General Question

global_nomad's avatar

How small can you get a tattoo and how badly does it hurt?

Asked by global_nomad (1896 points ) April 10th, 2009

I maybe kind of want a tattoo but I want a really small inconspicuous one on my ankle or something. Before I make up my mind I wanted to make sure I could get a small one, possibly with writing (like a few words in the shape of a heart), and I wanted to get a feel for the pain involved.

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27 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I have a small tattoo of a word on my wrist..inner wrist…it took about 3 minutes and didn’t hurt much at all…then again I love tattoos and have my entire back done as well as other parts

aprilsimnel's avatar

I have one that went over an area of some fat and an area that was skin over bone. The latter hurt more, but for me it was like multiple pinpricks as opposed to OMGPLZSTOP pain. Pop a Tylenol about 20 minutes before the artist begins his work.

Jeruba's avatar

Someone I asked once about tattoos, admiring the coverage of his back and arms, said, “If you want the tattoo badly enough, it doesn’t hurt at all.”

casheroo's avatar

You can get a little dot if you want, they still charge you a minimum fee, which varies from tattoo parlor to tattoo parlor.
Tattoos hurt like hell. I’ve only had one that didn’t hurt, she was very light with the tattoo gun. I wish I could see that tattooist all the time, but it was at a convention :(
Good luck.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

oh and use Aquaphor after wards

asmonet's avatar

How small can you get it?

Stab yourself with a Bic pen.
It’s gonna hurt.

Ivan's avatar

You can get one so small that it doesn’t even exist. Those don’t hurt at all. They look better, too.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Or her work. My artist was a guy. Sorry!

FGS's avatar

On a fleshy part of your body, it feels like someone is drawing just a little too hard on you with a pen. It really doesn’t hurt that much.

cak's avatar

I just depends. Also, what is your pain tolerance? Some people swear it doesn’t hurt around the ankle, but it depends on whether you get it on the interior or exterior of the ankle. A friend of mine has one on her foot, she says that did hurt. I have some, they hurt – they didn’t kill, but they hurt.

rooeytoo's avatar

I want to get one too but I am chicken!

I always thought it would be good to have teeth marks tattooed on my butt.

But now I am older and more sensible so I think a gekko on my shoulder would be a good choice but I am still scared, I just don’t do pain very well.

global_nomad's avatar

@rooeytoo: I’m nervous about it too…I don’t know if I’ll actually go through with it, but this is the first time I’ve given it such considerable thought. It’s really shocking that I want one, I’m the type of person who walks the straight and narrow and is usually classified as a goody-two-shoes. I don’t know though, I really want one all of a sudden!

asmonet's avatar

I don’t have tattoos so maybe I’m wrong, but if you wanted a few words, written in the shape of a heart it would have to be a decent size, right? So the ink wouldn’t ‘migrate’ (is that the word I’m looking for?) as it healed and blend together, it happened on my cousin’s tattoo, small lettering. I imagine it would be a few inches across to do it safely.

…If you’re just thinking about it, and it’s a sudden idea, and you’ve never thought about it before. Wait six months. Focus on the idea. If you want it in six months, get it.

But your last post freaked me out. ‘Spontaneous’ tattooing is a no no for most people.

cak's avatar

@rooeytooteeth marks?

I waited until I knew that what I got had a personal reason. I wanted a tattoo starting at around 16yrs old, I got my first one at 30. I was pretty cautious!

My husband has a few, as well. The one that means the most is the memorial tattoo of his sister. It has a lot of details and has proven to be the most painful of his tattoos.

Edited to add: When I was referencing the age thing – what I was going to follow up with, is that I am now 38. I haven’t ever regretted my designs. I encourage everyone to really think about what they are wanting to put on their body – permanently!

casheroo's avatar

i’ve never heard of that @asmonet

global_nomad's avatar

@asmonet: Don’t think I’m a horrible person! I’ve been thinking about getting one for about three months. That’s what I meant when I said “all of a sudden”. Oh, God, no, I’ve been thinking about this very seriously, I WOULD NOT just go out and get one without contemplating it and doing my research.

Thanks for the info about the ink spreading, though!

casheroo's avatar

@global_nomad Don’t go to a shitty place, and you won’t have that in spreading happen. I’ve never heard of it happening to any of my friends with tattoos…

upholstry's avatar

I got the entire text of the Bible microscopicly tattooed on the tip of my nose. It hurt like hell.

SeventhSense's avatar

The smaller the tattoo, the bigger the needle.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Yeah tats don’t hurt much..

creativejuices's avatar

what do you want the words to be? You would have to balance out the size you want for the heart with the information you want the words to convey. Too long and your heart grows.. setting the type too small will lead to readability issues….. so whatcha want it to say?
As for inconspicuous placement, the nape of the neck just beneath the hair line is always nice on females…. and when you don’t want her to show, hair down. They are really sweet to display at your chosen time.

essieness's avatar

I agree with everyone basically. It depends on your pain tolerance level and where you get it. The piece on my side hurt like a mother f**ker, but my back piece (shoulder blades) wasn’t all that bad, until the 4th hour. I got a pretty small one, about 3 inches, on the top of my foot recently and I’d say that hurt pretty bad. Shading hurts more than outlining, in my opinion. Outlining moves pretty quickly, and shading is just bearing down with that needle in the same spot over and over. Not fun. All in all, the pain is worth it and you pretty much forget it later.

ubersiren's avatar

If it’s too small it’ll just look like a mole.

I got one about the size of a silver dollar on my back. It actually tickled a lot- pain was minimal. The pain that was there was good pain. It was kind of sexy.

global_nomad's avatar

@ubersiren: I was thinking of one somewhere between the sizes of a nickle and a quarter.

I like the coin metaphor

asmonet's avatar

I doubt you could pull off text with that size, just get a regular heart if that’s the size limit. And go quarter sized. Nickel will look like a birthmark until you’re close, why bother? Unless, that appeals to you.

fundevogel's avatar

spreading ink depends on the type of ink used. The color in tattoos is not actually liquid, it’s pigment suspended in liquid. The size of the pigment particles vary from color to color, ink to ink. Color pigments are larger than black pigments, that is one reason why black makes a good outline, the particals are small and can hold a line tighter than larger particals like in color. Apparently there are some colors (reds I think) that can make decent lines without the aid of a black to keep them sharp, but alot of color will just get soft, which is fine for shading and coloring, not so hot line work or unoutlined tattoos.

Line thickness and sharpness is also dependent on the size of needle used so make sure your artist knows if you want him to use a super delicate line.

drClaw's avatar

You should get a Black Light tattoo. It would be completely inconspicuous during the day, but would pop out under black light, like in a club, bar, etc.

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