Ever wondered if you could cover up an old tattoo using white tattoo ink and start again? Well, if you have had this thought, you are not alone. Many people who were not happy with their tattoos thought that maybe white ink could solve their problem; unfortunately, you can’t fix a tattoo with white ink, so what can you do instead?
Since you cannot fix a tattoo with white ink, here are some things you can do instead: You can add more details to the tattoo, get a cover-up, get laser tattoo removal, add white ink to your tattoo to make it look better, or add some darker colors to your tattoo to hide certain features.
There are a few ways that you could go about fixing a tattoo instead of using white tattoo ink; some of these can add to a tattoo, and some of them may take your tattoo away. Let us look at what the different options are.
Why Can You Not Fix A Tattoo With White Ink?
White ink is not some magical tool that can help you erase a tattoo. Although one might think of white tattoo ink as being a tattoo artist’s version of white-out, this is completely misguided and one hundred percent false.
White tattoo ink is still just ink, and in fact, it is an ink that is one of the least visible inks once it has been tattooed.
In order to get white ink to stand out, it has to be repeatedly tattooed into the same area until the area is totally saturated, making white ink one of the most subtle colored tattoo inks out there.
An ink with this little pigmentation in it is not going to fix your tattoo, unfortunately.
Once the ink has gone in your skin, it is in your skin. There is no tattoo ink that can remove another tattoo ink from your body.
So, where some people might have thought of white tattoo ink as being some tattoo “eraser” or “white-out,” unfortunately it is not, and adding white tattoo ink to your tattoo will not fix it.
Can White Ink Help A Tattoo But Not Fix It Entirely?
As much as white tattoo ink will never be able to fix your tattoo by taking anything (details, ink, etc.) in your tattoo out, it may be able to help your tattoo in other ways. Two examples of how white tattoo ink may be able to help your tattoo but not necessarily fix it are as follows:
- white ink can possibly lighten any ink that is already in your tattoo,
- white ink can be added to your tattoo to make it look better.
White Ink Can Lighten Up Existing Ink
White ink can by no means erase or undo a tattoo that has already been done on your skin; however, it may be able to help lighten it.
Adding white tattoo ink over your existing tattoo may help lighten any preexisting colors that were there.
For example, if you had a tattoo done of a raven, and it came out really dark, and it is now hard to even see any detail, adding white ink to this tattoo may help.
As much as white ink cannot take any tattoo ink out of your body, it may be able to lighten the color of the tattoo ink that it is tattooed over.
So, if you had to take the white tattoo ink and tattoo over the very dark areas of your raven tattoo and the areas that now lack detail due to the intensity of the dark ink, the white ink will generally be able to lighten the dark ink up by a few shades.
Once the tattoo has been lightened, you will now be able to see greater detail and fewer undefined patches of dark ink.
Therefore, white ink can help your tattoo look better by lightening it, but it will never be able to fix your tattoo as a whole.
White Ink Can Make Your Tattoo Look Better And Add A Level Of Depth
Again, white ink cannot fix your tattoo or take anything away from it; however, it may be able to make your tattoo look better and possibly give your tattoo a new depth which may be enough to “fix” your tattoo in your eyes.
Adding white ink to a tattoo can be like giving your tattoo a makeover and making it new again; it adds new details and adds a new depth into your existing tattoo that can change the tattoo’s entire look.
For example, if you have gotten a tattoo of a mandala geometric design that is just black line work, and you are very unhappy with the way that it looks, you could always go ahead and ask your tattoo artist to add some white ink into the tattoo.
The white ink that is tattooed around the mandala will make it look like it is popping up more, giving your tattoo more of a 3D look. The white ink that is tattooed into the mandala can make the tattoo as a whole look more lively and vibrant, even without any colors being added to it.
White ink can make almost all tattoos pop when it is added around the edges of a tattoo; the white ink will blend in a fair amount with your skin once it is healed and will give your tattoo the illusion that it is standing out instead of being a flat image.
If this is something you feel may help your tattoo look better if you are unhappy with it, go talk to your tattoo artist and find a way to work some white ink into your tattoo.
If I Can’t Fix A Tattoo With White Ink, What Can I Do?
Because white ink cannot actually ever fix a tattoo, what can you do to fix it instead? Let us look at some options that you have to fix your tattoo instead of using white tattoo ink.
Make Your Tattoo More Complex
You could always make your tattoo slightly bigger and add more beautiful details to it to fix the tattoo’s original design.
You can even use the tattoo’s original design and then create a whole new tattoo out of it. If it was black and white, you could add in color and more details; if it was a quote, you could add to/change the font style and maybe add an image (a flower, for example) underneath it.
It is possible in some cases that expanding on the tattoo may make it more appealing.
Use A Darker Color Ink
You could make use of a darker tattoo ink instead of a light tattoo ink, such as white tattoo ink.
Darker tattoo ink may actually be able to help fix your tattoo in a number of different ways:
Dark tattoo ink could fix any wobbly linework or blowouts. If what you are upset about in your tattoo is that there are lines that go wobbly or do not stick to a very straight line, you may be able to use dark ink to fix this.
You can use a dark tattoo ink to go around the outside of the poorly done line work on both sides of the line and then fill in any gaps that may have been left in-between.
Essentially, you will be making the lines in your tattoo thicker, but it can straighten out the lines and make your tattoo as a whole look better.
Dark tattoo ink can also help in other ways besides correcting badly done linework. If there was a feature added into your tattoo that you do not like and you feel it has ruined your tattoo, instead of scrapping the tattoo as a whole, you could cover that one feature with darker ink.
For example, if you had gotten a tattoo of a rose that you love with a quote around it and then decided that the quote does not look nice, and you feel that it ruins the tattoo, you can simply ask your tattoo artist to cover the quote in dark ink.
They could use a few techniques to make this look good; they could do a thick black section over the quote that then fades out, making it look like a shadow being cast from the rose.
They could also use dot work that is thick where covering the quote and then fades out, making a very cool border around your rose; or, they could use darker colors and add a bird or butterfly or something similar over the section, or sections, of the tattoo that you are not happy with.
It is far easier to fix a tattoo with a darker ink than it is with lighter ink; a lighter ink will never be able to hide anything, but a darker ink definitely can.
Cover-Up The Tattoo
You can also choose to have the entire tattoo covered up with a new tattoo if you are entirely unhappy with the tattoo as a whole.
White ink was never going to be able to fix your tattoo, but what you can do instead is you can tattoo an entirely new tattoo over your poorly done tattoo.
Talk to your tattoo artist, or find a new tattoo artist if you are unhappy with the work that your previous tattoo artist has done, and discuss a way that you can cover your old tattoo up.
Your tattoo artist will help you create a new design that will help blend with your previous tattoo lines and colors to hide the previous tattoo entirely when the new tattoo covers it.
A cover-up may be a sad idea to you if you were really attached to the original design of your first tattoo, or maybe if the meaning behind your original tattoo was really sentimental to you, you might not want to change the tattoo.
What you can do in this situation is you can have the original tattoo covered up by a skilled tattoo artist who is well experienced in doing cover-up tattoos, and then you can have the original tattoo redone as a whole new tattoo somewhere else on your body.
Doing this will mean that you can still have the original tattoo that you cared about so much, just somewhere else on your body.
The bonus to doing this is that you will now not need to settle for the tattoo that means so much to you being done poorly just because you want to keep the tattoo; you can have the tattoo redone by an artist who knows what they are doing and can give you the tattoo of your dreams done well.
Getting a cover-up done over a poorly done tattoo can either be the end of the road for that original tattoo if that is what is going to make you happy, or you can get your original tattoo redone somewhere else on your body again, just done well this time – the choice is yours.
Get Tattoo Laser Removal
Getting a tattoo removed via laser removal surgery is a very big decision to make.
Tattoo laser removal, although very effective, is a very painful process to undergo. It is not only a painful process, though, but it is also a very long process and a very expensive process too.
However, if having a tattoo that you regret getting completely removed from your skin is the answer that you are looking for, then, unfortunately, laser tattoo removal is the best option for you.
Although it may not necessarily be for everyone, but some people may really regret getting a tattoo at all and may not want to cover it up with another tattoo; they want the tattoo completely gone.
This is a completely fair choice to make, and if having your tattoo removed completely is the decision that will bring you the most peace, then even though it is a less common option to take, it may be the best option for you.
Once you have gone through the process of having your tattoo removed over a period of a few weeks over multiple sessions (or maybe a few months depending on the size and design of your tattoo), you will be much happier with the results of having the tattoo removed than you would have been with the results of trying to have your tattoo fixed with white tattoo ink.
Some of my favorite designs, tattoo books, and aftercare products, selected for you
Thank you for reading my article, I hope that you have found it helpful. If you would have trouble finding ideas for your tattoo, wonder what is meaning of design that you have found or what to buy for aftercare, to make sure that your tattoo will be healing quickly and easily, here are some of my favorite products in one place, hope that this will also help.
Design and tattoo ideas
For some ideas you can have a look at those 3 books with hundreds of designs that I use with my clients, they are available on Amazon for Kindle or in classic, paper version (links below):
- Great Book of Tattoo Designs, Revised Edition: More than 500 Body Art Designs (Fox Chapel Publishing) Fantasy, Celtic, Floral, Wildlife, and Symbol Designs for the Skin by Lora Irish
- The Big Book of Small Tattoos – Vol.1: 400 small original tattoos for women and men by Roberto Gemori
- Tiny Tattoos: Over 1,000 Small Inspirational Artworks by Rebecca Vincent.
If you would like to read more about the meaning of different tattoo styles and designs before you will decide what you would like to have, I can recommend a book that was really useful for me when I was starting my tattoo adventure – it’s “Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos” by Lisa Barretta (through the link you can find it on Amazon for around $10).
The skin at the tattoo site often dries out. To prevent it and speed up healing for my clients, I usually recommend one of those tattoo aftercare balms (you can find them on Amazon):
As by now, I am sure it has been made perfectly clear, you cannot fix a tattoo with white tattoo ink; this is due to many reasons, but the main one being that white tattoo ink can only ever be added to something; it can never take anything, including existing tattoo ink, away.
White tattoo ink can be used in certain situations to try and improve the overall appearance of a tattoo that you may not be happy with; it can be added around the edges and the middle features to make your tattoo stand out more and add more vibrancy.
This will never fix a tattoo, but it can definitely make it look more appealing, which may be enough for you to now be satisfied with your tattoo that you were not happy with before.
To actually fix your tattoo, you will need the help of a skilled tattoo artist who will be able to help you; they can do this by adding to your existing tattoo or by covering either a portion of your tattoo with darker tattoo ink or be able to give you a complete tattoo cover-up if that is what you decide on, or you can always get laser tattoo removal surgery.
Whatever the route is that you decide to take when it comes to fixing your tattoo, make sure it is what is best for you and that you use a skilled tattoo artist that will not just end up making your tattoo look even worse.