10 Impressive Tattoo Cover Ups

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As of 2012, one in five adults has a tattoo somewhere on their body. While the stigma of tattoos has been largely eradicated by their popularity, the problem of unwanted tattoos remains a big issue. Those with tattoos they no longer want have a few options—lasering them off, trying “removal” creams that tend to only lighten the ink, or covering them with another tattoo. Here are some funny edits people have made to their unwanted tattoos through cover ups.

1. Wino Forever

Perhaps the most famous tattoo edit is Johnny Depp’s “Wino Forever” tattoo, which started out as “Winona Forever.”  He got the tattoo done in February 1990 by artist Mike Messina to celebrate his engagement to Winona Ryder. The engagement didn’t last, though, which left him with a bit of a dilemma. While he could have had the whole thing lasered off, he explained to GQ, “I think of my tattoos like a journal. To have it [the tattoo] removed, or erase it, is to try and say it never happened. If I alter it in some way, make it funny—put her next boyfriend’s name on top of it, say—it would still be honest.” Eventually, he combined a bit of laser removal and new ink to revise the tattoo into something he felt would be honest for the rest of his life.

2. The Death of Love

Covering up a portrait of an ex is particularly hard, but this shows that it is possible to do. When you turn your ex into Death, it certainly says a lot about how you currently feel about him or her.

I can’t find out more about this tattoo, such as who did the cover up or who it belongs to, but this is the earliest posting of the image I could find.

3. Now That’s True Love

What could possibly cover up an ex’s name better than an image of someone you will always love—for example, your loving, trusty pup, Egor. Cover up tattoo by Lisa of Crimson Heart Designs.

4. Don’t Do Names

Tattoo artist Andrew Sussman reminds everyone, “DON’T DO NAMES!!!!!!!...unless you want me to cover it up. then go right ahead!” If you do want your artist to have something fun to cover up though, by all means, get a name tattoo—that will eventually be replaced by an image of something you really love, like the ocean.

5. Dun-Na-Na-Na-Na-Na-Batman


The Dark Knight isn’t just great at fighting crime—his dark colors and friendly bat entourage make him a fantastic image for tattoo cover ups as well. Of course, it helps if you have a talented tattoo artist like DeviantArt user Remistattoo doing the cover up.

6. Luke, I Am Your Tattoo

Who knew geek icons made such great tattoo cover ups? Just like Batman, Darth Vader’s black shading makes him perfect for hiding unwanted tattoos of any color. This particular cover up is by DeviantArt user hellcatmolly.

7. A Gentleman And A Dinosaur

This cover up by Tim Pangburn was an internet sensation back in 2010, and with good reason. Not only was the original pretty terrible and the artwork on the cover up pretty great, but the fact that the design is a scholarly T. Rex makes the design destined for internet greatness.

8. Party Dog

Just because you have a “Party Dog” tattoo doesn't mean it has to look like something you were inspired to get after partying too long one night. This guy by Tim Pangburn is still a party dog, it’s just that now he has a little better taste. 

9. Spider to Spider

Sometimes a cover up is only necessary to hide the poor quality of a tattoo, but not the subject itself. In that area, it’s hard to beat this great spider tattoo cover up by DeviantArt user Pedi. The use of the original spider’s legs as shadows on the new design is particularly impressive.

10. Now That’s A Majestic Beast

It’s hard to tell if the original design was supposed to be a reindeer, a moose or a horse, but the cover up, by Deanna Wardin of Tattoo Boogaloo, does an amazing job at hiding the terrible tattoo that was there before and making something new and beautiful in its place.

I’ve wanted a cover up of the blurry, all black cat on my leg for years. I was told that it was too dark to cover up with anything but a big black square before, but maybe a Darth Vader would work. What about you guys—do you have any tattoos you want covered up, and if so, what do you want to cover them with?

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July 8, 2013 - 1:10pm
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