How to Kill Time While Getting a Tattoo

  • Written By Dan Hunter on October 1, 2021
    Last Updated: March 12, 2022

When you’re planning your tattoo, especially your first one, it’s an exciting time. You’re taking time to choose the best tattoo artist and then working with them to get the right design for your dream tattoo. 

However, the actual tattoo process can be a long one and can be very painful. You want to try to take your mind off the pain as much as possible. You should start preparing yourself for the tattoo beforehand as much as possible. By doing this you can make yourself more comfortable before the tattoo procedure begins. 

You should discuss the tattoo procedure with your tattoo artist and decide if the tattoo will be completed in one session or more. Larger tattoos or more intricate designs may take a few sessions, this will depend on how you both feel and how long a session you are wanting to have.

Keeping Busy When Getting a Tattoo

It’s difficult to know what you can do and what you can’t when you are getting a tattoo. A lot will depend on the placement of the tattoo. If it’s on your leg, you are able to move your arms and use your hands. However, if it’s on your arm, you will be limited to what you can do.

You should make sure that you take plenty of snacks and something to drink, especially if it’s going to be a long session. You need to keep hydrated throughout the process.

How to Kill Time While Getting a Tattoo

There are lots of things that you can do to kill time when having a tattoo. However, you need to be understanding of the tattoo artist and the work that they’re doing. This takes a lot of concentration, so they don’t want to be distracted too much. 

You should try to relax as this will make the process easier and will ease the pain from the tattoo procedure. Music is a good thing to take with you or download a movie that you can watch to take your mind off the tattoo. 

You could chat with the tattoo artist while they are working on your tattoo. If this is too much for them, maybe bring a friend along to talk to instead. 

How To Prepare

You should make sure that you prepare yourself for your tattoo appointment beforehand. You need a good night’s sleep as the tattoo procedure will take a lot of energy. It’s also important to have a proper meal before you go for your tattoo. You don’t want to do this on an empty stomach.

You need to be as relaxed as possible for the procedure and this includes wearing comfortable clothing. This will be better for you when sat or lay for a long time and will also not rub on your fresh tattoo.

Keeping Yourself Occupied

It’s important to keep yourself occupied during the tattoo procedure as it can be a long one and will no doubt be painful. Take some music to listen to or a book to read, you could even download a movie to watch. A comedy movie would be good to take your mind off the pain but you need to be careful to not move.

If you’re a chatty person you could speak to the tattoo artist during the tattoo. You should ask them if this is ok first as some artists don’t like to be distracted. If not, why not just watch them at work and appreciate their skill. Practicing breathing techniques or meditating is also good to keep you occupied.

Things To Avoid

You should avoid moving too much during the process as this will distract the tattoo artist. This is frustrating for the artist and may cause errors to be made and lines to be crooked. Be careful if watching a movie that you are not laughing too much or jumping if it’s a horror movie.

If you bring music to listen to or a movie to watch, make sure that you have headphones. Nobody else wants to listen to what you’re listening to. 

The same thing applies if you take a friend to talk to during the session. Be mindful of other people that may be in the tattoo studio at that time.


It’s exciting getting a new tattoo but the excitement doesn’t last long, especially if it’s a long session. This can be boring and painful so it’s good to find ways to distract yourself. 

You should occupy yourself during the process but still understand that the tattoo artist is working on a piece of art that they want to be perfect.

Relax a little and listen to music during the process. This will take away the boredom but will also keep you still and the tattoo artist can continue their work without any distractions. This is an ideal situation for both of you and will give you the best results.