What's a Sleeve Tattoo?

Pretty Girl With Sleeve Tattoo
Pretty Girl With Sleeve Tattoo
A sleeve tattoo, also called a tattoo sleeve, is one large tattoo or a collection of smaller tattoos forming a “sleeve” on a person’s arm or leg. The term sleeve is used to describe these types of tattoos because they cover a person’s arm (or leg) like the sleeve of a shirt.

Tattoo sleeves are differentiated by size. Typical sleeve tattoo sizes include full, half and quarter sleeves. A full sleeve tattoo covers the whole arm or leg. A half-sleeve tattoo covers half of the arm or leg – usually from shoulder to elbow or elbow to wrist on the arm and thigh to knee or knee to ankle on the leg. Quarter-sleeves cover roughly a quarter of the arm or leg and are commonly seen arms from the shoulder to the bicep region.

Many people choose to create sleeve tattoos to connect other, smaller tattoos together, usually opting for a common theme. These types of sleeves don’t take as much time (or money) as pre-planned sleeves. However, they also usually don’t flow as well and require some creativity in blending existing tattoos together.

Depending on size, pre-planned tattoo sleeves take a lot of patience and many trips to the tattoo studio. In order to create the sleeve you want, you’ll likely have to work closely with a tattoo artist to perfect the design and then implement it little by little, sometime taking months or years to finish.

Whichever route you take, sleeve tattoo designs can be a great way to express your originality through a large, theme-consistent piece of body art. Before getting a sleeve tattoo, just make sure you’re comfortable with the cost, the time required to complete a sleeve tattoo and of course, the permanence!