Upside Down Tattoos

So, you’ve finally braved It and you’re looking to get your first tattoo? Awesome!

If you haven’t already, you will probably find yourself down the rabbit hole of Google or Pinterest. Endlessly searching “small tattoo” or “tattoos on the wrist”. Not because you want to be like everyone else, but because you want a tattoo just for you. You want to be able to see or read it. The tattoo is for you and YOU only.  Plus, you want to get something small to see if you’re going to be able to handle it. Plenty of people do that!

Well… we have some news.

We’re not here to put down your idea. Not at all. We’re super excited that you’re thinking of getting your first-ever tattoo, seriously, you’re badass and we’re buzzing about it! But, with that in mind, we also want you to make an informed decision of the placement of your tattoo.

You’ve put all this time into thinking about getting a tattoo, we can only assume you've put effort into choosing the right artist to give you a nice clean tattoo as well.

What is an upside-down tattoo?

An upside-down tattoo is something that’s been orientated to be “facing you”. This is most prominent in tattoos on the wrist area or forearm area.

I want the tattoo FOR me, it’s not for anyone else.
I want to be able to read/see it.

Every tattoo is for the wearer. All those correctly-oriented tattoos you see out in the world? Those are all for the wearer too. They don't feel any differently about their tattoos than you -- but they still chose to orient it correctly, and you can be certain it's never once crossed their minds to have it any other way after it was done.

After all, here's what a tattoo does: all else aside, it transforms your body, it’s something that gives you confidence. After a while, you stop noticing the tattoo as much -- it sort of blends into your body -- but other people see it whether it's "personal" to you or not. Over time, some people will tell you that your tattoo is upside down and it’s not out with the realms of possibility that you feel regretful about getting your tattoo upside-down.

I don’t want any more tattoos after this.

Trust us on this one, never say never -- putting a correctly oriented tattoo next to an upside-down tattoo is awkward, to say the least.

A client of ours was kind enough to let us use her arm as an example:


When Abby went for her first tattoo (the New York one) in another studio she wasn't advised on the orientation. She went in with the idea of showing it off in photos when she was going on her NYC trip.

When she came to us for her next tattoo, with the idea of building up a sleeve she stuck to her guns about the orientation, despite Sean advising otherwise. In the end, he completed several tattoos sticking to Abby's idea at the time. Sure, she can see it when she’s holding her arm up but how often do you really do that? 90% of the time your arm is down by your side, meaning 90% of the time the tattoo is upside down.



We care about what we do and how it heals.

Please keep in mind, whatever an artist creates on someone, it is their work and they’ll want it to look its best. This isn't meant to come across at elitist or condescending, it's meant to act as a fact-sheet for you to make an informed decision on something that's going to be with you forever- we want the best for you too!

With all this in mind, we’re sure you understand why certain artists refuse or advise against certain tattoo placements. Each of the artists at Set Sail Tattoo Studio wants the best for your tattoo both when it’s done and when it’s out in the world. On the flip side, I suppose, we could slap any old stencil on and take your money without a second thought of how your tattoo is going to heal but we’re not like that. Not at all.  
If someone asks where you got your tattoo done, we want you to proudly tell people where. 

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get in touch. 
You can find us on Facebook or at the address below. 

Set Sail Tattoo Studio
16 Eglinton Street, Irvine, 
KA12 8AS. 

Example of a tattoo orientated correctly. 
Done by Sean White. Set Sail Tattoo Studio



We kindly ask clients to email/Facebook message to book. We don't take appointments for any service over the phone, however, if you have a general enquiry, feel free to call. 


Louis @louismckee
Nicole @nicolereidtattoo
Annmarie @shandannmarie
Sean @swht88

Esther @lady_octopus


16 Eglinton St,
North Ayrshire, 

KA12 8AS


Tuesday 10 - 6
Wednesday 10 - 6
Thursday - 10 - 6
Friday 10- 6
Saturday 11 - 4


Please take a moment to read our Deposit Policy.


01294 311538