As a symbol, anchors hold a lot of meaning. For some, it's simply a representation of the sea. For others, it's a reminder of being held down and remaining grounded. Even more, anchors could symbolize anything from commitment to safety to hope. Because anchors have so many meanings, they're a great tattoo idea. You can easily customize them to add personal value.
If you're considering an anchor tattoo but aren't quite sure what you want it to look like yet, here are 30 ink ideas to inspire you.
Finger Anchor Tattoo
Because anchors are a simple design, you can easily shrink them for small tattoo spots. Fingers are a great example, as anchors can be placed in many different locations and sizes according to preference.
Fading-Out Anchor Tattoo
If you’re worried about the heavy feeling of an anchor, try getting it inked in a light style. This line-art style is one example, and the suddenly-ending lines only add to the feeling, making the tattoo feel almost weightless.
Minimal Abstract Anchor Tattoo
Since an anchor only has a few elements, it can be inked in whatever style or manner, as long as those few essential parts are there. This makes anchors a great design choice for fans of more abstract and minimal aesthetics like this tattoo has.
Wrist Anchor Tattoo
A small tattoo on the wrist always looks simple and elegant. An anchor placed in this spot almost instantly feels more delicate and personal.
Side of the Anchor Tattoo
The stoic design of an anchor really pops against the natural movement of the wrist. Keep lines simple to highlight the body part, and if you want to add to the contrast, try adding some solid areas of black ink.
Marine Anchor Tattoo
Anchors are just one of many typical marine symbols, including the lighthouse and a ship’s steering wheel. Grouping them enhances the vibe, but keep it simple, so you don’t lose the theme in the design.
Fineline Anchor Tattoo
If you want your anchor to feel extremely dainty and intimate, opt for a super fine line tattoo. Placed on the wrist, the ink feels airy and personal but also pops against otherwise blank skin.
Solid Anchor Tattoo
A simple anchor design can feel underwhelming, but using thick, solid blackwork really makes it pop. Despite the statement it makes, being on the ankle means you can hide it whenever you want it to be invisible. A simple anchor design can feel underwhelming, but using thick, solid blackwork really makes it pop. Despite the statement it makes, being on the ankle means you can hide it whenever you want it to be invisible.
Name & Anchor Tattoo
An anchor is often a symbol of being grounded and stable. If you have someone in your life who’s your anchor, why not get their name along with the marine design?
Whimsical Anchor Tattoo
Although anchors are often associated with a serious look, going for something more cartoonish looks just as good. The soft edges, thick line work, and simple shapes add a sense of whimsy to this design.
Feather & Anchor Tattoo
Anchors look great paired with additional designs. Visuals with movement, like this feather, look great in contrast to the anchor, especially on an often-moved part like the arm.
Abstract Anchor Tattoo
If you’re a fan of the shape of the anchor but feel the traditional design isn’t your style, why not go for something more abstract? The swirling curves of this design create a truly unique tattoo.
Word/Phrase Anchor Tattoo
Add a touch of personal charm to your anchor tattoo with a word or phrase that means something to you. Maybe someone or something is your “anchor,” and this is a great way to memorialize it or them forever.
Super Minimal Anchor Tattoo
For fans of the minimal, anchors can be kept super simple with thin lines and minimal elements. To keep it grounded, add a bit of solid black detailing.
Ornate Anchor Tattoo
As long as you keep the major elements of an anchor, you can add or take away whatever suits you. If you want a more ornate design, like this one, keep the top and bottom the same and mix up the middle.
Dainty Anchor Tattoo
For fans of delicate tattoos, thin line detailing and soft curves will instantly make an anchor tattoo daintier. The obvious anchor elements create an obvious design while allowing for creative expression.
Ankle Anchor Tattoo
An anchor’s purpose is to keep something grounded. To remind yourself to keep your feet on the ground, why not place an anchor on your ankle.
Balloon & Anchor Tattoo
Because the anchor has a stoic image, pairing it with something light, like a balloon, will give it a whole new vibe. Keep the lines light to enhance the weightless and dainty feel further.
Word in Anchor Tattoo
Play with the lines of the anchor design by adding designs, like a personally significant word or phrase. Emphasize the whimsical font by mimicking the curls in other parts of the anchor tattoo.
Birds & Anchor Tattoo
Much like the well-known dandelion tattoo design, adding birds to a piece of ink represents freedom and self-expression. Adding them to an anchor tattoo adds a personal touch to a typical visual.
Detailed Anchor Tattoo
Although a lot of modern anchor designs are simple, shading and detailing can add a lot. Dot detailing can add texture, and natural elements make the anchor feel less heavy.
Symbolic Anchor Tattoo
Anchors hold a lot of meaning as a symbol. If it means something to you, why not add a quote that enhances that importance along with an anchor!
Feminine Anchor Tattoo
If you like the look of American classic tattoos but want a more feminine feel, talk to your artist about a whimsical tattoo with light shading. Hearts and rounded details serve to enhance that feeling in the tattoo.
Nautical Anchor Tattoo
To play up the nautical energy of an anchor, try pairing it with other symbols, like a compass. Personalize the tattoo further by adding meaningful symbols and words as detailing.
Matching Anchor Tattoo
Being someone’s anchor means keeping them grounded and stable. To commemorate a relationship with your anchor, why not get matching tattoos?
Vibrant Anchor Tattoo
Adding whimsical details and vibrant colors to an anchor tattoo doesn’t mean it’ll feel overwhelming. Instead, it’ll add some customized style to an otherwise typical ink design.
Words & Anchor Tattoo
Thanks to the abundance of lines in the design of an anchor, there are many opportunities to incorporate words into the design. To keep the tattoo from being too busy, keep the design relatively simple.
Minimal Word Anchor Tattoo
If you’re planning to go super minimal with your anchor tattoo, why not customize it a bit with a message inside the design. It adds a bit of visual interest while keeping with the aesthetic.
Dynamic Anchor Tattoo
For a more realistic tattoo, have your artist incorporate shading and detailing. If you want more of a whimsical look, consider adding shading to create a dynamic lighting effect.
Floral Anchor Tattoo
Florals look amazing paired with anchors, as the natural softness of the flowers contrasts beautifully with the hard edges and points of the anchor. Shading detailing makes it feel more realistic, further playing up that juxtaposition.