Light Bulb Tattoo Meaning, Design & Ideas

It seems like the light bulb has been used as symbolism for a great idea for many years. From our cartoons to movies, the light bulb seems to have been the physical representation of a creative idea. I’m sure you remember when Bugs Bunny (or your favorite cartoon character) came up with a plan and the light bulb emerged above his head representing this idea.

However, the symbol has additional meanings as well and can be modified to represent new and different meanings. In order to represent these meanings, some decide to get a tattoo.

In this post, we will talk about the light bulb and the history behind it. We will go through the meanings and designs of the light bulb tattoo and talk about why some people decide they want to get the image immortalized on their bodies. We will also talk about different light bulb tattoo variations and what they mean to the people wearing them. We hope that by the end of this post, you have a better understanding of the symbolism behind the light bulb tattoo.

Light Bulb Facts

To understand the meaning of the light bulb symbolism, we need to know a bit about the light bulb itself.

For years, the only way to illuminate your home or place of business was by candles or lanterns. The downfall of lanterns and candle-lit homes was the fires that were caused by it. There was a period of electric arc lighting but that was far too bright for small areas, so a new light needed to be created. A smaller light that could work in all cases. In 1880, Thomas Edison patented the first incandescent light bulb to be used commercially.

Many probably don’t know this but there were twenty-three different light bulbs invented before Edison developed his. The idea behind the light bulb was to send an electric current that was powerful enough to create a glow on the filament but not too strong as to create combustion. And this was the hard part about creating a light bulb that could be used for long periods of time. The people who had invented light bulbs before Edison usually dealt with trying to find an inexpensive filament that could produce light for any amount of time.

Edison and his group of “Muckers” ended up determining a carbonized cotton thread was the best filament to use for these light bulbs. Edison was able to produce a light bulb using carbonized cotton thread that produced over 13 hours of continuous light and the rest is history.

Light Bulb Tattoo Meaning

So, this leads us to the meaning of the light bulb tattoo and what Edison’s invention means for the people wearing it.

The light bulb tattoo represents creativity and great ideas. There is a great deal of mention comparing the lights being on to intelligence as well. When a great idea is had, it is said the lights have turned on. There is no more darkness, and all is bright. It can be said that it feels like this when you finally remember what you had been trying to remember or think of the answer to a question. It almost feels as if the lights turned on.

In terms of intelligence, the lit-up light bulb means you are smart or that you have a great idea. Someone might say “the lights aren’t on” when referring to someone and that is in reference to their intelligence.

The light bulb tattoo also represents grace. In terms of finding the answers to questions you have in life; the light bulb tattoo can represent the illuminated path. In addition, those with religious backgrounds will say that God’s grace illuminates the path of your life. The light has always been compared to the higher and many will get this tattoo to represent these ideas.

Light Bulb Tattoo Variations

The light bulb tattoo seems self-explanatory but there are different variations of the light bulb tattoo that should be discussed. Below we will review a few variations of the light bulb tattoo and what they symbolize.

Broken Light Bulb Tattoo

The broken light bulb can symbolize a few things. Depending on what the person wearing it means, the broken light bulb can symbolize a loss or letting go. It might also represent the loss of control or a transition into something better. We would translate the broken light bulb to mean the bright idea or answer to your questions has ventured outside of the limitations of the bulb. However, you might be better served to ask the person wearing it.

Brain Light Bulb Tattoo

Many will get the light bulb tattoo with a human brain as the bulb section of the light. Because of the connection of the light bulb with intelligence and ideas, it’s fitting the brain is used in the depiction of the light bulb tattoo. The person with this tattoo might be letting everyone know that they’re no slouch when it comes to the classroom.

Watercolor Light Bulb Tattoo

The watercolor light bulb tattoo also has a lot to do with the association of the light bulb and ideas and intelligence. Ideas in the mind can flow like water. They are very fluid and tend to arise and go away just like the tide. The watercolor pattern reminds us of this. We have seen many light bulb tattoos showing a broken bulb with watercolor patterns flowing out of the bulb. This would represent the freeing of some great ideas.

There is a lot of interpretation when talking about the light bulb tattoo and we will leave that up to you. Make the light bulb tattoo represent whatever you want but make sure you pick a sold artist to tattoo the image on your body. Look for an artist that has experience in fine-line tattooing or that you just feel comfortable with. If you need help finding an artist to make your vision come true, reach out to us and we would be happy to give you an artist recommendation.

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