How to design half sleeve tattoo

There are two ways to refer to a half sleeve tattoo. One is from the upper arm till elbow part of your hand, while the second way includes the part of your arm from the elbow till the wrist. Since the upper arm is bigger in size than the other, most of the people mean the upper arm area when they refer to a half sleeve tattoo. If you are an artist or a creative person, you can easily design your own tattoo signifying a personal meaning. The tattooist can also alternatively design a tattoo for you. If you have made up your mind to get this latest trend icon, follow the guide given below.

Complexity Level: Moderate

Time required: 15 sessions (20 hours)

Estimated cost: $25-$100

Resources required:

1. A pre-planned design

2. A Laptop to search for more designs

3. Design book as provided by the tattooist

4. A copy of your own design(if you have any)

5. A tattooist


1. Choosing the arm and deciding the tattoo placement space:

  • You have to first decide where you want your tattoo to be. It could either on your right arm or the left arm. After you have decided that, choose for the exact space for your tattoo. The upper arm space is believed to provide a bigger working space for the tattooist to work on. Most tattoo lovers choose the upper arm tattoo placements.

2. Theme Selection:

  • It’s very important to pre-plan the theme that will run common in your half sleeve tattoo. Organizing your theme makes your tattoo look better. A theme can be a singular one like all floral/ dragons, or it can be a collaboration of various ideas too like floral, angels, and butterflies for girls while Celtic crosses, dragons and ‘yin and yang’ for boys. Deciding a theme helps avoid the confusion and any mistakes that might occur.

3. Selecting the pieces and the background:

  • Now, either you can first decide a big background for your tattoo design and fill it with different smaller pieces, or you can combine different tattoo pieces together (of your choice) and then decide how to fill the background. It depends on what is your priority. If you know the piece you want in your tattoo then you can convey that to the tattooist, and he can suggest options for the filler designs.

4. Finalizing the tattoo with the Tattooist:

  • Putting together your ideas, various tattoo pieces, backgrounds and other design formats, you could simply ask your tattooist to give you a layout of the final tattoo. There are half sleeve tattoo shirt’s available that can help you see how the tattoo will look like.

5. Tattoo sessions:

  • Here you would get an idea from the tattooist about the sessions he would take to get your tattoo done. Here, you need to prepare yourself for the whole process. For the tattoo lovers, its all worth the pain usually. But a half arm sleeve tattoo usually takes somewhere between 15-20 sessions as it also includes the healing time of some complicated pieces in the tattoo design and color filling.

Frequently asked questions:

What are the most famous designs for men and women?

The famous designs for men include Yin and Yang, Christian Celtic Cross, Fire and Flames, Tribal tattoo’s, Skull and Dragons, Girlfriend’s name etc while the famous designs for women includes The Japanese koi fish, Vine like floral designs, Angel or Buddhism Symbols (Religious), butterfly tattoos, Boyfriend’s name etc.

Quick tips:

1. Pre-plan your tattoo always.

2. Choosing a theme common in your tattoo design is a must for better results.

3. If a tattooist is designing your tattoo, make sure you see it before you ask him to start.

4. Communicate your ideas well with the tattooist to be able to give your tattoo a desired look.

Things to watch out for:

1. Make sure that you do your tattooing at hygienic place.

2. You should keep your arm stiff and be mentally relaxed.

3. Make sure that the equipment’s and needles used are sterilized.

4. Make sure that you have thought about how the tattoo would look like in all types of clothes that you wear, otherwise you would end up making a mess of your looks.

5. The tattoo according to its quality, color and design will have its own price. So be ready to pay for your passion.

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