It used to be that pretty much the only people who would get hand tattoos were those who already had tats everywhere else on their bodies. Nowadays, hand tattoos are extremely popular because they allow people to get tattoos that just look better on the hands than anywhere else on the body. If you’re planning on getting a hand tattoo or are just thinking about it, this page is for you!
Images placed on the hand are not easily covered up and so careful consideration is generally taken when choosing hand tattoos. These pieces are almost constantly in view of the individual and will generally serve as a reminder of something or someone significant. This is why it is extremely important to think long and hard about what type of hand tattoo you want to get before you commit to it.
Symbols or larger images that reflect an experience in the individual’s life are often placed on the hand. They can cover a very small portion of the owner’s hand or they can cover and possibly wrap around the hand. These images are almost always on top of the hand for everyone to see since the owner is generally happy to share the message that the tattoo is expressing.
Other very common hand tattoos are words like children’s or other loved one’s names, important phrases, or a religious verse. Word hand tattoos can be anything from a single-word tat to a long phrase that covers the entire hand. Again, these are generally placed on top of the hand for both the owner and outside observers to read. These are the types of hand tattoos that serve as constant reminders of what’s most important in the world to the owners.
Alternatively, hand tattoos can be done solely for aesthetic appeal. Line work with small details, floral patterns, animals or creatures, can be placed on the hand because of the way it looks rather than due to a specific meaning. In many of these cases, the images add to a larger piece that goes up the arm, but that’s not always the case. The most important thing to think about when getting a purely aesthetic tattoo is to get one that conforms to your hand.
Regardless, hand tattoos are prominent to the individual and the world around them, giving off an impression of the person themselves. The images generally have a very obvious meaning regardless of how big the tattoo is. The hand is generally not the place to get a personal tattoo that has a very vague meaning to outside observers. You want the image to pop and you want it to quickly express who you are (if it is a meaningful tattoo, that is).
In most cases hand tattoos go with the flow of the hands. For example, designs that go along the outside line of the hand are general going to look better than a diagonal design on top of the hand. Going with the lines usually creates a more pleasing look both to the owner and to outside observers. This is not a hard and fast rule, but in most cases it is better to get a hand tattoo design that conforms to the hand.
Phrases are commonly found on the hands such as biblical verses or quotes that serve as an identification for the individual. When the phrase is rendered across the entire hand other details are often added into the background to fill in the negative space, often integrating down the wrist into work previously done on the arm. Smaller phrases or words can stand alone, garnering focus rather than becoming a part of a larger piece. The key to these types of hand tattoos is that the words are centered in a way to give your hand and the tattoos a clean look.
Henna tattoos are almost exclusively done on the hands, as well as the feet, and are designed to cover nearly the entire surface as a part of Indian celebratory tradition. These are heavily detailed line tattoos that create the look that you have jewelry on. They can be placed on the hands alone, but they usually go from the hand down past the wrist.
Flowers are also very popular hand tattoo designs. If you do want to get a flower tattoo on your hand, we highly recommend going over each flower’s meaning so you can get a hand tattoo that suits your personality. After that it is just a matter of choosing a location on your hand and deciding whether or not you want it to wrap around the hand or even go down past your wrist. Of course, you might also decide to keep the flower very small and just get it on a finger or two.
Themes that focus on duality work very well with the hands where one part of the concept is tattooed on one hand and the coinciding part is tattooed on the other. Opposite themes are used like day and night, sun and moon, light and dark, beauty and beast, life and death, and much more. Complementary images are also often seen such as king and queen, predator and prey, etc. The possibilities are endless with these types of matching tattoos. You can get matching words, two halves of an animal, or anything else you can think of that can look good when “matched up.”
Religious iconography is appropriately placed on the hand as well, reminding the individual of their faith. From crosses to mandalas or images of the Buddha, there are no limitations. While most personal tattoos are kept on other parts of the body, religious tattoos are some of the only ones that work on the hands. This is because religious tats are both personal and the types of designs that people want to share with the world. People who are very proud of their faith are perfect candidates for religious hand tattoos.
While most people think of the hands as places for very small tattoos, you can actually get pretty large and detailed images if you work with the right artist. For example, detailed portrait tattoos are usually thought of as larger arm, back, and chest tats, but the fact is that you can get a great portrait tattoo on your hand too! It’s important to work with an experienced artist though since they are working with a bumpier part of the body and need to get it perfect since it is such a visible area.
Of course, if you are looking for a place to put a very small tattoo, you’ll find plenty of great locations for it on your hand. In fact, smaller images, such as small hearts, paper clips, paper airplanes, and small symbols are absolutely perfect as hand tattoos. These can fit anywhere on your hand, including under a finger or down the side of your pinky.
If you are looking for a great body location for a tattoo that allows you to express yourself, you probably won’t find a better one than the hand. Foot tattoos are usually where you want to put a small, cute image, but the hands are where you want to put the tattoos that really show who you are.
Another reason why hand tattoos have become so popular in recent years is because they allow owners to show off fantastic pieces of art. If you have some type of image in mind and it isn’t overly large, it might just be best as a hand tattoo. Tattoo artists these days have no problem with working with extremely detailed designs on the hands.
Of course, since hand tattoos can pretty much always be seen, you really have to think about how important it is to you to get it in that location before you commit to it. Yes, chances are it will look great, but take the time to be sure that it is something that you will want to look at and want other people to look at for the rest of your life. If you’re happy with it, that’s all that matters!