Shoulder Tattoos: Something for Everyone!
Shoulder tattoos are popular among all kinds of ink lovers.
Whether you’re more into simple, minimalist designs or are starting a sleeve with a shoulder tattoo, we’ve got some ideas to inspire you!
Ready to get inked? Head on over to jhaiho.com to book your tattoo appointment today!
Just like with ear tattoos, shoulder tattoos are quite easy to hide – all you have to do is throw on a jacket!
But unlike ear tattoos, shoulder tattoos are just as easy to show off. That makes them the perfect summer accessory!
Another great thing about shoulder tattoos is they’re perfect for someone who is looking to get a larger tattoo but would prefer to start with something small. When you’re ready, just ask your artist to extend your shoulder tattoo to your collarbone or neck all the way up to your jaw, or to your shoulder blade and down your back, to your chest or all the way across to your other shoulder, or down your arm. You can even gradually extend a shoulder tattoo into a half or full sleeve over time. Talk about versatile!
So what kinds of designs look the best on a shoulder? Let’s find out!
Shoulder Tattoo Designs
Let’s start with something simple – floral designs.
These shoulder tattoos tend to be quite popular for girls – but that doesn’t mean it is limited to only one group of ink lovers!
Flowers and plant leaves are some of the best for understated designs. They look perfectly dainty on the shoulder, so if you’re in the market for a very minimal piece – we’d recommend one of these!
If, however, you’re looking for something with a little more of an impact, floral designs can extend a little further in to the shoulder or even down the arm for a slightly more dramatic effect.
You can also extend the floral tattoo across your chest for a much larger piece.
Need some help selecting a tattoo size? Visit The Jhaiho Tattoo Sizing Guide
Flowers not really your thing? Try mandalas! While most mandalas are drawn as circles and are thus perfect for shoulders, you can definitely get creative and try something different!
You can also get something mandala-inspired with an ornamental shoulder tattoo.
If ornamental patterns are not for you, you can find inspiration in anything, from the mundane – to the delicious!
Here’s a creative spin on the usual circle shoulder tattoos! If you had a cookie tattoo, what kind would it be?
Inspiration can also come from nature – sun and moon tattoos are quite popular right now! They represent duality and the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. These tattoos are also popular with couples, siblings, and best friends because they represent balance and harmony, as well as masculinity and femininity.
You can also draw inspiration from other forms in the sky – such as clouds! While some think clouds represent bad omens and misfortune – what with all that thunder, lightning, and storming! – others see clouds as a symbol of balance between emotions and intellect.
Ready to get inked? Head on over to jhaiho.com to book your tattoo appointment today!
Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? Try something a little less classic and a lot more abstract!
You could also go for a traditional idea, such as feathers, and give it a very modern twist with bright colours.
Speaking of feathers – how about an animal shoulder tattoo! These can range from absolutely adorable to absolutely terrifying – your pick!
You could also give your animal shoulder tattoo a quirky edge, like this alien cat tattoo!
Koi fish represent change and the overcoming of adversity. Carry this precious little reminder around on your shoulder as you brave the world together!
Another animal that represents change is the butterfly! And butterfly shoulder tattoos are a beautiful way to remind yourself that you are always transforming and growing.
Shoulder tattoos also work beautifully with geometric patterns layered in!
One animal that is popular as a shoulder tattoo is the bird – and which bird you choose depends all on you! It sits perched on your shoulder for life, adding beauty and wisdom to everything you do.
Need some help picking a bird? Visit Animal Tattoos and Their Meanings for some ideas!
Another popular animal for shoulder tattoos is the dragon. Specifically, a Japanese dragon! A staple in the Irezumi style, these tattoos often extend to the chest, back, or down the arm – and make for quite an impressive sight!
Irezumi shoulder and chest tattoos, especially of animals like dragons tend to represent strength and the warrior spirit, which is probably why these shoulder tattoos are most popular among men.
If you’re on the hunt for more Irezumi dragon tattoo designs and ideas, check out Dragon Tattoos and Their Meanings
Moving on to some hobby tattoos! Since a shoulder tattoo is both something you can keep intimate and something you can show off, it is a great place to get your interests and passions inked.
And as we said, the shoulder is a great place to start if you’re looking to get a larger tattoo later on. A lot of great sleeves start that way, especially ones inspired by pop-culture!
You can even get some great horror tattoos inked – if that’s your thing! Any Nosferatu fans in the house?
For more horror tattoo ideas, visit Halloween Tattoos: Demons, Zombies, Vampires, and more!
Greek mythology’s Medusa is a fan-favourite when it comes to blackwork tattoos, and with good reason – she looks gorgeous in them!
Love travelling? Get a wanderlust shoulder tattoo! This stunning circle tattoo was inspired by the beaches of Hawaii – anyone else feel like taking a spontaneous vacation right about now?!
Since the shoulder tattoo is a more literal way to ‘carry something on your shoulder‘, it also makes a great spot for dedication tattoos.
For something more understated, you can get a piece that has deeper symbolism. Black flowers, especially black roses, for example, represent grief, loss, and mourning, as well as healing and hope for the future.
If more modern styles don’t suit your taste, you can try a more classic shoulder tattoo. To make it extra special, you can try adding a name or date to it.
Dedication tattoos are also popular for pet owners! Get your favourite furball inked in the most adorable fashion!
For more dedication tattoo ideas, visit Dedication Tattoos: Honouring Family
If none of these do it for you – let’s try something FAR more dramatic!
Illusion and 3D tattoos are hugely in fashion right now. And circle shoulder tattoos are a classic. Put them together and you get something pretty wild!
Ornamental circles are a classic, but you can combine these with some larger mandala designs (or make one of your own!) for a statement piece that really, well, makes a statement!
Expand on a mandala shoulder tattoo idea by adding other spiritual elements, such as yin and yang to it.
You could also try using sacred geometry in a shoulder tattoo for a stunning effect!
And if you’re looking for something even more extensive – here’s a design that combines all of the above! Mandala patterns for spirituality, floral elements for beauty, Yggdrasil from Nordic culture, and a tiny dedication in the middle to tie it all together.
Visit Tattoos of Europe: Norse Mythology and Symbolism for more Nordic tattoo ideas!
Remember – design ideas are simply inspiration.
When you combine elements that make you who you are, you can create something that is uniquely you!
How to Get a Shoulder Tattoo
As with all tattoos, some basic rules apply when getting a shoulder tattoo:
- Get consulted: Meet with your artist at least once before getting inked to discuss your tattoo design, cost, and get some tips about preparing for your session.
- Speak freely: Tell your artist about yourself! The more they know about you, the more uniquely they can customize your tattoo so it suits you perfectly.
- Stay sober: Refrain from drinking or ingesting any drugs for up to 48 hours before your appointment, as these substances can affect how the tattoo sits in your skin and how well you heal.
- Keep your artist informed: Inform your artist if you are on any medication, especially blood thinners. Also inform them of any health issues you deal with, especially ones like diabetes.
- Be on time: Try not to schedule too many other appointments around your tattoo session as it can often take longer than estimated, especially for larger tattoos or placements that are a little more difficult to ink on – like the shoulder. And never rush your artist – unless you want to get a bad tattoo!
- Dress appropriately: Wear loose-fitting clothing in black so your artist can access the area to be tattooed easily and the ink won’t end up staining and ruining your clothes.
- Don’t bargain: Discuss any price-related concerns in your consultation. After that, don’t bargain! Artists invest a lot of time and money into their craft and all art must be properly compensated. And if you like what you get, be sure to tip your artist! A standard tip in the tattoo industry is 15-20% of your total bill.
- Follow proper tattoo care: Tattoo care begins right after you book your appointment. Keep the area to be tattooed clean and moisturized, stay sober and limit your caffeine intake, and follow the aftercare tips recommended by your artist.
How to Care for a Shoulder Tattoo
Shoulder tattoos are on a spot that we use quite often – especially if you’re into sports or dancing! Caring for a shoulder tattoo, therefore, means you might need to do a little extra to make sure it heals perfectly.
- Keep it clean: Make sure to cleanse and moisturize twice daily!
- Keep it dry: You might need to refrain from activities you might usually enjoy for up to four weeks while your tattoo heals. Since tattoos should not be exposed to water bodies, sweat, or too much heat, that rules out everything from exercising to swimming, spas, and saunas.
- Keep it covered? Tattoos are generally kept covered while they heal, but shoulder tattoos might be difficult to keep covered since all clothing will rub up against it, which could hinder the healing process. Instead, try to stay out of the sun and keep your tattoo away from dust and dirt.
For a full breakdown on how to care for a tattoo, visit The Jhaiho Tattoo Care Guide
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After finding some design inspiration, read about how Arpita designs her own tattoos and how her tattoos change and grow – just as she does!
Have your own stories to tell? Head on over to jhaiho.com to book your tattoo appointment and get inked today!
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Looking for more tattoo inspiration? Browse our site!
- Dedication Tattoos: Honouring Family
- Quote Tattoos: On Life, Love, and Self-Discovery
- Mandala Tattoos: Find Meaning in Sacred Geometry
- Tattoos of Asia: Irezumi and the Art of Storytelling
Looking for the right tattoo artist? Visit Tattoo Artists in Bangalore: Finding the Best Artists in Town
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