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Tattoo Artists Share Their Most Cringe-y Mistakes (37 Stories)


“Tattoo artist here. Best case I ever saw, a guy came into our shop asking about a cover up. The tattoo wasn’t done at our place. He had what we call a “belly rocker”. One of those lettering tattoos that arcs over the belly. Think Tommy Lee’s “mayhem” tattoo. Usually gothic font, gangsta type piece.

He had beautifully executed, bold, black, old English letters across his belly that were supposed to read, “scarred for life”. Whoever did the tattoo (as well as the tattooed guy) had forgotten one of the letters. An “r”.

This guy came in with “scared for life” on his belly.

We showed him some cover up options, including full torso, Japanese style bodysuit stuff. Someone may have joked about doing the old proofreading trick of just putting a little red arrow and adding the missing letter.

I don’t know who did the thing but never saw him again after giving cost estimates for the giant cover up.

15 or so years ago, we still joke about this one.” —Right_Entertainer_91


“I was tattooing a good friend of mine. He wanted a clock tattoo (my first one ever with Roman numerals) with a mask next to it. Once the drawing was done, we realized that the mask was not fitting properly on the leg (due to other tattoos he had). So I went to the printer and flipped the design (mirrored). Put it on the leg and it was more than perfect. I start the tattoo, we chat and then I’m done. He gets up and checks in the mirror to see the final result and he realized that the clock had the roman numerals flipped (3 was at 9). We both froze, laughed it up and went back on the table to fix it. At the end, it turned out to be not as bad as I thought it would be.” — thedavidcote


“I had a client who decided he wanted lettering on his forearms, sayings in Greek and Hebrew. He doesn’t speak either language, but he had one of his friends double check the spelling before he sent the references to me. Came in, we did the tattoos, pretty simple appointment.

Fast forward to a couple weeks later. I get a message from my client about the tattoo that was done in Hebrew. He owns a small construction/restoration company, and has a few Israeli guys who work for him. Apparently, they were giving him A LOT of crap for his Hebrew tattoo (he originally thought they were just messing with him), because it was spelled wrong. The font he had chosen off a quick google search essentially changed a couple of the letters (kinda like the difference between an “f” and a “t”), making it a completely different word. We ended up being able to fix it pretty easily and had a good laugh about it, but definitely beware when you’re getting tattoos in a language you and your artist don’t speak!” —Isabump


“My grandma passed away and I got her date of birth, date of death, with a hummingbird and the phrase “your wings were ready but my heart was not.” So artist had it all drawn up, I approved it, she finished, I paid, and left. Got to my mom’s, showed her, she loved it! Posted a picture on Facebook, and five minutes later my cousin texts my mom about my grandma’s date of birth, at that very moment I realized with horror that I had the wrong month in her date of birth… apparently November is the 11th month, not the 10th, who knew. Edit to add: I laughed as soon as I realized what had happened. My grandma would not have been pleased with me getting a tattoo in the first place, even though I have others, so I take the mistake as her last, fu** you. Also, missed a comma.” —CantDoItSober


“I went to college with a veteran tattoo artist and she told me that she’s made a few mistakes, but nothing too crazy, she told me the worst freakout a customer had was when she was making a celtic knot to his own specifications, despite her telling him that “That isn’t how they’re supposed to look” He payed for it anyways, she made the tattoo, and the idiot didn’t like the results and pushed over a couple shelves and broke the window with a chair in frustration, all while cussing her out.

When he was arrested for his blunder, the police uncovered a lot more about him than his terrible tattoo idea. It. Ame to light that not only was he addicted to heroine and evaded taxes, but he also abused his wife and son.” —Hazeunix


“Misspelled the name Jamie, Jaime.

I asked the client for the spelling and showed the client the laid out script before it was applied. So not my fault.

The client was very disgusted with himself for not knowing how to spell the name of the woman he loved enough to show it on his skin for life. I felt sorry for the guy so I offered him a cover-up at an incredible discount as well as the name re-applied spelled correctly, Unfortunately he never took me up on that offer.” —LuckyDevil042071


“I’ve been tattooing people for awhile now. This guy wanted to tattoo his dad on his upper arm. After a couple hours I was on the moustache, it was a goatee. I started around 3 or 4’o clock, and when I was done I couldn’t help but see this horrible mistake… I made a Hitler stache and a goatee. As I now call a hitee. I gave him $75 off and never saw him again.” —Dumguymanz