50+ Elbow Tattoos Ideas and Designs that are Worth the Pain

By Jason Hamilton / December 8, 2020
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The chest, back, and the forearm – these are some of the most popular body spots that people choose for their tattoos. But have you heard about the elbow tattoo? It may not be one of the popular spots for tattoos but it’s still worth talking about.


Why Elbow Tattoos Aren’t Popular

Truth be told, there are a number of concerns for elbow tattoos that can turn off many people. One of which is the discomfort of the tattooing process in this area.

All tattoos hurt. However, the level of pain varies depending on where you place your tattoo. If you place your tattoo on areas that have more muscles and/or fats, the pain will likely decrease. This is because these muscles and fats act as a cushion. Hence, you will feel less pain compared to the pain brought by tattoos placed on bony areas.


The design also affects the pain of the tattooing process. The more intricate details you choose for your tattoo, the more you’d have to bear the pain of the tattooing process.

For elbow tattoos, it sure is going to be painful. This is because this area is bony. Hence, you have no muscle or fat to cushion you from the needles. And if you were to ink a tattoo on your inner elbow, the process will still hurt because this area has a lot of nerve endings and has a thin skin as well. And this is also one of the reasons why people pass on elbow tattoos ideas and designs.


Tattoos are also best placed on areas that are not wrinkly. This is because the ink could bleed on the folds of the skin.

But these shouldn’t stop you from getting elbow tattoos. Elbow tattoos also have more reasons for you to say yes.


Why You Should Say Yes to Elbow Tattoos Ideas and Designs

There may be reasons why people don’t like getting tattoos on their elbows but there are far more reasons why you should. One of which is the design options that you have. The elbows offer a nice spot for you to get more creative with your tattoo. In addition to that, you have a lot of designs to choose from that are meaningful as well. Take a look at some of these elbow tattoos ideas and designs for some inspiration.

Mandala Elbow Tattoo

Mandala tattoo designs are one of the popular tattoos out there. But it’s not just because of its aesthetics. Mandala tattoos are also popular in the world of body art because of their representations. For starters, people consider mandala as a sacred symbol. And like a circle, people also see it as a symbol for eternity, perfection and it is meant to reflect the balance.


A dotwork mandala tattoo placed on the right elbow


An outline of a sunflower with mandala details placed on the right elbow


A traditional style mandala tattoo placed on the right elbow


A right elbow tattoo of a mandala with blackwork details

An intricately detailed mandala tattoo with dotwork details

Rose Elbow Tattoo

Flower tattoo designs are one of the best choices preferred by many people too. This is because, with flower tattoos, you have a lot of design options to choose from as there are countless species and colors of flowers. And note that each variation has its own meaning. Rose tattoo designs alone can give you many design options and meanings.


A realistic black ink tattoo of a rose etched on the left elbow

Black ink rose tattoos wrapping the right elbow area

A traditional tattoo of a red rose etched on the right elbow


A realistic rose tattoo in black ink placed on the inner elbow

A red rose tattoo starting from the elbow to the wrist

Spider Web Elbow Tattoos

In some cultures, spider web tattoos are looked down upon. This is because of its association with prison as well as those who have gone to jail. The spider web tattoo is often an indication of prison time served. But today, these webs aren’t only seen as that. For some, it can show their love for the horror genre because it is usually the focal point of horror-themed tattoos. It can also be associated with one’s personality. Like the web, some people might have an innocent appearance but don’t get caught in the trap as they can lash out at any time.


An outline tattoo of a spider web placed on the right elbow

An old school styled spider web paired with other Sailor Jerry-inspired tattoos


A spider web tattoo in gray ink placed on the left elbow


A spider web tattoo with blackwork details paired with a bald eagle

A spider web tattoo paired with a skull

Sailor Jerry Elbow Tattoo

Sailor Jerry made a huge contribution to the world of tattoo. He developed his own pigments and custom needle formations. And because of this, his works remain popular in the tattoo industry. And you can use some inspirations from his works too. His vibrant tattoo designs will surely look great on your elbow too.


A Sailor Jerry anchor tattoo on the right elbow

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A Sailor Jerry anchor and mermaid tattoo placed on the inner elbow stretching to the forearm

A Sailor Jerry tattoo of a skull paired with card, dice, mermaid, and number tattoo


A Hawaiian girl Sailor Jerry tattoo placed on the right elbow area

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A Sailor Jerry-inspired mandala tattoo on the left elbow

Compass Elbow Tattoo

The compass is also one of the well-loved designs in the tattoo industry. Like its real function, it also serves as a representation for guidance in the tattoo world. What’s even better is that its shape matches the elbow area.


A compass tattoo with blackwork details placed on the left elbow

Nautical compass rose tattooed on the tricep. Not the best picture ...


This nautical compass tattoo is placed on the right inner elbow

A Sailor Jerry-inspired nautical compass placed on the right elbow

A black and gray compass tattoo placed on the left elbow

A compass tattoo with mandala details etched on the right elbow

Skull Elbow Tattoo

Some people avoid skull tattoos because of their association with death and mortality. But this tattoo isn’t always a sign of morbidity. Skulls also represent overcoming obstacles, as well as protecting valuables.

A compass and skull tattoo designs morphed together

A huge skull elbow tattoo in black, gray, and red-orange ink

A realistic tattoo of a skull and face morphed together on the right elbow

A unique tribal skull tattoo covering the whole left elbow

A skull elbow tattoo with realistic colors

A blackwork tattoo of a spider web paired with a skull

Star Elbow Tattoo

Star tattoos can also work for elbows as they often have a simpler pattern. But aside from that, they have a nice meaning too. People often associate stars with security and direction. They also represent the human’s divine relationship with God.

A simple outline tattoo of a star on the left elbow

A 3D tattoo of a star

Another 3D tattoo of a star but this one is combined with inspirational word tattoos

An elbow star tattoo in black and green ink

A star tattoo in shades of purple ink placed on the inner elbow

An outline tattoo of a star paired with a flame and forearm quote tattoo

Spiral Elbow Tattoo

Spiral tattoos are often mesmerizing to look at. But aside from that, spiral details also make nice tattoos because it also means vitality, cyclical development, the season, decay, as well as the phases of growth and aging.

An Uzumaki tattoo paired giving off some sketch or trash polka tattoo vibe

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A blackwork spiral sleeve tattoo covering the elbow

A spiral tattoo with a heavy blackwork detail

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A spiral tattoo giving off some galactic vibes

A unique spiraled quote tattoo that reads “I lost my mind and all my hope in feeling fine again”

Eye Elbow Tattoo

Eyes placed on the elbow make jaw-dropping illusions, especially if you add realistic details. But eye tattoos aren’t just for aesthetics as they are also a symbol of truth, protection, and clarity. People also see it (no pun intended) as a symbol that a deceased loved one is watching over them.

A realistic eye tattooed on the right inner elbow

An eye and an apple tattoo morphed together on the left elbow

An all-seeing eye paired with flowers and blackwork details covering the inner elbow and the forearm

A realistic tattoo of an eye and tentacles

An eye tattoo with jaw-dropping realistic details placed on the inner elbow

Polynesian Elbow Tattoo

Polynesian symbols are also a popular choice because of their meanings and cool vibe. For this tattoo, however, it is rare to only place Polynesian symbols exactly on the elbow. Instead, people wear sleeves that stretch down to the elbows.

A Polynesian tattoo with prominent enata and blackwork details

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A Polynesian tattoo covering the whole right elbow area

A Polynesian sleeve tattoo covering the elbow

A full sleeve Polynesian tattoo that starts from the chest and stretches down to the forearm

Another chest to forearm Polynesian tattoo but with more blackwork details

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About the author

Jason Hamilton

Jason has been an avid fan of tattoos for over 13 years now. He is currently 35 years old, and he got his first tattoo at the age of 22. Since then, he has added over 20 tattoos to his collection. He is also into writing, which is why he decided to celebrate both of his passion and hobby through tats ‘n’ rings. Jason dreams of having his very own tattoo parlor soon. Jason would be very happy to answer any questions about tattoos that you may have! Leave a comment below and he’ll answer it for you right away!

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