Tattoo Aftercare and More
Ask Us Anything
Whether you've got general questions about tattoo aftercare, want to know how much your custom tattoo might cost, or just want some insight on the tattooing experience, our tattoo artists have the answers you need.
Where are you located? Where should I park?
Our address is 530 E. Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90802.
There is metered street parking available on Broadway and nearby streets. Be sure to keep an eye on time if you choose this option!
You can also park in the lot at 341 Broadway (between LB Boulevard and Elm). The cost is $5 for the entire day, which makes it ideal for longer sessions.
If you are still having a hard time finding parking, please give us a call and we’ll help you out with some other nearby options.
How should I approach the tattoo experience?
The first step to a great tattoo is to find the perfect artist. At Paper Crane Studio, all of our artists are talented professionals with extensive industry experience, so you know your skin is in good hands! From design to tattoo aftercare, we're with you every step of the way. We encourage you to carefully consider our artists’ portfolios to get a feel for their unique stylistic specialties and aesthetics.
Once you’ve found an artist you like, schedule a consultation to discuss your idea and to be sure you’re 100% comfortable. Please feel free to ask any questions or to ask about recent pieces they’ve done (we love to educate our clients and show off our work!). As professionals, we will do our best to bring your vision to life while giving you honest advice about placement, style, size, etc. to ensure that your tattoo is a true work of art, one you can be proud of for a lifetime.
Remember that your tattoo will be a part of you for a long, long, long time. It’ll last much longer than any phone, tablet, or television, so you don’t want the experience or finished product to be something you regret. Our artists offer the highest quality work in the industry and outstanding customer service, so you can rest assured you’re making a smart decision when you come to our studio.
Do I need to bring in exactly what I want you to tattoo on me?
Not at all—and we actually prefer ideas to exact images. Advanced tattoo design is a specialized discipline that requires specific artistic talent, an understanding of human anatomy, and years of experience. If you can bring in a few visual references and verbally describe what you want, you’re in good shape!
We believe in collaborative artistic experiences, so we ask that you don’t bring in a picture of a tattoo that you want replicated in exact detail. It’s disrespectful to the original artist of that tattoo, to your current tattoo artist, and—most importantly—to yourself. You’re investing your time and money in our studio, so we want you to come out with an authentic work of art that is original and unique. Take your time choosing an artist whose style you love, then let that artist put their expertise and creativity to work for you. We promise you’ll be much more satisfied with the finished product and the experience.
What are your rates?
Rates are based on experience, ability, and speed, which means they vary from artist to artist. At Paper Crane Studio are rates generally range from $160-$200 per hour (with possible exceptions at our discretion). Our artists set their own rates and will discuss the cost/hourly estimate prior to commencing the project. We pride ourselves on giving accurate estimates on how long a piece will take, but please be aware that these can change based on any number of factors beyond our control.
Even if your tattoo is the size of a dime, we have a session minimum of $80 to account for the time an artist spends designing and prepping for your piece.
If your tattoo is going to take just one session, an artist might decide on a project rate versus an hourly rate. We will always discuss this with you in advance.
Although we do not haggle over our rates or offer “bargain” tattoos, we absolutely understand that you might have a budget in mind. During your consultation, let your artist know your price threshold: That way, we can break your tattoo into multiple sessions if that’s more affordable for you in the long run, or we can approach the design in a way that takes less time in order to fit your budget.
For larger pieces, sessions typically last two to four hours. This gives our artist time to get a significant amount of work done while also accounting for typical pain thresholds. Please feel free to discuss session lengths with your artist, as we want you to be comfortable.
Do you prefer appointments?
We accept walk-ins only when an artist has time to provide a quality piece that isn’t rushed. But more often than not, we need time to design your tattoo before your first session. Rather than throwing you in the chair and getting started right away, we prefer to prep in advance so that both your tattoo and your experience are perfect. We respect the investment you’re making, and we want you to get what you’re paying for.
That said, some tattoos are simple enough to get the same day you first visit our shop, so please feel free to ask!
How do I get you to design a tattoo for me?
Once you’ve selected an artist whose portfolio you like, please set up a consultation. During this meeting you’ll have an opportunity to discuss your ideas, brainstorm with your artist, make quick sketches, become familiar with one another, and ask any questions that come to mind. Consultations are free and last between twenty minutes and an hour.
If you’re happy with your consultation and decide you want to move forward, it’s time to make a deposit and book an appointment! Deposits range from $50-$500 depending on the piece. Once the deposit is made, your artist will work on finalizing your design, which will be ready in time for your appointment.
Each artist has individual policies regarding canceling and/or rescheduling appointments. Please make a note of your artist's policies during your consultation.
How long will my tattoo take?
One tattoo might take less than a minute, while another could take multiple sessions over the course of a year. As a reference, a full back tattoo or a leg sleeve could require a total of sixty hours of tattooing!
The length of time we’ll spend on your tattoo depends on many factors, including size, complexity, ink density, location, and composition. In addition to these design elements, your skin type, skin health, fat composition, and muscle definition can all impact how long we need to work on you. Although all estimates are subject to change, we are generally quite accurate in predicting how long a tattoo will take before you commit to the process.
I have a darker skin tone. Can I still get a color tattoo?
Absolutely! Contrary to what might have heard, color work is completely possible on darker skin tones. Some colors will show better than others, so talk with your artist to learn about the mechanics of color in different skin types. We will work with you to create a tattoo that both captures your vision while looking incredible on your skin (and we'll go over tattoo aftercare to ensure your piece heals beautifully).
I’m pregnant! Can I get tattooed?
Congratulations! We strongly urge you to wait until after your pregnancy, as the physical stress of tattooing is not what you need at this time (and can in fact cause early labor). Enjoy the next nine months with your growing baby—we’ll be here after your delivery to “aww” over newborn pictures and design your perfect tattoo.
My tattoo is peeling. Is this normal?
Yes, so do not worry—and DO NOT PICK! During normal tattoo aftercare, a light flaking typically occurs after four to ten days, depending on your body’s healing time. Just keep up on your aftercare regimen until the peeling is completed. Sometimes small scabs might remain after the initial peeling, which is also normal. Tale a peek at our tattoo aftercare guidelines below, and again: DO NOT PICK at your tattoo. Pulling at flaking skin or scabs will prolong healing and remove color. Remember, we’ve seen it all, so we know when you’ve been picking—and we do not offer free touchups for color loss that is the result of improper aftercare.
How do I care for my tattoo?
We’ve made tattoo aftercare simple, so just follow these steps for proper healing!
When you leave the studio, your tattoo will be bandaged. Please leave the bandage on overnight to protect your tattoo and help sweat out excess plasma. (Other studios might have different recommendations, but this is our tattoo aftercare protocol.)
In the morning, remove the bandage GENTLY and immediately take a warm (not hot!) shower. If the bandage feels stuck, let the water run over it, which will make it fall off on its own. Use an antibacterial liquid hand soap to wash the tattoo with your fingertips (DO NOT use a rag). Gently massage the tattoo as you wash it, then rinse it fully clean and lightly blot it dry with a clean cotton towel or clean paper towel. Let your tattoo air dry for a few minutes, then apply a small amount of Aveeno Daily Moisturizer or Aquaphor. Remember, just a small amount: Your tattoo should not feel wet. After you’ve gently massaged the lotion in, DO NOT bandage your tattoo. Wear comfortable, nonrestrictive clothing that is clean and preferably made of cotton.
Wash your tattoo daily and reapply lotion three times a day for ten days as part of your tattoo aftercare or until your piece has completely peeled. Peeling should start after four to six days. It’s normal to see scabs for up to two weeks. DO NOT PICK OR SCRATCH at peeling skin or scabs, as you will lose color and re-open the wound to potential infections (neither of which is the responsibility of your artist!).You can gently slap your tattoo to relieve itching.
Please avoid any activities/environments that could harm your tattoo for the ten-day healing period, including (but not limited to) swimming, immersing your tattoo in water, camping, gardening, sunning, tanning, working out (especially at a public gym!), or performing any other strenuous activities. Avoid letting your tattoo come into contact with pets, people, unclean surfaces, dirt, standing water, chemicals, abrasive clothing, and your own unwashed hands.
Do not expose your tattoo to direct sunlight for two weeks after your session. We strongly advise a high SPF sunblock after your tattoo is fully healed to protect premature fading.
Red streaks, increased soreness, puss, bumps, blisters, or foul odor can indicate an infection and are not a normal part of tattoo aftercare. If you notice any of these symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately. You can also stop by the shop to let Mikey or your artist take a look.
Have a question we haven’t answered? Drop us a line.