The goal is to find the right tattoo sizing for you, and our guide will help to find your way around different tattoo sizes. 

Design, area, pain tolerance, and many other factors could affect the size you pick. Here is what you should know about sizing this body art to your individual preference!



Tattoo artists use inches to determine the total size of your desired body art. Depending on the chosen option, the tattooed area can be square, rectangle, or non-specific. Some artists calculate a total area to cover when discussing the price and other specifics with you.

Another thing to note is that big tattoo sizes might require multiple sessions. A single session takes about two hours. But if you and the artist can handle it, it can extend up to five hours.

With that in mind, check out our tattoo size and time chart. It’s relative but should give you a general idea about different tattoo size requirements!

Size Hours Best Placement
Up to 1 inch 1 Toe, finger, wrist, ear
1-2 inches 2-3 Ankle, wrist, clavicle
2-3 inches 2-5 Ankle, calf, wrist, upper arm
3-4 inches 4-5 Lower arm, neck, chest
4-5 inches 5-8 Thigh, lower back, shoulders
5-7 inches 8-11 Upper back, half-sleeves
7-10 inches 11-18 Thigh, hip, sleeves
10-15 inches 18-23 Full sleeve, side body, back
15+ 24+ Full body


If you look at the tattoo size and time chart, this is a fine choice for most beginners. It’s not the smallest option available, so it gives enough room to convey the right message. If you have a single symbol, animal, or character, 2×2 will be sufficient to show it proudly. 

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The experts recommend anything from hearts and other symbols to butterflies, birds, and other animals for a small tattoo. You can also pick initials and some minimalist designs. As for the placement, go with the ankles, or wrists, or lower arm, especially if you are a female.


This is a common option, and the crucial thing to note is that it significantly increases the total tattoo area. That gives you more room when choosing the placement of the 3×3 tattoo. You can go with thighs or wrists, but also shoulders and upper arms. This size is sufficient enough for your chest and ribcage if those are your preferred body art options.

You can portray an animal protector or a mythological character with this size. A floral motive, but also swords, feathers, and similar shapes, can be a wise choice, too.


This range already enters large tattoo sizes. Not many people choose an actual square area, so the shape depends on the chosen tattoo. A dragon, tiger, or another powerful creator will look good in this size. You can go for cartoon and mythological characters, but also humans. If the stylist is skilled enough, they can even add some imagery around the focal point of the tattoo.


Although there are larger tattoo sizes, this is the last one we’ll mention. If it’s your first piece, don’t go bigger than this. 6×6 tattoos look best on thighs, hips, shoulders, or the upper back. It’s also enough to get a half or full-sleeve, depending on your arm’s dimensions.

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If you like large fonts and symbols, you can go with that. However, there’s no reason not to combine a mythical creature or character with some additional elements. Roses and skulls are a common combination for this tattoo size.


The desired tattoo sizes and time it takes to do them are usually directly proportionate. However, the actual duration of the tattoo process also depends on the following factors:

  • Artist’s skills. More experience, especially with the requested style, usually means less time required to finish the tattoo.
  • Pain tolerance. If you seem uncomfortable or in pain, the artist might take things slower.
  • Tattoo details. Your body art might be small but with many delicate details. Those tattoos could take more time than large but simple pieces.

It will take the stylist at least an hour for a small 3×3 inch tattoo. But if you want large imagery on your back, that could take multiple sessions and 20+ hours of work. The stylist will divide the process into multiple sessions. Our tattoo size and time chart serve merely for orientation. Make sure to schedule a tattoo consultation to get time and price estimation for your desired body art. 

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