"Sticker Sleeve" Tattoos Are The Trending Way To Rock Macro Ink

Turning negative space into cool artwork.

Originally Published: 
Your guide to the sticker sleeve tattoo trend taking over the body art world.
Getty Images/F.J. Jimenez

If you hear someone talking about a “tattoo sleeve,” you’d probably think of the densely packed versions that basically cover the arm completely with ink (and look like, well, a sleeve). Those are a classic variety of macro ink, but there’s a more modern, daintier take on a traditional sleeve trending in the tattoo world: the “sticker sleeve.” With this iteration, the wearer’s arm is peppered in smaller, individual tats that leave lots of gaps and plenty of negative space — and look almost like, well, stickers.

The options for sticker sleeve tattoo ideas are plenty and super versatile. Your different artworks could be totally random and unique — or they could work together to tell a story or follow a theme. For instance, maybe you’re all about a floral sticker sleeve, or food-inspired tattoos, or you want to interpret the cosmos via twinkling stars and constellations. As tattoo artist Pobi of Ink & Water Tattoo in Brooklyn previously told Bustle, “Make sure the only opinion you’re relying on is your own. People tend to overthink when they get a lot of different opinions — go with your intuition.” It’s your body art, after all.

Whatever ink you decide on, remember to follow your artist’s instructions closely when it comes to tattoo aftercare. Specifics could vary by artist, design, or even climate, but they often include avoiding baths, swimming, and direct sunlight, plus keeping the area properly moisturized. Ahead, discover 11 sticker sleeve tattoo ideas that are sure to turn everything you thought about sleeve tattoos on its head.


Butterflies & Numerology

This sticker sleeve features butterfly tattoos, a detailed tiger, and the numbers “777,” which signify spiritual guidance, among other mismatched designs.



You can incorporate fine line tattoos within your sticker sleeve: This one features a slew of delicate tats like drama masks, a bouquet of flowers, and the word “Angel” written in red ink.


Ancient Art

Channel historical artwork by taking inspo from this dreamy sticker sleeve, which features ancient ruins, a scene from the Sistine Chapel, and twinkling stars amid other pieces.


Herbs & Spices

Opt for a themed sticker sleeve like this one that features an array of herbs and spices, including a cinnamon stick.



For a whimsical take on the trend, consider getting an array of doodles. The dreamy flowers and sweet message from Mom make for adorable additions to a sleeve.


Pet Tribute

Among other pieces, this sticker sleeve showcases a simple heart, angel wings, a rose, and a sweet pet tribute.


Famous Quotes

You can’t go wrong with a famous quote — especially if it’s one from Cher. Here, her “Mom, I am a rich man” quip is flanked by dice, a pegasus, and a jellyfish.


Fruit & Flowers

Consider a mismatched sleeve that showcases your favorite fruits, animals, flowers, phrases — you name it.



Outline tattoos — like this collection of small geometric shapes, a crab, and a winged insect — can make a sleeve more minimalist.



This group of fine line tattoos includes a lotus flower, an angel, and cursive texts that read “enough” and “self love.”


Fingers Crossed

Stay hopeful with a dainty sticker sleeve like this one that features crossed fingers, soft florals, and subtly twinkling stars.

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