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Tattoo Idea Sites Worth Checking Out

Before you go under the needle and spend hundreds of dollars on a tattoo, do your research. These sites offer great design ideas.

Before you go under the needle and spend hundreds of dollars on a tattoo, do your research. These sites offer great design ideas.

As a person who chose a tattoo 15 years ago (and still doesn't regret it!), I encourage you to find the right design for your tat before spending over $100 and getting injected with ink. (Sure, you can get a laser removal nowadays, but do you really want to bother with that?)

Here's what to do:

1. Browse designs online and get some ideas, or pick a particular design. Take the ideas to a good tattoo parlor and ask to see similar designs they have available.


2. Pay for and download the electronic version of a design you like. Take that to the tattoo parlor and ask them to reproduce it as your tattoo. If they're not capable of replicating it exactly, it might be worth consulting with another tattoo artist who can probably render a close copy for you that's tattoo-ready.

Note: I don't know the owners of any of these sites, and have no financial interest in them. I'm just providing this information for interested readers.

Tattoos by Design

This UK-based website features a couple of interesting options (including a gallery of 2000+ designs, and celebrity designs). Other features include:

  • Your name translated into Hindi, Sanskrit, Gujarati, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese or Japanese. This is not free; they charge about $9. But they make a pretty good point: "Would you trust an online free list to give your name in a foreign language, and then ink your body with it?"

    (Note: Apparently, Britney Spears got a tattoo in Japanese which she thought meant "mysterious." She was later told it meant "strange." She also got a Hebrew word tattooed on her neck that she wanted to say "new era" but it turned out to be gibberish.)

  • Rate My Tattoo: You can rate uploaded pictures of visitors' tattoos and see which ones ranked high. These are cool because you can see what designs look like on skin, instead of just on screen or on paper.


This site has an enormous database of designs. Here are some of the more unusual tattoo categories you won't find on other sites:

  • Biker
  • Barbed wire and vine
  • Celtic
  • Dagger
  • Gay-lesbian (LGBT)
  • Memory-banner (picture of heart or flower, "In memory of . . ." a lost person)
  • Torn skin tattoos (makes it look like an animal or design is bursting out of your body)
  • Yin yang

If you want a print out that you can take to a tattoo artist, they charge $19.95. Previewing for ideas is free.

Tattoo Johnny

This site has lots of information, including a great guide for first-tattooers. They have ready-to-print stencils organized into categories like:

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  • Black & white tribal, Polynesian, and armband
  • Christian and cross
  • Flower and rose
  • Lower back
  • Animal, dolphin, dragon, butterfly, and insect
  • Japanese and zodiac symbol

You can also browse ideas and choose from about 50 different artists for free. Printouts for use by your tattoo artist range from about $7 (small, black & white), to about $20 (large, color). With the printout, you get the stencil (which the tattoo artist will use to literally transfer to your skin) and the full version which he/she will use as a guide.


jessica on October 06, 2011:

the arme and legs in general are the least painful places for tats, aside from places where fatty tissue is thin and the bone is directly under the skin (wrist, knee, ankle, etc) The elbow really doesn't feel at all . . . if you are just getting a name i wouldn't get the forearm done, but if its a larger piece go for it. Just a name will look weird.

dave on April 08, 2009:


cosmos from Gateshead. tyne and wear. england on January 18, 2008:

Hi. my son's(26, with tat's) just bought a tatoo machine and done about 6 freebee's on friends,(well they were friends just kidding) and they look good. All the friend's have tatoo's anyway, well you need guinea pig's to practice on, it's cheater than buying pig He is good at drawing anyway, and had done glass engraving and engraved those copper and silver scratch board's.

Janne's Photo and Tattoo's on October 02, 2007:

Get a Digital Tattoo applied on your image before you commit to the ink.

naviraj on May 31, 2007:

searching for a tattoo

Becca on March 11, 2007:

Make tattoo's of New Jersey.

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