225 Coolest Arm Tattoos For Men And Women This Year

History Of Arm Tattoos

Perhaps the number one source for early American tattoos were protection papers issued out after a 1796 congressional act, meant to keep American sailors safe from imprisonment. These passports listed down the sailor’s tattoos, together with their height, their race, the scars, and birthmarks. By utilizing simple tools and techniques, a tattoo artist from the early republic usually worked alongside board ships, basically using anything as a pigmentation – Including things like gunpowder, or even their own pee. Men left marks on their hands and arms with their initials or the initials of their own loved ones, symbols that represent their seafaring journeys, significant dates, crosses and liberty poles, among others.

And as a way to protect themselves, these sailors will often request their tattoos described on the protection papers, but they also have to create a drawing of the tattoo on the certificate too. As one researcher mentions, the clerks who came up with these documents were also great at drawing the sailors’ tattoos.


The rise of modern-day tattooing owed its origins to Captain James Cook’s travels to the South Pacific, which happened during the 1770s. However, since the early 1950s, there has been a false belief that modern-day tattooing in the west exclusively came from these travels alone. Tattooing has actually been around for a while in Western society, starting from the modern period going back as far as Ancient Greece. There were of course plenty of reasons for tattooing during those eras. A lengthy history of European tattoo customs pre-dated these travels, including the ones shared by sailors and tradesmen, as well as pilgrims who visited the Holy Land. The same goes for those Europeans who lived amongst Native American tribes.

Tattoo historians have suggested why people initially thought tattoos originated from Captain Cook’s travels – First off, European words from the practice – Such as ‘tattoos’, ‘tatuaje’, or ‘tatouage’ originally came from the Tahitian word ‘tatau’. In turn, this word incorporated in human languages all thanks to Captain Cook’s travels. But previous European-based texts have all showcased that a whole host of metaphorical terms were also utilized for this practice, including ‘engraved’, ‘marked’, ‘pricked’, ‘punctured’, ‘decorated’, ‘embroidered’, and ‘stained’. Experts have also pointed out that the growing print culture during the time of Captain Cook’s travels has increased the popularity of tattoos despite its previous existence during the West.

Martin Hildebrandt was the first documented professional tattoo artist in the US. He was a German immigrant who came to Boston back in 1846.

arm-tattoos arm-tattoos

Types of Arm Tattoo

Geometric arm tattoo – One of the biggest advantages of acquiring a forearm tattoo is that you can do whatever shape or design of tattoo tickles your fancy. For these beautiful and classy-looking tattoos, the shapes are mostly split apart using a thick line. So in case this piece is over, this gives the impression that you are wearing your sleeve on your forearm. This design, like most geometric tattoos, looks the best when done in a singular dark color, like gray or black, or even dark blue. Feel free to add in some other things to your tattoo, such as squares, diamonds, or even zigzags across your forearm.

Leaves and concentric circles arm tattoo – Another tattoo design that looks superb in black or dark grey, or even white ink, this design shows off an alternating concentric circle and leaf like detail in the design. Here, the inner circle does have a lovely central design as is mostly surrounded by leaves, or shapes that resemble it. The outer part of the circle, meanwhile, has its own sectional detail, then completely surrounded by some extra leaf details at the top, the sides, and the bottom.


Fierce dragon arm tattoo – This dragon tattoo is one of the more traditional designs for a sleeve tattoo design. In fact, there was a time when a dragon was one of the most popular – If not the most popular animals to acquire a tattoo of, apart from tigers and koi fish.

Japanese traditional arm tattoo – In case you plan to get a tattoo that looks amazing on the upper arm, a traditional Japanese tattoo design will suit you. For these tattoos, they mostly feature gray and black wavy patterns, which look very amazing, especially when you wrap them around your arms, since the curves give it more depth. For the main theme or subject of this tattoo, you can add other exclusively Japanese themes to it, such as the samurai, the geisha, and a kabuki mask. You can also go right ahead and tattoo a full range of flowers as one of its biggest attractions.

Star Wars full color arm tattoo – These are complimentary, yet vastly different tattoo designs, both of which include characters from the massively popular Star Wars franchise. One of them displays the image of a Stormtrooper brandishing its weapons, while the other features the beloved character of Han Solo. Using bold color in this design can show off a rather distinct look and feel to it, which purpose is to encapsulate and catch the genre as a whole.

Guardian angel and angel arm tattoo – If you want a half-sleeve tattoo that still carries plenty of meaning, then a guardian angel tattoo is the best idea for you. An angel tattoo can obviously hold in plenty of meaning, which includes strength, protection, courage, and faith. But the limited amount of space found on your upper arm will make it a bit challenging for the artist to show them off, especially when the design duty is to have them spread their wings out. You can pretty much say the same thing for bird tattoos, especially eagle tattoos. Of course, if your artist is good or has had loads of experience when dealing with these things, they will naturally find a good way around this limitation. However, you have to be willing to accept their suggestions for the design.

Black and white photo arm tattoo – For those who want to find a great idea for tattoos, then look no further. A black and white tattoo that shows off a black and white picture is not just interesting, but unique as well. This tattoo design will keep the look and feel of the original photo, because of the use of monochrome and the amount of detail involved.


Arm Tattoo Meaning

An arm tattoo honor or commemorate a shared or very personal experience that happened to the wearer. It also serves to remind them regarding a personal achievement or a milestone, alongside remembering a beloved person, or even a pet, among other things.

Arm tattoos look amazing on both women and men. There really is something about an arm tattoo, which speaks a lot of strength when you notice either gender sporting a sleeve tattoo. And it doesn’t even have to be a full-on sleeve tattoo that takes up the entire arm. An arm tattoo with a simple design on the bicep is already exceptional in itself. When talking about arm tattoos, it could be highly risky showing them off, depending on the type of career the wearer has now. Plenty of jobs, such as office jobs, can end up turning down a potential employee, after seeing a visible tattoo on their body.

During recent periods, the arm tattoo started becoming a popular trend amongst men. But there are also ladies who have chosen to acquire this body art, especially on their arms too. An arm tattoo signifies both strength and stability, and loads of people may actually end up acquiring an arm tattoo to bring lots of attention to their muscles. A tattoo is always the perfect motivation to keep the bodies looking amazing and in great shape.


Best Placement For An Arm Tattoo

You are less likely to gain weight on the back of your shoulder compared to the stomach area. A shoulder blade can be the better option here. And at the same time, you won’t gain too much weight on the wrists either, so the inside of your wrists is a better option.

Be sure to pick a practical placement for your arm tattoo. Place it on the front side of your body if you really want to see it easily. Certain people enjoy looking at their tattoos all the time, while some individuals don’t. But if you do, then put it somewhere you can see without the help of a mirror. If not, then put it on a spot somewhere you can only see when you take a glimpse in the mirror.

If you prefer an in-between option, choose an area in your body where you can look at your tattoo without a mirror, but can still cover it up with some clothes.

It is also recommended that you pick a spot, which can reveal or hide the tattoo depending on which outfit you choose. You might want to showcase the tattoo and put it in a spot where people can see it all the time. Meanwhile, you can choose the option to hide it from the world by selecting a big piece of clothing. If you want to hide it away, select a place where you can get that option.

For example, if you have placed your tattoo on the muscles in between the shoulders and the neck, feel free to cover things up with a collared shirt, or pick a shirt with a lower neckline to showcase it. You can also do this using the tattoos on your upper arms.

A discreet peekaboo tattoo is also a great placement idea. Tattoos like these fit  inside spots which aren’t too visible to the casual observer, but can still show themselves while you move – Like the inside your upper arm.

Hide away those gorgeous and colorful tattoos from the sunshine. A tattoo that’s exposed to the sun can fade away over time, while the sun hastily speeds up its process. If you prefer colorful tattoos than simple black-and-white ones, then it’s a great idea to put it in a place where you can hide it away using the clothes that you wear. This way, the sun won’t reach it as much, keeping it from fading away prematurely. And apart from that, too much sunlight makes your skin age much faster, which lessens the beauty and impact of your tattoo.

Put your tattoo in a discreet spot in case you have a job interview coming up, and you need to hide it away – Or maybe you just don’t want a certain person to see it. Place it somewhere that can you can hide it easily. The torso is a great option for a hidden tattoo, since this allows you to quickly cover up the area as you want.

You can also do the same to the shoulder blade, since this spot is usually hidden away thanks to wearing professional-looking clothes.


Preparation Tips For An Arm Tattoo

Here are some of the things you may want to consider before you can get a tattoo:

First of all, check to see if the arm area where the tattoo will feature contains scratches, deep cuts, and unhealed or thick scars before booking an appointment. These can all build up an uneven patch of skin, making it hard for the artist to work with.

So try to make sure that your skin – Especially your selected area – Is in perfect condition before you head on over to the shop. Moisturize the area at least for one week or two, since this can also help make the skin feel supple, and faster to work along with.

Never drink any alcohol the night before the appointment, as mentioned. Not only will you feel like trash while acquiring a tattoo while nursing a hangover, the amount of alcohol in your blood will still elevate from the previous night’s activities.

A high level of alcohol in your blood can help thin it out, and this can result in excessive bleeding as you get your tattoo done – Obviously this is never a good thing. And not only that, it’s also illegal for your tattoo artist to give you a tattoo, if they think you’re under the influence of illegal substances or alcohol.

Keep yourself hydrated. Drinking down lots of water weeks or days before the appointment not only will ensure that your skin stays healthy, but it also makes you feel more energetic and alert throughout the day.

Also See: 225 Cute Small Butterfly Tattoo Designs And Ideas

Get lots of sleep. Can you just imagine how awful it feels having to sit on a chair for over four hours of tattooing, while your body only runs on a couple of hours of sleep? This means that you must get over eight hours of rest especially on the day before the appointment. Stepping inside the tattoo shop feeling exhausted will result in you feeling fidgety and grouchy throughout the entire session, which can have horrible effects on the final outcome of the tattoo.

Eat a full meal before you go to your appointment. Drink a glass of water or two, to avoid feeling dehydrated and lessen the possibility of feeling faint. Put on some loose and comfortable clothes – Preferably, the ones you would not mind wearing and sitting on for a long time. Be sure to bring any gadget to keep yourself entertained during the appointment. This includes MP3 players or iPods, a book, an e-book, a tablet, etc. Take a bathroom break before the appointment begins.

Make sure you have enough cash on hand before you come to your appointment. It’s always good to know how much you will pay (or have a good estimation, at least) for your tattoo to guarantee that you have the right amount of money available for it. It’s also good to learn beforehand whether your tattoo design is a fixed cost piece, or an hourly piece of work. If it’s the latter, then bring a bit more cash than the normal amount, so you can end up covering the bases in case the tattooing session goes overtime, and you may have to pay a bit more.

And when you acquire a tattoo, don’t forget any other smaller costs you may have to pay throughout the day, like car parking, drinks, food, any aftercare products you could end up buying, and a tip for your artist.

Don’t forget to double-check your appointment time. One of the worst things you can end up doing is missing or showing up late for your appointment, without telling the artist beforehand.


Are Arm Tattoos Painful?

Chew or squeeze on something to ease the pain. Keeping your muscles firm and tense in a spot you aren’t getting a tattoo on, or by squeezing a stress ball in your hand or even biting down on something can help you relieve the pain. This technique is often applied to pregnant women when they go into labor – And it works nicely too. A lot of tattoo shops will often supply their clients with something to use as a form of stress relief, but if your shop of choice doesn’t have that, be sure to bring the following: A protective mouthpiece, a grip exercising, a stress ball, some chewing gum or gummy candy, a wooden spoon, or a towel. Do not bite down if you don’t have anything soft inside your mouth – Just gritting your teeth hard can cause serious damage to your teeth.

Be sure to breathe in and out especially during a painful period. Even practicing controlled breathing can make the entire tattoo experience more bearable. Attempt to exhale deeply when the pain gets worse. You can do this by breathing either in or out, or by making a gentle noise like humming. Exhaling when you’re stressed out or exertion will make it very easy to push through with the pain. This is also the reason why many fitness resources will recommend exhalations from the up phase of a weightlifting exercise.

Meanwhile, it’s still possible to make the pain even worse if you don’t use proper breathing techniques. Attempt to resist the urge by holding in your breath during a painful moment. This makes the tattoo pain even more distracting.

Don’t move too much during the process. Even though it can be downright tempting to fidget and squirm during certain painful parts of the appointment, do your best to resist that. The less you move around, the more precise the artist will be and the faster will your appointment be over. After all, it’s much more difficult for the artist to draw on a canvas that keeps on moving.

But in case you get an itch and you really do have to move, be sure to warn your artist beforehand so that they can momentarily remove the tattoo gun from your skin. You wouldn’t want the artist to make a mistake – Especially since a tattoo is permanent.

Frequently Asked Questions About Arm Tattoos

  • Why do arm tattoos take a while to finish?
  • A tattoo with a complex design and bearing super-fine details will definitely take more time to complete. In fact, your artist has to focus on completing and making the design as accurate as possible. The amount of colors involved in your tattoo design can also contribute here. That’s because this will require your artist to continuously fix and clean up their tattoo machines and make sure they’re free from ink, and this can decrease the speed of your session.

2.) Can I cover up my tattoo when necessary?

  • Even though a tattoo can feel hot during the summertime, especially when you show off some skin and flaunt those muscles that you worked so hard to build during the past winter months, they’re not always the most appropriate. When you choose to attend an event – Such as a black-tie party or a professional work event, showing off your tattoo can make you seem unprofessional and tacky. There’s just nothing worse than seeing an elegant woman wearing a gorgeous dress, but their body littered with so many inappropriate tattoos. So if you really want to get a tattoo, then consider the location first. Ask yourself if you can easily hide away those tattoos without having to purchase something to cover it up.
  • Can I catch anything when I get a tattoo?
  • Yes you can, but the possibility is very low. If you have followed great advice and have picked a good and reputable tattoo shop, then the chances of you contracting an infection, or worse, a blood-borne disease, are the same as visiting the dentist. Everything here will be fully sterilized to proper medical standards. And once more, a tattoo artist with a good reputation will have a certificate regarding infection control and won’t have any issues whatsoever regarding talking about these tattooing procedures. But if they do exactly that, then don’t think twice about getting your tattoo there and just walk away. If the right infection control procedures are not followed by the artist themselves, then there is a high possibility that you can contract a blood-borne pathogen from one client to another, or from the artist to the client. And in turn, this can include dangerous viruses that can cause hepatitis or HIV. But before you get discouraged about acquiring a tattoo, a good percentage of tattoo artists work using safe procedures. So the possibility of you contracting any of these diseases is more than low.


Average Cost Of Getting An Arm Tattoo

The price of your tattoo will all depend on your artist’s skill level. A lot of professional artists will normally charge you per hour. And with this, you are certainthat you will be getting nothing but the best kind of tattoo possible. The average price of an arm tattoo begins at $100 to $300 every hour, and, depending on how big or small the design is, can end up costing thousands of dollars. If you prefer a customized tattoo design, the average price per hour can go from $50 up to $300.

It also depends on the design. A complex tattoo design takes twice the amount of work required to complete it, and it takes longer to finish up too. For instance, a portrait might be the size of your hand can take up to three hours to finish up. Meanwhile, a piece of tribunal in the same size will take over thirty minutes. This means that when you pay for a tattoo on an hourly rate, it’s not really just a mere question of filling up the space.


Arm Tattoo Maintenance Tips

After your new tattoo has healed up, you now move on towards the maintenance process. Even though you don’t really have to take care of it after four months, there are still a couple of things you can do to stop the ink from degrading too much.

As much as possible, keep your tattoo looking clean. Wash and exfoliate your skin daily using an unscented and gentle brand of soap. It’s also important to keep your skin as hydrated as possible. Drink loads of water since this keeps your skin moisturized as well. Always watch what you wear. Put on some SPF clothes so your sun won’t fade away your tattoo. Don’t wear scratchy fabrics such as wool, which can damage the condition of your tattoo.

Don’t put on or loose too much weight. This can cause your tattoo to look distorted, since skin gets stretched out.

After you pick your tattoo design and finally finish getting it done at a reputable shop, maintenance and aftercare is an important part of your tattoo journey. Taking care of a tattoo is not somethign to take lightly. This is why you have to learn how to properly care for a tattoo as much as you possibly can. This is a guide that can take you through each and every stage of your tattoo journey, and instructs you on what you should do, what not to order, to prevent your tattoo from losing its pristine look.

But why is tattoo aftercare very important? Maintaining a new tattoo is your own responsibility as a wearer, starting from the moment that you leave the tattoo artist’s chair and the shop, right until you take your last breath. Sorry to get dark, but it’s true.


This is why it’s very important that you take care of your tattoo by following a tattoo maintenance routine, with the same amount of respect that it takes, so your ink can look just as sharp, as crisp, and as bright as it can – Even as you get older.

When your artist first finishes your tattoo in the shop, your tattooed skin is technically a large open wound, and can catch bacteria and germs, simply through exposure. Using the right form of aftercare products and procedures will guarantee that the tattooed skin will be completely free from infections, especially in an environment that has been set up to make sure that the entire healing process happens as efficiently and as quickly as it possibly could.

It isn’t only the first part of the healing process where the right aftercare is very important. As you get older, your tattoo ages as well. There are loads of environmental factors here which can dictate how great – Or bad – Your tattoo will look as it ages along with its wearer.

With this article, factors will be discussed, as well as showcasing several instructions on how to keep your tattoo safe and protected throughout all stages of your life. Make sure to leave your wrap and bandage on until your artist tells you to.

Leave a Reply