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Best Tattoo Shops in Des Moines, IA

Our Recommended Top 6

We did the research for you!

  • Licensing
  • User Reviews
  • Mystery Shopping Calls

Our goal is to connect people with the best local professionals. We scored Des Moines Tattoo Shops on more than 25 variables across five categories, and analyzed the results to give you a hand-picked list of the best.



6Top Picks

Learn about our selection process.


featured provider = Featured Provider

6949 University Avenue, Windsor Heights, IA 50324 Rating

Review Sources

4.0 (33)
5.0 (24)

Why choose this provider?

Work of Ink is a custom tattoo shop that serves clients in Des Moines. The tattoo artists from this shop perform cover-up tattoos, custom tattoos, and symbiotic tattooing. They also use several cover-up designs that include birds, skulls, and abstract images. For custom tattoos, the shop encourages clients to look for pictures that relate to their ideas online. Tattoo artist Audrey Karine established Work of Ink. She has been tattooing since 2006 and she specializes in tattoos that integrate personal ideas.

  • Body Art
  • Traditional Tattoos

2322 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311 Rating

Why choose this provider?

Yankee Doodle Dandy Tattoo is a studio in Des Moines that has been offering tattoo services since it was established in 1997. The team consists of a trio of tattoo artists, namely Ace Wilde, Dan Koenig, and Steve Von Riepen, who have over 60 years of combined experience between them. The studio provides a variety of designs such as traditional, classic imagery, sacred geometry, and floral. They can also expand on clients' ideas to meet individual preferences. Guests spots are also offered to other tattoo artists.

  • Traditional Tattoos

3800 Douglas Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50310 Rating

Review Sources

4.9 (52)
4.0 (4)

Why choose this provider?

Skin Kitchen Tattoo is a team of artists that serves the Des Moines area. Its owner and founder, Jack, has been working in the tattoo industry for more than 25 years. Although he works with a wide range of styles, he is known for his photorealistic black and gray work. The artist is committed to making the tattooing experience positive and enjoyable for clients. Skin Kitchen Tattoo, which was established in 1996, also houses the Axiom Body Piercing Studio.

  • Traditional Tattoos

2201 East University, Des Moines, IA 50317 Rating

Review Sources

4.6 (9)
4.0 (1)

Why choose this provider?

Located in Des Moines, Lucky Gal Tattoo and Piercing - Eastside DSM offers a professional tattoo and body piercing experience. The shop is home to 16 tattoo artists and two piercers, each with a unique style to meet individual client tastes. Chris Pruisner founded the shop after two years of learning the art of tattooing. Laser removal services, performed by certified laser removal specialists, are also available but only available at its Ankeny location.

  • Traditional Tattoos

707 South Ankeny Boulevard, Ankeny, IA 50023 Rating

Review Sources

4.5 (6)

Why choose this provider?

Pink Elephant Tattoo Studio is an Ankeny tattoo parlor that welcomes clients from Des Moines. Its professional artists specialize in creating bespoke tattoos in a wide range of styles, from bold and Neo-traditional to colorwork and Japanese traditional. Clients looking to have old tattoos removed may avail of the shop's non-laser tattoo removal, which makes use of a tattoo machine and a topical numbing solution to reduce the pain during the procedure. The Studio also has an in-house body piercer.

  • Traditional Tattoos

843 42nd Street, Des Moines, IA 50312 Rating

Review Sources

4.0 (8)
4.8 (1)

Why choose this provider?

Sacred Diamond Tattoo is a Des Moines-based full-service tattoo shop that has been operating for over 10 years dedicated to meeting the tattoo needs of its clients. Its team of artists has decades of combined experience in tattooing and is skilled in various designs from color to black-and-gray, pin-up, and neo-traditional tattoos. Specializing in bold traditional Americana and Japanese styles, they also accommodate custom and flash tattoos, as well as touch-ups and cover-ups.

  • Traditional Tattoos
  • Neotraditional Tattoos

Compare our Top Tattoo Shops

NameExpertise RatingAddressPromotionsLearn more
Work of Ink
6949 University Avenue, Windsor Heights, IA 50324
Yankee Doodle Dandy Tattoo
2322 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311
Skin Kitchen Tattoo
3800 Douglas Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50310
Lucky Gal Tattoo & Piercing
2201 East University, Des Moines, IA 50317
Pink Elephant Tattoo & Piercing Studio
707 South Ankeny Boulevard, Ankeny, IA 50023
Sacred Diamond Tattoo
843 42nd Street, Des Moines, IA 50312


  • Introduction

    A tattoo is body art that leaves permanent designs or pictures on the skin. They're applied via needle by depositing ink onto the second layer of skin. While the first tattoos were applied manually with a single needle that was first saturated in ink, today's tattoos are done by a machine. These machines feature multiple needles that pierce the skin simultaneously, speeding up the process and creating tattoos that are more visually appealing.

    Tattoos are usually done in licensed tattoo shops. These shops adhere to health and cleaning standards and are typically regulated by state and municipal governments. While tattoos are generally safe, there are associated risks, including skin infections. Any person getting a tattoo is legally required to be at least 18 years of age. It's also inadvisable for anyone who isn't in good health to get a tattoo, as the body requires time and energy to heal and prevent infection.

  • What should you know before getting your first tattoo?

    Before getting tattooed, it's important to think about design and placement. A tattoo is a permanent fixture on the body, and it's important not to rush into things. You should also consider the artist's background and take time to look into their portfolio to ensure their style best suits the tattoo you want.

  • What are some examples of tattoo styles?

    There are many types of tattoo styles, and it's important for a person to familiarize themselves with them before they select a design. Styles include:

    • Americana: Bold lines, vivid colors
    • Japanese: Large images that cover the back, arms, and legs
    • Black and Grey: Colorless grayscale designs
    • Stick-n-Poke: Thick, bold, black lines and small designs
    • Blackwork: Bold black lines and larger geometric shapes

  • Is tipping expected & how much to tip on your tattoo?

    While most tattoo artists don't expect tips, it's often appreciated. If you're happy with the work your tattoo artist has done, consider tipping between 15% and 25%. If the tattoo requires multiple sessions, a flat amount per session is appropriate.

  • What are some basic tattoo aftercare tips?

    It's important to follow all aftercare directions provided by the tattoo artist. Usually, artists will advise clients to ensure that tattoos are kept clean and dry. After showering, the tattoo should be gently patted dry and treated with Vaseline or another tattoo aftercare product.

  • What are the best practices for healing a tattoo?

    After removing the dressing, it's important to keep the tattoo clean, dry, and uncovered. Applying Vaseline or another recommended ointment can help to speed up the healing process. As they heal, tattoos can sometimes itch, but it's vital that you don't scratch or pick at it.

  • What are the most and least painful places to get a tattoo?

    Parts of the body that have the most nerve endings are generally the most painful to have tattooed. That includes the head, ears, and face. Places that don't have a lot of fat, such as the fingers, shoulder blades, and feet, are typically more painful. The least painful parts of the body to get tattooed include the outer arm, buttocks, and thighs.