How Much Do Word Tattoos Cost?

Last Updated on March 11, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Word tattoos are a popular and meaningful way to express yourself through body art. With just a few letters or a short phrase, word tattoos convey quotes, lyrics, names, dates, and more.

But before getting inked, it’s important to understand how word tattoo pricing works. This guide will breakdown the factors that influence cost and provide tips for budgeting for your new text tattoo.

The cost of a word tattoo depends on several variables. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 for a single word to $200 for a longer quote or phrase.

Custom script tattoos, detailed lettering, and additional colors will increase the price. The artist’s experience level and shop location also impact pricing. While it’s impossible to give an exact quote without consulting your artist, this article explains what goes into setting word tattoo rates.

How Much Do Word Tattoos Cost?

Tattoo artists typically price designs in one of two ways – hourly rates or flat fees based on tattoo size. Hourly rates range from $100 to $200 per hour on average. For text tattoos, the artist will estimate the number of hours needed and quote you a price.

Flat fees are common for smaller designs. A tattoo under 2 x 2 inches may have a base price of $50 to $150. The shop minimum is the lowest amount an artist will charge per session.

Minimums help cover shop costs, materials, and the artist’s time. Expect minimum charges of $50 to $100 for word tattoos.

In a discussion on LiveJournal about word tattoo costs, users reported paying $60 for a 5-letter tattoo, $120 for a 12-word phrase, and $40 for a 5-letter tattoo.

Tatt2Away writes that small tattoos, such as minimalistic designs, symbols, linework, or lettering, typically range from $50 to $200, depending on the detail and the artist’s rates.

In a Reddit discussion on tattoo pricing, users reported that most good tattoo artists in the northeast US charge about $150 to $250 per hour.

Tattoo pricing also varies by region. Shops in major cities like New York and San Francisco often set higher rates due to the cost of living and overhead expenses.

Do your research to find an artist and shop with fair pricing in your area. Avoid bargain hunting for text tattoos purely by price. Quality is crucial for clean, crisp lettering.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Word Tattoos

The artist sets rates according to these key factors:

Artist Expertise and Reputation

Top tattoo artists with great portfolios and experience command higher hourly rates and minimums. Their work is in high demand. Customers pay extra for the assurance of a polished, quality tattoo from a seasoned professional. Expect to pay $150 to $200 per hour for well-known artists.

Tattoo Size and Complexity

Larger, more intricate word tattoos take more time and skill to complete. A small 1-inch tattoo may have a $50 minimum. But a 5-inch quote with flourishes could start at $150 to $250. Complex lettering, custom fonts, and detailed design elements increase the rate.

Ink Colors and Quality

Basic black ink is the most affordable option. But vibrant colors like reds, blues, and greens add beauty to text tattoos. Be prepared to pay a higher hourly rate or flat fee for each color used. Also, reputable studios use higher-quality pigments to ensure brightness and longevity.

Studio Location and Overhead Costs

Studios in big cities pay more for real estate, supplies, insurance, and licenses. These overhead costs allow them to attract the best artists. But they often charge clients more per hour or have higher minimums to cover expenses.

Also read our articles about the cost of knuckle tattoos, armband tattoos, and henna tattoos.

Design Customization and Consultation Fees

Creating a custom font and layout takes extra time and effort. Most artists charge for this service in addition to the regular tattoo rate. Expect to pay $50 to $100 per hour for design work. There may also be a consultation fee to discuss your vision and develop the artwork.

Additional Costs to Consider

One Word TattooThe main tattoo costs are just part of your total budget:

  • Aftercare products like ointment and soap aid healing. Budget $25 to $50 for supplies.
  • Touch-ups may be needed down the road for crisp lines. Most studios include one free touch-up within a few months. But additional work costs $50 to $150 per hour.
  • non-refundable deposit, usually 20% to 50% of the total quote, is required when booking larger or custom pieces. This reserves your appointment.

How to Budget for Your Word Tattoo

Follow these tips to get an amazing text tattoo within your budget:

  • Request portfolios and consult with multiple artists. Compare pricing and styles. Make sure you connect well with your chosen artist.
  • Be flexible on placement. Get arm, leg, or back tattoos instead of pricier hand, neck, and finger locations when possible.
  • Opt for simpler lettering and limit colors to save money. Intricate Gothic fonts and colored accents can be added later.
  • Ask about discounts for booking multiple sessions. Many shops offer package deals.
  • Consider getting a meaningful but small design for your first text tattoo. Short phrases under 2 inches are very affordable starting at $50 to $100.


With the right artist, even small word tattoos make a bold statement. By understanding pricing factors and budgeting smartly, you can get quality body art that you’ll love forever within your means.

Spend time finding the perfect font and layout. The investment will pay off in your satisfaction and pride in your new text tattoo.

How long does a small 3 word tattoo take?

A small 3 word tattoo with simple lettering usually takes less than an hour. Most artists estimate that a basic single word tattoo takes a minimum of 30 minutes. Add a few more words, and the session may take around 45 minutes to 1 hour including setup and cleaning.

The exact time depends on the font style, size of the text, and your artist’s speed. But you can expect a quick visit for a small tattoo with minimal detailing.

How much would a small two word tattoo cost?

A small two word tattoo will likely cost between $50 and $150 depending on lettering complexity. Most shops have minimum charges around $50 for very small designs. Simple script or printed two word phrases should fall into this range.

Expect to pay $100 to $150 for a short quote with flourishes or custom fonts. The artist’s hourly rate also factors in. But a few words make for an affordable text tattoo.

How small is a $50 tattoo?

A tattoo costing $50 will be very small, likely under 2 x 2 inches. This allows the artist to complete the work within most minimum service charges of around $50 – $100 per session.

A single word or 2-3 word tattoo in basic lettering can typically fit within a 2 inch square space. Tiny designs like single digits or letters measuring less than an inch can also meet the $50 price point. Shop minimums keep such small quick tattoos affordable.

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