Arms are a great location choice for tattoos because basically any design can work no matter the aesthetic, size, or shape. Some parts of the arm are long and narrow while others offer a fair amount of surface area, meaning you can work with the natural shape of your arm when placing your tattoo—or you can just ink it wherever looks best. Another plus of arm tattoos is that they’re easily hidden by a shirt, though whether that’s a short sleeve or long sleeve shirt is up to your placement choice.
Arm tattoos can be collected or planned in advance to create a tattoo sleeve, but you can also stick to one or a few to keep a more minimal look. No matter where you’re thinking about placing your ink or how you want it to look, you’ll definitely find inspiration from these arm and forearm tattoos.
Flower Arm Tattoo
Make a typical flower tattoo even more eye-catching with the addition of a geometric shape. Use a thin outline to keep it feeling light.
A few sprigs of delicately-drawn herbs on the arms looks stunning, especially in an oversized format.
Small Heart Arm Tattoo
A small heart tattoo on your inner arm is minimal and almost hidden, making it intimate. It’s definitely a tattoo only for you.
Inline Text Arm Tattoo
The straight lines created by the arm bone are perfect for keeping text inline. Using script looks elegant when placed along the arm’s side.
Inline Moon Phases Arm Tattoo
Moon phases look perfectly lined up when placed along the bone. Keep the design small and the shading light for a dainty feel.
Below-Elbow Text Arm Tattoo
Since the elbow is the focal point of your arm, place text right below it to draw attention. Keep the text short to really make it pop.
Stars Arm Tattoo
A small tattoo at the top of your forearm will peek out even under shirts, making it a cheeky choice. Rather than using color, play with the design’s texture.
Line Art Flower Arm Tattoo
Line art tattoos look great on arms because they mimic the innate movement. Placing it on the forearm also allows room for the lines to breathe.
Wrapped Heart Arm Tattoo
Upper arm tattoos have a lot of room to add multiple elements. Here, the thin line and negative space ties them together.
Wave Heart Arm Tattoo
A small design seems to land a more impactful punch than large ones on arms. However, don’t skip on the arm tattoo’s detail because of size.
Four Leaf Clover Tattoo
Keep a good luck charm on your arm at all times with this cute four leaf clover design.
Blackwork Bee Arm Tattoo
To really make an impact, try incorporating different line thicknesses into your design. Keep it small to really highlight the blackwork.
Matching Arm Tattoos
Arms are a great place for matching tattoos because they’re visible but can be covered up for intimacy. Try a personal design, like a hand heart for you and your love.
Song Lyrics Tattoo
While a mirror image in this photo, actress Zoë Kravitz has the lyrics "Mississippi *@!!?*@!" (a censored version of the real title, "Mississippi Goddamn") by Nina Simone on her upper arm, a song written during the height of the Civil Rights movement. She tells Harper's Bazaar, "Even if I don’t go out, I have a hard time falling asleep, so I go to bed around 1 A.M. I listen to a lot of jazz when I’m getting ready for bed: Nina Simone and Billie Holiday.”
Lifelike Heart Tattoo
Forego a graphic depiction of a heart and get a realistic rendering—veins, valves, and all. Talk about wearing your heart on your sleeve.
Flower Bouquet Tattoo
A traditional flower bouquet looks beautiful on the forearm because both have a long and narrow shape. The lack of color serves to further highlight that shape.
Jazz up a simple heart by adding text inside it. Placing it on the upper arm means your message is hidden until you choose to show it.
Right below the elbow is a perfect spot for a phrase or multi-word text. The size and shape of the area means you can play around with different details.
Upper Arm Tattoo
The inner part of the upper arm has a lot of space for larger designs. Keep the detailing thin and minimal against medium-thick lines for a balanced feel.
Sun Arch Arm Tattoo
Play with the shape of the elbow by placing an arched design like the sun above it. Vary the kinds of lines—solid, dashed, dotted—to add interesting detail to the ink.
Reversible Arm Tattoo
A tattoo at the base of your forearm by your elbow will pop when you bend your arm. Try going for an optical illusion design that looks good upside down and right-side-up!
White Floral Arm Tattoo
Try inking a larger design in white to keep it from feeling stoic and heavy. By keeping the outline consistent, the tattoo looks crisp and minimal.
Constellation Arm Tattoo
Constellation tattoos look great on the forearm because the points can be spread out and not feel crowded. Use thin lines, dot detailing, and small touches of white to customize the design.
The winding nature of snakes pop against the forearm because of the movement it creates. Use a thin outline and lots of empty space to create a delicate design.
Abstract Lines Arm Tattoo
For fans of abstract design, try tattooing a variety of lines in different styles on the arm. If you use flexible lines, it will move with the arm, while straight lines around the arm will emphasize the shape.
A design on the back of the upper arm is like a beautiful surprise when you turn around. Use minimal lines and no additional detailing for a smooth and chic look.
White Butterfly Arm Tattoo
Try inking a complicated design like a butterfly in white to keep it from feeling overwhelming. A large design, even in white, will catch your attention in the most unique way.
Crescent Moon Tattoo
A simple, thin-lined crescent moon tattoo is a simple way to convey its meaning: fertility and the life cycle (or, whatever meaning you've personally reserved for it).
Skyline Arm Tattoo
Skylines are popular arm tattoos because they fit perfectly across the width of the forearm. The line-art style almost looks like a heartbeat monitor, too, which gives it even more special meaning.
Sparkles Arm Tattoo
A few small sparkles by the wrist make for a delicate and chic tattoo. The white ink details make the design feel as though its almost really shining.
Sun Arm Tattoo
There are so many ways to personalize a sun design, but all ways look great as arm tattoos. For a minimal look, use geometric shapes only like triangles and circles.
Blackwork Leaves Arm Tattoo
For a singular arm tattoo, don’t shy away from heavy blackwork. To keep it feeling minimal, go for a small design.
Lotus Flower Arm Tattoo
Lotus flowers can be adapted with as much detail as you want and in any size. Here, the flower is thin and adds variety with overlapping lines, rather than overwhelming flourishes.
Thin Line Arm Tattoo
No matter how thin the lines are, a small design will always pop when the outline is crisp. Don’t add color if you want to get the tiny, minimal aesthetic.
Wrapped Text Arm Tattoo
Text wraps beautifully around the back of the upper arm, making it the perfect placement idea. Play around with different fonts, but you’ll probably find that those with movement fit best.
Rose Life Cycle Arm Tattoo
Use the long and narrow space of your arm to your advantage with multi-image designs. The thin outlines on these roses keep it feeling delicate.
A tattoo right below where a short sleeve would fall looks amazing when visible because it flatters the shape of the arm. Go for bright colors if you want to highlight it even more.
Inner Arm Word Tattoo
Try placing your word tattoo along the inner edge of your arm. This tattoo always faces you, so it’s like a personal note to yourself.
Feather Arm Tattoo
Mimic the look of an armband by wrapping your tattoo design around your arm. It doesn’t have to be simple, either; use color or other detailing to spice it up like in this feather tattoo.
Vase-and-Flower Arm Tattoo
Play with the shape of your arm in your design, like how this vase’s edges mimic that of the arm. The contrasting straight edges of the flowers create an interesting dichotomy in this maximalist design.
Dots Arm Tattoo
Just because there's a lot of space on the arm doesn't mean you can't go for a tiny tattoo. Try to incorporate repeating designs for uniformity, but try to give it a personal twist like the one open circle.
Roman Numeral Arm Tattoo
A small Roman numeral or letter looks great alone on the arm because its daintiness seems to make it pop. Place it along the arm’s muscle to have it appear to be facing forward.
Still-Life Arm Tattoo
Still-life tattoos look great on the back of the arm because it’s larger size gives the design some breathing room. As you add more elements to a still life tattoo, consider sizing down on the outline thickness to balance it.
Watercolor Arm Tattoo
The watercolor tattoo technique was practically made for wildlife and landscape designs—it truly helps bring the art to life.
Candy Arm Tattoo
The number of lines in this candy design doesn’t make the tattoo feel crowded thanks to the space afforded by the forearm. The pop of color makes an otherwise simple tattoo interesting.
Word Arm Tattoo
If your tattoo has a message you want to share, inking it on the top of your forearm means it will always be in view.
Female Figure Tattoo
Pay homage to beauty of the female body with a delicate outline detailing and celebrating our curves.
Text Arm Tattoo
A block of text tattoo on the back of the arm is situated to perfectly pop under short sleeves. Play with different fonts to see what looks best for your arm shape and aesthetic.