February 2, 2023


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 not easy to conceal. 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.

01of 32

Inner Finger Tattoo

Ariana Grande poses for a mirror selfie with finger tattoo and floral lashes

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.

02of 32

Rose Hand Tattoo

Rose tattoo on side of thumb

A rose looks great anywhere on the hand. To really give it space to bloom, though, place it right above your thumb.

03of 32

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.

04of 32

Henna Hand Tattoo

Rihanna covers her face to show off her henna-inspired 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.”

05of 32

Floral Fingers Hand Tattoo

Red and green flower finger tattoos

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.

06of 32

Centered Butterfly Hand Tattoo

Make a statement with your tattoo by 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.

07of 32

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.

08of 32

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!

09of 32

Flying Butterflies Hand Tattoo

Flying butterfly hand tattoos

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.

10of 32

Bumblebee Hand Tattoo

Bumblebee with heart flying trail 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.

11of 32

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.

12of 32

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.

13of 32

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.

14of 32

Date Hand Tattoo

Small hand tattoo of number 1949

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.

15of 32

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.

16of 32

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.

17of 32

Outer Edge Hand Tattoo

Small sun and moon tattoos on outer pinky fingers

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.

18of 32

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.

19of 32

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.

20of 32

Double Floral Hand Tattoo

Two different flower tattoos on side of thumbs

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.

21of 32

Along-the-Thumb Hand Tattoo

Spark thumb 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.

22of 32

Outer-Edge Word Tattoo

"Amor" word tattoo on outer hand

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.

23of 32

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.

24of 32

Thin-Lined Hand Tattoo

Hand-poked ornate hand tattoo with sun, moon, and other symbols

Hand tattoos don’t have to fill the whole space—keep the design small and use thin lines to create a minimalistic, intricate tattoo.

25of 32

Negative Space Hand Tattoo

Large mandala hand tattoo with negative space

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.

26of 32

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.

27of 32

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.

28of 32

Curved Word Hand Tattoo

"Gratitude" word tattoo on hand webbing

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.

29of 32

Vivid Hand Tattoo

Blue and orange small flower tattoos on inner fingers

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.

30of 32

Eyeball Hand Tattoo

Consider a third-eye design for the back of your hand—it’s sure to spark conversation.

31of 32

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.

32of 32

Simple Stick-and-Poke Hand Tattoo

Small crossing arrows hand-poked tattoo on hand

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.