Patchwork Tattoos, What They Are, And Examples Of Patchwork Tattoos

Tyler Martina

Patchwork tattoo ideas What are Patchwork Tattoos Everything about Patchwork tattoos

Patchwork Tattoos, What They Are, And Examples Of Patchwork Tattoos

As Southern California's highest rated tattoo shop, we get a lot of questions about tattoos. To help answer some of the most popular tattoo questions, we put together a series of articles. Today the question is about tattoos, patchwork tattoos to be specific.

What are patchwork tattoos?

This is usually the starter question, then we get into many other things like: How to start a patchwork sleeve? What designs should you choose for patchwork tattoos? What are some patchwork tattoo examples? 

In this article we addressed all these patchwork tattoo questions and more. So, let’s start with the first.

What are patchwork tattoos?

Patchwork tattoos are small to medium sized tattoos (sometimes large) arranged and fitted, close to each other, but not touching, to create a type of “tattoo sleeve”. Traditionally a tattoo sleeve has no open space and is more likely to have a cohesive theme. In contrast patchwork tattoos can have a theme or be completely random. Below, there is an example of a patchwork tattoo sleeve, and a more traditional tattoo sleeve.

Patchwork Tattoo Sleeve and Traditional Tattoo Sleeve Differences

On the right is a traditional tattoo sleeve, and on the left is a patchwork tattoo sleeve, you can see the differences between the two styles clearly.


As you can see these tattoos are the same general idea of a sleeve, but where the traditional sleeve tattoo eliminates the open space to tie all the tattoo ideas together, the patchwork tattoo sleeve embraces the open space to create frames to highlight each individual tattoo design. Patchwork tattoos give you more freedom and variety in your tattoo designs, which means you don’t have to plan the whole sleeve out ahead of time.

What designs and tattoo styles are good for patchwork tattoos?

Traditionally patchwork tattoo sleeves are done in the traditional tattoo style. That being said, the beauty of patchwork tattoos is that they can be done in any style. That is what makes patchwork tattoos so great, you can get multiple tattoos, with multiple styles, multiple meanings, and they look awesome arranged on your body.

I have seen tons of patchwork tattoo sleeves with color and black and gray, traditional tattoos and illustrative tattoos, and any tattoo combination you can imagine, and they all have one thing in common. They look great and they truly reflect the personality of the person who has them tattooed.

Girl Patchwork Tattoos on Arm

Above: Black and gray patchwork tattoo sleeve in illustrative style

Color patchwork tattoos in traditional tattoo style

Above: Color patchwork tattoos in traditional tattoo style

What’s the best way to start a patchwork tattoo sleeve?

Starting a patchwork tattoo sleeve is easy, you simply start getting tattooed with some designs you love! That’s it. After you have added a few in the places you want, start filling in the extra space with tattoos that fit the space. Then, voilà! You have started your patchwork tattoo sleeve. Plus, patchwork tattoos still look cool whether or not how densely the tattoos are packed in. This means, that even while you are starting you patchwork tattoos, they will still look awesome, like in the patchwork tattoo example below.

Girl with Light Patchwork Tattoos

Proof that even when you have light patchwork tattoos they still look great


Some best practices for planning a patchwork tattoo sleeve can include:

Not getting any tattoos that are too big

Deciding if you want a color, black and gray, or combo patchwork sleeve

Having fun, not taking it too seriously, and getting tattoos that you really want

The fact is that tattoos are supposed to be fun, they don't have to follow any cohesive plan or strategy. That is why so many tattoo enthusiasts end up having patchwork tattoos all over their body. They did not plan it, it just happened. And when  passion, art , and fate meet, the result is often more beautiful than we could have ever planned.

More patchwork tattoo examples

Here are some more patchwork tattoo examples to help inspire your patchwork tattoos. 

 Patchwork tattoo Examples Patchwork Tattoos

As you can see there are many ways to be patchwork tattoos, and they all look great.

We hope this answered all your questions about patchwork tattoos. If you have any unanswered patchwork tattoo questions let us know in the comments below.

If you want to start your own patchwork sleeve, make sure to book your tattoo at Mr. Inkwells tattoo shop, where one of our expert tattoo artists can help patchwork tattoo ideas come to life.

See you soon!


  • Brian: July 10, 2023
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    Love the info here. The comparison of sleeve tattoos, the description says traditional tattoo is on the right but its actually on the left just fyi.

  • Malachi Paulin: December 29, 2022
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    Can I please see a reference of a full picture of the first black and grey patchwork example. I love the picture and would like to see the full thing because I am considering getting it done.

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