How Much Does A Tattoo Sleeve Cost

A sleeve tattoo is a significant investment that takes more preparation than a standard piece of body artwork. You can’t just pick an image from a binder or the Internet and plaster it on your arm on the spur of the moment. There are a lot of things you have to take into account, one of which is cost.

The average price of a full sleeve tattoo is $1500. On the other hand, a half or quarter sleeve can cost you somewhere between $500 and $2000 on average. The cost of a tattoo sleeve can depend on many factors too.

The other factors that determine the price are the types of tattoo, the hourly rate of the tattooist, the design you choose, etc. The article aims to talk about the factors and gives you details on other important facts.

Here it goes!

How Many Kinds Of Sleeve Tattoos Are There?

There are generally four kinds of sleeve tattoos: full sleeve, half sleeve, quarter sleeve, and hikae.

A quarter sleeve covers your shoulder from the top and takes half of your elbow. The same goes for a half sleeve, with the exception that it is limited to your elbow. A full sleeve extends from your shoulder tip to your wrist. And hikae, a Japanese-style design for a sleeve tattoo, covers some part of your chest’s pectoral muscle and extends to your elbow or wrist.

Here is a table summarizing the average cost range of different types of sleeve tattoos based on the survey conducted with 78 tattoo shops across the United States:

Type of Sleeve TattooAverage Price Range
Full sleeve tattoo$1,500-$4,000 or more
Half sleeve tattoo$800-$2,000 or more
Quarter sleeve tattoo$300-$800 or more
Hikae tattoo$8,000-$40,000 or more

Note: These prices are just averages and can vary depending on various factors such as the tattoo artist’s experience and skill level, the complexity of the design, and the location of the tattoo shop. Therefore, it’s always recommended to research and compare prices from different tattoo shops and artists before making a final decision.

How Much Does A Tattoo Sleeve Cost

Why Does The Tattoo Sleeve Cost Vary From One Tattooist To Another?

One of the most crucial aspects of any tattooing experience is the tattoo artist you choose. Deciding on the right tattooist can make a massive difference between a well-done tattoo and one that makes having it.

As a result, it appears that the more experienced and skillful the artist, the more expensive your sleeve tattoo will be.

Tattoo artists choose their prices based on their amount of expertise, past work, and talent. Check all of them out before making an appointment. It will give you an idea of what to expect and may even prevent you from making a poor choice.

Many well-known artists offer services across the country. When it comes to tattoos, people usually seek them out. You might not be able to find pricing information on their websites. Some of the artists are being a touch coy with information.

If you want a known tattoo artist to create a sleeve tattoo for you, you’ll have to spend a lot of money. You can also look for tattoo artists who are currently in the process of honing their skills and expanding their portfolios. They may give you a service for a low or no fee.

Whatever type of artist you choose, you should always research to learn about their working processes and reputation.

If you choose an artist who isn’t well-known, you should do your homework by learning more about the parlor and the mentor. That will suffice.

Artists that aren’t well-known charge between $40 and $80 per hour. Famous artists, on the other hand, have an hourly price rate that starts at $120.

Why Does The Tattoo Design Impact The Tattoo Sleeve Cost?

That is because the more complex design you select, the more time it will require. Hence, your tattooist will charge you for that. The size is also a factor here. A small but intricate design will be pricier than a large but simple design.

A simple tattoo design is inexpensive since it does not require a long time. But color tattoos are time-consuming. In that case, the cost will be higher.

Read More: Is it possible to change the color of an existing tattoo?

What Is The Average Time Duration Required For A Sleeve Tattoo?

An arm sleeve takes on average 10–15 hours to complete, although some can take up to 80 hours. A sleeve is made up of several sessions that can last weeks, months, or even years. The time it takes will be determined by the complexity of the design and the length of time it takes your body to gain recovery between sessions.

What Is The Average Time Duration For A Single Tattoo Session?

That is entirely up to your tattooist and you. Typically, each session lasts three to six hours. If you cannot sit still for that long, your tattooist should ease it for you and spread out the inking sessions.

Full Sleeve Tattoo

How Much Is The Time Gap Between The Tattoo Sessions?

The average time gap between tattoo sessions is two weeks, but if your body takes longer to heal, the tattoo artist may schedule you every three weeks.

How Tolerable Is The Pain?

It all depends on to which extent you are pain-tolerant. However, sleeve tattoos are often painful because you have to remain under the needle for several hours every session and return for multiple sessions over a few weeks. Then, for a while, your arm will be numb!

The elbow, inner elbow, wrist, and armpit regions are where people find the most painful.

What If Bleeding Starts?

Bleeding is usual after a new tattoo and will last for one or two nights. In the first week, swelling and redness are also normal.

If there occurs a bad odor, pus, or extreme swelling and lasts more than a week, you should be concerned. If you’re experiencing pain and think you could have an infection, see your doctor or go to a tattoo parlor right away.

What To Follow And Avoid During The Healing Process?

You have to take care of the tattooed part of your body to prevent infection. It is particularly crucial when you get a sleeve tattoo because if you ruin the tattoo somehow before the sessions are complete, it will become harder and require longer to finish the design. And again, if it takes longer, it will cost you more.

Here are some instructions you can follow:

  • Wear the bandage for some hours after each session.
  • Use antibacterial soap to wash the tattooed area. Pat dry gently.
  • Let it rest and air for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Wash and moisturize the area twice or thrice a day and continue until your skin stops peeling, which should take around three weeks. Meanwhile, there will be ink marks due to your skin peeling, and it is normal.
Full Sleeve Tattoo 1

Below are the things you have to avoid, so you don’t get an infection.

  • Let your skin peel off naturally. Do not pick at it. That will increase the risk of infection.
  • Avoid putting on lotion in thick layers. You have to let your skin breathe to minimize infection.
  • Do not take baths, let alone swimming. That can highly deteriorate your tattoo condition.
  • Remember not to overdo it when you take showers. If you do not keep your arm directly in the shower-heads firing line, the hot steam will harm your tattoo. Therefore, take quick and lukewarm showers.
  • Do not sleep on the tattooed arm. That will not only hurt you but also prevent the area from getting oxygen, leading to infection. Moreover, it will damage the ink when your tattoo sticks to your bed sheet.
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting shirts so that your skin can breathe and refrain bacteria from growing.
  • Do not expose your arm to sunlight. That can lead to lightning, uneven healing, and scarring.
  • Avoid getting tanned.

Final Words

To summarize, the sleeve tattoo cost depends on the tattooist, the tattoo design, and the time it requires.

It is alright if you do not have a large budget. However, do not let this deter you from hiring a reputable and skilled tattoo artist. Instead, request a pricing quote while you are doing your research to start saving.

After getting your tattoo, you must follow the dos and don’ts during the healing process to avoid infection. To ensure a quick recovery, you can buy a high-quality tattoo healing lotion.

Good lucking getting a sleeve tattoo!

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