Tattoo Artists Reveal Embarrassing Blunders That Will Make Anyone Think Twice Before They Ink

By Farah J

The world without art is just ‘eh.’ In its many forms and styles, art makes life bright and colorful. When we talk about making art, we are not only pointing towards a pen and paper or a brush and canvas; tattoos are also an authentic and ancient form of art too.

It is not uncommon for artists to accidentally make errors in their artwork. The same goes for underrated tattoo artists. Sure, painters and music composers can etch and re-sketch over their mistakes, but tattoo artists have it a bit harder when it comes to rectifying errors.

No matter how experienced and talented they are, tattoo artists are, after all, human. So, give them a break even if their mistakes can sometimes ruin your whole body. A group shared unfortunate errors they made on their clients with brutal honesty. Some will make you cringe, while the rest will make you laugh your tattooed butts off!

Un Erreur

Spelling mistakes are pretty common occurrences in the field of tattoo art. Especially when the word or phrase is in another language, you have to double-check from the internet or native speakers of the language to ensure you haven’t misspelled it.

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Apparently, some people are way too confident in themselves for their own good. This client insisted that the Italian phrase she gave the tattoo artist was correct, but evidently, it was not. Let’s just hope Rome was not on our girl’s bucket list.


For an artist, patience is a requirement of the job. It is said to be an artist’s greatest and most important quality. This is especially true for tattoo artists who have to play with inks and needles! One needle dip at a time.

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This young tattoo artist wanted to try out their first tattoo on themselves. Pretty smart. Ironically, they chose the word “Patience,” which they didn’t even finish inking because they did not have enough patience! They literally had years to complete it, but they never did. We might have stumbled onto the world’s most impatient artist!

Manchester City United?

If you are a diehard fan of the English Football Leagues, this tattoo is bound to turn your smile upside down. For those who don’t know, Manchester City and Manchester United are two football clubs famous for their rivalry against one another. 

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So, imagine the rage of this client who went in for a tattoo of the Manchester City badge and walked out with Manchester United’s acronym inked under the badge! The tattoo artist was so lost in thought that she put the rival’s name (which just so happened to be her boyfriend’s favorite) on the tattoo.


Getting your whole back permanently tattooed is a huge commitment. The level of trust in the artist it requires from you is not something you can look over easily. During the sessions, you cannot even see what the artist is doing behind your back!

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The only way you can look at your inked tattoo is through a mirror. To this customer, everything looked great, but in reality, the artist had messed up the placement of the steering wheel! Oh well, maybe they were from the UK, where it’s usually on the right side.

Lost bet

Getting a tattoo is an unusually common go-to activity for a group of friends when they get hammered or one of them loses a bet. It makes for a fun prank among friends, and since it is permanent, it becomes a fond memory for most people.

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However, this guy was horrified after he saw the final result of the tattoo his friends custom-designed for him, specifically after he lost a bet. We would be, too, if our friends picked a Leprechaun tattoo! Sometimes friends can be the absolute worst!

Own your mistake

Oftentimes, tattoo artists try to put the blame onto their clients when they come in complaining about the final result. Whether it is misspelling a word or phrase or making a drawing error, tattoo artists rarely own up to their mistakes.

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For example, this tattoo artist was honest enough to let their client know about the mistake. Even after checking with the client beforehand, they failed to notice that the middle two letters of the suggested acronym had been swapped accidentally! It looks like in the tattoo world, double-checking is never enough.

Pick one!

Inking your lover’s name on your body is a common, albeit tricky, choice. Sometimes, tattoo artists encounter people who are there to cover up their ex’s name with their current partner’s. It is a sentimental way of showing their love for them.

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However, what this client did was a shocker for everyone – no judgments, though. He had previously gotten the name “Tierny” tattooed but later requested to cover it up with “Diane.” Turns out that the former was his mistress while the latter was his wife! Tierny must have messed up somewhere!


Significant dates and names of your loved ones are counted as some of the most sentimental and loving tattoos you can get. They openly declare your pride and love for them. So, you have to be extra careful and vigilant not to make any silly errors.

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This man and her partner chose to commemorate their wedding and kids’ birthdays with matching tattoos. After his wife got out of the booth, they both had an awkward realization after he pointed out she’d tattooed the wrong date. Disappointment on two levels. That must have stung (see what we did there?)


Today’s young generation may not know about this classic animated series that inspired the movie Masters of the Universe in 1987. Like “Abu” from Aladdin or “Pascal” from Tangled, “Cringer” was a big, striped cat who was the pet sidekick of He-man, the hero.

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That cat was awesome, and it’s no wonder this guy came in wanting a tattoo of him on his leg. However, the artist got so carried away in the process that he painted the cat’s stripes black instead of orange! Thankfully, the client didn’t make a fuss about it, but the artist felt extremely terrible.

A loyal customer

One thing tattoo artists struggle with is symmetry when doing armbands. Mainly because when it comes to bands and full sleeves, the arrangement of the tattoos is what matters the most. This beginner artist struggled, too, until he got the stencils right.

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However, he was so focused on symmetry that he overlooked the content of the armbands. He tattooed the client’s arm with the same dates rather than two separate dates, which signified the client’s parents’ birthdays. Luckily, he made that mistake on the world’s coolest customer because he still returned several times!

It went wrong

People get puns and witty statements tattooed on them all the time. It is like a new classic style that can never go out of style. Sometimes, the artist delivers, but other times, the mistakes are so pointed that it is hard to tell if they were accidental.

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For example, this client wanted “Murphy’s Law” tatted on him. But after it was all done, they noticed that the artist misspelled it as “Murpy’s Law”! The tattoo becoming an actual representation of the quote made the experience a hilariously memorable one for them all!

A forever curse 

Inking face tattoos wrong is sometimes almost as painful for the artist as it is for the customer. It’s a very disappointing experience for both people, but the client ultimately suffers for it for a longer period. Usually, it’s forever unless they get it redone.

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This client wanted a tattoo that said “Cursed,” but instead, he got “Cusred” inked on his face in all caps. Obviously, the client got furious at the artist for making him endure all that pain, and for what? The artist had him “Cusred” for a lifetime.

The missing ‘H.’

While some art styles can be easily redone and painted over, unfortunately for tattoo artists and their clients, tattoo art doesn’t have that kind of provision. It takes more time and money to cover the previous tattoo, not to mention going through the pain again.

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For example, this guy wanted his nickname “Neighbourhood” tattooed on his neck. But after hours of work, the artist noticed that he forgot the ‘H’ in the spellings. Lucky for him, the client had a hilarious idea to rectify the mistake. He got the missing letter tattooed on his palm later!

Philippines in the Bible

Many religious people get significant verses and words from their holy books inked on them. It could be a quote or a verse or whatever holds great meaning to them in their religion. It is a sentimental way of showing its significance in their lives while also trying to be trendy.

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It suffices to say that artists should be extra careful when permanently marking people’s skin with the wrong verses, like this artist. He misspelled Philippians from the Bible as the Philippines, the Southeast Asian country. Luckily, he was able to fix it.

Blow up

Before becoming a tattoo artist, one of the most important things you need to learn is the thickness of the layers of skin at different parts of the body. For example, arm sleeves and legs have a thicker layer of skin than the face and joints.

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This beginner tattoo artist, unfortunately, had to learn this the hard way. They punctured permanent ink in the client’s arm, and unfortunately, it spread wrongly. They covered it after, but sadly, they weren’t able to satisfy the client fully. We doubt she ever came back.

Mirrored kanji

As a client, if you are entering the tattoo parlor with a pre-selected design in a language that you are not fluent in, do not bring it to the tattooist unless you are certain. These guys are not language experts!

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This tattooist sent this message to the world along with their story of how a client tried to blame them for inking the kanji (Japanese alphabet) inverted. When the artist showed them the reversed image they brought in, the client realized they had no one to blame but themselves.

Sob story

If you decide to become a tattoo artist, be ready to witness lots of crying and sobbing in your parlor. Some cry during the sessions due to the pain, whereas others cry because they don’t like how their tattoo turn out.

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What is it with tattoos and mirrors? It seems that whenever a mirror is involved, there’s always a problem. This one was just a false alarm, though. We bet that was the first time this client had gotten a tattoo. How embarrassing!

Time to take responsibility

Taking responsibility for your mistakes, especially when they affect someone in some way, can be hard. We are human, and we are not error-proof. But what we can do is ask for forgiveness and offer some kind of compensation whenever possible.

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Unfortunately, this tattoo studio refused to take responsibility and do anything other than fire the responsible artist after a bad job! An angry, unsatisfied client left with a wrongly spelled tattoo – “Gradad” instead of “Grandad” – and no complimentary cover-ups or money refund from the studio owner.


We consider it a rare instance of good luck when a client does not make a fuss after a tattoo artist makes a slight mistake in their design. Tattoo ink is permanent, so it’s not something you can simply shrug off.

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This cool client asked for an armband of sheet music as their tattoo design. Halfway through it, they realized that one of the notes was upside down! The client simply shrugged it off, saying that they should have double-checked the stencil beforehand.

Droopy Geisha

Friends who support your talent and interests are the ones you need to keep close. But when it comes to trying your first tattoo art, sometimes it’s best to go with the experts. Don’t invite your friends into the dungeon of miseries of permanently damaged body parts.

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This person started their career as a tattoo artist when they were a teenager. Their friend offered them their back as their canvas. The budding artist did the Geisha design but failed to notice the droopy face until the friend straightened his back!

Daddy’s child

In the world of tattoo art, the rookie artists who start their tattoo art career in their homes or sheds with the “stick and poke” method are often called kitchen wizards. You can hear the sarcasm and irony dripping from this phrase.

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An amateur kitchen wizard inked a friend’s child once. Without any consultation from them, they made a portrait tattoo with a tag that said “daddy’s girl” with hearts and bows around it without knowing the tattoo was actually supposed to be a little boy! We hope the client didn’t have to pay for that.

Moving foreward

Sometimes, when an error occurs during a session at the tattoo parlor, both the client and the tattooist are to blame for their negligence and absent-mindedness. But taking responsibility for your mistake happily gives closure to both parties. Take this story, for example.

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This artist misspelled the word “forward” in a tattoo. They didn’t catch the spelling error because their bookworm subconscious got in the way – they are used to seeing the word “foreword” in books! Knowing how much readers despise typos, this must have been especially hard.

A cursive mess

When you get a tattoo of your design, make sure to ask the professional if the tattoo will heal properly and not bleed out. This poor lady learned this lesson the hard way when she got her first tiny tattoo.

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Tattoos in cursive are quite common. However, tiny cursive writing has a bigger chance of getting merged after healing, making it look like a messy scribble. Well, at least she got a refund for this tiny but very visible mess.

Old school mentor

This story is different from the others. The amateur artist admitted to making lots of mistakes and cutting the client’s skin accidentally during the procedures. But that was neither the artist’s nor the client’s mistake. This one was on the mentor.

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The artist was not permitted to buy modern tattoo machines when they were under the apprenticeship of this boss from hell. When they made one themselves out of spare parts, they weren’t given a solid power source either, and mistakes were made! Mentor seems like too good a word to describe this guy.

October or November?

If you have plans to get inked in the near future, thank the heavens that you came across this listicle because so far, we know you’ve gotten valuable lessons on how to avoid silly mistakes. The most important is triple-checking for any errors before getting permanent ink on your skin!

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This person got a sweet tattoo in remembrance of their grandmother with her date of birth and death. We almost face-palmed at the fact that they forgot that November is the 11th month, not the 10th! And no one noticed the error either except a cousin on Facebook.

Lose the Loose

Spelling mistakes are the bane of a tattoo artist’s work. Sometimes, they are so focused on getting the design right that they get “loose” in the process. What’s more horrible is when one small mistake in the spelling changes the meaning of the whole thing!

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This person shared the most disastrous tattoo mistake story of their career. A woman asked for a tattoo that said “born to lose,” but instead, they got “born to loose”! The fact that it was tattooed on a woman’s thigh made the whole thing worse.


Portrait tattoos require the most attention to detail because of the intricacy and uniqueness of each person’s face. You have to get every feature right or risk sending off a customer with a stranger’s face permanently pasted on their body.

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This client wanted a portrait of his dad on his upper arm. After hours of sitting there, the results horrified both the artist and the client. The artist accidentally tattooed a terrible mustache and goatee combo on the portrait. It resembled Hitler more than the guy’s dad! Show us a worse portrait tattoo. We’ll wait.

Ear-rie situation

Ear tattoos can be pretty painful and are not as common as arm or body tattoos. Also, for tattoo artists, it can be quite a challenge to master them because of poor visibility of the area, especially inside or behind the ear.

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This tattoo artist got stuck in an eerie situation when the client asked for a tattoo inside their ear. Their mentor suggested using cotton buds to hold back the area while they worked. As they were finishing, the bud shifted, and they ended up giving the customer a series of accidental party-dot tattoos.


A lot of people start their small businesses in their houses before expanding. At that level, they attract people with their cheap services. For example, this teen kitchen wizard started his amateur tattoo business in his garage at low prices.

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He got a lot of customers even though his tattoos were terrible, and most of them even got infected later. This one lady wanted a peace sign tattooed on her arm but ended up getting a Mercedes Benz logo instead from this “artist.” As they say, cheap is expensive.

Missing in the folds

Human bodies come in all shapes and sizes. As a tattoo artist, you are not supposed to treat all of them the same when drawing. When making a stencil of the suggested design, you have to make sure that the stencil covers all areas, even the folds.

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This rookie artist made the terrible mistake of doing the line work of the tattoo only on the visible parts of the back of a man who was well-built. After it was pointed out, he noticed that he missed the parts under the folds of the client’s back!

Is this Latin?

Latin mottos and phrases like Carpe Diem are quite common go-tos for tattoos among the youth. Apparently, famous foreign phrases with meanings make people seem intellectual. If you choose to get one, make sure that you’re sure about the spelling.

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This band duo wanted their calves tattooed with “Veritas” and “Aequitas,” two Latin words meaning “truth” and “justice,” respectively. Here comes the disaster: neither of them knew the spelling, and worse, none thought to even check! That’s how one ended up with “Equites” on his leg.

Of mums and horses

If you are not fluent in languages like Mandarin, Japanese, Korean, Thai, etc., you may be surprised to notice that their characters do not directly translate to English language word by word. Rather every addition of a stroke changes the word altogether.

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This person at the tattoo shop was confronted by an Asian woman about their tattoo, which was a phrase in kanji. The person had gotten it inked thinking that it meant “I love my mother,” whereas, in reality, it meant “I love horses.” Like we said, always TRIPLE-CHECK!

Where’s the E?

It is extremely aggravating for the artist when the clients don’t check their suggested designs thoroughly when given a chance to, and later, blame the result on the artist. It’s worse if, like in this case, the artist kept checking in and confirming.

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This client wanted to get a tattoo of his son’s name. So, he wrote it down as “Bently” and then proceeded to assure the artist that everything looked perfect. However, he forgot to put an E in his son Bentley’s name and only realized when it was done!

A good save

Mistakes happen all the time, in every field, even tattoo art. However, most experienced professional tattoo artists have become very adept and innovative when it comes to covering up their mistakes. The trick is to make the mistake seem deliberate. 

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For instance, this person had a memorable experience when a fellow artist messed up a client’s butterfly tattoo by accidentally using dark green ink instead of black. So, to cover this mess, they improvised and drew the butterfly among some leaves. That’s what we call quick thinking.

Remember this

Stencils are usually used by tattoo artists as guidelines for their designs, so they don’t get off-track and lose their sense of direction while inking the client. Sometimes, during the process, the rubbing leads to blurring of the temporary stencil workup.

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That same thing happened to this client. The stencil the artist drew on the skin got erased, and the artist ended up writing “rememer me,” omitting the letter “b” in the process. Embarrassingly, neither of them noticed it until the internet did.


There are a few words and expressions you pray you never have to hear from your tattoo artist while you are in their chair getting punctured with permanent ink. The word “whoops” is one of them. Nothing good ever follows a “whoops.”

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One person shared their horrible tattoo on the internet with an even worse background story. They were getting a simple tattoo when they heard a “whoops” uttered by the cheap tattooist. As expected, they now have a stray line jutting away from the foot tattoo!

Gucci Gucci

For some reason, getting the logos of world-class international brands tattooed became quite popular in the last decade. People started getting stylized logos of their favorite brands, like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, etc., inked on their bodies. Such a strange kind of branding.

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This client wanted to get one on his calf. They asked for the Gucci logo, but the artist mistakenly printed it upside-down. Luckily, the Gucci logo looks more or less the same when it is upright and when it’s inverted.


We all love freebies. With that said, it is not the same when you have to get a cover-up tattoo for your original messed-up tattoo. Which is what you get when the artist messes up your body with permanent ink.

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This person went to a tattoo salon for a simple yet effective tattoo that said “new beginnings.” But the artist misspelled it and could not find an alternative except to give them a free arm sleeve cover-up tattoo! We bet the artist learned the hard way with that one.


This is a rookie mistake for a tattoo artist. Common sense was all that was required to ace this pocket watch tattoo. Tattoos like clocks and words work the same on any part of the body exactly as they are.

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This client switched from getting their watch tattoo on the right hand to the left at the last moment. The brainy tattoo artist printed a mirror image of the pocket watch stencil without thinking. Hopefully, the client eventually came up with a reason why the time 7:40 was so important to them!

Wrinkly alien

It is hard to say no when your friend requests you to do something for them, especially when you are the pal they go to when in need. But when it comes to something as permanent as tattoos, you should always think twice.

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This person was not the most assertive when it came to saying no to their friend when they asked them for an alien tattoo. To make matters worse, they were not in the best shape at the time. The end result was a wrinkly alien tattoo.

Scared for life

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, check spellings repeatedly before you get to drawing the actual tattoo. When in doubt, ask other people or preferably the internet, if you are getting your chosen word spelled correctly. This is a crucial part.

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Belly rockers are not exactly easy to hide either, as they are written in huge, bold, gothic font across your belly. One letter and everything changes. For example, this person got a “scared for life” tattoo when the artist forgot to put another “R” in the word “scarred.”

Language barriers

Usually, it is uncommon for people to be fluent in languages other than their native one, especially languages that are not spoken anymore, like Latin. So, getting a tattoo in those languages has a higher chance of errors in spelling.

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For instance, this guy, even after a lot of consultation, got a spelling mistake in his Hebrew tattoo, which switched the meaning of the word from pretty decent to quite offensive. He didn’t realize it until a few Hebrew-speaking fellows told him after they’d gotten in a few laughs at his expense.

A nightmare

One of the worst nightmares of tattoo artists is getting the tattoos of their clients wrongly spelled or designed. Even though they try their best to avoid such mistakes, sometimes they are just unavoidable. This next one was, thankfully, not one of those times.

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This person gave the artist a mini heart attack by ‘indicating’confirming’ that the name ‘Gabriela’ had two “L’s” instead of one, which was how they’d said it was spelled. At this point, the artist was almost done with the tattoo. A couple of seconds later, the client joked that they were only messing with them!

Wet ink

After you get a tattoo, the process of healing follows. Healing can only be achieved with extra precaution and care since the skin gets sensitive and is filled with ink. Some tattoo artists add a medical “second skin” transparent adhesive on the tattoo for protection.

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The thing with this second skin layer is it has to be airtight. Otherwise, it just leads to an awful mess if it gets into contact with water, like in this client’s case. After a shower, water leaked through the bandage, which made their tattoo a big splash of ink. It had to be redone.

Freehand cursive

A lot of people get sentimental tattoos in honor of their late loved ones. Sometimes, it is usually their date of birth or death, their names, or the lyrics of their favorite song. It’s a way of memorializing them after they’re gone.

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This person, a beginner tattooist and an art student hit two birds with one stone. She had to record her tattoo art, so she chose the song Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd to ink on her body. Disaster hit when she ended up tattooing “swinning” instead of “swimming”!