29 Best Hand Tattoo Designs And Their Meanings

If you want to be a head-turner in the crowd, these tattoo designs will come in handy.

Reviewed by Jingxi Gu, Licensed Tattoo Artist Jingxi Gu Jingxi GuLicensed Tattoo Artist insta_icon
Written by , BE Jyotsana Rao BE linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English) Subhrojyoti Mukherjee MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English) Shreya Mukherjee MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
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Hands have been a favorite spot to get a tattoo on, especially among tribal people, and it is pretty common for most people to get inked on them since tattoos on hands are relatively less painful. Getting a hand tattoo is indeed a bold move, since the hands are the most visible body parts, and getting a tattoo on them can grab attention easily. However, it might be a bit painful. Licensed Tattoo Artist, Jingxi Gu opines, “However beautiful hand tattoos can be, I’d be careful to get these as they typically don’t heal over well over time. Finding a very experienced tattoo artist that can get into the correct skin depth is absolutely necessary.”

protip_icon Fun Fact
The oldest wrist tattoo was found on a 5,300-year-old mummy named Ötzi, a European Tyrolean Iceman.

You can also show them off and easily take care of them, which makes it the perfect place to get inked. There are numerous hand tattoo designs that involve many patterns and styles for the fingers, forearms, wrist, and inner arms. In this article, we have curated a list of the best hand tattoo designs that you can take inspiration from for your next tattoo. Scroll down.

29 Best Hand Tattoo Designs And Their Meanings

1. Skeleton Hand Tattoo

Skeleton Hand Tattoo
Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

This tattoo features a skeleton rendered in white ink and black dots reminding us of the frailty of human life. The skeleton stretches across the back of the hand and forearm, with its skull, ribcage, and pelvis depicted with meticulous detail. Skeletons can symbolize mortality, acting as a reminder to live life to the fullest.

Placement: This design is best suited for the back of the hand and forearm.
Ink Color: White ink for the bones and black ink for shading, outlines, and dotwork is ideal.
Skin tone: This tattoo can look striking on both darker and fairer skin tones.

2. Joker Hand Tattoo

Joker Hand Tattoo
Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

This tattoo captures the Joker’s, an ode to Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal, menacing and maniacal energy perfectly. This tattoo was inspired by one of the critical scenes in the film Joker where the titular character goes on a TV show and then shoots the host, indicating the birth of his alter ego, sending Gotham city into chaos and rebellion. Flames lick at the edges above that symbolizes his chaotic nature. The background also features flowers that hint at a twisted beauty.

Placement: The back of the hand offers the most suitable canvas for this design.
Ink Color: A full spectrum of bold colors best captures the design.
Skin tone: This tattoo can work well on both darker and fairer skin tones.

3. Hamsa Hand Tattoo

Hamsa Hand Tattoo
Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

This tattoo showcases a symbol of guarded grace rendered in intricate black detail. The hamsa hand has its fingers pointing upwards and a blooming flower unfolds its petals within its center. This tattoo signifies the beauty and growth of one’s life. A small watchful eye gazes outwards from the flower’s heart.

Placement: The palm offers a unique and personal location for this hamsa.
Ink Color: Black ink allows the intricate details to stand out clearly.
Skin tone: This tattoo can look great on both darker and fairer skin tones.

4. Snake Hand Tattoo

Snake Hand Tattoo
Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

This tattoo presents a black snake with its body coiled tightly and the head raised above with its tongue flicking out. Snakes are believed to symbolize rebirth and transformation since they shed their skin. The detailed scales and shading create a sense of raw energy. The black background adds a touch of depth and mystery.

Placement: The back of the hand offers a good canvas for this design.
Ink Color: Go for black and grayscale shading.
Skin tone: This tattoo can work well on both darker and fairer skin tones.

5. Wolf Hand Tattoo

Wolf Hand Tattoo
Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

This tattoo features a detailed black illustration of a wolf’s head. The lone creature stares ahead with its eyes gleaming, ready for an adventure. A full moon hangs in the background and a single blade of grass sways beside the wolf’s muzzle. Wolves are often associated with loyalty, guardianship, and intuition.

Placement: The back of the hand provides a good canvas for this design.
Ink Color: Choose black ink as it offers a bold, graphic look.
Skin tone: This tattoo can look great on both darker and fairer skin tones.

6. Mandala Hand Tattoo

Mandala Hand Tattoo
Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

This tattoo showcases a circular mandala with its structure radiating outward like a blooming flower. Delicate flower motifs and petals intertwine within the mandala. This creates a sense of interconnectedness. Mandalas often represent wholeness, while the floral motifs add a layer of growth.

Placement: The back of the hand offers a good canvas for this mandala.
Ink Color: Black or colorful ink can bring this tattoo to life.
Skin tone: This tattoo can look great on both darker and fairer skin tones.

7. Japanese Hand Tattoo

Japanese Hand Tattoo
Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

This tattoo presents a vibrant celebration of Japanese art and culture. It features a geisha, attired in a flowing kimono of rich color, standing amidst a flurry of vibrant blooms. The geisha represents grace and refinement, while the surrounding flowers symbolize growth and nature, adding a touch of beauty.

Placement: The back of the hand provides a suitable canvas for this design.
Ink Color: Go for a full spectrum of colors.
Skin tone: This tattoo can work well on both darker and fairer skin tones.

8. Lion Hand Tattoo

Lion Hand Tattoo
Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team

This hand tattoo features the ultimate symbol of power and regality rendered in striking black. The lion’s head stares intensely at any brave beholder making them question themselves. Above its head rests a decorative motif resembling an artistic rendition of black petals unfolding. Lions are often associated with courage, leadership, and strength and the black color emphasizes these qualities.

Placement: The back of the hand provides a good canvas for this design.
Ink Color: Black ink offers a bold and powerful look.
Skin tone: This tattoo can look great on both darker and fairer skin tones.

9. Skull Hand Tattoo

Skull tattoo on the hand
Image: Instagram @tattoo_art_miho

The skull hand tattoo is a fairly common hand tattoo idea among teenagers and young adults. You can design your skull tattoo with your favorite quote, a bunch of flowers, or other interesting patterns to make it more personal. This skull tattoo covers your entire upper palm and is shaded beautifully.

Placement: This tattoo design can be sported on the back of your hand.
Ink Color: You can go for the basic black ink for this one.
Skin Tone: This tattoo looks great on fair-skinned people.

10. Traditional Hand Tattoo

Sailor girl hand tattoo design
Image: Instagram @usatraditional

Traditional designs are also a great idea for your upper palm. They are especially popular among women who go for small hand tattoos. This sailor girl tattoo is ideal for anyone who loves traveling and symbolizes that the wearer will navigate through the stormy seas of life with ease.

Placement: This is a tattoo design for the back of your hand.
Ink Color: Get it done in bold colors like black, red, and yellow.
Skin Tone: It looks best on fair to medium skin tones.

11. Small Hand Tattoo For Women

Small geometric hand tattoo design
Image: Instagram @dick_mcbutts412

Many women prefer going for small tattoo designs on their hands or fingers. This design is pretty, experimental, and minimalistic, making it one of our top choices for hand tattoos.

Placement: Get this pretty tattoo inked on your fingers.
Ink Color: Black ink will make this small design pop and look mesmerizing.
Skin Tone: This tattoo will look gorgeous on pale and fair skin tones.

12. Henna-Inspired Hand Tattoo

Henna-inspired hand tattoo design
Image: Instagram @custolit

This stunning tattoo design for hands takes design inspiration from traditional henna/mehendi art. Henna designs featuring mandalas, semi-circular motifs, and other abstract patterns look great when done down the length of your arm.

Placement: This is an appealing tattoo for your forearm.
Ink Color: Choose either brown or black ink for this tattoo.
Skin Tone: People with medium and dusky skin tones can sport this tattoo.

13. Fierce Hand Tattoo

Fierce tiger face hand tattoo design
Image: Instagram

Fierce tattoos are perfect to be sported by badass women. Get this rough tiger portrait on the back of your hand if you want to give off a “Back off!” vibe to all your haters.

Body Placement: Best suited for the back of your hand.
Ink Color: Use any ink color that you please.
Skin Tone: Best for people with fair or medium skin tone.

14. Heart Hand Tattoo

Tiny heart tattoo on finger
Image: Instagram @elnegroestudio

A minimalistic line drawing of a heart looks delicate and neat. Such tattoo designs for hands are ideal for both men and women of all ages as they look really cool and quirky.

Placement: Get this tattoo on one of your fingers.
Ink Color: Use jet black ink for this tattoo.
Skin Tone: This tattoo looks great on all skin tones.

15. Dragon Eye Hand Tattoo

Dragon eye hand tattoo design
Image: Instagram

Since time immemorial, dragons have been a symbol of power and magic. These mystical fire-breathing creatures make for a great hand tattoo, especially for people with a bold personality that oozes confidence.

Placement: Get this tattoo inked on the lower half of the back of your hand.
Ink Color: Use vibrant colors like teal blue and electric green.
Skin Tone: Best for fair to medium skin tones.

protip_icon Quick Tip
If you are using vibrant colors, it may need multiple retouches as hand tattoos are more susceptible to fading. Therefore, get a hand tattoo only if you are ready for it.

16. Star Tattoo For The Hand

Small stars hand tattoo design
Image: Instagram

Stars are one of the most common and cute hand tattoo designs of all time. You can get this tattoo with your BFF as a testament to your friendship. It oozes feminine energy, and you can play around with its design to suit your personal style.

Placement: Your fingers and the sides of your hand are the best places for these tattoos.
Ink Color: Black is the most preferred color for this tattoo.
Skin Tone: This tattoo looks great on dusky skin tones.

17. Floral Hand Tattoo

Single flowers on the thumbs for hand tattoo design
Image: Instagram

If you are looking for a tattoo that is cute yet meaningful, consider getting a floral tattoo. When it comes to picking the flower you want to get inked on your hand, there are endless options to choose from. You can go for the flower associated with your birth month or your favorite flower as well.

Placement: Place this tattoo on your thumb or fingers.
Ink Color: You can go for simple black or a stunning watercolor effect in pastel hues.
Skin Tone: People of all skin tones can get this tattoo.

18. Snowflake Hand Tattoo

Snowflakes on the palms for hand tattoo design
Image: Instagram

The palms are a unique area of your hands to get tattooed. Any design you get tattooed on them is bound to look absolutely amazing. Consider getting a snowflake tattooed on your palm to show the world that you are a winter baby at heart.

Body Placement: This design is suitable for your palms.
Ink Color: This will look great with black, brown, or maroon ink.
Skin Tone: This tattoo looks great on all skin tones.

19. Scary Hand Tattoo

Pennywise for scary hand tattoo design
Image: Instagram

Scary tattoo designs have been in fashion for a while now, with many young adults getting characters from horror movies tattooed on their bodies. You can get Pennywise from the movie It inked on your hand to grab attention wherever you go.

Placement: Get this tattoo on the lower half of your hand.
Ink Color: Go for black ink with subtle pink and white highlights.
Skin Tone: This tattoo is suitable for all skin tones.

20. Sparrow Hand Tattoo

Sparrow for hand tattoo design
Image: Instagram @_kathryntaylor

Whether done with a bunch of enchanting colors or as a simple line drawing, a tattoo of a sparrow can look really pleasing. You can customize this design any way you like to add your personal touch to it.

Placement: The area under your thumb at the back of your hand.
Ink Color: A combination of black and gray will suit this tattoo.
Skin Tone: The design is best suited for fair to medium skin tones.

21. Feather Hand Tattoo

Single feather hand tattoo design
Image: Instagram

Simple, graceful, and easy – a feather tattoo is a popular tattoo design amongst people of all ages. While you can use any color for this tattoo, shades of black will make it shine delightfully.

Placement: You can place this cool tattoo on the lower half of your thumb.
Ink Color: Go for black ink.
Skin Tone: This tattoo looks good on all skin tones.

22. Butterfly Hand Tattoo

Butterfly hand tattoo design
Image: Instagram @tattoosbymoney

Butterflies signify hope, optimism, freedom, and happiness. With its unique shades and strokes, this design can be a pretty choice for anyone looking to get a hand tattoo.

Placement: Place this creative tattoo on the back of your hand.
Ink Color: You can play around with a bunch of colors according to your creativity.
Skin Tone: It is suitable for all skin tones.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Since hand tattoos fade easily, it is best to invest in a good moisturizer and sunscreen to increase their longevity.

23. Marine-Inspired Hand Tattoo

Seahorse colored hand tattoo design
Image: Instagram

The oceans are filled with majestic creatures that are often used as inspiration for tattoos. There are a number of marine-inspired tattoos you can get, including sea horses, octopuses, turtles, or whales. Get it done in vivid colors to make it look surreal.

Placement: Any area of your hand is great for a marine tattoo.
Ink Color: Go for bright and vivid colors.
Skin Tone: Ideal for all skin tones.

24. Illuminati Hand Tattoo

Single eye inside a triangle representing illuminti tattoo for the hand
Image: Instagram @aurore_jagua_tattoos

Standing out while making a style statement has never been easier than with this tattoo. A mysterious Illuminati hand tattoo is a sure-shot way to showcase your fascination with conspiracy theories.

Placement: Place this tattoo bang in the center of the back of your hand.
Ink Color: This symbol will look good in either black or brown.
Skin Tone: This piece will look best on fair skin tones.

25. Artsy Hand Tattoo

Artsy hand tattoo with eye roman numerals and script for hand tattoo design
Image: Instagram

Art is subjective. Be it something you have designed on your own or a piece of art by a famous artist, you can never go wrong with an artsy hand tattoo. Just remember to go wild when designing it!

Placement: You can cover the entire back of your hand with one of these tattoos.
Ink Color: Go for any color your heart desires!
Skin Tone: This kind of tattoo will look good on any skin tone.

26. Stick-and-Poke Hand Tattoo

Stick-and-poke hand tattoo design
Image: Instagram @lucianaorozco

Stick-and-poke is a traditional form of tattooing that involves using a needle to manually deposit ink onto your skin. Such tattoos are usually small and don’t have much detailing as the process is tedious and the strokes are quite rough.

Placement: Your fingers are a good place for such tattoos.
Ink Color: Black brings out this sort of design in the best way.
Skin Tone: Suitable for fair to medium skin tones.

27. Heartbeat Hand Tattoo

Heartbeat with name for hand tattoo design
Image: Instagram @mavi_tattoo_

This is the perfect tattoo to get along with your partner. You can design the heartbeat pattern with a quote to add your personal touch to it. It is a pretty popular design when it comes to small hand tattoos for women.

Placement: Get this inked on the side of your hand.
Ink Color: You can go with black or any of the primary colors for this tattoo.
Skin Tone: People with fair as well as dark skin tones can opt for this design.

28. Compass Rose Tattoo

Compass Rose Tattoo
Image: Shutterstock

The rose compass tattoo comprises a compass, rose, nautical signs, and other decorative elements. It symbolizes one’s desire to navigate through life’s challenges, explore life, and find their true calling. The rose represents love and harmony.

Placement: The forearm is a good choice for this tattoo
Ink Color: Black or different colors for the cardinal direction
Skin Tone: Black color works on all skin tones, while a colorful rose tattoo is likelier to look great on lighter skin tones

29. Origami Crane Tattoo

Origami Crane Tattoo
Image: Shutterstock

The origami crane tattoo has a visually appealing design. It symbolizes hope, peace, loyalty, and prosperity. It also serves as a reminder of how far you have come in life. It is advisable to choose colors that hold significance for you.

Placement: Forearm to showcase the design.
Ink Color: Colorful.
Skin Tone: Colors contrast well with fair skin.

Are Hand Tattoos Good?

Short answer: Yes. No tattoo is easy to do, especially when it comes to intricate and detailed designs. Therefore, you need to look out for many pointers before you make an appointment. A skilled tattoo artist, a clean studio, and sanitized tools are some of the things that you need to look out for when getting any kind of tattoo.

Getting a tattoo can be extremely exciting. However, you need to take some safety precautions before and after getting a tattoo to prevent it from getting infected.

How Painful Is It To Get Hand Tattoos?

Hand tattoos tend to be on the more painful side. This is because hands have thin skin with fewer nerve endings. This makes the tattoo needle feel sharper. Since the tattoo has less skin padding and is closer to the bones, it can be very painful. Plus, there is a lack of excess muscle or fat for cushioning. So, you will feel the vibrations more intensely.

Also, pain tolerance varies from person to person, so what may be uncomfortable for one could be bearable for another. It is recommended to consult your tattooist first to see if you could sit through a hand tattoo or use numbing agents like a cream to help ease the pain.

Infographic: Most Popular Hand Tattoo Designs

Getting a tattoo is an exciting procedure by which you can express your personality. The hand is usually the favorite spot for getting a tattoo as it is less painful, and everyone can see it easily. The article discusses some of the best hand tattoo designs to get on the hands, but to know about the most popular ones, check out the infographic below!

most popular hand tattoo designs (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Getting a tattoo is a thrilling experience as you can express your personality through it. These hand tattoo designs with meanings can help you get started on the journey to getting inked. You can add your own spin to them and personalize these designs. Use your hand as your canvas to paint your personality, ideals, and style. However, you should take some safety measures before and after getting a tattoo to keep your skin from becoming inflamed and infected.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal to get hand tattoos?

Yes, hand tattoos are quite common and becoming more popular, but they are still a significant commitment. They are more visible and may have professional implications, so it is important to think thoroughly before getting them.

Should I consider a hand tattoo for my first tattoo?

Getting a hand tattoo as your first one is a big decision and is generally discouraged for first-timers as it can be painful. Additionally, it is wise to start with a less noticeable placement to ensure you love your chosen design for the long haul.

Do hand tattoos affect jobs?

No, in recent years, hand tattoos have become more acceptable and do not affect an individual’s chances of getting a job.

How long do hand tattoos last?

Hand tattoos may fade within the first 6 to 12 months due to constant exposure to sunlight and daily usage. You can go for touch-ups to keep your tattoo new.

Are hand tattoos expensive?

Yes, hand tattoos can range between 100$ to 500$ depending on the size and complexity of the tattoo.

Do hand tattoos swell?

Yes, hand tattoos can stay swollen for up to a week depending on the location and size of the tattoo.

Key Takeaways

  • Hand tattoos serve as a canvas for self-expression, enabling individuals to showcase their personality, ideals, and style through custom designs or artistic expression.
  • Despite being relatively less painful, finding an experienced artist is essential for proper healing and execution.
  • From traditional motifs like skulls to minimalist floral patterns, there is something for everyone’s taste.
Hand Tattoo Designs

Image: Dall·E/StyleCraze Design Team


Find out the best hand tattoo ideas in this video. Get inspired by creative designs and show off your unique hand tattoo. Check it out.

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Jingxi Gu

Jingxi GuLicensed Tattoo Artist

Jingxi Gu is a licensed tattoo artist originally from Shanghai, China. She is also the owner and lead artist at Patch Tattoo Therapy in Tarzana, CA, which offers custom tattoos and tattoo training workshops for aspiring tattoo artists
Read full bio of Jingxi Gu