Tattoo Placement Series: The Sleeve Tattoo

 In Tattoos

An interesting and intricate looking tattoo

ion sleeve tattoo

lion sleeve tattoo in black and grey by Brian Blalock

Sleeve Tattoo –AKA tattoo sleeve– is a large arm tattoo. It can also be a collection of smaller ones which are usually linked together by similar themes. The sleeve tattoo covers most or all of a person’s arm, usually from the shoulder to the wrist, resembling a long shirt sleeve.

Some people use the expression “getting sleeved” when having their arm fully tattooed. A large leg tattoo covering the entire leg, may also be referred to as a sleeve sometimes.

Because of its size and/or the intricacy of the design, sleeve tattoos usually require planning and many long hours of tattooing, just like a Full Back or Front Panel tattoo. Getting it completed could take weeks, months or even years. They require a lot of collaboration between the tattoo artist and the customer, to successfully represent a personal and unified artistic theme.

There are also half sleeves or quarter sleeves, which only cover part of the arm. For a tattoo to be considered a sleeve, it has to completely cover a particular area; so a half sleeve would cover the entire upper or lower arm. A quarter sleeve usually covers the area of skin from the shoulder midway to the elbow.

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Some weird and curious facts about sleeve tattoos

The United States Marine Corps prohibited Marines from getting an arm or leg sleeve tattoo after April 1, 2007. The marines that already had them are protected under a grandfather clause. Some other organizations have also proposed rules to prohibit sleeve tattoos among their members. But besides that, tattoo sleeves have become very popular lately, and there even commercial clothing sleeves that resemble the look of a real tattoo sleeve, made of transparent mesh fabric and printed with tattoo designs.

If you want your Sleeve Tattoo done by a pro, then come to Mantra Tattoo & Body Piercing!

Come visit us and discover why we are Colorado’s Best Custom Tattoos, Piercing and Body Jewelry. Schedule an appointment online or give us a call to get your custom sleeve tattoo designed by our experienced tattoo artists, or to choose your jewelry and discuss your next piercing with one of our professional body piercers.

We use only medical grade sterilization and always new needles on every tattoo and piercing. Our shop is fully inspected and regulated by the Jefferson County Health Department. Age requirements: 18 and up on your own with photo ID; 16 – 17 with legal guardian and both individuals required to have photo ID with matching last names.


1695 Wadsworth Blvd, Lakewood, Colorado

(303) 239-8282 / (303) 238-3736
Open: Mon – Sat 11:00 am – 9:00 pm, Sun 12:00 noon – 9:00pm.