Whether you’re gearing up to get your first-ever tattoo or you’re a seasoned pro with a recurring appointment on the calendar every year, figuring out what your next piece should be can feel challenging. With so many different options to choose from, including different styles, types of ink, and placements, it can be hard to decide which route to take.
Lately, we’ve seen a rise in one specific tattoo trend called patchwork tattoos. You’ve likely spotted examples of the ink style before in real life, but it’s also favored by quite a few celebrities, like Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, and Halsey. If you don’t recognize the trend by name, it’s easy to explain and pretty recognizable once you see a photo.
Ahead, a tattoo artist breaks down everything to know about patchwork tattoos, including exactly what they are and how much they cost.
What Are Patchwork Tattoos?
“Patchwork tattoos are a unique style of tattoo where different tattoo designs are placed in such a way as to create a collage-like effect on the skin,” Sydney Smith, owner of Syzygy Precision Tattooing, micro tattoo expert, and a member of the Mad Rabbit pro team, tells POPSUGAR. The style is sometimes mistakenly called a sleeve, but sleeve tattoos blend into one another, while patchwork tattoos have space in between each piece of art.
Best Designs For Patchwork Tattoos
Patchwork designs almost look like stickers on the skin, but exactly what you get is entirely up to you. “Common patchwork-tattoo designs often include elements like lettering, flowers, animals, and symbols, all seamlessly integrated into ‘one’ cohesive piece,” Smith says. “It’s really just a bunch of different tattoos that look good together but rarely, if ever, touch.” She says there are a few types of body art that look best as patchwork tattoos, however. “Micro-realism, fine-line, and traditional tattoo styles typically work best for the composition of a patchwork sleeve.”
Best Placement For Patchwork Tattoos
When it comes to placement, the world is your oyster. Although the trend is often concentrated on the arms, you can opt to get this style of tattooing all over the body. Again, patchwork tattoos are not meant to be one connected design, but they can have a cohesive style if done by the same artist, which Smith says offers the most flexibility when picking placement.
As for the color of ink you should get, Smith says it’s entirely a matter of personal preference. “The majority seen as of late are usually black/gray, but there are plenty of patchwork sleeves with tattoos full of color.”
Are Patchwork Tattoos Painful?
Pain is relative, and everyone’s tolerance is different. However, because patchwork tattoos are typically on the smaller side, the length of time you’re in contact with the needle will likely be shorter than other tattoo styles. The location will also play a role in how painful the ink is; expect areas with more nerve endings to be more painful.
Cost of Patchwork Tattoos
The cost of a patchwork tattoo will vary depending on your location and the artist you visit, especially if you plan on getting a couple of pieces in one sitting. However, you can expect prices to start at $150 at minimum for many patchwork tattoos.