Planning your first tattoo

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You’re never too old to get a tattoo – Dame Judi Dench inked her first for her 81st birthday!  

Getting tattooed isn’t just for the young; many people are choosing to get tattooed later in life as a means of self expression.

And while the stories we hear are often of people who regret their decisions, the truth is many people love and cherish their tattoos as reminders of important people, events or stages in life.

Ready to make it permanent? Here’s a few tips for planning your first tattoo, if you’re so inclined…

image via Flickr user Hannah Thrasher

image via Flickr user Hannah Thrasher

Choose an area 

Choosing where to place your tattoo on your body is almost as important as the design itself. Aside from the palms of your hands and feet, virtually anywhere on your body is eligible. As a general rule, try to avoid areas where you tend to gain weight or have an excess of loose skin, as these areas are harder to ink and run the risk of your tattoo looking warped over time. 

Think long term 

Think about having your tattoo long term – how big do you want it, and does it need to be able to hide? Areas like the wrist, ankles, hip, spine, shoulders and neck are extremely popular for tattoos because it’s easy to show these areas off when you want to, but also hide your tattoo when you don’t. Ask yourself: is your tattoo something you’ll be happy to look at for years to come?

Make it meaningful

Planning is key to happy tattooing. If you choose a design that has some meaning for you, you’re more likely to love it as time goes on. Tattoos are a great way to express your individuality and when they carry some personal significance can be a great reminder every time you look at them. Words, dates, affirmations and symbols like astrological signs are all popular choices for these reasons, but it doesn’t need to be something as direct as this. Take some time to brainstorm things that are important to you, and look for images that represent these things as a place to start. 

Try before you buy

Once you have an idea of what you want, try wearing your design for several days before you go ahead and get your actual tattoo. If you’re tattooing something small and simple like some initials or a symbol, draw it on to your skin directly using a pen to get an idea of placement and how it actually looks on. If you’re using something more intricate, you can often ask your tattoo artist to transfer the design onto your skin beforehand using tracing paper.

Do your research

Research is key. Find a shop that has a good reputation for safety and cleanliness and make an appointment to meet your tattoo artist beforehand to go over your ideas and designs and discuss any ideas you might have. Ask for references and examples of their work, too. Depending on how intricate your design or how large you want it, it may take your tattoo artist one or two sittings to complete it, so be prepared to book in advance.

So tell us – what do you think of tattoos later in life? Would you consider getting inked? Let us know in the comments below!

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Silversurfers Features Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Features Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

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2nd Sep 2016
Thanks for voting!
I had my first tattoo when I was 53, a purple orchid on my shoulder, since then I've had two more, a heart on my wrist and a heart made up of musical symbols with the words ' Music is what feelings sound like' making up one side of the heart at the top of my left arm, I'm now planning my fourth one, I would like a sugar skull at the top of my right arm, I am also considering a sleeve but we will wait and see about that. I'm glad I waited until I was older before getting inked as the things I liked in my teens and twenties are quite different to what I like now but I know the tatts I have mean something to me and I will never grow tired of them.
19th Aug 2016
Thanks for voting!
I had a humming bird and flower tattoo in my groin/bikini line about 12 years ago. It's very discreet but I still love it and don't regret it at all. I do worry about very young people having huge in inkings in prominent places. It might be OK when you are 20 but sends a different message at say 45! It's a changing world so maybe that's just me... ☺
18th Aug 2016
Thanks for voting!
I was actually going to get cosmetic tattooing, but I am on blood thinners so checked with my doctor, who was horrified and told me to NOT do it!! Ah well, left too late!!


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