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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Watercolor Arm Tattoo
The watercolor tattoo technique was practically made for wildlife and landscape designs—it truly helps bring the art to life.
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.
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.