Inner Wrist Tattoos With Meaning

Capricorn tatto
Kenny C/Flickr

The inner wrist is one of the more common places for tattoos on the body, but an especially ideal one if you're interested in getting a tattoo that has meaning for you. Because it's readily visible, you can enjoy its beauty and draw on its inspiration with just a glance—but you can cover it easily with clothing, a watch, or jewelry for situations such as work or formal occasions in which it might be inappropriate. It's a rather intimate area, in that it's not readily exposed in everyday activities; this also means it's not bombarded by tattoo-destroying UV rays the way other parts of the body are. In ancient times, the inner wrist was believed to exude spiritual energy, making it a natural spot for a symbol that's significant to you.

Is It Painful or Dangerous?

Veins in this area are very close to the skin, so understandably, you might worry about needles puncturing them; however, experienced, reputable tattoo artists know the proper needle depths for the various areas of the body, and chances are that your tattooist has inked many wrists.

Pain shouldn't be as much of an issue as it is for other, more sensitive areas, such as the ribs and feet. That's because the inner wrist doesn't have as many nerve endings.

Ideas for Wrist Tattoos With Meaning

For design ideas, look both inward and outward for inspiration:

Astrology. Your own sign is the obvious choice, of course, but how about the sign of someone you love—perhaps a family member, close friend, or significant other? The moon, stars, and planets are interesting choices, too.

A signature. Signatures are intensely personal and unique. Consider using that of a loved one or someone who inspires you. The signature of someone you admire is an interesting choice—perhaps a writer, artist, or champion of some cause you espouse. Signatures of people who've passed away, such as a grandparent or parent, are particularly poignant.

A hobby. What are you into? A heart, spade, or crown tattoo fits a card player well. Do you sail or surf? Consider a wave or something else that's sea-related. If you like to garden, choose your favorite flower.

Faith. Think about the symbols that represent your religion, philosophy, or spirituality. A lotus flower symbolizes openness for Hindus. For Catholics, the Celtic triquetra stands for the Holy Trinity. The cross is a common Christian motif.

History. Explore ancient civilizations for meaningful symbology. Native American, Aztec, Greek, Roman, Nordic, and countless other histories are rich sources.

Animals. Memorialize a favorite pet. Choose an animal that symbolizes a characteristic you share or that's important to you—for example, an owl for wisdom, a dove for peace, or a lion for fierceness. Or, simply choose an animal you like or think is beautiful.

Styles. Express yourself with a symbol in steampunk, psychedelic, abstract, or another distinctive style.

Affection. Hearts, lock/key combinations, rings, infinity symbols, and other love-related icons are popular. 

Letters, numbers, and symbols. Monograms, words, birthdays, lucky numbers, anniversaries—the possibilities are endless. The semicolon is a trendy choice; it implies a state of being unfinished.

Size Matters

Remember that size matters with an inner-wrist tattoo; large designs won't work on the inner wrist, for obvious reasons. Very detailed tattoos need to be on the large side for your tattooist to be able to render well, so they're not well-suited here, either. Less is more when it comes to this design spot, so keep this in mind as you look for the right piece of art.

Lastly, consider the placement of your tattoo. Do you want it on your left or your right wrist? Some people have tattoos on both. You also need to decide if your design will face the world or face you. Most artists suggest that tattoos face outward, which means it will look upside down to you. Bearing a tattoo in this positioning makes it easier for others to see your design and its detail.

For More Inspiration

Check out some tattoo magazines and books for still more ideas. Look through tattoo artists' portfolios, too. Not sure of your design or its placement? Try a few temporary tattoos to get a feel for exactly what you want and where you want it.

Remember that, while an inner wrist tattoo is easy to hide, its unusual placement calls attention to itself—and barring painful removal procedures, it's permanent. Taking some time now to find a meaningful design that speaks to you will go a long way in getting you a beautiful piece of art that says something about and to you for the rest of your life.