Tattoo Sleeves Design

Tattoo sleeves are incredible works of body art. They're basically a tattoo or series of tattoos that wrap completely around the arm. Some sleeves only cover a portion of the arm, such as the wrist or bicep, but a full tattoo sleeve covers an arm from shoulder to wrist once the artwork is complete. We say "once it's complete" because a full length sleeve isn't completed in a single session, but rather as part of an ongoing process that can be continued over several days, weeks, or much longer depending on how the work is carried out.

Different Paths, Same Destination

Many people who wind up with full tattoo sleeves don't actually start out planning to cover their entire arm, but once they experience their first tattoo, the desire to build on the design can be irresistible. Gradually, they have their favorite artist, or artists as the case may be, either enhance the original body art, or add more tattoos on other areas of the arm. At some point, they make the decision to have the entire area filled in, and the sleeve is finally complete. This work can be fascinating, reading like a tapestry of the wearer's life experiences.

However, a complete sleeve is the end goal for many tattoo lovers, and great care and planning goes into creating an overall design that holds personal meaning while still following an overall theme.

No matter which path one takes on the road to creating a full sleeve, the end result is rather spectacular.

Style and Inspiration

As mentioned, some sleeves are a series of individual tattoos that eventually fill the arm. These tats can each have individual meanings of their own, commemorating significant events and relationships in the person's life.

Sometimes a certain style of work is the inspiration behind creating the sleeve.

Celtic tattoos are extremely popular, and the never-ending knot patterns lend themselves perfectly to sleeve design.

Tribal designs also make terrific looking sleeves and are selected quite often for this type of work.

Floral work makes exceptionally beautiful sleeves when filled with bold colors.

Faux Sleeves

So what can you do if you're just dying to go for a full sleeve, but you're concerned that it won't go over well in your place of employment, or that maybe you won't be able to stand spending the amount of time it will take under the needle to complete the work? Well, there are some alternatives.

You can choose to go with a temporary tattoo instead of the real thing. Henna works quite well, but it's only temporary. Even then, the sleeve will last for several weeks, and that may not be temporary enough for some, while it may be too permanent for others.

Fantastic sleeves can also be created with body paint and can be washed off as quickly as needed.

For some people, faux or fake tattoo sleeves are another alternative to being permanently tattooed. Each sleeve is made of flesh toned nylon fabric, just like a pair of panty hose, and comes with a pre-printed design. Just slip them on whenever the mood or occasion is right. These sleeves are generally purchased in sets of two for as little as $15.00, and can be worn on one or both arms as you choose.

In addition to individual sleeves, you can also purchase a tattoo T-shirt. These shirts appear to look like a regular short sleeve T, but the tattoo sleeves are attached, so it's really long sleeved.

Although some of these artificial tat sleeves look fairly good, there are some drawbacks. The flesh tone simply isn't a perfect match for everyone, and just like women's nylons, the sleeves can easily be snagged, so they can have a fairly short life. However, at a price of $15.00, replacing them isn't much of a problem.

What may actually be a bigger drawback for some is the fact that the designs on faux sleeves are not customized to the purchaser. If you're hoping to express your personal spirituality or philosophy through your tattoos as so many people do, you might not be satisfied with one of these fake sleeves, no matter how convenient they might be.

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