What Makes a Tattoo a Half-Sleeve Tattoo?

tattoo-half-sleeve-tattoo Credit: Tony Alter/CC-BY 2.0

A half-sleeve tattoo is a tattoo that covers half of a person's arm or leg. Half-sleeves on the arm usually extend from the shoulder to the elbow. Leg half-sleeves extend from the thigh to knee or from knee to ankle.

This type of tattoo can either be a collection of individually obtained tattoos that share a common theme, or it can be a single pre-planned, large design. Large half-sleeve tattoos generally require multiple trips to a tattoo studio and weeks or months to fully complete. These types of tattoos were originally called sleeve or half-sleeve tattoos because they cover the body much like the sleeve of a shirt does.

Many people get half-sleeve tattoos because they are much easier to cover up, especially if they are on the upper arm, in workplaces or social settings where tattoos are not accepted.