Anvil Tattoo Meaning, Designs & Ideas

An anvil tattoo can have several different meanings depending on the person who chooses the tattoo. Many times, a tattoo of an anvil represents a person’s interest in metalwork. Anvil tattoos can also symbolize qualities like stability, pride, and strength. These tattoos may also be associated with musical acts or towns of the same name.

In this article, we will look at the various interpretations of an anvil tattoo.

All About Anvils

The anvil is a type of tool that is used in metalworking. A blacksmith, or other metalworker, uses the anvil to shape or forge metal. It acts as the base upon which metal is placed; a hammer or other tool is used to then turn the metal into a particular shape. Metalworkers use anvils to make all sorts of things, including weapons, armor, tools, and decorative items.

An anvil is a large, heavy piece of metal that is securely fastened to the ground to keep it from moving. Thousands of years ago, anvils were made of stone; today, they are typically made of steel. Two main parts of the anvil are the flat top which is called the face and the cone-shaped piece called the horn.

Anvil Tattoos

These tattoos may consist of the anvil on its own or an anvil with a hammer. Sometimes the hammer is shown sitting idle on top of the anvil; other times it is shown striking the face of the anvil. Occasionally there are other images included in these tattoos, such as a flower or sun.

Men are more likely to get a tattoo of an anvil; they are also more likely to be metalworkers who use this tool. Common locations for anvil tattoos include the shoulder and forearm. These tattoos are typically done in black and gray ink, though accompanying images may use color.

Metalwork Professions

The image of the anvil is most commonly associated with its use as a metalworking tool. In fact, people who are unfamiliar with metalwork may not recognize this image at all. One of the more common reasons a person will get a tattoo of an anvil is because they use this tool to forge metal.

Someone who chooses an anvil tattoo might be a professional metalworker or they may practice metalwork as a hobby. Getting a tattoo of an anvil shows that the person takes pride in their work and feels that metalwork has a central role in their identity. The tattoo represents a major part of who they are and displays their craftsmanship.

Family History 

For many individuals who work in blacksmithing or metalwork, the craft was passed down from previous generations. They may have learned the profession from their father, who learned from their father, and so on. Some families have several generations of metalworkers.

Many tattoos are related to family heritage and traditions–the anvil tattoo included. A person may choose to get an anvil tattoo to represent the craft that they learned from their family. It is a nice way to combine their love of their career and their pride in their family.

Strength and Stability

Anvils, since they are made of hard metal, are incredibly heavy and strong. They also have the ability to withstand intense heat and pressure. Anvils need to be securely attached to the ground, for example, with chains. This prevents them from moving during metalwork and ensures the safety of the worker.

A person may choose to get a tattoo of an anvil if they are looking for an image that represents strength and stability. Someone who has been through a rough patch in their life may be seeking out these qualities in order to move forward in their life. The image of the anvil can encourage the individual to be mentally strong and create a stable foundation for themselves. 

Alternatively, people might pick the image of the anvil for a tattoo to represent physical strength. This is a good choice because the anvil itself is made of strong metal and it is also a requirement that the person using it is strong as well. Forging metal into different shapes requires the worker to have great strength.


The anvil can also act as a symbol of creation. Through the use of this tool, people are able to take pieces of metal and turn them into various objects. The metalworker uses the anvil to produce beautiful or purposeful things. An anvil symbolizes the ability to create something meaningful.

A person may choose to get a tattoo of an anvil if they are looking for an image to represent creation. People who have been through challenging experiences often feel as though they have been forged into a new person. The anvil tattoo represents how the intense pressure or difficulties changed them into someone better.

Anvil Band

The heavy metal music group Anvil was formed in Toronto in 1978. This Canadian band features Steve Kudlow as its lead singer. Kudlow has a tattoo of an anvil on his arm. The band is known for their songs Straight Between the Eyes, Free as the Wind, and Metal on Metal.

Fans of the band Anvil might choose to get a tattoo of an anvil. This shows their appreciation for the band and their music. Similarly, someone who worked with the band on tour or helped with the production of their albums may choose an anvil tattoo. The tattoo is a great way to illustrate the memories that their music holds.

Places in North America

In addition to being a metalworking tool and a heavy metal band, Anvil is also the name of at least three places in the United States and Canada. There is an Anvil in Michigan, located near the town of Ramsay. There is also a place called Anvil in Ohio, near Stewartsville. In British Columbia, there is an Anvil Island located in the Howe Sound.

A person who was born and raised in one of these areas may decide to get an anvil tattoo to represent their home. Many tattoos are chosen because of the connection they have with the place a person grew up in.

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