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What is an upside-down tattoo?

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

If you haven’t already, you will probably find yourself down the rabbit hole of Google, Pinterest, Instagram & TikTok. Endlessly searching & scrolling for the perfect representation of the idea you have in your head. Using phrases like “small tattoo” or “tattoos on the wrist” - You'll probably see a lot of the same images wrist with dainty, fine-line tattoos all facing the wrong way up.

If you bought a t-shirt because you liked the design on it, would you put it upside down so you can see it? Probably not, so why do the same with a tattoo?

Upside down tattoo.jpg

"I want the tattoo for me, no-one else!"

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.

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 created this 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! Whenever our
 artists create a tattoo for someone they’ll want it to look its best at all stages, from the design on paper, to the stencil, to the tattoo, to the tattoo 10 years on. 


With this in mind, we’re sure you understand why certain artists refuse or advise against certain tattoo placements.

On the flip side, we could slap any old stencil on and take your money without a second thought of how your tattoo is going to heal and how you're going to feel about it after you walk out the studio doors but we’re not like that. 

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. 



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

Upside Down Tattoos

"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:

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