The best tattoo studios in Canberra


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.

Freestyle Tattoo Studio

The enthusiastic team behind Freestyle Tattoo Studio are custom and specialty tattooing experts. With years of experience and a seriously killer reputation, you know your skin is in safe hands at Canberra’s leading independent studio. The talented artists at Freestyle cover a wide range of styles between them, from the popular fine-lined illustrative designs to watercolour and traditional, all done in vegan ink.

As happy customer Chris Mason writes in their Google review, “I had my first tattoo with Mikaela, and it was an incredible experience! Everyone made me comfortable from the moment I walked through the door. Will be back as soon as I can.”

Armani Artspace

Owned and operated by married couple George and Jan, this small, independent home-studio in Narrabundah is dedicated to providing comfort and quality to all clients. With decades of experience behind them and able to cater to any kind of style you may wish, from black and grey to full colour and even white ink, at Armani Artspace you can sit back watch some Netflix on their TV while you get tattooed – and maybe have a bit of a cuddle with their little furry mascot, Moet!

Facebook user and satisfied customer Jemma Burridge wrote about their experience at Armani Artspace, “Amazing artist, and so accommodating – cannot wait to go back!”

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.”

Tattoo Xtreme & Body Piercing

Tattoo Xtreme boasts a team of versatile and friendly artists who have over 22 years of experience between them. With a gallery of happy clients boasting beautifully detailed full-back pieces, sleeves covering entire limbs and equally beautiful fine-line and small pieces, Tattoo Xtreme is able to cater to anyone’s taste and preferences.

Chloe Smith had this to say about their experience getting their first tattoo at Tattoo Xtreme, “Went in yesterday to get my first tattoo from Carbine. The piece is absolutely beautiful, and he was lovely. I can’t help but smile when I see my arm.”

Canberra Ink

Canberra Ink, who recently re-opened in 2019, are committed to being the best, friendliest and cleanest studio in town. With a team of 6 artists who all believe in the power and beauty in tattoos, as well as their significance (Canberra Ink is teamed up with non-profit Survivors Ink to provide breast cancer survivors with FREE realistic 3D nipple tattooing in Canberra), Canberra Ink is dedicated to making your tattoo experience comfortable and meaningful.

Facebook user Bianca Collier wastes no time in her review of Canberra Ink, “Best tattoo shop in Canberra. Do yourself a favour and get in there!”

Outkast Tattoo Co.

Outkast Tattoo Co. is relatively new to the Canberra tattoo scene, located in the heart of Braddon. Their small but capable and talented team of artists can do custom and flash pieces in any style, from black and grey illustrative to bright Americana and everything in between.

See what Facebook user Josh Buckley had to say about their experience at Outkast in this review, “Awesome friendly shop with great artist’s! The atmosphere is always great everyone’s having a good time couldn’t recommend Outkast highly enough!”

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.

What's Your Opinion?

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One Response to The best tattoo studios in Canberra
Danielle Torres Prieto Danielle Torres Prieto 12:13 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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