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From Head to Toe: A Guide to the Best Tattoo Placement for You

fun tattoo placement ideas

Welcome to Tattoo Placement 101! If you’re considering getting a new tattoo, we know that one of the toughest decisions you’ll face is deciding on the perfect place to display your new piece of art. The placement of your tattoo can really change the entire vibe it puts out, mainly depending on how visible you want it to be and the size and style of the tattoo design itself.

In this guide, we’ll be covering the key aspects that determine the ideal placement for your tattoo and highlighting some tattoo placement ideas!

For some more advice about the tattoo experience, read our article for all the best tattoo tips.

The Importance of Tattoo Placement

When it comes to tattoos, location is everything. It’s not just about where you want to see your new ink, but also about the statement you’re making. Tattoo placement can affect everything from visibility to meaning, so it’s worth taking the time to choose just the right spot. 

At Mantle, we pride ourselves on being able to match you with exactly the right artist. If you’re looking for better guidance or to talk to a real person about your tattoo placement ideas, contact us! We’re happy to help.

Factors to Consider

So, you’ve reached a monumental decision – you’re ready to get a tattoo. Now comes the second most important choice you’ll make, picking the ideal placement. This decision is as crucial as the design itself, as it significantly influences how your permanent art piece is perceived.

Choosing the Right Design 

The right tattoo design can make a world of difference when it comes to tattooing over scars or stretch marks. Some designs and styles may work better than others for these unique skin areas. For instance, certain colors, lines, and shading techniques can help camouflage the scars or stretch marks, making them part of your tattoo’s story rather than an obstacle. 

So, to answer your question – yes, you can definitely get a tattoo over a scar or stretch mark. But remember, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the process, have an open conversation with your artist, and thoughtfully consider the design. Now go forth, brave inker, and wear your skin story with pride!


Firstly, consider how visible you want your tattoo to be. Is it something you want to show off regularly or keep as your little secret? You may want to think about your professional environment and how a tattoo might be perceived there. 

Your Body is a Canvas 

There’s an artist within each of us, and our bodies can become the canvas for our unique expression. Beyond the common areas like the arm or ankle, there are several distinctive spots to consider for your tattoo placement. Some tattoo placement ideas include:

  • Around the Ear: For a subtly striking statement, the area around the ear is a fantastic spot. Behind the ear is a location that’s easily concealed, but can be showcased with a simple hair-tuck. Ideal for small, minimalist designs, the area circling the ear or immediately in front of it is a great option.
  • The Collarbone: The collarbone is another unique placement that lends itself to various tattoo styles and sizes. Whether you opt for a delicate, line-based design or a larger, more intricate piece, a collarbone tattoo can be a captivating addition to your personal style. 
  • The Finger: The finger can be a quirky and fun place for a tattoo. From tiny symbols to bands that mimic rings, finger tattoos can be a conversation starter. Yet, be aware that due to the skin’s nature on the fingers, these tattoos may require more frequent touch-ups.

Size and Design of the Tattoo 

Tattoo size plays a big role in determining the placement of the design you chose. Larger, more detailed designs need a broader, flat area like the back or chest. Smaller tattoos can fit perfectly on the wrist, ankle, or behind the ear. Talk to your artist for advice on how placement will impact your design choice. 

Traditional Japanese Sleeves

Pain Tolerance 

Every body part has different sensitivity levels. Areas with thinner skin or close to bones, like the ribs or feet, can be more painful. If you have a low pain tolerance, you may want to opt for a less sensitive area.

Beauty is pain – and tattoos are no exception.

Body Changes 

Remember, our bodies change over time. Weight gain, weight loss, aging, and things like pregnancy can all affect how a tattoo looks. Try to choose an area that’s less likely to change drastically or one you won’t mind if it does. 

Tattooing Over Scars and Stretch Marks

Scars and stretch marks are a testament to your body’s resilience – they’re the badges of honor from life’s ups and downs. But, when it comes to tattooing, they pose a unique set of challenges.  The age, texture, and location of these marks can significantly impact the tattooing process. 

The skin’s elasticity and texture in these areas can affect the tattoo’s appearance, and tattooing over them may even cause discomfort depending on the scar or stretch mark’s sensitivity.

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, tattooing over scars and stretch marks can be a bit like trying to draw on a bumpy road – you just don’t know how the ink will settle. Consequently, it requires an experienced tattoo artist who’s skilled in navigating these skin landscapes. Finding the right artist, whether they work in a retail shop or private studio, is crucial to making sure your ink turns out the best it can.

Healing Process 

The healing process is another crucial aspect to consider. Tattoos on hands and feet can take longer to heal and may need more care because these areas are frequently used. Lifestyles such as that of an athlete might be important to address with your tattoo artists so they can make recommendations based on factors like clothing or sweat.


Lastly, don’t forget about symbolism. In various cultures, certain body parts have specific meanings when tattooed. If the symbolism behind your tattoo is important to you, this could influence where you decide to place it.

Tattoo Placement and Pain: Where It Hurts Most and Least

When it comes to tattoo placement, pain is often a major consideration. After all, no one loves the idea of a needle jabbing into their skin repeatedly. But, how much it hurts can vary greatly based on where you decide to get inked. 

Most Painful Tattoo Placements 

  • Ribs: You have less fat and muscle in this area to cushion the needle, which can make getting a rib tattoo quite painful.
  • Feet and hands: Just like your ribs, these areas lack much padding. Plus, your hands and feet are packed with nerves, upping the pain factor.
  • Inner arm and wrist: The skin here is thin and sensitive, making tattoos in these spots more painful than others.
  • Head, face, and neck: These areas are packed with nerve endings and have little to no fat, making them quite painful to tattoo.

Least Painful Tattoo Placement Ideas

  • Outer shoulder: This area has more muscle and fat, and isn’t as sensitive to pain, making it a less painful spot for a tattoo.
  • Upper and lower back: While your lower back has a lot of nerves, it also has a good amount of fat and muscle to cushion the blow. Your upper back is less sensitive and well-cushioned, too.
  • Thighs: With plenty of muscle and fat, tattoos on your thighs are typically less painful than other areas.
  • Calves: Similar to thighs, calves are a less painful choice due to the high amount of muscle and fat in the area.

Remember, everyone’s pain tolerance is different. What one person finds bearable, another might find unbearable. It’s always a good idea to discuss placement and pain with your tattoo artist beforehand.

Tattoo Aftercare: Caring for Your Tattoo on Different Areas of Your Body

So, you’re now the proud owner of some fresh ink? That’s awesome! But remember – it’s crucial to take care of your new tattoo, regardless of where it was placed on your body. Different placements will require different care tactics, so let’s break it down. 

Upper Body Tattoos 

Getting inked on your upper body usually involves areas like your chest, back, or arms. These areas can be easier to manage because they’re often accessible and easy to keep clean. However, they may be more prone to friction from clothing. 

  • Chest Tattoos: It’s essential to wear soft, loose clothing to avoid irritation. Take care while sleeping, as chest tattoos can be easily scratched.
  • Back Tattoos: Make sure to sleep on your front or side, to avoid applying pressure on the fresh design.
  • Arm Tattoos: Avoid tight sleeves and ensure to keep your arm elevated post-session to reduce swelling.
Fine Line Geometric Nature Tattoo idea

Lower Body Tattoos 

Lower body tattoos include designs on your legs, hips, or feet. These regions may be slightly more challenging to care for, owing to factors like footwear, tight clothing, or sitting positions. 

  • Leg Tattoos: The key is to avoid skinny jeans or leggings that can rub against the tattoo. Also, keep it moisturized and clean.
  • Hip Tattoos: Keep an eye on how you sleep. Try to avoid putting pressure on the new tattoo.
  • Foot Tattoos: Steer clear of tight shoes. Opt for sandals or open-toed shoes till the tattoo heals.
Traditional Kneecap Tattoo

In conclusion, caring for your tattoo is an essential part of the tattoo journey, and the process may vary based on its placement. No matter where your new piece of art is, treat it with love and care, and it’ll remain vibrant and beautiful for years to come!

Final Thoughts: Choosing the Perfect Tattoo Placement for You

Surviving the sting of the needle and mastering aftercare are just the first steps.

Imagine trying to squeeze a majestic, sprawling phoenix onto your wrist or, conversely, losing a delicate tiny heart in the vast expanse of your back. The key is to find the perfect canvas on your body that truly complements your chosen tattoo’s size and style.

Treat your tattoo as a long-term investment. Bodies change, tattoos don’t. Consider how your tattoo will look as your body ages. Trust me, future-you will appreciate the forethought. 

Choosing the perfect tattoo placement can often feel like solving a jigsaw puzzle. It’s about merging your personal style, the chosen tattoo design, and your body’s unique landscape. But, hey, don’t fret! We’re here to help you piece your tattoo puzzle together. 

Talk to Your Tattoo Artist 

Last but not least, talk to your tattoo artist. They’ve seen it all and can provide valuable insight into the best placement for your tattoo. They’re the experts, after all. 

In conclusion, choosing the perfect tattoo placement is an art in itself. It’s a decision that deserves thought and consideration. So take your time, think it through, and remember, it’s your body and your tattoo. We’re just here to make it happen. 

Whether you have no idea where to start or you know exactly what you’re looking for, you can make an appointment with us to get the ball rolling!

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