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Thinking of Inking? Here Are 50+ Tattoo Placement Ideas and Some Facts You Need to Know First

By Jason Hamilton / October 12, 2018
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A tattoo’s design is important. However, you should also think about your tattoo placement. This is because it will affect your tattoo a lot.

You probably spent hours or even days researching about the most meaningful or the most aesthetically pleasing tattoo that you can use on your body too. It’s understandable because we all know that tattoos aren’t easy to erase. However, you might be forgetting to spend time thinking about where you should put your tattoo as well.


Why is Tattoo Placement Important?

While deciding on your tattoo design is important, it’s also a must to research on your supposed tattoo’s placement. Yes, you can just place it anywhere you want but remember that it can have pros and cons too. Here are some of the things that will affect or will be affected by your tattoo placement.



Apparently, tattoos aren’t diamonds. They may be placed beneath the skin but they will eventually fade naturally. There are tattoo placements that will last longer and some will not. Hand tattoos, for instance, may be beautiful but they fade easily. This is because our skin on our hands regenerates faster. Plus, it’s an exposed area. Hence, doing our daily chores and exposure to sunlight can affect the tattoo’s longevity too.


Another thing that will be affected by the tattoo placement is its pricing. Tattoos don’t have a fixed price but there are many factors that determine its cost. One of which is the tattoo placement.


Tattoo artists often base their pricing on a tattoo’s placement. This is because it might require extra effort or more time. Some artists even charge hourly; hence, the more awkward your tattoo placement is, the more time will the artist spend finishing up the tattoo and this means that you’ll have to pay more too.

Aside from that, you’ll also need to pay more for touch-ups. Again, tattoos fade over time. Hand and finger tattoo designs are one of the examples of tattoos that will need frequent touch-ups because they fade easily. If you opt for an exposed tattoo placement, be prepared to spend more dollars too.



Your tattoo placement could limit your tattoo’s size as well. This is due to the fact that some of our body parts offer a big canvas for our tattoo and some don’t. If you want a big tattoo, then, the space behind your ear isn’t a good idea for the kind of tattoo you’re eyeing on.


A tattoo’s placement can affect your piece’s details too just as how it affects your tattoo’s size. There are certain body parts that have more loose and wrinkled skin like the fingers and the elbows. If you plan to place a tattoo in such areas, don’t expect that you can get every detail of your tattoo right. This is in view of the fact that the ink will just likely scatter around the area, resulting in a blurry-looking tattoo.


Body Changes

Body changes can affect your tattoo design too. There are spots that easily stretches when we gain or lose weight like the stomach, especially for women. This could result in distorted tattoo designs. Thus, it’s really important to think about whether you still want to proceed with that stomach tattoo that you have in mind.

Level of Pain

The level of discomfort that you will feel is also based on your tattoo placement. Our body parts have different fat and muscle distribution and they are responsible for protecting us from the discomfort during the tattooing process. Thus, you’ll likely feel more pain in areas that are bonier. Additionally, there are spots that are extremely sensitive too, just like the groin area, the inner bicep, and the face. And the more sensitive they are, the more you will feel discomfort. For that reason, it’s always best to look at the pain scale before you decide where you’ll place your tattoo.


The Tattoo Placement Ideas for the Bravest

When getting inked, your tattoo’s placement is one of the things that you don’t want to put at the bottom of your list. Your tattoo placement can dictate many things – from the pricing to even how much pain would it cause you. You can ask your tattoo artist for suggestions on where your supposed tattoo would be placed for it to look even better. Or, you can just do your research beforehand as no one knows how much pain you can tolerate except you. In this way, you’ll have more time to think things through.

Getting inked is painful. While some people will tell you that it isn’t, apparently, we all have different levels of pain tolerance. Some people even faint during the process because of the pain. Thus, you really might want to research more. To give you a better idea on where you can place your tattoos, here are some ideas for your tattoo placement.

The Rib Area

Any tattoo expert or enthusiasts will tell you that it’s one of the most painful spots for tattoos. This is because of the fact that the rib area doesn’t have much muscles or fats to cushion you against the needles. Placing a tattoo in this area will cause you pain as if a blunt metal object is cutting your skin. Even so, it’s a good spot if you want a piece that’s easy to hide.

A watercolor tattoo of a pink peony on the side of the ribs


A rose tattoo with calligraphy tattooed on the side of the ribs to the center

A big tattoo of fierce snake in red and black ink



A graceful watercolor ballerina tattoo on the left side of the rib cage


The head area has lots of nerves. Plus, it doesn’t have enough muscles to cushion you from the needles too. Some people even say that being tattooed on the head feels as if their head is being drilled.

A big moth with a skull print tattooed at the back of the head


A biomechanical tattoo in 3D on the side of the head

A fierce fish tattoo in black ink placed on the right side of the head

A gorgeous mehndi-inspired head tattoo in black ink on the top of the head


The ankles are yet another boney area. Thus, it is considered as one of the spots that are high on the pain scale. While tattoos on the ankle look beautiful and sophisticated, you might still want to ponder on this tattoo placement.


A red peony and indigo forget me not flowers tattooed on the left ankle

A semicolon tattoo with a heart instead of a dot in black ink


A silhouette of a palm tree in red ink at the back of the ankle

A mehndi-inspired tattoo surrounding the ankles that stretches from the toes up to the lower leg


Like like the ankles, the feet area is also one of the spots that will make you think twice for your tattoo placement. This area isn’t just boney but it also has clusters or nerves that will cause you more pain.


A cute owl tattoo with big blue eyes on the right foot


A beautiful and detailed rose tattoo on the left foot

A boho-inspired tattoo in white and gold ink on both feet


A 3d tattoo of an anklet with a feather on the foot

Inner Wrist

The inner wrist is also another spot that you might want to steer clear of when thinking of a tattoo placement. It may look like it’s not boney but it is one of the body parts that have more nerves and there’s not enough muscle in it to cushion you from needles.

A big soft pink peony tattoo covering the entire inner wrist

A monarch butterfly on the inner part of the right wrist


A small moon in purple ink on the left wrist

A big sunflower tattoo in black and reddish gray ink


A collarbone tattoo placement looks very elegant. However, it is also one of the placements that’s not low on the pain scale.


A quote tattoo describing your strengths written on the collarbone area


A watercolor tattoo of two koi fishes in black ink

A multicolored constellation tattoo made with a good dot work

A big and detailed illustration of peonies in black and gray ink

A 3D collarbone tattoo placement of nails in reddish brown, red, and black ink

A minimalist and nerdy tattoo of a binary code on the collarbone


Finger tattoo placement will also give you more discomfort because our hands have a lesser cushion. In addition to that, the skin in this area is loose. Hence, it will be a little difficult to draw a tattoo in this area.

A dotwork rose tattoo atop a skull on the middle finger

A blue cat tattooed on the middle finger using the watercolor technique

Finger tattoos of different shapes and symbols with good dot work

A crown with a rosary placed on the ring finger


The stomach may not be at the top of the list of most painful tattoo placement but it still does not belong to the safe zone. While you might think that it has some cushion to shield you, our skin in this area is still thinner than the other part of our body.

A chain of flowers in black ink on the lower part of the stomach

Another floral tattoo on the lower part of the stomach

A king cobra that’s placed on the chest but stretches down to the stomach

An elegant tattoo that starts from the hip and extends  to the upper part of the torso

Tattoo Placement Ideas for Beginners

All tattoos hurt. However, there are certain body parts that will feel less painful when inked. Here are some tattoo placement suggestions that might want to consider for your first tattoo.

Upper Arms

The upper arm area offers a good canvass for any tattoo as the skin in this area is tight. Additionally, it has more muscles to protect you from too much pain too. For that reason, many people opt for this tattoo placement.

A solid black ink tattoo of a wolf in tribal style

A skull in reddish brown ink adorned with red roses

A richly detailed Celtic cross with Christogram at the bottom

Colorful watercolor tattoos of butterflies with names on the upper arm


The legs also has more muscles and it’s easy to draw on it because the skin isn’t loose. It’s also a good tattoo placement idea if you want to add more details to your tattoo.

A fish made with tribal style tattooed on the side of the upper leg

An impressive tattoo of an elephant in 3D with a colorful background

A low poly geometric animal tattoo with a colorful background

A powerful tattoo of a phoenix in red and orange ink


If you want to know which body part has the most muscle to protect you, it’s probably the buttocks. However, your tattoos are often hidden in this type of tattoo placement unless you wear a bikini.

A mandala tattoo in black ink on the right side of the buttocks

Big peony flowers starting on the buttocks up to the middle part of the back area

A big and colorful peony tattoo covering almost the entire left cheek of the buttocks


A dragon tattoo in black ink placed on the right butt cheek

Outer Forearm

The outer forearm has more muscles to it. Additionally, the skin in this area is not as sensitive as the inner forearm.

A richly detailed sleeve tattoo of a dragon koi fish

A rosary wrapped around praying hands with a dove on top

An outline of a floral tattoo with subtle shade work

A watercolor tattoo of a plant in a test tube

A sleeve tattoo of two mandalas on the left forearm

A simple tattoo of angular shapes, perfect if you are a minimalist

The tattoo placement is something that many people always forget to think of but it shouldn’t be. In fact, it’s should be one of the first things that you need to consider before you get inked as it will affect and will be affected by several factors. What are the other things that you consider when getting inked? Tell us down below.

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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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