If you’re someone who likes to make a major statement, a hand tattoo may be the perfect placement idea for you. Considering a hand is rarely covered (depending on time of year and your profession), they’re always visible and are not easy to conceal. And they’re not only visible to others—they’re also constantly within your own line of vision, so it’s important to make sure you choose a design you absolutely love.
Hand tattoos also tend to fade over time due to being placed on a high-movement body part that’s washed and worn away at often, and it’s common for them to heal poorly. This kind of tat also tends to be fairly painful thanks to the thin skin and the boniness of the hand.
It’s not all negative with hand tattoos; they tend to be beautiful, meaningful, or otherwise statement-making. If you’re considering getting a hand tattoo, it’s imperative that you heavily prepare. Talk to your tattoo artist ahead of time to make sure the design you want will work on your hand and won’t be warped in some way. And if you’re looking for inspiration for that design, we’ve got you covered—here are 40 hand tattoos for you to admire.
Inner Finger Tattoo
Ari has myriad hand tattoos, one of her most notable being this inner-finger “Baby Doll” word placement, a nickname reportedly given to her by her maternal grandmother.
Ornate Hand Tattoo
A common choice for hand tattoos is ornate detailing across the back of the hand and onto the fingers. It’s for good reason, too, because this style looks good on anyone and any aesthetic.
Rose Hand Tattoo
A rose looks great anywhere on the hand. To really give it space to bloom, though, place it right above your thumb.
Vine Hand Tattoo
While hand tattoos are restricted to a small area, what’s great about them is that they can stretch in both directions: onto the fingers and up onto the arm. This wrapped vine design extends both ways for a cascading look.
Henna Hand Tattoo
Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy and his colleague Cally-Jo created this intricate henna inspired ink on Rihanna’s hand, spending hours drawing out the design. “We drew on her hand from 7 p.m. to midnight,” McCurdy told E! News. “We were drawing and changing things. I’d take a break and Cally-Jo would draw, then I’d draw … The inspiration was henna art, we wanted something really decorative, feminine, and sexy.”
Floral Fingers Hand Tattoo
The most “hidden” you can get with a hand tattoo is by placing it on the inside of the fingers. If you want them to be a bit more seen, though, go for vivid, pleasing hues.
Centered Butterfly Hand Tattoo
Make a statement with your tattoo choosing a large design and placing it in the center of the back of your hand. The colors and styling remain dainty, but it takes up enough space to really pop.
Foliage Hand Tattoo
Play up the natural movement of your hand by getting a tattoo with movement of its own. The two elements will complement each other, even when both are stationary.
Celestial Hand Tattoo
If you’re a fan of a specific tattoo type—like American traditional—the hand tattoo is the perfect place to get a piece done in the style. If you’re passionate about it, show it off!
Reflective Hand Tattoos
For a fun twist on the hand tattoo, consider getting two related tattoos—one on both hands. Keep them connected but not identical for a whimsical and personalized tattoo.
White Ink Hand Tattoos
If you admire symmetrical tattoo designs, why not get an identical design on each hand? For a fun twist, get each one in a different color.
Lotus Flower Hand Tattoo
Lotus flowers make for great hand tattoos because of the shape and the way the petals are typically displayed. Stick to black ink to make the design pop while keeping it minimal.
Tribal Hand Tattoo
A beautiful idea for a hand tattoo is intricate line, dot, and arrow designs on each finger. Despite the fact that it has a lot of elements, the tattoos manage to remain cohesive.
Flying Butterflies Hand Tattoo
Even though animal tattoos already have movement to them (because they’re “living” things), play it up even more by scattering the design. This tattoo uses this idea to make it look like the butterflies are flying up the arm.
Bumblebee Hand Tattoo
A fun design feels even more personal as a hand tattoo because you obviously love it enough to show it off! This bumblebee is relatively plain and uses the same line thickness all over to stay simple.
Geometric Hand Tattoo
A geometric design looks really cool on the back of your hand. Go for more circular shapes to disrupt the natural shape of your hand for a tattoo that really pops.
Half-and-Half Hand Tattoos
Rather than getting one design on your hand or a few, why not go for one big one that spans both hands? This insect design is only complete when the two hands come together.
Wrist Cuff Hand Tattoo
In the same way you can get finger tattoos that look like rings, why not go for a hand tattoo that looks like a wrist cuff? While this design radiates from the wrist, it extends onto the hand for an elongated effect.
Date Hand Tattoo
The smaller and thinner the hand tattoo, the daintier it seems. Here, the lines are thin but crisp, meaning the design will catch your eye but beckon you to look closer. Choose a date that holds meaningful significance—a birth year, a historical date… the options are vast.
Snake Hand Tattoo
A snake is a great hand tattoo idea because it can be inked in any size and shape that looks best for your tat. This tattoo has the head of the snake creeping down the hand for an in-motion vibe.
Palm Hand Tattoo
Hand tattoos aren’t just for the back of the hand. A small palm tattoo is more intimate and makes for a surprising statement when revealed.
Outer Edge Hand Tattoo
Consider getting your hand tattoo on the outer edge of your hand. Placing a piece of ink here will be less obvious and more unique.
Flames Hand Tattoo
For the edgier among us, a flame tattoo is a timeless graphic. Black or red ink would serve well here.
Fern Hand Tattoo
Hand designs don’t have to be big or dark—they can be minimal, too. This design keeps the lines thin and the elements spaced out to keep the tattoo feeling weightless and dainty.
Dots and Flowers Hand Tattoo
Because hands offer a wide and flat space for tattoos, disrupting the shape will make your ink pop. This design cascades down the middle of the hand in simple shapes to play up that contrast.
Realistic Hand Tattoo
A tattoo placed closer to the knuckles than the wrist is one that wants to be seen—even under long sleeves. Even a subtly-styled design, like this realistic rose, will catch attention in this spot.
Double Floral Hand Tattoo
Rather than one flower or a whole bouquet, why not get a bloom on each hand? Get two different flowers done in the same style and location for variety in your design.
Along-the-Thumb Hand Tattoo
Play with the lines of your hand by getting your design tatted along the finger bone but above the finger itself. This will mimic the shape of your hand and complement it.
Outer-Edge Word Tattoo
A unique placement idea for a word or phrase tattoo is on the outer edge of the hand toward the wrist. The slightly-hidden and off-center design screams personality, even in a minimal design like this one.
Brightly-Colored Hand Tattoo
Keep a colorful, multi-faceted tattoo thinner than the hand, either length- or width-wise, to keep the design from becoming overwhelming.
Thin-Lined Hand Tattoo
Hand tattoos don’t have to fill the whole space—keep the design small and use thin lines to create a minimalistic, intricate tattoo.
Negative Space Hand Tattoo
For designs that plan to stretch across the entire hand, make sure you keep enough empty space that they don’t look crowded. Keep the heavy shading or fill-ins to the outer edges for a balanced feeling.
Excitingly Detailed Hand Tattoo
Make a relatively simple design more exciting by playing with details. This tattoo uses dots for the ornamentation and varies the shading style.
Repeating-Design Hand Tattoo
Use your wrist bone as the focal point for a tattoo and have it stretch onto the hand to elongate your arm. A repeating design will keep it from feeling overwhelming on your hand as well.
Curved Word Hand Tattoo
Play with the different shapes of your hand by mimicking them with your tattoo. This word tattoo, for example, curves along the edge of the hand to emphasize the shape.
Vivid Hand Tattoo
For small designs, try playing with bright colors to make sure they’re seen. Even if they’re on the underside of your hand like these flowers, making them vibrant means no one will miss them.
Eyeball Hand Tattoo
Consider a third-eye design for the back of your hand—it’s sure to spark conversation.
Wrapped Hand Tattoo
Spread a finger design down onto the back of your hand to play with its shape. Keep it minimal and in one color to place the focus on the movement rather than the detailing.
Simple Stick-and-Poke Hand Tattoo
If your tattoo is fairly simple, place it somewhere your eye is already drawn to make sure it’s seen. Right between the thumb and forefinger is a great idea, as the shape of your hand naturally draw the eye to that spot.