Tattoo art

How to Design a Half Sleeve Tattoo

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. Updated: January 16, 2017
How to Design a Half Sleeve Tattoo

For tattoo fans, half sleeve designs are certainly among the most attractive. They allow you to create a number of figures that can be connected by theme or kept in isolation, creating beautiful and very striking images. However, so that it looks its best there are some recommendations to consider. So, at oneHOWTO we explain how to design a half sleeve tattoo and get an incredible result.

You may also be interested in: Tattoo Styles and Designs - With Photos

Steps to follow:


Although a half sleeve tattoo is understood as one which goes on the upper arm, from the elbow up, there are many ways to design it. You can use the whole shoulder or decide not to, you can go to the elbow or choose a tattoo design that covers the inner and outer part of the arm. There are many possibilities so the first thing is to clarify where you want your half sleeve tattoo to go.


Getting a half sleeve tattoo is an important step, as the end result will be very visible. For this reason you should think about exactly what you want and make sure the final design looks good and attractive on your arm. The best option is to choose a theme and from there design individual pieces that together will form the half sleeve.


For people who already have several tattoos on their arm and wish to create a half sleeve, the basic idea is to connect it all with something in common, a simple task but one that also requires some background preparation, especially if you have a load of small tattoos. Get inspired and choose something that works well with all the figures you already have tattooed.

Go for an Asian theme, a plant or flower theme or a star and universe theme, which you can do in watercolor tattoo style.

How to Design a Half Sleeve Tattoo - Step 3

However, if you have all black ink tattoos on your arm, it's best to connect them in a dark filling too. Celtic or Maori motifs are a great idea for black tattoos, especially for men.

These also look great with quote tattoos or those that have letters. Make sure they follow the same theme.

How to Design a Half Sleeve Tattoo - Step 4

However, if you're planning to design a half sleeve tattoo from scratch, you're in luck. Choose one to three elements that represent you and choose a drawing style that the tattoo artist can work with. For example, if you're into 50's music and pop culture, add 3 elements such as a vinyl, dice and dice and unite them with smaller elements that also represent the decade such as flames, music notes and others.

Another great way to create a half sleeve tattoo from scratch is to center the attention on a portrait of a loved one or a character that represents you. Surround it by a frame that best suits the portrait or elements that represent the picture.

Play with textures and techniques to have a more elaborate tattoo.

How to Design a Half Sleeve Tattoo - Step 5

Evaluate all the ideas you have in mind and make as many designs as necessary until you find one that is perfect. Do not forget that it is something that will remain on your skin forever, so as well as having a powerful meaning it must also be something visually pleasing.


Always leave the work in the hands of a good professional. When it comes to tattoos we should not skimp on the price but rather pay whatever it takes to leave our skin in the best possible hands. If you have some ideas but do not know how to materialize them, you should meet with the artist and plan the design of your tattoo sleeve together.


Remember that sleeve tattoos are expensive, as it is a large area of skin that usually requires a lot of work. It is also common for these tattoos to take several sessions. Depending on the size, design and dimensions, it may take weeks or months to be completed.

How to Design a Half Sleeve Tattoo - Step 8

Once you begin the process do not forget to protect your skin and follow the advice of the tattooist so the area recovers as soon as possible.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Design a Half Sleeve Tattoo, we recommend you visit our Beauty & Personal Care category.

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How to Design a Half Sleeve Tattoo