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How Much Does a Small Tattoo Cost?

What Counts as a “Small” Tattoo?

When it comes to tattoos, “small” is a relative term. Generally, a small tattoo is defined as anything that takes up less than 2-3 square inches of skin and can be inked in one short session of 1-2 hours. This includes tiny designs like:
– Initials or a date
– A small symbol or glyph
– A micro image or silhouette
– A single word or short phrase

If it can fit on your wrist, finger, behind your ear, or over your ankle or shoulder blade, it likely qualifies as a small tattoo. Wondering how painful small tattoos can be? Find out more in our article on how bad tattoos hurt.

What Impacts the Cost of a Small Tattoo?

Several factors go into pricing out a small tattoo, including:
– The skill and experience level of the artist
– The location and overhead costs of the tattoo shop
– How long it takes to complete the design
– The amount and color(s) of ink used

Generally, more reputable artists with higher demand can charge more per hour while still attracting clients. Shops in major metro areas also tend to have higher base pricing.

Developing Pricing Standards

Most tattoo artists price small tattoos based on minimum shop charges rather than strict hourly rates, especially for walk-in clients. Common minimum charges fall roughly between $40-$100. This base rate should cover 30-60 minutes of the artist’s time.

From there, expect to pay at least an additional $10-20 for each 15-30 minutes of work beyond the first hour mark. Most very small tattoos wrap up within this timeframe.

Saving Money on Small Tattoos

A few options to score discounts on small tattoos include:
– Getting inked on “Flash Days” when shops offer specials on pre-drawn designs
– Utilizing apprentice artists who charge less as they build skills and portfolio
– Going with simpler line-work or single color ink fills rather than complex shading

The only downside is these money-saving approaches may require sacrificing custom designs or some artistic quality. If you’re concerned about the pain of getting a tattoo, you can also explore how numbing creams can help in our article on numbing creams for tattoo pain.

The Bottom Line

For customized small tattoos from reputable artists, expect to spend $50-250, with most very simple designs falling under the $100 price point. Remember to tip your tattoo artist 15-20% too! While body art is personal, it still pays to shop around regarding pricing.

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