattoos;


tattoos in Japan style;

ethnic tattoos.

Such options of “cover ups” are common for men. These “cover ups” look great, and you’ll never see the previous pictures through them.

Celebrities cover ups

Angelina Jolie added the “Billy Bob” to her existing dragon tattoo while the two were dating but had the whole thing removed post-breakup, replacing it with the coordinates of the birthplaces of each of her children.

Johnny Depp changed his “Winona Forever” tattoo into “Wino Forever” after the two broke up in 1993.

Marc Anthony had his “Jennifer” wrist tattoo turned into a big swirly mess after splitting from wife Jennifer Lopez.