150 Best Half and Full Sleeve Tattoos for Extra Swag


Since tattoos are slowly gaining in popularity nowadays, plenty of attention has now been focusing on sleeve tattoo designs. Wearing a half and full sleeve tattoo often refers to those types of tattoos which are huge enough to cover up a good amount of your legs or arms, when you put them together. A sleeve tattoo begins from the person’s shoulders and passes on until the down part of their own arm or leg. A sleeve tattoo usually showcases a certain theme. But before you can decide which design to pick, you really musn’t ignore the fact that a sleeve tattoo is big enough and can catch the attention of anybody who sees it – And this is the reason why they practically grab more attention compared to other tattoo designs out there.

There are three types of arm or leg sleeve tattoos, all of them highly popular: The first is the quarter sleeve, the half sleeve, and the full sleeve. A quarter sleeve tattoo covers up the area beginning from the top part of the shoulder, going midway towards the elbow. Meanwhile, half-sleeve tattoos take over the shoulder, then the elbow – But this time, they also occupy the wrist going towards the elbow too. A complete sleeve tattoo takes over the entire arm, going from the elbow, right up to the wrists. Sometimes you can find sleeve tattoos that go all the way over the wearer’s body. A sleeve tattoo can also begin from the arms and go right across the chest. Or they can begin from the back and the chest, passing down the arms.

Half-sleeve tattoos are normally considered a resting point when the wearer is on their way to acquiring a full-sleeve tattoo. People who want a sleeve tattoo oftentimes begin with a half-sleeve, before they choose to finish it and ask the artist to complete the entire arm or leg. This is the reason why half-sleeve or quarter sleeve tattoos are often seen as incomplete, until the remainder of the half is finished. But there are some talented artists out there that can make your quarter sleeve or half-sleeve tattoos look just as great as a full-sleeve tattoo, if not better. You need to know that a half-sleeve does come in handy in regards to concealment. And if you’re not even working in a creative environment, you could end up facing plenty of tattoo-related stigma with your bosses, co-workers, and clients especially if they look down your arms. So instead of getting your tattoo to rundown your wrists and your forearm, your half-sleeve tattoo must stop by the elbows, or just right above it.

A full sleeve, as well as a half-sleeve tattoo, is slowly gaining popularity amongst plenty of tattoo enthusiasts. However, women have actually been embracing this tattoo trend in a rather huge way. Some women are getting sleeve tattoos to enhance the beauty of their bodies. Indeed, a tattoo can make your arm look stunning and downright attractive. Women enjoy sleeve tattoo designs that show off flowers, nature, or anything that uses plenty of color. Men, meanwhile, like tribal sleeve tattoos, dragon tattoos, or steampunk and biomechanical-themed tattoos. But when it comes to the final outcome and choice of ink, it’s clearly up to you.

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Types of Half And Full Sleeve Tattoos Designs               

The average sleeve tattooing session takes around three to nine hours to complete. Meanwhile, a longer complete sleeve tattoo will take roughly thirty hours and multiple visits to the shop to finish. But before you could change your mind about acquiring a half-sleeve tattoo, you have to know that there are plenty of gorgeous designs out there that can be pleasing to your eye.

There are certain individuals who think that half-sleeve tattoos look undone compared to a full-sleeve tattoo, but the truth here is that they still look like beautiful pieces of art despite the fact that they’re short. And even if you’re still not ready to go all out and get your artist to lay down some ink beginning from your wrists going up to the shoulder, then you don’t have anything to feel anxious about. Keep in mind that half-sleeve tattoos can be concealed versus a full-sleeve tattoo. Even if you’re not working in a strict and formal career path, you could still run into some sort of unwanted tattoo stigma with your clients, co-workers, and especially your boss if they notice the tattoo on your forearms.

  • Mandala Sleeve Tattoo: This type of sleeve tattoo can be absolutely stunning if done right. Mandalas are already beautiful as an individual tattoo – What more when incorporated in a sleeve? A mandala sleeve tattoo takes plenty of creativity, effort, and time and it’ll completely pay off in an astounding piece of art.
  • Koi Sleeve Tattoo: This is a tattoo idea that incorporates a pair of koi fish swimming upstream or downstream, and it makes a brilliant first or second addition to a sleeve tattoo. The artist can slowly lay the groundwork for this tattoo using water, then add in the fish at a later session. This is what usually happens with sleeve because otherwise, the amount of concentration and chair time for both you and the artist will be lengthy, and the two of you will end up feeling exhausted after.
  • Bird Sleeve Tattoo: Birds have long been friends of humans since the beginning of time, and this is the reason why people choose to get these tattoos done on their body. A bird tattoo always looks fantastic and appealing, and this is the reason why they’re so well-loved by the wearer, no matter if it’s their first tattoo or not. You can get this tattoo design in black ink, or in stunning technicolor.
  • Pin-Up Sleeve Tattoo: A pin-up sleeve tattoo is yet another highly appreciated and beloved tattoo design which contains the image of a pin-up girl. This is meant to make your sleeve tattoos look highly attractive. Some people out there choose to get a sleeve tattoo that features a photo of someone that they love or admire the most, like a certain celebrity or a cartoon character or pop culture icon. Others simply like having the names incorporated into the design itself. Sometimes, a phrase, word, or sentence is included in the sleeve design, ranging from a lyric from a favorite song, to a famous quote.
  • 3D Sleeve Tattoo: A sleeve tattoo with a realistic look and feel to it can include images like birds, animals, flowers, and plants. These tattoos can be completed in stunning colors, to give off a much more lifelike effect to the design elements. Some of the more popular designs included here are swallows, peacocks, lotus, roses, a rising phoenix, and hummingbirds. If you’re a science geek, then a biomechanical tattoo also looks fantastic as a half or full-sleeve. Meanwhile, other people prefer to have fantasy sleeve tattoo designs, including flying birds, fairies, or elves. These tattoos can catch the attention of just about anyone who sees it, since the design is just so fantastic.

Half And Full Sleeve Tattoo Meaning

A sleeve tattoo, no matter if it’s a half-sleeve or full-sleeve, does require plenty of commitment. These types of tattoo deal with plenty of hours sitting or lying down on the work chair, plenty of concentration by the artist, and tons of cash depending on how intricate the design is. Sleeve tattoos have since come and gone in popularity throughout the decades, but they’re currently a hit these days, especially since having multiple tattoos is slowly becoming accepted in society. After a person decides to get themselves a sleeve, so they often choose to get a matching sleeve tattoo on the other arm – Even going as far as to getting their backs and chests done as well.

A sleeve tattoo isn’t that covered up unless you’re currently wearing a long-sleeved shirt. Some people have chosen to prevent their sleeve tattoo to reach their wrists, or near the spot where they wear their arm jewelry so co-workers in their career of choice won’t be able to see it, even if they engage in a handshake. But this is really just a matter of personal preference and each individual is different when it comes to their opinion about sleeve tattoos.

A half-sleeve tattoo is mostly just the first half of acquiring a full-sleeve tattoo. People who want full-sleeve tattoos often begin with a half-sleeve and wait a long while before they can make another visit to the shop to finish the entire thing. This is one of the reasons why half-sleeve tattoos are often considered as incomplete by some wearers, since this could mean that they’re waiting for the right moment to return to the shop and get the remainder of the sleeve done. This makes the tattoo so much easier to hide and you don’t even have to don a long-sleeved shirt to cover them up.

Sometimes, you’ll see a sleeve tattoo that goes all the way through the other parts of the wearer’s body, such as the chest or the back. These can begin on the arms and pass along the chest area. Or they can begin on the arm and go upwards to the back and/or the chest.

Half And Full Sleeve Tattoo Placement                         

The positioning and placement of your sleeve tattoos will also gain plenty of popularity with tattoo enthusiasts all over. But you have to remember that choosing your arms as the main positioning of your tattoo isn’t easy to hide either. Using a long-sleeved tee or a jacket does do the trick, but it’s not exactly considered as practical in all circumstances.

When you decide to get a sleeve tattoo, you can choose from several options. First off: Do you want your entire arm to cover itself in tattoos, or maybe just a quarter sleeve, or a half sleeve? An artist can possibly help you in choosing the proper placement and scale of your desired sleeve tattoo. There are people out there who begin their sleeve tattoos by acquiring just a couple of randomly-placed tattoos, then connect them altogether with a much bigger and colorful piece. If you’re only at the starting point of your sleeve tattoo, then this is the perfect time to consider the scale as well as the final look.

Half And Full Sleeve Tattoo Preparation Tips

Acquiring a brand new tattoo is practically the same as getting a minor procedure done to your body. Your skin will be penetrated by a set of quick-moving needles, that shoot pigmentation right underneath the top of your skin, also known as the dermis. And once that’s done, your tattoo will technically be an open wound that needs plenty of care and can be infected if you aren’t careful.

Of course no one in their right mind would show up for a medical procedure without following doctors’ advice, and taking pre-care instructions. And naturally they’ll end up following other types of aftercare instructions, so that their wounds would heal up nicely and won’t ask you to do any further interventions. The same can be said with your tattoo. Since you’re planning to spend even a decent amount of cash for a brand new piece of permanent ink, you have to invest plenty of time in learning how to do the following:

Make sure your body and mind are both well-prepared for the upcoming tattoo session. The more prepared and comfortable you seem to be, the longer you will feel comfortable while sitting or lying down on the chair during the whole thing.

You also need to know how to properly take care of your tattoo once the session is over. As much as possible, try to avoid it from getting infected, so that the tattoo can heal up nicely without sustaining any long-term damage.

And make sure to invest a decent amount of cash on moisturizer or aftercare creams specially made for healing tattoos. Tattoo preparation, pre-care, as well as aftercare will guide you with the entire healing process, and provide you with the best opportunity to heal up without any problems such as fading or ink loss, and blow-outs.

How Painful Is A Full Or Half-Sleeve Tattoo?                

Claiming that one spot is much more painful to get a tattoo on, compared to another area of the body is only one of the most convenient ways for that wearer to brag about how tough they are to another individual who hasn’t gone through the painful process of getting a tattoo, or something with the same level of pain. This will ultimately depend on your pain tolerance level, but a sleeve tattoo will hurt since this requires you to go under the needle for several hours during each session. You need to return for a couple more sessions over the course of several days. As a result, your arm might feel numb and immobile for a while. And keep in mind that when you have a full-sleeve tattoo, this means that you’ll also be getting certain sensitive spots in your body tattooed as well, like the inner elbow, the elbow, as well as the wrists, which could be slightly painful compared to the rest.

Filling in a solid area with colored ink does hurt much worse, since the artist has to use plenty of needles in a single go. The motion that is connected to this technique does have a tendency to irritate the wearer’s skin, and it’ll usually take a bunch of passes to completely fill up the space with color. This could lead to a good amount of irritation for the skin. And the longer this goes on, the more painful it gets. So if you’re a person who really wants a tattoo, but doesn’t want to experience any pain for as much as possible, then just go for a simple sleeve design that doesn’t incorporate too much shading or color.

Frequently Asked Questions About Half And Full Sleeve Tattoos

  • How long do half and full sleeve tattoos take to complete?

An estimate of three sessions and nine hours is the average amount of time to finish a typical half-sleeve tattoo design. And in comparison, full-sleeve tattoos will take over fifteen to thirty hours to complete. The amount of given time to achieve a full sleeve tattoo on a person’s arm is completely subjective. The entire process – Similar to the end result of the sleeve – Is practically subject to plenty of variables. One of the factors you need to consider here include how long the artist will take to complete the entire design, the look of the tattoo itself, as well as how long it takes for you to heal wounds, among others.

And in regards to how long these sessions will last, it really depends on the wearer and their body’s system. There are people out there who just can’t sit still when acquiring a new tattoo, while others can remain calm throughout the entire session. It’s completely flexible for whatever works for you.

  • Why are half and full sleeve tattoos so expensive?

Arms aren’t flat canvases. Whenever an artist comes up with a sleeve tattoo idea, they have to imagine it as a three-dimensional concept, since the image takes over four parts of their arms, namely: The inner upper arm, the upper outer shoulder, the inner forearm, as well as the outer forearm. This is the reason why getting a tattoo might seem highly complex and time-consuming. The pricing will certainly reflect every aspect of that. The typical cost per hour when it comes to sleeve tattoos can go from seventy dollars, to a pricey 220 dollars, or even more. You need to think about several factors that can correctly guess the final price of your sleeve tattoo.

  • Will I need to take a time off to recover from my half and full sleeve tattoos?

For most jobs, not really. The tattooed area will remain sensitive for over a week, which is pretty much akin to an intense sunburn or a minor abrasion. The swelling of your skin will make you uncomfortable, but for a lot of people out there, this will only be slightly bothersome and won’t cause them to take a sick leave from work. If your work does require you to expose your healing half-sleeve or full-sleeve tattoo in harsh conditions, or if you’re working in an area that requires you to flex or bend as a part of your job, then you might want to schedule your tattoo session during the weekend or ask your boss for a paid leave.

  • How should I care for my sleeve tattoos after?

Much like with any other tattoo on your body, you have to leave your sleeve tattoo bandage on for several hours. Wash it gently using a mild antibacterial liquid soap and water, and let it air-dry for over ten minutes or more. Once it’s all dried up, apply a thin coat of ointment on it after you shower during the first two days. After that, you can now moisturize it with unscented lotion. As your new ink is healing up, wash it twice or thrice a day until the scabs peel off completely – This will normally take around a week. Continue applying lotion to it. And once the scabs have worn off, you can now start your long-term sleeve tattoo maintenance plan. Use body lotion and sunblock on your tattoo whenever you go out. If you haven’t properly blocked the skin from the sun’s rays, or condition it everyday, then the ink could fade away over time and you might have to go back to the shop for a touch-up: This will cost plenty of money. Since you will be sporting a full-sleeve tattoo, it’s good to keep lotion and sunblock handy at all times.

After three months, you can go back to the shop so you and your artist can check on the sleeve tattoo designs, or during every session as they continue filling up your sleeve with ink. This is where they can do touch-ups based on how your tattoo has healed up.

The Cost Of A Half And Full Sleeve Tattoo

The average final cost of a sleeve tattoo can go up to $1000. The process takes up to forty hours of work, torn up into several sessions. Of course, if your choice of sleeve tattoo design requires plenty of color or detailing, then it’s a given that you have to shell out an average of $4000. A half-sleeve tattoo, as mentioned, takes around five to eight hours to finish up. The average cost of a half-sleeve is $500 to $2000.

The cost and time it takes to finish up half and full sleeve tattoos will also vary. Everything will ultimately depend on the artist you’ve chosen, to help you get that tattoo done, along with the amount of work that he needs to do. So if you get your tattoo done by a popular tattoo artist, then it’s going to be very expensive. And if the designs of your sleeve tattoo are much more comprehensive and take more than one session to complete, then everything is going to be pricier as well. So this means that you and your tattoo artist have to discuss things before you can get that tattoo done.

Half And Full Sleeve Maintenance Tips

A tattoo is both a permanent and a highly personal work of art, placed on your body. And technically, it’s also a type of wound, since tattoo guns can utilize a fast-moving needle that allows you to inject pigmentation deep inside the skin. Much like proper care guarantees that a painting can hang inside a gallery untouched for decades, then taking care of a tattoo can ensure that it stays clean and fresh for a long period of time.

The entire aftercare process can be downright confusing for newbies, so you need to follow some highly-detailed instructions in how to take care of a fresh tattoo, and keep it looking healthy and young. Following the correct aftercare instructions, especially during the first few weeks after getting that tattoo, can stop potential infections and keep that tattoo looking pristine.

Perhaps the most important factor here is that you need to work with a professional tattoo artist who truly knows their stuff. This can help you dodge any possible complications, and make the entire healing process work much faster. The best line of defense here would be to follow your artist’s own instructions on self-care against potential infections, and poor healing. Taking good care of your tattoo can stop infections, and keep both the tattoo and the condition of your skin well-preserved for many decades.


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