A Belgian teen is suing a tattoo artist for thousands of pounds after waking up with 56 stars tattooed across her face - after she says she asked for just three.

The Daily Mail reports that eighteen-year-old Kimberley Vlaminck paid NZ$145 for the work in her hometown of Courtrai, Belgium.

She says the Romanian tattooist misunderstood her request in French and English - and that she fell asleep while he applied the tattoo.

See photos of her tattoo here.

"It is terrible for me," Vlaminck told the Mail.

"I cannot go out on to the street, I am so embarrassed. I just look horrible.

"I think he didn't understand what I wanted. He spoke only fractured English and French. But I explicitly said in my native tongue, French, and also in a little bit of English when he looked confused, that I wanted three little stars only near my left eye."

But tattooist Rouslan Toumaniantz says the teen knew exactly what she wanted, and told the Mail that she was awake and looked into the mirror several times.

He said the trouble started when her father and boyfriend saw the work.

"She asked for 56 stars and that's what she got," he said.

She has started legal proceedings in Belgium, claiming NZ$26,000 to have the tattoo removed.

A Belgian psychologist told the Daily Mail: "The trauma this girl must be feeling is indescribable. She feels like a circus freak - and no wonder, because she looks like one."

- NZ HERALD STAFF