Knee tattoos are a rare but very unique design. This area lends itself to intricate and detailed pieces. The rounded shape suits a certain type of designs, which can be a standalone or incorporated into a large leg piece. The knee is also a workable and adaptable location to be tattooed. Large or small designs will work well on this area.
60+ Epic Knee Tattoo Design Ideas
Here are some inspirations for your new knee tattoo.
Mandala Knee Tattoos
Mandala tattoos are popular on knees, due to the rounded shape. This design is formed of different shapes and symbols that radiate outwards from the center in a circular motion. A mandala reflects balance and eternity, often associated with religious buildings and prayer rooms. The blooming look mimics a flower, making an eye-catching design.
Did you know:
In Hinduism, a mandala is connected to focus. In Buddhism, mandalas symbolize the balance of body and mind. In Christianity, mandalas are used in religious artwork.
American Traditional Knee Tattoos
American traditional or Old School tattoos suit any skin tone and every area because they are highly saturated. The designs are simple but make a bold statement, with minimal shading and thick outlines. They use minimal primary colors and often look a little less precise than alternatives.
Open Animal Mouth Knee Tattoos
One of the most recent knee tattoo trends is inking animal faces on the area. The rounded shape perfectly suits the knee cap. A popular animal face tattoo is one where the character has the mouth open, growling, or roaring.
Animal Knee Tattoo
Animals are one of the most popular tattoos, from big cats to little insects. Although they don’t always naturally fit the space, they can be placed in and around the kneecap. Animals can represent different things, symbolize different cultures or help represent a relationship you want to celebrate in your life.
Japanese Knee Tattoo
Japanese tattoos are some of the most popular design styles out there. With years of tradition, this style often features mythical features like dragons and phoenixes. This vibrant style of traditional tattooing is usually featured on larger full leg pieces covering the knee.
A popular Japanese knee tattoo is the oni mask, as the shape suits the area. This common tattoo represents the good and evil forces that surround us, protecting the wearer.
Cartoon Knee Tattoo
Cartoon tattoos are bright and fun, letting you reminisce on the nostalgia of kids’ TV. Replicate your favorite cartoon characters or get a cartoonish image. The knee is a flexible region that can handle any style or size of the design. Just remember the over the top colorful style may be a painful addition to the bony knee area.
Blank Space Knee Tattoo
Leave the kneecap blank and tattoo around it. There are many different styles available, including American traditional, Japanese and geometric. By using your skin as a natural break, you can create a design without enduring additional pain.
Geometric Knee Tattoo
Geometric knee tattoos are unique and can be adapted to any shape. The geometric shapes will come together to form another bigger shape. Geometric designs are usually created with black ink but can be in brighter shades. Make sure the artist adapts the design to suit the natural shapes and curves of your body.
Kneecap Frame Tattoo
Frame your kneecap with this unique tattoo. Create a shape around the kneecap and make it a center piece. It doesn’t have to be a square frame, it can be a round or heart-shaped frame. Add embellishments and color because the limits are endless!
Floral Knee Tattoos
Because flowers are naturally rounded, they make the perfect knee tattoos. Flowers can come in a broad selection of shapes, sizes and colors. Red roses are especially popular for people as the knee naturally forms that shape. Other popular flowers include sunflowers and daises. Choose a flower that means something to you or your loved ones.
Bees Knees Tattoo
The bee knees is a sentence that means someone is highly admired or common. Getting a bee inked on your knee is a fun nod to this phrase. Bees also stand for loyalty or hard workers, as well as being associated with Manchester in the UK.
Did you know:
Ariana Grande, Kelly Osbourne, Madison Beer, Sasha Lane and Emilia Clarke are just some of the celebrities with bee tattoos, although none of them are on the knee.
Font Knee Tattoos
Delicate writing tattoos are one of the coolest trends in young celebrities. The knee is the perfect place to get one of these tattoo designs. Hide a secret message behind your knee or curl it around the shape of your kneecap.
Spiderweb Knee Tattoos
Spiderweb tattoos are hugely popular on the knee and elbow because the shape suits the area. This design can symbolize that the wearer feels trapped and longs to break free. Sailors would get spiderweb designs to show that they want to go home, and with the web representing the long wait.
Don’t want to get the whole knee tattooed? A branch perfectly emphasizes the natural shape of the kneecap, curling up or under. Some branches are just leaves, some designs are bolder with colored flowers.
Barb Wire Knee Tattoo
Barb wires are long and curl around shapes like the knee. Inked in black and gray, barbed wire represents the strength of people who have overcome traumatic experienced in life. Barb wired can wrap around your knee, sit under or create a shape framing the bone.
Did you know:
Pamela Anderson famously has a barb wired tattoo on her bicep.
Band Aid Knee Tattoo
Many of us spent our childhoods with band aids over our knees. Reminiscence back to your younger years by getting a band aid tattooed on your knees, a place most of us scraped as children. Traditionally, this is a realistic black and gray tattoo but can be designed in any color.
Fine Line Knee Tattoos
Fine line is a modern branch of the single needle tattoo trend. They are normally black and gray, with fine lines and soft shading, if shaded at all. This style of tattooing works in any size, although at the moment the trend leads towards micro tattoos. Because the knee is a more painful area, fine line will hurt less and take less time to complete.
Eyes on the Knee Tattoo
You have two knees, and you have two eyes, why not get some eyeballs inked on your knees. Eyes can be a freaky additional, ideal for those who like the macabre and creepy. Tattoo eyeballs alone or as part of a large piece. The most detail you add, the weirder it will look.
Snake Knee Tattoo
Snake tattoos are one of the oldest designs in tattooing, both in Asian and Americana tattoo. The snake represents rebirth, fertility, temptation, and power. Snake designs can wrap and coil around your snake. They can also be incorporated into larger leg piece.
Butterfly Knee Tattoo
Butterfly tattoos are popular everywhere on the body and knees are no different. Butterflies look attractive in both color and black and gray. Butterflies have long represented transformation, freedom and faith. Butterflies are also connected to romance and femininity.
Did you know:
Some people even place the butterfly tattoo on the side of their knee, so it flaps open and closed as you move the joint.
Under Knee Tattoo
The under the knee tattoo is a little less painful than the kneecap. Make sure your under the tattoo works well to the naturally rounded shape of the area. Generally curved or elongated designs like branches, flowers or writing.
Behind the Knee
Behind the knee is a cool place to get small, minimalist tattoos or to incorporate into a large calf piece. Sometimes call the knee ditch, it’s easy to hide personal tattoos in this area. Remember, that it’s hard to heal in the area as it’s constantly moving.
Did you know:
The skin on the back of the knee is especially thin and delicate, the nerves are closer to the surface, which makes it quite painful to get tattooed.
Side Knee Tattoo
Side of the knee tattoos can be a delicate and elegant way of getting your knee inked. Choose shapes that will complement the rounded shape of your kneecap. Elongated or half-moon shaped designs really suit the side of the knee. This area is also popular because it is slightly less painful, as it’s not straight on the bone.
Star Knee Tattoos
Stars are a popular addition to any area on the body. They are versatile and come be anything from big nautical designs to little minimalist artwork. Many place the star on the center of the knee and have matching designs on both kneecaps.
Did you know:
In Russia, high ranking prisoners are marked with ‘thief’ stars on their knees to celebrate their position. This is to symbolize the fact they will never kneel to authorities.
Tribal Knee Tattoo
Tribal tattoos are formed using solid dots and lines. They were usually connected to sacred rituals in many cultures including Maori, Polynesian, Samoan and Aztec cultures. Generally, tribal designs are incorporated into large full leg pieces, although modern tribal tattoos are smaller. Traditionally designed using thick black ink, modern artists work with color.
Did you know:
Different cultures have their own techniques and designs for their tribal tattoos. They are still used in many cultures as a rite of passage or to depict social status. If you are not part of one of these cultures, be careful to be tasteful and not offensive.
Visual Illusion Knee Tattoo
Create the illusion of a weapon going through our kneecap with these smart tattoos. It may take a talented artist to execute it, with the appearance of a sword going in one side and the tip coming out the other side. Add some blood and gore if you want as well! Although they are more commonly embellished, this design can also be in black and gray.
Shark bite tattoos are an amusing addition to a knee. Teeth can wrap around the joint, looking like your skin is being bitten into. Your artist can have a lot of fun with this tattoo, adding teeth marks or a skull detail.
Knee Tattoos: More FAQ
Which Celebrities Have Knee Tattoos?
Singer Anne Marie has a tattoo of the word Trust on the back of her right knee and Confidence just under her left kneecap. Zoe Kravitz also has font inked on the back of her knee. Ariana Grande has the world court tattooed on her knee, in tribute to her friend, Courtney Chipolone.
Brooke Candy has a spiderweb knee tattoo, amongst her many leg tattoos. Singer Grimes has a large brushstroke tattoo on the front of her left leg, designed by London-based artist Delphine Noiztoy. The blackwork tattoo stretches from the top of her foot to above her knee.
Do Knee Tattoos Hurt?
Everyone has a different pain threshold, so how much a knee tattoo hurts will depend on you. In general, knee tattoos are very painful. There is no lesser painful area on the knee to get tattooed. The kneecap is the most painful as there is no cushioning, so the needle goes close to the bone. The vibrations from the needle could cause a sharp pain and will likely cause an uncomfortable vibrating sensation.
Around the back of the knee, the skin is quite thin and sensitive. While the process is usually not quite as painful as getting tattooed on the kneecap, it can still pinch a little. Getting tattooed behind the kneecap can also be incredibly painful. This is because the patellar tendon runs through this area, connecting the shin to the lower kneecap.
To help minimize the pain of a kneecap tattoo:
- Ask to take regular breaks
- Invest in a good, experienced tattoo artist
- Stay hydrated
- Don’t drink alcohol the night before
- Have a good breakfast
- Get a good night’s sleep the night before
- Follow the aftercare instructions given
Do Knee Tattoos Fade?
Knees do fade quicker than some areas on the body. This is because joints like elbows and knees are constantly in motion, they don’t have the same time to heal. Knew tattoos will last longer when they have thick lines and a fully saturated color.
To ensure your new tattoo stay looking better for longer follow these tips:
- A good tattoo artist should apply an antibiotic ointment to the area and them cover it in a bandage or plastic wrap. This will protect your new tattoo from bacteria and stop it from becoming irritated by clothing.
Did you know:
Keep your dressing on for as long as your tattoo artist recommends, it will help absorb any excess ink or fluids.
- Wash your tattoo with warm water and a fragrance-free soap. Always pat the area dry using a soft cloth or paper tower.
- If you moisturize your new tattoo, always use a fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizer.
- Wear sun-protective clothing outside but don’t wear sunblock until the tattoo is fully healed.
- Avoid picking or scratching the tattoo.
- Don’t immerse your body in water, so avoid swimming or having a bath.
- Don’t wear tight clothing over the tattoo.
Do Knee Tattoos Suit Men or Women Better?
Knee tattoos are popular with both men and women. This area is so versatile, it suits both genders. Good are the days were women get minimal, delicate designs and men get big, bold ink. The thing that holds most people back from getting their knees tattooed is the pain, they are quite notorious for being a painful location to get your new tattoo.
With women, it will be harder to hide knee tattoos at work if you wear a skirt regularly, with men it’s easier to cover up in workplaces.
Did you know:
Studies have found that there was no difference between females and males in regards to the pain intensity during tattooing.
How much will a knee tattoo cost?
How much it costs will depend on a few different factors.
- The location. Tattoo studios in city centers will be more expensive but will also be more experienced.
- The design. Intricate and colorful tattoo designs will be more expensive, as they are time-consuming.
- The experience. An experienced artist will charge more than an apprentice or newbie. The quality of the design and experience will usually be dictated by the experience.
- A well-known artist will charge more based on their name. The followers they have on social media, the higher their cost may be.
- Some tattoo artists charge by the hour. Although your design is small, it might be detailed which will take as much time as a larger, minimalist tattoo.
To get an accurate price, get in touch or go into a studio and ask the artist directly. Give them an idea of the size and design, either by describing or sending them to reference images.
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