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Back Tats: Everything you need to know about getting a full back tattoo

Updated: Apr 11, 2021


So why get a back tattoo? Well, they look good on everyone with every body type out there. Skinny, curvy, broad, and muscled! Have a hunchback? Still gonna look good on you! They are easy to hide with clothes if you have a professional job, and can't have tattoos. They age better with time because they aren't exposed to as much sunlight as an arm or hand tattoo. They are the largest canvas space on your body that provides the best opportunity to do something really creative! I could go on....they are my favorite canvas on the body to tattoo and I love to do BIG FULL BACK pieces!


We're going to talk about Subject Matter:

Pick a subject matter and let your artist work around that. A full back piece will have a flow from your neck, down your spine, to your hips.

First decision: Before you pick your subject matter, decide if you just want a lot of delicate lines in one large linework piece, or if you want shading with black and gray or color?

Second decision deciding the subject matter: Decide if you want flowers, animals, scenic, portraits, Japanese, or dark and creepy and meet with your artist face to face. Maybe you love a tv show and want a portrait of the main character with surrounding elements. Maybe you love anime and want a theme.

Third decision: just your back, or do you want a body suit? Personally, I think they just look better if you include your butt! You could also do the back of your arms, butt, and back of your thighs. Your artist will take a photo of your back and draw the design using software directly on your photo of your back! It will fit YOUR body perfectly.

Right now, use this link to book a free consultation with Tim to start this process:

(Below: drawing design on image of back step by step)


Ready to start your backpiece:

Use this link to book a full day session with Tim.

Note from Tim: "I'm going to only tattoo you this day. There is a $400 deposit required to book this session that goes towards the price of your tattoo session. I use the deposit to secure the entire day just for YOU only, and to draw a bit of the backpiece ahead of time. When you come in for your first appointment we will look at the design together, make any changes and finish the design, apply the stencil, and start your line-work session. While I finish designing your back piece, I will pre-numb your entire back (more on that here). Plan on being here the whole 8 hours! Bring some snacks, iPad and headphones if you want to listen to your own movies or music, or there is a pizza and donut place in the plaza. We have free drinks in the shop.

Measuring and fitting the stencil:

When you come in for your first session your artist will print and size the stencil. The stencil is printed in pieces and all of the pieces are taped together to fit onto your body as one giant stencil. If your artists prints only a tiny section stencil of your back tattoo and puts the stencil on without seeing what the whole thing will look like on your back away! This may take up to an hour or longer to get the sizing right and make it perfect. Your artist may also put the stencil on and decide they want to move it a bit. If they decide to move it, they will then clean your back with alcohol to get the stencil off and reapply the stencil in a slightly different position. Just have patience and faith. They are the expert! Guys will get a free back shave (or shear) depending on how hairy of a man you are.

(Below: Printed stencil and applying stencil)

First Session: Linework!

It's time to do the lines. This will be the longest and most difficult session. Expect to lay on your stomach for 4-6 hours. A positive mindset is so important for this session! You are going to go through a range of emotions from excited and happy... to proud you sat for this thinking you can't do this anymore, to I've SO got this, to get this over with right now. Think of your back as a coloring book page, and your artist needs to get this all lined out in one or two sessions before the shading begins. The lines on a back tattoo are thick and bold. Your artist will be using an 11 round needle to really get the lines in there, and to provide a good and long-lasting foundation for shading in future sessions. If you don't want any shading and just line work, then your lines will be more delicate but there will be MORE lines. Either way, you are going to be here for a while, and this will be the most uncomfortable session, so get comfy. We suggest bringing some headphones and iPad to watch a tv series. We can put a chair under the massage table and you can watch TV and get in your zone. Or bring headphones and make a playlist before you come with your favorite music or meditations. If you don't bring anything to get your mind off of the painful areas, you are going to be confronting all your inner strength demons head-on, so come prepared! Also....We have an open bar in the shop. (FYI something to look forward to for future shading sessions: numbing spray is available and free for 2-3 hour sessions or more. We can't use the numbing spray on non-broken skin, so it's only good for the shading sessions!) Try not to be angry or hate your artist during your line session....he's making you the best tattoo of his life!

(Below: Tim has recently started his own back-piece by his partner, Julian Maceac, and completely understands all the steps you are taking to complete yours)

Full back tattoos are great for coverups!


Tim includes free aftercare and uses a Saniderm wrap. To learn more about this you can visit their information here:


Second Session: If you only wanted line-work, then congrats you're done! If you want shading and/or color though, then is the second time (and won't be the last time) your artist for a session. Sessions could take several months up to a year. It's common with large scale tattoos to book a session every 5 weeks until completed.

Before you leave your first session, your artist will probably decide when and how long to book the second session and you're already excited to come back soon. If you left unsure of your schedule and wanted to wait for that second session, then here is a link to book either 1 hour, 2 hours, 4 hours, or 6 hours. Decide how long you want to sit, or work around your busy schedule:

Pros of many sessions:

You can pay as you go. You don't have to pay for the entire piece up front. Everytime Tim tattoos you, he will charge you $150 for every hour that you have a session. The first session of linework is going to be the most expensive because you're sitting from 4-6 hours or maybe more depending on the size. From then on if you only have $150 in your tattoo fund, and want to sit for one hour, you can schedule a one-hour appointment. If you want to come in two weeks from then for your 3rd session for another's totally up to you. If you want them to just shade all day and knock out the whole piece in 8 hours...we can do that too. This is where you kind of decide when and how much we meet, and we'll go from there. You can book all of your future sessions using this link here:

(Below: 3 small sessions of work)

3rd session, 4th session, 5th sessions, etc:

Shading and Color sessions. We'll add little fillers and details. I will take a progress picture each time you come in, and you will leave with a saniderm wrap for easy aftercare. It's hard to reach back there! The saniderm heals your tattoo in 3-5 days.

(Below: Done in 4 long sessions!)

See you soon!


Tim Lease

IG: timleasetattoos

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