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60+ Knuckle Tattoos Designs and Ideas from Celebrities, Personalities, and More that Will Convince You to Get Inked Too

By Jason Hamilton / January 30, 2020
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Knuckle tattoos are one of the most underrated tattoos alongside hand tattoos. But don’t worry if you need knuckle tattoos designs and ideas as today, we’ll give you some of the best of them that we’re sure you’ll love too. But before anything else, let’s get to know this tattoo first.

Knuckle Tattoos Designs and Ideas Origin

Many people may have known knuckle tattoos because of Robert Mitchum’s character, Rev. Harry Powell in the 1955 movie The Night of the Hunter wherein he sported knuckle tattoos that read “love” on the right hand and “hate” on the other. But apparently, even before the movie hit the big screens, knuckle tattoos have already been existing.

In fact, experts believe that it has been around since around 900 AD. This is because archeologists found a Chiribaya mummy with such tattoo that dates back around 900 to 1350 AD in Peru.


A closer look at the Chiribaya mummy’s tattooed hand

In the late 19th and 20th centuries, knuckle tattoos were also popular among sailors. Many of them sported a “Hold Fast” knuckle tattoo.


A common “hold fast” tattoo

Today, people now enjoy a number of knuckle tattoos designs and ideas. And we’re sure most of them will convince you to have one. However, before you give it a go, aside from its origin, it would also be best to know the things that you will experience in having it inked on your body. Here are some of them.


Pain Level

The level of pain is probably the first thing that you need to consider before you give your knuckle tattoos designs and ideas a go. You see, there’s really pain in the process of tattooing regardless of your design and its size. And it would be even more painful if you place your tattoo in areas without thick muscles or fats to shield you (even just a little) from the needles. And we all know that the knuckles are one of the bony areas in our body. Also, this area has more nerves. Hence, expect more pain as you get inked, which also counts as one of the negative sides of having knuckle tattoos.

Knuckle Tattoo Cost

There are many factors that tells a tattoo’s price – the size, design, expertise of the artist, etc. But usually, the smaller the tattoo, the cheaper it is. However, it’s not always like that with knuckle tattoos.


Knuckle tattoos may be small and could only cost you an initial price that’s around $50 to $100 but over time, you’d have to pay more. This is because such tattoos easily fade.

Tattoos placed in exposed areas easily fade, like in the knuckles. Also, we often use our hands every day which also makes the tattoo fade even faster. And for that reason, you’d have to frequently have it retouched if you don’t want a faded tattoo. But then again, this will cost you a bigger amount of money in the long run.


More Things to Know

Another thing that you need to know about this kind of tattoo is that it is not for perfectionists. Take a closer look at your skin in the knuckle area; you’ll find a lot of lines and wrinkles. And if you were to place a tattoo in that area, the ink will likely bleed. As a result, you will not get a perfectly-shaped tattoo, which can be very disappointing, especially if you are keen to details.

Also, you might not be able to get all your knuckle tattoos designs and ideas placed in your knuckles. This is because, needless to say, this part only offers a small space for tattoos. So skip the intricately detailed knuckle tattoos designs and ideas and opt for a simpler one instead because of the limited space in the knuckle area.

Moreover, this kind of tattoo needs more care. For instance, after the tattoo has been made, you need to keep your hands away from water and clean it properly. This can be a bit hard, though, considering that we always use our hands for many things. What more if you had both of your knuckles tattooed? Don’t worry, though, as this only needs to be done for a week or less before you can proceed to your normal routine again.

Knuckle Tattoo Advantages and Disadvantages in the Society

Like many tattoos, knuckle tattoos can be a form of self-expression and self-identity too. There are a number of knuckle tattoos designs and ideas out there that will definitely help you show who you really are. And, of course, like other tattoos, knuckle tattoos add more confidence and coolness to its owner.

But then again, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies for everyone. Even if some of our ancestors had it inked on their body back in the day, tattoos, especially those placed on the exposed areas of our body, still don’t sit well with other people because of the stigma.

In addition to that, many people associate such tattoo with prisoners, especially the tattoo that reads “ACAB” (known to stand for “All Cops Are Bastards”). This is because many prisoners often have this tattooed on their knuckles and for most of them, it symbolizes their willingness to go to prison for their gang or crew.

But as time goes by, it’s starting to gain more popularity, especially now that some celebrities even opt to have them.

Knuckle Tattoos Designs and Ideas from Celebrities and Other Personalities

Zayn Malik’s “Love” knuckle tattoo


Rihanna has a “Thug Life” knuckle tattoo

Jeremy Paxman sporting a “Good Nite” knuckle tattoo to pay tribute to David Dimbleby


Lars Von Trier’s “Fuck” tattoo to advertise the content of his new movie, Nymphomaniac. His other fist is also tattooed that reads “Me Sideways.”

Maggie Lindemann’s knuckle and finger tattoos

Zoe Kravitz is also wearing minimalist knuckle and hand tattoos



Cara Delavingne also had her knuckle inked with a lion tattoo

SInger-songwriter-rapper GIRLI also has a knuckle tattoo on her right hand that says”Hot Mess”


Amina Buddafly also had her right knuckle tattooed that reads “I Am”

Sasha Lane has a “Metta” tattoo on her left knuckle


Chantelle Connely has a “LOVE” tattoo on her right knuckle


Asia Argento’s name tattoos on her left knuckle. She also has a “Hope” knuckle tattoo and a Staurogram, a Greek Christian symbol made by the letters tau and rho, on her other hand

Jessy Nelson, on the other hand, has four suits from a deck of cards


Kreayshawn’s unique telephone dial pad on her right hand

Ruby Rose opted for big “Just Love” knuckle tattoos

A closer look at Cherish Lee’s left dotwork knuckle tattoo that reads “Life.” She also has a knuckle tattoo on her right hand that says “Live.”


Megan Massacre’s “Man’s Ruin” tattoo on the knuckles

Linda Perry’s “Want It All” knuckle tattoos


Maria Brink has a knuckle tattoo that reads “Believe”


Skylar Grey opted to have her surname tattooed on her knuckle instead

Karis Anderson also wears a “Love knuckle tattoo”

More Knuckle Tattoos Designs and Ideas

Many of the celebs and personalities we’ve mentioned usually opt for much simpler knuckle tattoo designs. Because, again, such tattoo can be hard to maintain as you need frequent touch-ups here and there, not to mention that it can get costly too. Thus, we really do recommend that you opt for simpler knuckle tattoos designs and ideas too.

Most people go for word tattoos on their knuckles. For this kind of knuckle tattoo, you can go for four to eight-letter words that describe you or a word/s that remind you of something. Some people even like to ink their random favorite words or other things; and you can too. Here are some knuckle tattoos designs and ideas.

This guy right here’s favorite food must be burritos

This guy had his favorite sauce tattooed

This guy had his favorite snack tattooed and even made it colorful

This woman also opted to tell the world of her favorite snack through her knuckle tattoo

On a more serious note, if you’re that type of person who really wants a more badass tattoo, here are some knuckle tattoos designs and ideas that we’re sure you’ll love even more.

Here’s a more intricate word tattoo on the knuckles

This guy has “True Love” tattoos with a dark background with skulls

Matty Matheson had his TV Show’s, Dead Set on Life, initials on his right knuckle

More detailed knuckle tattoos of horror movie characters

This tattoo owner combined different symbols for his knuckle tattoos

This, on the other hand, is a combination of different Christian tattoo symbols placed on the right knuckle

This one is a combination of word, flower, and blackout tattoos

A colorful knuckle tattoo

Another intricate knuckle tattoos of different movie characters, word tattoo, and other symbols

You can also opt for tattoos that can tell more about you or what you’ve been through. Here are some knuckle tattoos designs and ideas for that.

A knuckle tattoo that reads “Forgiven”

This knuckle tattoo that reads “Cat Lady” is perfect for cat lovers

A knuckle tattoo that says a lot about what the owner is going through

Another knuckle tattoo that says a lot about the owner’s personality

Another knuckle tattoo that tells about the owner’s character


Why not opt for a knuckle tattoo that describes how you feel about yourself too, like what this man did?

This one, on the other hand, tells about the tattoo owners profession

A knuckle tattoo that can say a lot about your situation right now

A tattoo that can also describe how you got to where you are today

This tattoo will tell you how real its owner is

You can also opt for knuckle tattoos designs and ideas that will remind of something or inspire you to do better just like these knuckle tattoos designs and ideas.

A knuckle tattoo that will remind you to hold on no matter what happens

A knuckle tattoo that reminds you to just love

A knuckle tattoo that reminds you that sometimes we get hurt but don’t forget to heal

A knuckle tattoo that will remind you to swim no matter what challenges you face or else you’ll sink

This is just a temporary tattoo with a simple yet hard-hitting message but you can also use this idea for a permanent knuckle tattoo

A tattoo that will always remind you to be hopeful no matter how things get worse

This tattoo, on the other hand, will always remind you to improve yourself by gaining more knowledge through reading

One of the knuckle tattoos designs and ideas that will inspire and remind you to always be brave

While this tattoo might just look funny for some as if the owner didn’t take it seriously, this kind of tattoo will actually inspire and remind you to always do what you love. In this case, the tattoo owner is always reminded to never forget to bake

This tattoo will remind you to rise up no matter how many challenges try to pull you down

You can also

You can also opt for a “Fate Will” tattoo

Here’s another knuckle tattoo that reads “Overcome” that will also inspire you for sure

A minimalist tattoo that will remind you to always stay true not just to the people around you but to yourself as well

This might look funny or will make you think its a fail tattoo but this kind of tattoo idea will surely remind you to make plans ahead so your decisions will not result in this kind of situation

Another tattoo that will remind you of your past

This one will always remind you to not think of what others will say against you and start living your life to the fullest instead

Here’s another tattoo that will always remind you to overcome the challenges you face

This tattoo tells you to just live and not give up in life no matter how hard things gets

A simple blackout word tattoo that will always remind you that there is always hope

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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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