Match Tattoo Meaning, Design & Ideas

Humans have been forever fascinated with the idea of fire. Without the discovery of fire, humans would probably not have lasted as long as we have, fire is one of the elements that we use so often throughout everyday life that we tend to take it for granted without realizing it.

Once we have mastered the idea of fire and learned how to start fires, we as humans invented our very own ways to ignite flames and the devices we use are so small and simple they can fit right in our pockets. Before we had lighters that we could conveniently purchase at just about any corner store or market, we had matches that are still used to this day. Matches have an old-school feel to them for this reason, and this is what also makes them so unique.

A simple wooden stick or even cardboard with a mixture of chemicals that combined creates a flammable substance when struck against something rough enough to cause friction to ignite a flame that in which burns for a short period of time, or just enough time for you to light something on fire. This device has been a part of human history for as long as they have been around. Not only is this an object that can help us out in real-life situations but the image of a match can also be taken as a symbol that figuratively speaks to us. Below are examples and different designs of a ‘match’ tattoo.

What is the Match Tattoo Symbolism?

The image of fire by itself sparks a lot of interest in people and to everyone, it may mean something different. The element itself however is a very powerful force that without proper supervision can become extremely destructive. Fire is our friend however, without it, there would be nothing to warm ourselves during the cold winter months and there would be no way to heat up or even cook food. Last but not least, it would be nearly impossible to see our way through the dark without fire or campfires.

This is what makes fire so important to humans, so it is only natural that the symbol of fire or flames being ignited by a match is such a strong piece of imagery. The symbolism behind a lit match shows that there is a light to look toward, even through the darkness you can find your way from the light of a match.

Flash Design

One of the most popular styles to get a tattoo such as a match or a match on fire would be a flash-style tattoo. This shows a cartoony side of the image but also is very vibrant and colorful, flash tattoos always make for great body art pieces. An example of a match tattoo done in this fashion would be to have an image of a lit match with the flames dancing around the center, this image can be accompanied by a banner with a word or phrase attached to it.

Boxed Matches

Matches as you may know sometimes come in a cardboard box. On this box, you can sometimes find interesting designs or the cover for the matches will have pictures of a particular symbol or maybe even a random picture imprinted on the cover. This would also be a great idea for a tattoo design. A picture of a matchbox, perhaps with a lit match on the outside of it, filled with different colors and whatever other image you find suitable to have on the box itself.

Unlit Match

Perhaps you are trying to make a statement and have the flame of the match not present. An unlit match also makes for an interesting design because it gets you thinking a little bit more. An unlit match could signify that you have a burning desire deep down and until you are struck just the right way that light and fire to fight will emerge. A tattoo such as this could be placed just about anywhere you would like since it is such a small and simple idea. A popular place people tend to get match tattoos is on their wrists or even on the top of their thumbs, or the webbing between their pointer finger and thumb.

Add On

If you are a true pyro at heart, chances are you will want to get a tattoo that pertains to flames or something being set on fire. This is a great opportunity for you to think about getting a match tattoo. Since matches are kind of an older way of lighting fires before lighters were available, an image of a match will give your tattoo an old-school feel and they are also very recognizable. Having an image of a match lighting something on fire for instance could show how much power can come from such a small source which is that of a small match, creating a devastating flame.


One of the best things about the matching tattoo is that you can fit it pretty much anywhere on your body that you would like. Since it is such a simple design, having this tattoo on even the smallest areas is likely. The wrist for example is a fantastic spot to put the match, not only will it be visible to others, but it can even be a start to a sleeve if you ever plan on that. A lit match starting at the wrist and the flames working their way up your forearm/arm would make for a thought-provoking and interesting piece.

Basically, no matter where you decide to have this tattoo, it will look decent as long as the proportions are right and nothing is off-center. If you have longer hair and you are looking for a piece for the back of your neck, this is another neat idea.

You can even hide the tattoo if you find it necessary to do so by having your hair down. Having a lit match on the back of your neck could even add to the graphic by making it look as if the match is about to catch fire to your head.

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