The moon is symbolic of a range of interests and beliefs, making it a perfect tattoo choice for anyone who believes in the influence of the celestial body, appreciates the vast night sky, or enjoys its aesthetic look.
Crescent moons, in particular, represent motherhood and fertility, though several different communities claim the symbol. It can also be symbolic of growth, creativity, and manifestation. Sarah Kim, a tattoo artist at Body Art & Soul Tattoo in Brooklyn, NY, says that there isn’t just one meaning behind a crescent moon tattoo. "Crescent moons are usually related to new phases in life, new chapters, a new begging," explains Chris Vasquez of West 4 Tattoo.
While the design holds a multitude of meanings, you don't have to resonate with one of them to get it tattooed. “The popularity of this tattoo can be as simple as someone simply just liking how a crescent moon looks,” explains Kim.
Scroll on to check out some stunning crescent moon tattoos that will inspire your new ink.
Mid-Size Ankle Crescent Moon
This mid-size ankle crescent moon has a face, adding a bit of whimsy to the design. The artist also used some dots near the tips of the moon to act as shading and around the outside as stars.
"Most of mine/our clients love delicate and small tattoos, my job is to make them look aesthetically aligned with the body," explains Vasquez. "The outcome being dainty and beautiful, plus it being a mystical, magical, and enchanting symbol that represents so much makes it a very appealing tattoo for all."
Saffron and Crescent Moon
The artist filled in the ends of the slender crescent moon, fading out the black with light dots towards the middle. The precise linework carries in the saffron illustration and constellation laying atop the moon.
Crescent Moon with a Small Hand
By adding a small hand holding the crescent moon, the tattoo puts extra emphasis on the femininity of the symbol. The filled-in moon adds some black art contrast to the line-art hand.
Watercolor Crescent Moon
The artist uses a watercolor-esque style on this crescent moon made up of roses and colorful botanicals. While the symbols invoke a connection to spirituality and nature, the use of color allows the tattoo to be more aesthetically customized.
Crescent Moon with a Black Cat
“There is a huge subculture of people who love—or at least have an interest in—things like witches, moon phases, the occult, and other alternative styles who also find tattoos to be the perfect way to express their aesthetic and interests,” said Kim.
This crescent moon tattoo is depicted in the colors of a sunset with a black cat sitting on its bottom tip. Adding a cat increases the symbolism, as they tend to be associated with witchcraft or goddesses.
Crescent Moon with Lily Flowers
In this moon and flower tattoo, the crescent is depicted with thin line art with dots on either tip for shading. The lilies affixed to the bottom emphasize the femininity and divinity of the moon.
Single Flower Crescent Moon
The beauty is in the simplicity of a single flower and tiny crescent moon. Faded shading and crisp lines give this tattoo an inky, illustrated style.
Vasquez says that crescent moons are one of the hardest things to accomplish, "Circles, straight lines, and anything that has to do with perfect geometry is always a challenge and could go easily wrong when not done with proper techniques and experience. I've seen many banana-shaped moons, inconsistent lines, and wrongly placed crescent moon tattoos."
Vasquez recommends doing the research and finding someone who specializes and can interpret your ideas.
Mandala Lace Floral Moon
This floral crescent moon is a great way of showing how customizable the tattoo can be. By adding a unique mix of embellishments like mandala lace or lotus flowers, the tattoo is a super personalized piece of art.
Upper Back Peonies With Black Moon
Here, the artist created a starry effect by shading the crescent moon black and leaving negative space to create the stars. A frame of peonies reflects the feminine and romantic side of the symbol and looks as shiny as the stars with the careful placement of white ink highlights.
Crescent Moon With a Rose
This moon looks like what you might see in the night sky. Rather than a hard outline surrounding the entire crescent shape, we see a defined outer edge and a more realistic-looking fade of textured black, white, and grey. The rose stands out with its crisp outlines.
Black Crescent Moon With a Mermaid
This black moon tattoo takes on a dark and mystical approach. The mermaid completes the ink with an element of fantasy.
Geometric Back Moon
The artist used precise dot work to shape the crescent in this tattoo. This moon is particularly unique as it's flipped on a side we don't normally see with crescent moon tattoos.
Minimal Crescent Moon
The size and simple nature of a crescent moon make it ideal for placing in a small, hidden place. "I love doing them behind the ears, ankles, the wrist, and pretty much everywhere," Vasquez says. "I love adding geometry or sometimes charms and beads to them, incorporating designs opens a range of ideas and ways to make them flow with the shape of the body."
Colorful Moon With Birth Flower
Birth flowers are another way unique personalize your ink. The mix of delicate black ink larkspur with a thin, saturated purple and blue moon has a gorgeous effect. Because the zodiac sign Cancer is ruled by the moon and the birth flower for July is larkspur, we love this idea for Cancers born in July.
Dainty Wrist Moon With Flower
This tiny piece was created with only a few strokes and makes the perfect minimal wrist tattoo. Also, note the way the artist doubled the moon's outline as the flower stem.
A simple thin-lined tattoo is a great way to experiment with color if you're afraid of going overboard. The red-ink crescent here is complete with a face on the moon.
Whale Tied to Tiny Moon
A tiny whale tied to an even tinier moon feels like something of a dream. Careful black and grey shading create a whimsical, but realistic-style tattoo.
Floral Crescent Moon on Back
A crescent made entirely of flowers ties in the feminine aspect of the moon while remaining slightly more ambiguous.
Upper Thigh Crescent Moon With Cherry Blossoms
This thigh piece proves there are countless ways to do a flower and moon tattoo. Delicate lines shading make the cherry blossom petals gracefully pop against the crescent.
Dreamer Moon With Red Flower
A modern cursive font is placed to shape the crescent in this tattoo. The bright red rose brings out the tiny red dots along the moon's outlines, creating a beautiful minimal picture with just enough statement moments to elevate the visual interest.
Crescent Moon Bow and Arrow
Here, the crescent moon is serving as the bow for this bow and arrow tattoo. Two very powerful symbols, the moon and arrow can come together to create a new and powerful combined meaning.
Upside Down Moon
This dot work moon is flipped to face upside down and is hanging with various flowers and botanicals. The artist used varying sizes and boldness in the dots, creating a sense of texture to contrast the dark outline.
Snake on Slender Moon
A solid black moon is perfectly on-theme to pair with a fang-bore snake. The slithering creature provides a lot of placement opportunities for different ways to creatively coil around the moon.
This artist used a mix of line and dot work to create the pictured mountain moon tattoo. The crescent shape makes the perfect framing for a second visual placed within.
Delicate Line Work
A super delicate piece made with the light hand of a professional. The geometric moon tattoo is comprised of separate single-line elements, placed together to create a full picture.
Feathers and Flowers
Crescent moons provide a lot of opportunities to serve as a base for hanging decoration. Here, we have feathers, jewels, and flowers trickling off the moon like a dreamcatcher.
Sunflower and Crescent Moon on Wrist
This super contrasty sunflower and moon tattoo is hyper-detailed in the petals and leaves. The stardust is but simple lines and dots but pops to equal effect when juxtaposed with the bulk of the piece.
Floral Hip Moon
Black and white ink makes this floral crescent moon tattoo appear more three-dimensional and gives the illusion of glistening petals.
Minimal Sunrise Moon
Like the moon, the sun is also loaded with meaning when used in tattoos. This fine-line piece shows us a delicate example of combining the two together in a minimalist way.
Whale in the Clouds and Moon
Another dreamy whale and moon tattoo, this piece is even more otherworldly with the addition of stars and swirling clouds.
Ram Skull and Flowers with Crescent Moon
With the focus taken off of the moon, the crescent we see here is almost more of an after-thought to the bundle of flowers and gems around the ram skull.
Matching Botanical Moons
Two crescent moons ensconced in botanicals is a great idea for a set of matching tattoos. While they correlate, they still each retain their individuality with their personal choices of flowers.
Upper Back Moon and Lilies
A crescent moon can be shaped any way you want it. Here, we have a lunate curve, reaching almost all the way around to meet at each end. The moon's shading appears much more blended and hazy than the foregrounding lilies, which are boldly outlined.
While simple, this line tattoo has several elements going on to create an interesting piece. The moon is shaped by flowers and is surrounded by stars and tiny circles, giving it a whimsical appeal.
This artist placed contrasting styles with the same astrological theme together. This crescent moon is made with shaded realism, while the corresponding constellation boasts precise linework and silhouettes.
Birth Flowers in Crescent Moon Shape
This large lunar birth flower piece is romantic and bold. The artist used expertly sharp lines and delicate shading throughout, giving the flowers life and movement.
Realism Crescent Moon
The artist used a black and grey technique to create a realistic crescent moon. The outer black edge is dark and bold to create a solid shape, and the speckled shadowing gives the illusion of the moon’s glow.
Sketched Moon With Face
The multiple lines denoting the shape of this faced moon gives it the look of a single line sketch. Leafy foliage brings an earthy element to the cosmic illustration.
Black Moon and Lilies
This black moon tattoo is adorned in black and white lily linework and stars. The artist used white ink where the flowers run over the moon so the lines aren't lost in the dark ink.
Roman Numeral Clock With Crescent Moon
The bow of the moon doubles as the center of a Roman numeral clock in this tattoo. A combination of precisely straight and curved lines add geometric elements, while a trail of stars plays on the comics of the moon.
Blue Moon With Peonies
Another example of how black and grey florals look beautiful when paired with a colored moon. Here, the artist created a gradient across the crescent, melting from a lighter teal to deep indigo, and finishing with black.
Misty Moon and Flowers
Here, the artist used an inverted, negative space approach by forming dotted clouds to form the moon's silhouette. The dots fan out from the clouds to create the appearance of a misty night.
Crescent Moon-Shaped Roses
A vine with three roses arches to form a lunate bow. The artist uses sketch-like strokes to create the appearance of shading.
Moon and Sword
Pictured here is a sword piercing a realistic moon that is complete with the tiniest crevice detailing. Sword tattoos hold their own meanings as well; often denoting strength, power, and courage.
Red Rose Mandala Moon
Another example of how color can be incorporated in your crescent moon tattoo, the red roses are painted with white highlights, giving the florals a three-dimensional effect. The black and white moon is further embellished with a partial mandala, which is often used to represent balance, harmony, and wholeness.
Fine Line Owl on Moon
As another symbol of the night, an owl fits perfectly in place with a crescent moon in this fine line tattoo.
Crescent Moon Around Flowers
Here, the crescent moon is speckled with dot work in place of traditional shading. The lilies within the frame of the curve are outlined and shaded with linework to contrast.
Single-Line Angel on Moon
Pictured here is an angel sitting on a simple crescent moon in an illustrative, single-line style. Below, the artist inked minimalist dots hanging like a jeweled chain from the moon.
Lilies With Mandala Lace
Mandala embellishments are a versatile option: In this tattoo, only a few strands of mandala lace hang from the crescent moon, along with delicate lilies and botanicals
Miniature Rose Crescent
A tiny moon tattoo doesn't have to be limited to silhouettes and outlines. Here, a miniature-sized vine of roses curls into a dainty crescent behind the ear.
Tiny Moon in Flower Bunch
The artist's exquisite linework forms these delicate florals in black and grey ink. Here, the small crescent moon is shaped by the use of negative space over the leaves' shadows.
Simple Wrist Flower Moon
Cherry blossoms adorn a single-line stem that is forged in a crescent shape. The artist used black and grey ink to carefully dot the petals, creating a faded look on the shading.