How Much Does A Half Sleeve Tattoo Cost?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on August 17, 2019
    Last Updated: January 10, 2021

Half sleeves can look awesome and shouldn’t ever be considered as lesser versions of a full sleeve. You’ll still find the process of getting a great-looking half-sleeve tattoo to be as complex, intricate and extensive as any other kind of ink.

While one of the bonuses is that they can be less expensive than their full sleeve counterparts, that’s not to say that they don’t still require a lot of planning and preparation.

A half-sleeve tattoo will usually cost between $1000-$2000, but it can be much more than this depending on size, detail and color. Extras such and tipping and aftercare products can also increase the final figure.

The overall price will be largely based on the time it takes to complete the tattoo, and the hourly rate charged by the artist. Again, this is dependent on the location of the artist and their experience level.

The Price Lowdown 

Tattoos can be an extensive process, which automatically makes them expensive. While a small, daintily placed tattoo can keep you from breaking the bank, you can’t say the same for the half sleeve. The price will vary depending on several factors:

The Artist

One of the essential elements of any inking experience is the chosen tattoo artist. This decision can be the difference between a well-done tattoo and a tattoo you wished you’d skipped. Naturally, the more popular and experienced the artist, the more expensive the half sleeve will be.

A tattoo artist will likely determine their tattooing prices depending on their level of experience, skill and previous work. You can check these out well in advance of committing, of course.

Many well-regarded tattoo artists have attained a nation-wide clientele, thus are particularly sought after. The cost may not be available on the parlor website — artists such as Rafael Valdez provide a more discreet financial disclosure. The monetary details will evolve while working closely with their clients on the desired design.

If you’re leaning toward a more renowned artist to complete your half sleeve tattoo, expect to be more yielding with your purse strings. However, it’s also possible to find practicing artists who are looking to build their portfolio and increase their skill level. In this case, they may offer to tattoo for little to no cost. Even so, it’s always wise to research the artist and ensure their reputability and safe working methods.

Going for a less-established artist will require a more thorough check on the parlor in general, and who their mentor is. If you go for an establishment that’s popular and well-know, you should be good to go.

Lesser-known or more inexperienced artists are likely to charge somewhere between $40-$80 per hour for their work, whereas a highly-sought-after artist can easily demand upwards of $120 per hour.

Studio Location/Popularity

The finances of your half sleeve tattoo will vary depending on where you go. Cities can typically be more costly than rural areas, mainly because of the cost of living, and also, that’s where experts tend to flock.

Burak Moreno is a co-owner and tattoo artist at Fleur Noire Tattoo Parlour in Brooklyn, NY. He spoke of tattoos ranging from $900 to $65,000 for a full sleeve. This would equate to between $450 to $32,500 for a half sleeve.

Of course, the higher figure here is extremely out of the ordinary for the average client/artist, and you should expect to pay closer to $1000-$2000 for your half-sleeve from a competent artist. Again, this all depends on how the rate is set, and how long the tattoo is likely to take.

Designing and Timing

You might be wise in opting for a half sleeve tattoo as opposed to the full sleeve. Artists typically charge by the hour, and so the smaller the tattoo, the less time and money involved, right? Well, we may have some bad news.

A key element of your tattoo is its design, and many of us want to shake up the tattoo scene and be unique. This is perfectly reasonable, but it’ll cost you. An intricate design will likely take much longer.

Tattoos that consist of simple line work can still have a steep duration, yet color tattoos can take longer.

Half Sleeve Costs: Frequently Asked Questions

Where Is the Cheapest Place to Get a Half Sleeve Tattoo?

Cities are likely to be more expensive areas to get inked than rural places. Capitals and major cities attract better artists, and competition is generally higher.

How Do I Find out the Pricing of a Specific Tattoo Parlor?

Most tattoo parlors won’t directly list their pricing on their websites. This is as every tattoo varies in design, size and shape, and the experience of the artist plays a part, too. They may offer a price per hour charge, though. It may be useful to book a consultation or pay a visit to the shop.

Can I Pay for a Half Sleeve Online?

Each tattoo parlor and tattoo artist will have a preferred method and procedure of payment. Always ensure you’re working with reputable artists!


A half sleeve tattoo will vary in price depending on the artist, location, as well as design and timing.

Of course, it’s completely normal to have a budget, but don’t allow your tight purse strings to halt you from choosing a reputable and reliable tattoo artist. Do proper research and ask for a quotation on price. This could help you to save up in advance.

When you eventually go ahead with getting your dream tattoo, it’s imperative that you always follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare advice closely, and be sure to invest in a high-quality tattoo healing lotion to aid recovery.

The best tattoo lotion I’ve ever personally used is a vegan-friendly aftercare product called After Inked Tattoo Aftercare Lotion. This stuff works amazingly well during the healing process; not only by keeping your tattoo really well hydrated, but also by soothing any annoying itching and irritation. When using it from the very start of the healing process, this lotion will help to decrease tattoo healing times, and work towards eliminating any lingering dryness and scabbing.​

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