What Does Solid Black Armband Tattoos Symbolize?

The widespread acceptance and popularity of body ink have inspired people to look at different places to find the most authentic and detailed tattoo ideas for their bodies. However, not everyone is interested in using colorful or abstract ink. Many people pursue tattoos that are simple to make, won’t hurt too much, and are minimalistic. One of such tattoos is the solid black armband tattoo.

However, the black armband tattoos are much more than just a representation of minimalism. They symbolize deeper emotions that we’re going to symbolize in the article below. Solid black armbands are also used in different tribes across the world, so they also have a rich cultural history.

Solid black armband tattoos are there to symbolize several things. We already mentioned the minimalism symbolism. Minimalism is defined by simplicity, and that’s exactly what the black armband tattoo represents. Nevertheless, the minimalistic approach to the solid black armband tattoos didn’t stop many tattoo artists and those who were getting tattooed from combining their designs.

With that in mind, they’d either combine long and wide armbands or even sport multiple solid black rings in one tattoo, mostly two. Sometimes, there’d be dotted designs, with cutouts that still felt minimalistic when added together with a fully black solid armband.

Additionally, some people are not satisfied with some small tattoo design, such as the date of a relationship that ended or something else, and they’d like to obscure the date or a name that they no longer want to remember.

Where Does Solid Black Armband Tattoo Come From?

Where Does Solid Black Armband Tattoo Come From
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The black armband was symbolic before it started appearing on tattoos so often. For the first time, it appeared in the 18th century in England. It was initially used as a mourning asset during the Regency Era.

The trend continued throughout the early 19th century with both male adults and children to wear it when they wanted to mourn a person. The peak of this trend started when Queen Victoria ruled England. When the queen’s husband died in 1861, all the royal servants had to wear black armbands to honor him. They mourned King Albert with the black crepe armbands for 8 years, and some even longer.

The black armband symbolism also continued through the protests in the 20th century, especially in 1965. The black armbands were decorated with white peace signs, where protestors were participating in the school protests across the United States. The protest was related to the Vietnam War. Some children were even suspended from school by the court for wearing solid black armbands.

Today, black armbands are used to honor the athletes who have died or to generally express mourning in sports. The trend first started in 1907, when Chick Stahl, Boston Americans manager committed suicide. The players of the club wore black crepe armbands around their left arms to honor Stahl.

The trend has since continued in 1920 when the Cleveland Indians teammates wore black armbands to honor their teammate who got killed by a hit of the pitch on his head, Ray Chapman. It was used to honor athletes and mourn many more times in sports. When the Boston Marathon bombings occurred, Cleveland game players wrapped black armbands on their left arms to honor the victims.

However, with the widespread use of tattoos nowadays, many people who are longing for someone else who is no longer alive decided to ink a solid black armband on their tattoo instead of wearing the armband. Below, we’ll look at the symbolism of solid black armband tattoos.

Black Armband Tattoo With Flowers
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Solid Black Armband Tattoo Symbolism

So, we listed a couple of origins of the solid black armband tattoos. The culture of wearing black crepe armbands and bow inspired people to also make a tattoo that will stay there permanently. Although death and mourning aren’t the only symbolism of this type of tattoo, we’ll discuss this symbolism the first.


As mentioned earlier, mourning is the key meaning of the solid black armband tattoos. This symbolism has descended onto the tattoos after the royals, and different communities used black crepe armbands and bows to honor the dead.

Why did it start being used in tattoos? Well, the first reason is that a lot of people have difficulties letting go of their beloved ones that have died. Some of them just learn to live with it, and some people take time and a lot of dedication before moving on.

If the person is important to them they want to honor them and keep them close to their heart and soul by making a tattoo on the left arm, usually a bicep, although any part of the arm is acceptable. Many people don’t feel restricted by the arm they choose, as many people get armband tattoos on both left and right arm.

Some people also ink thicker armband tattoos to highlight a closer or more important person in their life, while some also tattoo smaller circles to highlight that the person was younger or some other symbolism.

The solid black armband tattoo is also the symbolism of honoring the person, so if they did something important throughout their life, the tattoo will serve for them to be forever remembered, at least through the body art.

Sometimes people who want to mourn someone important to them by inking a solid black armband tattoo, also add other elements that could describe the person they respected and want to honor.

For example, if the deceased person loved flowers, particularly roses, then the armband tattoo could feature a floral pattern to give honor to the deceased person. If they loved the sky and stars, there could be clouds, stars, and the moon.

If you feel like giving extra honor to the one you want to mourn, you can discuss with your tattoo artist what symbolic elements could be combined in the tattoo.


Black Armband Tattoo on Bicep
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The second of the most notable meanings of the solid black armband tattoo is strength. It symbolizes joy and relief after overcoming some hardships, and the reward of peace and strength.

Many people believed that overcoming certain difficulties and challenges meant that they grew stronger and became ready for new, more difficult challenges. They wanted to highlight those rewards of strength with the solid black armband tattoos.

That’s why a solid black armband tattoo that is manifesting the strength is designed so that the lines that mark it are thinner. That allows people who’ve overcome different challenges to ink multiple armband rings as representations of overcoming multiple challenges that were thrown on them in the past.

The strength is also associated with the mourning symbolism of the solid black armbands. People who can carry on the memory of the deceased loved one and “pack it” inside a tattoo were considered strong in multiple cultures that marked the solid black tattoos.

Most people who want to manifest their strength through the solid black armband tattoo will ink it on their bicep. Bicep has always been the symbol of strength and many athletes pump it to prove that they can stay in shape.

The solid black armband tattoo will also motivate many athletes to stay in shape and keep exercising so that the tattoo itself would look better.


Solid Black Armband on Ankel
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Besides the two aforementioned meanings, one important solid black armband tattoo symbolism includes protection. This belief mostly persisted in the different tribes and other cultural systems. Given that a solid black armband tattoo is a solid circle that never ends, it was considered some sort of a patch through which the evil spirits can’t enter.

In some cultures, it was believed that evil spirits can enter the body through wrists, ankles, elbows, or knees, which is why a lot of people make a tattoo of the solid armband around those areas. That way, those people would not be affected by evil spirits or jinxed in their endeavors.

Many morticians ink a solid black armband tattoo so that the evil spirits that potentially escaped the bodies of the dead won’t enter them. The never-ending circle prevents them from entering the body.


Given that the black armbands were used in the protests against the Vietnam War, we also found the symbolism between the solid black armband tattoos and courage, and of course the fight for peace and freedom that was associated to these protests. With that, armband tattoos with solid black rings represent the courageous fight for freedom, and many people ink them to feel more courageous in their endeavors.

More to know: 13 Best Armband Tattoo Design Ideas (Meaning and Inspirations)

Solid Black Armband: More FAQs

There are a lot of questions about the solid black armband tattoos and their symbolism. We decided to help you by answering some of the questions.

Can You Combine Solid Black Armband Tattoo With Some Other Armband Tattoo?

Many people openly combine solid blacks with other tattoos, especially tribal tattoos. Tribal communities like Native Americans used tribal armbands with geometrical and natural symbols and combined them with solid black armband tattoos.

Are There Some Other Meanings For Solid Black Armband Tattoos Other Than Mourning?

As mentioned earlier, although the key symbolism for this type of tattoos is morning, they also represent strength and power, courage, protection, and other traits. However, most of the other meanings connect to the meaning of remembrance, mourning, and honoring the dead.

How Much Does The Solid Black Armband Tattoo Cost?

These tattoos can cost anywhere from $30 for the thinnest and faintest armband tattoos, while some average prices can go anywhere from $100 to $350. Of course, some tattoo studios will charge more for this type of tattoo, and depending on the thickness of your armband, it may cost more or less.

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