10 Timeless Shoulder Tattoo Designs

One of the most popular locations for tattoos is on the shoulder. Shoulder tattoos are easy to show off when it’s appropriate but also easy to cover for work if your workplace is not tattoo friendly. Shoulder tattoos can either be directly on the upper arm where it meets the shoulder, on the back near the shoulder blade, or on the front in the top of the shoulder and collarbone area. The shoulder area also is a good area for tattoos because it is a fairly large, even space so designs that wouldn’t look great in other areas look great there.  If you are thinking about getting a shoulder tattoo these 10 types of designs look great in the shoulder area:

  1. Floral Designs: Feminine florals are gorgeous shoulder tattoos. You can choose a small curling floral fine or big gorgeous blooms. A flower shoulder tattoo is easy to add onto as well, so if you decide in the future that you want to expand the design it will be easy for a tattoo artist to add onto the existing design. Vivid colors are ideal for floral designs and look gorgeous. Floral designs are classic and will look great for years to come.
  2. Tribal or Ethnic Designs: Tribal or ethnic style tattoos are very striking when placed on the shoulder. The surface of the shoulder is great for tribal or ethnic designs, like Mehndi designs. The large area gives the tattoo artist plenty of room to create detailed or intricate designs to create stunning Mehndi inspired designs. The shoulder and top of the arm area is also a smart place to put large Maori style tribal designs because the design can flow from the shoulder down the arm or onto the chest. Large broad lines and heavy black ink looks impressive on the shoulder.
  3. Mandalas: Indian Mandalas are gorgeous tattoo inspirations that are always popular designs with women. Mandala designs look beautiful on the back of the shoulder and the upper arm area because there is enough space to create a properly sized mandala. The curves of the mandala echo the curves of the arm and give the tattoo and body great symmetry. If you love mandalas but don’t want to commit to a large back tattoo put a mandala on your shoulder if you want it to look great.
  4. Phrases or Names: Inspirational tattoos of phrases or words are perfect for the shoulder. Usually these types of tattoos are done on the back of the shoulder near the shoulder blade or in the front of the shoulder near the neck and collar bone. Words and phrases tattoos have become very popular over the last decade and many people choose these types of tattoos as memorials to loved ones. Some people also choose to get the name of a loved one tattooed on the shoulder, like the name of a child or spouse. If you are getting an inspirational phrase or word tattoo double check that the word or phrase is spelled the way you want it spelled before the tattoo artist begins so that you don’t end up with a tattoo that is spelled wrong.
  5. Cats: Cat tattoos are becoming incredibly popular. Placing a cat tattoo on your shoulder is a great way to proclaim your love of felines or remember a beloved pet. One of the most popular cat tattoos for the shoulder area is to get some small paw prints or a tiny black cat in the neck and collar bone area. Also popular is getting a gorgeous full cat tattoo on the back of the shoulder over the shoulder blade. A stylized cat design that covers the shoulder and arm area is also very pretty.
  6. Portraits: Placing portrait tattoos can be tricky because you want to be sure they will be in a place where the artist will enough room to create a detailed portrait. The shoulder area is a smart place to put portraits of friends, loved ones or pets because the surface area is large enough to create a good quality portrait. Many tattoo artists won’t put portraits on certain areas of the body because they don’t want to do a portrait that won’t look good in the future. But the shoulder is a great to put portraits if you want them to look great for years.
  7. Birds: The back of the shoulder area is a fantastic place to put bird tattoos. Stylized bird tattoos can be designed to flow over to the front near the collarbone or down the arm. Birds with large feathers, like the peacock, can be drawn with feathers flowing down the back and getting larger in relation to the back. There is a lot of artistic potential for bird tattoos done on the shoulder.
  8. Skulls or Day of the Dead Tattoos: If you want a beautiful and striking tattoo on your shoulder choose a skull design or a dramatic Sugarskull design done In white and bright colors. Any tattoos done in color on the shoulder will pop and look brilliantly colored. Grey and black skull designs also make a big impression even if the skull isn’t that large. You can also create a design incorporating more skulls or mixing skulls and Sugarskulls to create a unique piece of art.
  9. Dragons and Snakes: The shoulder is the natural place to put tattoos of snakes or dragons because it’s easy to create a design that coils around the shoulder and down the body. The surface area of the shoulder also makes it easier for the tattoo artist to create the scales of the snake or drake. The surface area of the shoulder also make it a great choice for the last group of popular shoulder tattoo designs, Koi and fish.
  10. Koi and Fish: Koi and detailed fish tattoos look stunning on the shoulder. The brighter the colors in the tattoo the better it will look. When you are getting fish tattoos choose bright colors to make the details and shadows of the tattoo stand out even more.


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