The best tattoo studios in Canberra

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Celebrity Ink – one of the best rated tattoo studios in Canberra. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Tattoos are exploding in popularity. As more of us get inked, transforming our bodies into art, more tattoo parlours are popping up. From the traditional American style with its bold lines and bright colours, to the more modern fine-line illustrative designs, and abstract pieces that look more like watercolour than ink on skin, plus a huge decline in negative stigma surrounding tattoos in recent years, it’s never been a better time to get inked.

Getting a tattoo is no small decision. Tattoos are at once permanent and deeply personal, so it’s absolutely vital to sort the excellent tattooists from the poor. So, whether you’re out to get your first ever tattoo or to continue a lifetime of commitment to the art of tattooing, you want to find an excellent tattoo studio with a team of talented artists and hygienic practices. But how can you decide which studio is best for you?

In this article, we’ll share some of the most important traits to look out for in a great tattoo studio, as well as a guide to the best tattoo parlours in the Canberra region.

What makes a great tattoo studio?

Keep an eye out for the following traits when sussing out potential tattoo parlours and artists:

  • Impressive portfolios. First and foremost, check out the artist’s portfolio before you schedule an appointment with them. Do they tattoo in the style you are looking for? Is their line work clean and crisp? Is their colour saturation bold and clean?
  • Compliant with health and safety regulations. Unhygienic tattooing can be dangerous. Look for a studio that complies with all health and safety regulations, such as using all disposable equipment and regular sanitisation of their work spaces.
  • A variety of tattoo styles. Different artists specialise in different tattooing styles. From traditional Americana to classic Japanese, new age and fine line, the best studios cater to every personal taste.
  • A comprehensive range of services. While you might just be after a tattoo, it’s good to work with a studio that offers related services. This might include piercings and laser tattoo removal.
  • Friendly and accommodating artists. Getting a tattoo can be a nerve-racking experience for newbies and ink-junkies alike – a great studio will boast a team of not only talented artists who can cater to your wishes, but who will make sure you feel comfortable in the studio and confident that you are getting exactly what you asked for throughout the whole process.

The best tattoo studios in Canberra

Riotact’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on Riotact and maintain a minimum average of 4/5 stars on both Google and Facebook reviews.

Canberra Ink

A locally owned and operated studio, Canberra Ink won Outstanding Specialised Business in 2023's Local Business Awards for the Canberra region.

With more than 50 years' experience between them, the studio's 11 tattoo artists are known for being highly trained, inclusive and uncompromising on quality. Each artist at Canberra Ink has their own speciality, so no matter the design, the studio has clients covered.

A family business at heart, Canberra Ink is large studio located in the heart of Belconnen, boasting views of Lake Ginninderra and fun, relaxed environment to keep clients comfortable as they receive their next piece of body art.

"Canberra Ink works with exceptional artists from across the globe, to provide master classes for our own artists that keep them abreast of the latest in world-class tattooing," the team says.

"Hygiene and sterilisation is of the upmost importance to us - we only operate single use disposable equipment and manage a top quality code of practice for skin penetration procedures."

Two 9 Tattoo

Two 9 Tattoo is a private tattoo studio in Gungahlin. The team of artistically trained professionals produces quality tattoos–unique creations clients love. The shop has an inclusive, lively atmosphere. Artists handle realism, fine line and traditional tattoos. The studio is hygienic and open Tuesday to Saturday.

Julie Marshall wrote on Google, “These people value you ... They care and take pride in their work. They go all out to make your experience amazing.”

Sisters Inked

Sisters Inked is a safe space to be professionally tattooed in Canberra. Ethical, inclusive and vegan, Sisters Inked is fun, creative, inclusive and progressive. Its busy studio, located in the heart of the city, is clean and welcoming. Sisters Inked creates small, delicate tattoos through to full-on sleeves. A private room is available.

Sarah Adamson wrote on Google, “The studio is inviting, safe and inclusive, the staff friendly and kind and artists welcoming, accommodating and so, so talented!”

Chris Cashmore’s Tattoo Power

Tattoo Power is Canberra’s longest established tattoo studio, with a combined experience of over 75 years in the professional tattoo industry, and approval from the ACT Health Department. Furthermore, all team members, some of whom are multi award-winning artists, are members of the Professional tattooing Association of Australia – rest assured, whether you’re after custom or flash, you are in more than capable hands here!

As Melinda Cleaver writes in their Facebook review, “Matt did my tattoo today and it is amazing! So happy with the work done. I WILL be back! Absolutely amazing work and fantastic customer service.”

Outkast Tattoo Co.

Outkast Tattoo Co.’s talented artists have extensive experience and provide quality, respectful customer service. The quality of work is second-to-none. Customers head to the studio for small tattoos through to sleeves loaded with detail. Artists work across all styles and collaborate with customers to create the right tattoo. Outkast Tattoo Co. has a long list of repeat customers.

Michaela Scheetz wrote on Google, “Great tattoo shop. My partner and I have been back twice and are so happy with our tattoos.”

If this article was useful to you, you might want to check out our articles the best microblading specialists in Canberra and the best body piercing specialists in Canberra for some more information. Or, if you’re looking to get your tattoo removed, our article on the best laser tattoo removalists in Canberra may be of help to you.

Your experience with tattoo studios in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback, if you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you recently visited any of the studios we listed for your latest tattoo? Tell us about it in the comments!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most painful body part to get tattooed?

Everyone experiences pain differently, and there's no area of the body that won't feel any pain at all. That being said, areas of the body with less muscle (think ribs, hip-bones, calves and the back) can be more painful than muscular areas of the body, such as upper arms and thighs. If you're concerned about the pain, ask the studio if they have any numbing cream. When applied at least half an hour before the tattooing starts, the cream will numb the skin and make the experience a bit more comfortable for you.

How do I prepare for a tattoo?

To prepare for a tattoo, make sure you've eaten and are hydrated before the appointment - you might be sitting for a long time, or the pain might affect you. You should also make sure the area of skin that will be getting tattooed is clean and dry. And, most importantly, make absolutely sure that you want the tattoo, and that the artist is giving you exactly what you want!

How do I look after my tattoo?

Tattoo aftercare is a simple process but requires proper maintenance. After all, a fresh tattoo is a wound! Your artist will give you a detailed guide to aftercare, and you can usually purchase tattoo-specific cream at the studio, but generally the rules are to keep the tattoo dry and clean with unscented, antibiotic soap, and apply moisturiser a couple times a day to protect the skin.

Will an artist tattoo whatever I ask them?

No. Not only do most artists have their own style that they will stick with, but there might be some images or texts that they are not comfortable with tattooing. Make sure you consult with the artist ahead of time to make sure that they will be able to do what you're after.

Can I get tattooed without an appointment?

Yes! Most tattoo studios will take walk-in clients, which means you simply walk into the studio and they will try and get you tattooed that day. It might not be right away, and you'll probably only be able to get something small, but it's definitely possible.

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Danielle Torres Prieto12:13 pm 18 Nov 18

Would NEVER recommend Charli Faure or Tatts On Tatts Off. The customer service is arrogant & appalling! I booked several months ago for 2 full days & did the right thing by making my appointments a month apart so that my skin had time to heal inbetween sessions. My appointment was rescheduled 3 times and ended up so that they made my appointment back to back days. I raised concerns at the time about this and was told that “you will be fine”. I then call back to say not comfortable with this and they tell me I will have to wait 6 months to change the date. I ask if I can swap a full day session with another customer but the girl says she isn’t willing to try this and offers absolutely zero assistance! I then say that I would like to cancel my appointment because the size of the skin area would be very big and more prone to infection not to mention two full days in a row would be quiet painful. I called back this morning asking to keep the two days until such time that I have a chat and get advice from Charli artist and I am then called back to say she refuses to tattoo me because I was rude to her staff! At no time was I rude! I asked them to assist me & they refused! I provided workarounds which obviously pissed the girl off because it would mean her having to make a couple of phone calls. This arrogance is absolutely atrocious! Do they think that their time is the only valuable time? I had to swap around leave dates and work meetings each time they moved my appointment &then when I ask for them to compromise…they BAN me!

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