How Much Do Word Tattoos Cost?

Written by: Staff

Word tattoos are chosen over tattoos with symbols and designs for a few reasons.

Aside from the aesthetic beauty, these forms of tattoos offer something that no traditional tattoo could offer: they convey meaning directly.  They also offer something more personal than a generic symbol or design.

Open tattoo on my back, by Twelve 28 Tat by, on Flickr
Open tattoo on my back, by Twelve 28 Tat” (CC BY 2.0) by

How much does a word tattoo cost?

The cost of a word tattoo will depend on the length of the word, the tattoo artist performing the job and the geographical location.  The average hourly rate a tattoo artist charges will often be in the $40 to $100 range; however, some of your more popular artists could charge much more.  Since most word tattoos will take about one to two hours, it’s best to budget $80 to $200 for the entire tattoo.  From most of the research we had done online, many had paid anywhere from as little as $60 for a few letters to as much as $300 for a 50-word quote.

The estimates should include the stencil, which the artist will create, the materials and labor.

On a thread, people had talked about what they had paid for a word tattoo.  According to the responses, one person had paid $80 for 19 letters and another had paid $120 for a 12-word phrase.  Another, who had the word “Ex Libris” on her wrist had paid close to $60.

A tattoo artist on Facebook responded to a customer request asking what a 24 letter, 5-word tattoo would cost across their chest.  According to the shop, they said the price would be about $180 to $200, depending on the exact size and placement.

Factors that affect the price

Font designs

Some fonts can be more difficult to write than others.  If you choose a plain font, for example, then expect to pay an average price.  However, if you prefer a font style that can be challenging to reproduce, your tattoo will surely take more time, effectively increasing the price.

Placement of the tattoo

Like traditional tattoos, the location of this word tattoo will determine how long the procedure will take.  If your location choice is in a difficult spot where frequent breaks are required due to pain or uncomfortable positioning for you or the artist, expect to pay a lot more.

The number of colors used

The price of the tattoo increases with the number of colors used.  Word tattoos are no exemption — the more colors you want, the more work that’s involved.

Location of the tattoo shops

As mentioned, the prices vary from one artist to another, and the same can be said about the geographical location.

What are the extra costs?

A tip, usually 15 to 20 percent of the total, is highly recommended.

Over time, like any other tattoo, it will fade over time.  Plan on attending every few years for a quick touchup.

If you want your artist to create a customized design for you, this could be an additional charge to think about.  The costs of a customized design will greatly depend on what you want and the artist you’re working with.

Tips to consider:

The tattoo print must not be spaced too close together as this may turn out to be a blob of ink in the future.

Consider placing the word or quote on a part of the body that will have the least amount of change over the years such as the ankles, lower back, inner wrists, down the spine, shoulder, and/or neck.

Need inspiration?  Buzzfeed and Pinterest have 50+ ideas to browse.

Questions to ask the tattoo artist:

Do you have a portfolio where I can see the tattoo works you have done before?

Do you charge per letter or per hour?  What is the average price?

Can I ask for some references from people for whom you have done a tattoo before?

Do you have any recommendations about the proper aftercare for the tattoo?

How can I save money?

Always get as many quotes as possible.  While you don’t want to focus on the price, pay close attention to their experience, the cleanliness of the shop and reviews online.  You’re going to want to meet in the middle and not pay too much or too little.

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