Hand Tattoos: Designs & Meanings!

An old-school tattoo of a scorpion


Want some tattoo inspiration? Allow us to give you a hand!

Ready to get inked? Head on over to jhaiho.com and book your appointment today!

Hand Tattoo Meanings

Hand tattoos have been extremely popular throughout the history of tattooing.

Tribal tattoos were often placed on various parts of the body, including the hands. Such markings were usually prominent as tattoos for girls.

The Rabari, an ethnic group of India and Pakistan, for instance, would place tattoos all over their body including their arms and hands as a symbol of their faith in magic.

A woman of the Rabari group from India and Pakistan wearing traditional clothing with her arm tattoos visible
A Rabari woman with arm and hand tattoos

Hand tattoos are not only stunning to look at but are also quite symbolic.

The hands are one of the ways we interact with the world. They form a connection between us and our environment.

A minimalist tattoo of a boat on the wrist
Boats represent a journey to where we want to be
A minimalist wrist tattoo of a compass
A compass symbolizes finding one’s way home

Besides that, they are also a very visible part of the body, which is why so many ancient cultures decorated their arms with jewellery and other forms of adornment.

Ornamental chain tattoo on the wrist
Ornamental tattoos often mimic jewellery

People that get tattoos on their arm are often thought to be bold and outgoing, but more importantly – they are thought to be quite unique!

A minimalist script tattoo that reads "free" on the side of the palm
Live free, live proud

Hand tattoos are a rather daring choice in a world where the stigma around tattooing still exists.

We use our hands in social interactions, such as through handshakes and gestures, as well as in daily activities such as writing or household chores.

This makes hand tattoos a very visible form of self-expression.

Hand tattoos of a butterfly
Butterflies represent change and joy

Combined with how elegant and classy hand tattoos can look, this also makes it a very artistic form of self-expression!

Hand Tattoos: Designs & Meanings

Finger Tattoos

Finger tattoos are often one of the least recommended placements since, in addition to being quite painful to get, they fade quite easily.

A minimalist extra-small tattoo of a giraffe silhouette on the ring finger
Giraffes represent self-acceptance and self-love

Nonetheless, they hold a unique fascination for most people! They are usually smaller, minimalist pieces, often with simple yet profound meanings.

A minimalist tattoo of a crow silhouette
Crows symbolize health and wealth, luck and fortune, magic and mystery

Finger tattoos are also perfect for anyone looking to get a small tattoo that is visible yet not too obvious.

A linework tattoo of a shark fin
Shark fins symbolize status, class, and wealth

Finger tattoos also work really well as couple tattoos!

Minimalist small couple tattoos of crowns
Couple finger tattoos

A quick note of caution though! Since these tattoos fade easily, they will require a lot more care to maintain.

Find out how to properly care for your tattoos at The Jhaiho Tattoo Care Guide

Knuckle Tattoos

While most finger tattoos have a more graceful look to them, knuckle tattoos create a much stronger impression. Due to this, they are often thought of as prison or gang tattoos.

The most common knuckle tattoos are four or eight-letter words placed across the fingers of one or both hands.

A knuckle hand tattoo that reads 'free'

You can also get symbols instead of words as knuckle tattoos, which makes for a perfect way to get several small tattoos that mean different things to you!

Sleeve tattoos
Finger tattoos work beautifully as part of a sleeve!
A collection of finger tattoos with the symbols of various DC comic heroes
DC heroes as finger tattoos!

Knuckle tattoos remain a relatively unpopular placement for tattoos since most people think of them as socially or professionally unacceptable.

Yet, knuckle tattoos have been gaining in popularity and can actually be quite beautiful!

Minimalist script tattoos using the symbols found on runes
Runic symbols as knuckle tattoos
A blackwork tattoo of a deer head on the knuckles
Deer symbolize intuition, sensitivity, and gentleness

Want more animal tattoo meanings? Check out Animal Tattoos and their Meanings

Palm Tattoos

While not one of the most popular kinds of hand tattoos, palm tattoos make for quite an interesting choice.

They’re extremely painful to get for most people and fade faster than most other hand tattoos, but they’re a great placement if you’re looking to experiment a bit!

A linework tattoo of eyes within triangles on both palms
The all-seeing eyes!

If you prefer something more futuristic, try a 3D or illusion tattoo – such as this awesome biomechanical hand tattoo!

A hyperrealism illusion tattoo of a bio-mechanical hand
Illusion tattoo of a biomechanical hand

If a palm tattoo is a little too edgy for you, you could try a tattoo on the back of the hand instead.

A realism tattoo of a scorpion
Scorpions represent passion and a quest for truth
An old-school American classic tattoo of a tiger versus a panther
Old-school American tattoo featuring a tiger and a panther
Wreaths represent eternity, growth, and an everlasting life
A blackwork flower tattoo on the back of the hand
Flower tattoo on the back of the hand

Tattoos on the back of the hand can also be extended to the fingers, wrist, and arm, such as in this gorgeous piece!

A blackwork and linework tattoo on the hand using sacred geometry and mandala patterns
Sacred geometry uses patterns to tell the tale of the universe

Wrist Tattoos

Wrists are quite dainty and are thus a perfect placement for minimal tattoos!

A minimalist linework tattoo of a camera on the wrist
A tiny blackwork camera!
A linework tattoo of a lizard
Lizards symbolize the ability to overcome anything
A blackwork minimalism micro-tattoo of a panda bear
Pandas symbolize gentle strength

But that does not mean you can’t get something a bit more extensive tattooed on your wrist!

Tribal armbands are always in style, and this tattoo beautifully combines this classic tattoo with a more modern one – the semicolon.

Mental health minimalist tattoo of a semicolon in an arband
Semicolons tell us ‘the story isn’t over yet’, a perfect reminder to hold on when things are tough

* * *

That’s all folks! Did you find what you were looking for? Head on over to jhaiho.com and book your tattoo appointment today!

Be sure to follow us on Instagram to see what others are getting inked!


Looking for more inspiration? Check out our other posts:

Add comment

Previous post Tattoos Behind the Ear: Peek-a-Boo
Next post Neck Tattoos: Designs & Meanings!


Follow me