Between a large amount of surface area and their ability to be covered up, legs are the perfect place to get inked. No matter what design you’re considering, the leg has an area that can accommodate size and shape of the tattoo. The thigh/upper leg has the most space to offer but is also incredibly secluded, while the knee doesn’t offer much space but does have an interesting shape. Calves do offer a lot of space and with little pain—though it’s rounded and a very visible location. And the shin, while typically extremely painful, puts your design front-and-center.
When considering a leg tattoo, think about how your ink could flow with the natural movement and shape of your leg. Working with the rounded areas or the straight lines along the bone can mean taking a design to the next level, rather than trying to force ink where it doesn’t fit. Wherever you’re thinking of placing your next leg tattoo, check out these amazing designs for some major inspiration.
Dainty Floral Leg Tattoo
A small floral on the side of the leg feels dainty thanks to its placement right above the bone and its thin, almost wispy lines. It’s hidden by long pants, but beautifully stands out when the leg is exposed.
Floral Bang Leg Tattoo
Florals make great leg tattoos because they feel light against a large body part. Consider wrapping the flower around like a band to play with the shape of your leg.
Face Calf Tattoo
We love the stark contrast in this tattoo.
Moon Phases Leg Tattoo
Use the different bones in your leg as a guide for tattoos with straight lines — either literally or in terms of placement. Here, the delicate shading makes the design feel light.
Black And White Leg Tattoo
For larger designs, the upper thigh provides a lot of surface area to offer. Because you can spread out the lines a bit more, you can also thicken then and use more detail.
Floral Arrangement Leg Tatttoo
Even though a leg tattoo can be hidden, don’t shy away from bold, thick lines or intricate detailing. The differing textures in this design pop against the smooth skin.
Script Calf Tatoo
Script font will never go out of style. Get your favorite word, phrase, or mantra inked in script on the back of your calf.
Line-Art Leg Tattoo
A design on the back of the leg by the ankle means it may be able to be covered, but a bit of it will always stick out. The line art keeps it light, while the thick outline grounds it.
Red Snake Leg Tattoo
Legs offer up a few different spaces that are long and narrow, making them the perfect location for snake tattoos. For a real pop, go for a bright color like red.
Hibiscus Calf Tattoo
Florals work anywhere on the body, legs included.
Text Band Leg Tattoo
For word or phrase tattoos, play up the shape of the leg by wrapping the text like a band. Placing it on the upper thigh gives it a more intimate feel, like a garter.
Vine Leg Tattoo
Use the innate movement of both plants and your leg to play up whimsy in your design. This tattoo wraps around the leg, constantly moving with it like a plant moving with the sun.
Hand and Floral Tattoo
Vivid Floral Leg Tattoo
Since upper thigh tattoos remain hidden most of the time, it’s the perfect location to play around with your design. Go for a more vivid hue or a variety of shapes like in this flora ink.
Because the leg has so many rounded parts, designs based on straight lines starkly contrast. These two tattoos are related and are the same shape and size, but aren’t the exact same image.
Intricate Hip-to-Toe Tattoo
Make a statement with a tattoo that spans the entire side of your leg, from hip to toe.
Laurel Branch Leg Tattoo
A small laurel branch may seem like a minimal design choice for the vast area of a leg, but placing it around the knee makes it pop. Its simplicity keeps it elegant while still making a statement.
Calf Muscle Leg Tattoo
The space right below the back of the knee bulges to accommodate muscle, so it makes a great spot for a larger design. Lighter shading and thin lines means the tattoo feels delicate without losing size.
Single Word Tattoo
One word can say so much. Ink your childhood nickname or a word that means a lot to you.
Lotus Flower Leg Tattoo
Since lotus flowers require so many lines and details, they fit perfectly in the large area of an upper thigh. Try combining multiple line thicknesses to keep it interesting.
Knee-Wrapped Leg Tattoo
Although the knee may seem like a major obstacle for designs, try building your tattoo around it. This will give the ink innate movement and will elongate the design.
Line Design Faces
Line design tattoos definitely seem like they're here to stay.
Colored Floral Leg Tattoo
Thanks to the length of leg bones, you can ink a long design—like flowers with elongated stems—elegantly. The color detailing makes them feel painted on.
We love the look of identical tattoos on the front of the shins, just above the ankle.
This detailed butterfly would work well above or below the knee, on the upper thigh, or on your calf.
Single Letter Leg Tattoo
Really make an impact by tattooing only one letter or number. Placing it right above the ankle means it’ll be seen even in pants, so it’s always guaranteed to stand out.
Blackwork Leg Tattoo
Pieces with heavier blackwork will look great on the upper thigh because they can use a fair amount of negative space to counteract the dark pigment. The shape of the flora mimics the soft shape of the leg as well.
Leg Tattoo Gallery
Turn your leg into an art gallery by inking tens of small, meaningful designs.
Line Of Text Leg Tattoo
Play up the straight line feeling of the back of the leg by getting text tattooed sideways along the tendon. Cursive script is a good font choice too, as it will seemingly elongate your leg.
Roses will always be in style.