Rose tattoos have a long history dating back to the 1930s. Back then, sailors used to ink them to symbolize their girlfriend, wife, or mother. Because of their association with women, roses began to symbolize love and femininity, quickly becoming a classic ink design choice. Today—whether you get a minimalist design hidden behind your ear or a string of blood red roses on your shoulder—roses make a gorgeous (and timeless) tattoo design. Here, see 20 gorgeous rose tattoos to inspire your next ink.
Hands & Roses Tattoo
Hand tattoos are very on-trend right now, and the thin outline in this design adds to the delicate and feminine feel of the rose.
Classic Rose Tattoo
The rose tattoo here is done in American traditional style, giving it a cartoonish look due to the thick black outlines, the thorn elements, and the extra line detailing. This is a great way to break the rose down to its simplest shapes but still achieve a complex tattoo.
Rose Heart Tattoo
Getting a few basic, black-outlined roses in a heart shape gives a bit of whimsy to the design and adds to the roses’ natural romanticism. The additional leaves and dots add to the personalized, hand-illustrated vibe.
Minimalist Rose Tattoo
This rose tattoo uses basic, clean lines to create a crisp design. By not adding any extra lines, dots, or shading, the tattoo remains modern and minimalist.
Rose Lighter Tattoo
One way to punch up a rose tattoo is to design around the flower. In this design, the rose is the focal point, but the lighter adds more of a designed feel to the ink.
Glass-Encased Rose Tattoo
Make your tattoo an ode to your one true love (and a specific Disney movie) by getting a glass case tattooed around the rose.
Super Delicate Rose Tattoo
By using extremely thin lines and small, intricate detailing, a rose tattoo gains an extremely delicate feel. The shading on the leaves also gives it a realistic look that stands in contrast to the crisp line of the stem.
Face & Rose Tattoo
Play up the femininity of roses by incorporating a face into the design. In this rose tattoo idea, it appears that the line is never-ending and that the rose simply turns into the face. The tattoo feels effortless and chic.
Rose Bouquet Tattoo
Who says rose tattoos can only include roses? Add some of your other favorite flora to the design to create a bouquet of flowers, rather than just one. If you want to keep the rose the focal point, follow the lead of this tattoo: Make it the only actual blooming flower.
Inner Arm Rose Tattoo
Placing a rose tattoo on your inner-upper arm gives it a “peekaboo” effect, with people catching a quick flash as you move your arm (rather than full visibility at all times).
Traditional Style Rose Tattoo
Rose tattoos are original to the person who gets them, but a lot of them look similar because they’re modeled off of real roses. Personalize your tattoo a bit by taking inspiration from the American traditional tattoo style, which tends to break designs down to absolute basics and relies on heavy usage of black ink. This one in particular reminds us of a stained glass window.
Red Rose Tattoo
Jazz up a simple tattoo by changing the color. This red rose tattoo makes an otherwise basic, outline-only tattoo feel more interesting and original. It also gives a nod to the classic rose coloring.
Outer Wrist Rose Tattoo
Placing a small rose tattoo on the outer wrist gives the rose a more delicate feeling. It plays up the romance associated with roses, as it’s a tattoo that would most likely be seen in flashes rather than always being visible due to its placement.
Squiggly Rose Tattoo
Using a fully connected, squiggly line to craft the rose tattoo plays up the most basic aspects of the flower to craft a minimalist design. You can even include a word in the squiggles of the stem to make the tattoo more personal.
One-Line Rose Tattoo
This rose tattoo idea uses the fully connected one-line design, but the curvy composition plays up the allure of the rose. It’s somehow both dainty and tough, and it gives off French aesthetic vibes.
Double Rose Tattoo
Want to make your rose tattoo really pop? Rather than going for a simple one-flower rose tattoo, get two. Having them slightly overlap and using a medium outline makes them darker, which draws attention to the tattoo.
Almost Perfect Rose Tattoo
Using an extremely thin line allows for an almost-perfect appearance like this tattoo has here. If you’re interested in a minimal but crisp rose tattoo idea, make sure to use very thin and simple lines.
Heart-Framed Rose Tattoo
Adding additional design elements to a rose tattoo makes it more customized to you. Here, a large heart incorporates the flower by appearing to use the stem as part of the shape’s outline. The medium outlines and heavy use of black contrast with the negative space of the rose petals and the heart to really call attention to the design.
Shoulder Rose Tattoo
While this rose tattoo idea is modeled off of a real rose blossom, the line detailing on the leaves and the extra foliage gives the ink a more cartoonish look. Its placement feels natural because the roundness of the rose matches that of the shoulder bone.
Realistic Thigh Rose Tattoo
By placing a rose tattoo on the upper thigh, the rose’s romantic affiliations are played up, making it a sexier placement idea. The heavy shading on this tattoo is meant to give it a more realistic look, and the contrast between the thin lines and the shading makes the ink pop.