A wrist tattoo is the perfect way to get a small piece that means something to you - so you can be reminded of that special person or moment every day. We've put together some wrist tattoo inspiration, as well as top tips on costs, pain level and aftercare.
Hand-poked hearts, meaningful dates and dainty daisy chains… just a few design ideas for your next wrist tattoo. Whether you’re looking for classy typography or a tiny symbol, wrist tattoos are the perfect ode to a loved one, life moment or memory that you can be reminded of every day.
However you identify, wrist tattoos for women or men are a thing of the past. Throw stereotypes out of the window and express yourself with wrist art that makes you happy. We’ve put together some inspiration, plus asked some artists their favourite thing about this placement.
Wrist tattoo design ideas
The list is endless - but here are a few of our favourites, as well as tips from some enviable tattoo artists.
Small wrist tattoos
Fine line and micro tattoo artists are the perfect choice for wrist placement work. Found in London, as well as other European cities on residency, @tesspokes creates stunning jewellery style pieces for her clients.
"I started tattooing fine line as I really love how delicate they look and the idea of having permanent jewellery on the skin. Ornamental, fine line pieces look particularly good on placements like wrist, fingers, ears and collarbones as these are areas where you would normally wear jewellery. It’s also a good placement for a first tattoo, they can be covered if needed or put on display very easily.
"From the clients perspective the wrist is one of the easiest placements to get tattooed as you can be lying down or sitting up plus it’s not as painful as other areas."
Image: Wrist tattoo by @tesspokes
Heart tattoo on wrist
Perfect for matching with your bestie or partner in crime, heart tattoos can come as solid styles, fine outlines or in a tiny trio.
Butterfly wrist tattoos
With Y2K inspired tats on the rise, butterflies make for an elegant wrist tattoo. Go for a wing side profile, blackwork or even a photorealistic Monarch, Peacock or Red Admiral.
Wrap around tattoos
Wrap around wrist tattoos are a clever way to work with your anatomy, swirling around the hand and arm to create body art that looks different from every angle. These work well as side and inner wrist tattoos too.
"My client wanted something minimal that wrapped around. We found a few different reference images that she liked then freehanded this design on to fit her arm and sit exactly where she wanted it," explains Lucy Bishop @lucedishtattoo in Lytham St Annes, who created a reel to show off the intricate artwork.
"I’ve found that usually with tattoos that wrap around it always looks more organic when they are drawn on freehand, to flow better with the persons body and then smaller details can always be stencilled on if necessary."
Star tattoo on wrist
Symbolising a spiritual guide, divine presence and a beacon of hope, scatterings of stars can make for a positive wrist tattoo. Perhaps go for a single star, minimalist cluster or a constellation that means something to you.
Flower tattoos on wrist
Favourite flower? Why not design a floral tattoo for your wrist. From lotus on the inner wrist to a rose stem along the side, there are so many options when it comes to botanicals. They also work well to round off a sleeve tattoo, like this one from Toby @tattoosbytoby in Ramsgate.
Image: Wrist tattoos by @tattoosbytoby
“When designing it I worked with my client to come up with something feminine and pretty that would also help her finish off her sleeves.”
Leicester based Lucy Mattock of @lucyfer.tattoo has created some stunning wrist tattoos. Notably, florals and flowing designs like this freesia posy.
Image: Wrist tattoo by Lucy Mattock
"Wrist tattoos are ideal for delicate and subtle tattoos, making them a great choice for those who prefer a more discreet form of self-expression. They are easily visible, allowing you to show your tattoo easier and express yourself whenever you want. These tattoos can be a beautiful and meaningful way to express yourself, commemorate moments, and carry your personal story with you wherever you go."
Mandala wrist tattoo
Like the lotus flower, a mandala can work well with the symmetry of the wrist. Look out for dotwork and hand poke artists, as well as drawing inspiration from henna hand tattoos.
Angel wings tattoo on wrist
A way to remember a lost loved one, wings mean your guardian angel is with you wherever you go. Like stars, angel wings are associated with divinity, representing the idea of God, rebirth, purity and freedom.
Wrist name tattoos
If symbols aren’t your thing, maybe getting a name or phrase could work for your wrist. Why not flick through our tattoo fonts article for inspiration on which one to choose?
How much does a wrist tattoo cost?
This depends where you are in the country, the size of the tattoo, the artist’s experience level and intricacy of the piece. As a guide, the cost can be around £80-120 an hour, on average. A reputable artist in London might charge £150 an hour, while an apprentice further north might be closer to £60. Remember, you’ll probably have to look at the ink for the rest of your life (and laser removal is even more expensive…) so trust your instincts and do your research.
Does a tattoo on the wrist hurt? What about your veins?
"The skin on the wrists is relatively thin, and the potential for ink to spread under the skin during the healing process is slightly higher in this area. This can potentially lead to less crisp lines which means it's even more important to follow a strict aftercare routine as they are more prone to fading," continues Lucy.
How to help your wrist tattoo heal
"Wrist tattoos can be prone to slower healing due to the constant movement of the area. The skin on the wrists can also be more prone to irritation and friction, which can affect the healing process," Lucy shares.
If you’re looking to kickstart your tattoo healing process, take a look at our aftercare kits to help your wrist ink heal (and smell delicious too).
For more tattoo inspiration, aftercare advice and artist highlights, check out the Stories & Ink Journal.