Visiting our BC locations and looking for a nose or oral piercing? We require you to be double vaccinated for a minimum of 14 days before receiving this service. You won’t be able to book these piercings online, but you may call our Granville or Kitsilano locations to book, or chance a walk-in (time permitting).

Tattooing Over Bone

I’m thinkin’ about getting some new ink…

You’ve got a tattoo design on the mind, but have suddenly become aware of the fact that it will cover a pretty boney area on your body and are wondering what to expect. Should you reconsider and work the design around fleshier and more “padded” parts of your physique? Or swallow the pill and proceed as planned? Let’s review.

3 Things You Need to Consider Before Getting a Tattoo That Covers Boney Areas on Your Body

I. Your Threshold for Pain

Vibrations caused by tattooing over a very thin layer of skin where bone is more “exposed” will cause very significant pain. So yes, it’s going to hurt. But how much? While this certainly depends on your threshold for pain, some boney areas are less painful than others to tattoo over. The following zones will be comparatively cause more pain:

– Ankles

– Collarbone

– Elbows

– Kneecaps

– Ribcage (see BMI details below)

– Shins

– Pelvic bone

II. Your Body Mass Index (BMI)

Beyond pain threshold, your body fat percentage also plays a small yet significant role in how much pain you will feel, along with canvas (skin) elasticity provided to the tattooist.

What is considered to be a low (and therefore more painful) body fat percentage? For healthy males, a low body-mass-index (BMI) is about anything less than around 15%. For healthy females, a low BMI is about 22%. Your local fitness facility or family physician can provide you with a BMI analysis. Those will a little extra “meat on their bones” (especially for ribcage tattoos) will experience somewhat less pain (all else equal) and the tattooist will enjoy a little extra cushion when compared to tattooing over a very tight and thin layer of skin.

III. Tattoo Shop Reputation

The bottom line, is that your choice of tattoo studio and artist is everything when it comes to tattooing over bone. You want that tattoo gun to be in the steady hands of a capable and experienced professional, or you will be in for a couple hours (or more) of mind- and body-numbing pain. Do your homework, read reviews, and follow this guide to choosing a tattoo studio before booking your appointment with anyone, even if they were referred to you by a trusted friend.


Adrenaline Studios will provide the best tattoo possible – no bones about it! Contact a shop near you to schedule a consultation and discuss options with a professional artist.