The ever-popular cross tattoo has many meanings from the triumph of good to the death of the old and the birth of new. This diverse tattoo contains the meaning of all different facets of life, like cultural, personal and religious.
Cross tattoos are fun to play with for the tattoo artist because of the simplicity allows the artist room to get creative.
The Original Meaning
The cross represents the father, the son and the holy spirit. It is also where Jesus was crucified. It mainly a Christian symbol but has been adopted by people of faiths, especially the heavy metal and tattoo scene.
The cross is instantly recognized as all over the world. Although the meaning can vary from location to location, person to person.
Counter Culture Cross Tattoo
The iron cross was adopted by renegades and fringe dwellers since the 60’s. Surfers first adopted wearing the iron cross as a symbol of rebellion when they were trying to evade the draft. Many early rockers also wore the cross, some due to their belief in god, others for status and even for appeal to a wide audience.
The cross started to get popular in the heavy metal scene in the late seventies and the tradition has been carried on by such metallers as James Hetfield.
A common place for a cross tattoo is on the fingers. The simple design makes it ideal for small places that don’t have the room to get detail, but will still stand out and make a statement.
Forearm Cross Tattoos
Cross tattoos are extremely versatile and look good nearly everywhere. As you can see below they great on the forearm as well.
Bicep Cross Tattoo
The cross looks great on the bicep on the side or directly on the bicep. It’s the perfect shape any large or small area and provides good coverage and it’s so versatile that there are a myriad of designs to check out and the simplicity of the cross makes it easy to design a tattoo yourself.
3D Cross Tattoo
This is an awesome version of a 3D cross tattoo and uses shading and shadow to create the 3D effect. It also uses a great mix of colors to really bring it to life. This tattoo uses pictures, text, and colors well and they all work harmoniously together.
Cross tattoos are so diverse and the imagination is the only limit. As you can see above there are some 2D and 3D versions. Also, cross tattoos look good with or without color. They can be complemented by text or as you can see above a tribal design that weaves in and out the cross can add another dimension to your tattoo.
This guy has opted for a big intricate cross tattoo on the should. This cross tattoo has a lot of detail considering the artist has only used one color. The artist has created depth and dimension using shading and has done a bang up job in the process.
Christians use rosary beads for prayer and this guy has taken it to the next level and got them permanently around his neck. That way he can’t lose them and they will never break. What a very clever man?
Shoulder Cross Tattoo
Cross tattoos are the perfect dimensions for a big shoulder tattoo. The above shoulder cross tattoo uses the breakthrough method to create texture and dimension throughout the tattoo. This is a great use of negative space and the skin’s natural coloring for artistic purposes.
A very common theme for cross tattoos is to commemorate or remember someone who has fallen. The cross has been used as a headstone for graves for centuries because people believed that a cross can protect them from evil spirits and allow them a peaceful afterlife.
Ankle Cross Tattoo
Tattoos on the ankle look cool and they are a great place to get one if you are concerned with your tattoo being too visible. But, bear in mind that the ankle moves a lot and extra care should be taken during the healing phase. Be sure to apply moisturizer regularly to ensure the skin remains supple so the tattoo heals without losing color.
Jesus and the Cross Tattoo
The Cross or crucifix is was made famous by a man called Jesus. You’ve probably heard of him before and if you haven’t, what rock have you been hiding under. The story of Jesus goes that he was crucified on the cross after being betrayed by one of his disciples. After he had died he was placed in a tomb and after day three he rose from the dead. These classic tales have been told to generations of Christians to which the cross has ample significance.
Oh My God!
This is a classic depiction of Jesus on the cross. Notice the crown of thorns around his head. Jesus was nailed to the cross through his wrists. On the above tattoo, the artist has made use of the person’s body and incorporated into the tattoo design. If you look at the persons wristed you will see the tattoo of the wound where the nail was.
Back Cross Tattoo
This is a big bold cross tattoo providing vast coverage on the back. The artist has done a great job using only one color. Again, it’s the classic Jesus on the cross. This guy looks pretty tough and gnarly. I wonder if he’s religious.
The cross was used on shields throughout the ages as an emblem and signified the grace of God watching over the brave soldiers as they marched into battle. The above tattoo features an angel carrying a shield with the cross etched into it.
Behind the Ear Cross Tattoo
Behind the ear tattoos are subtle and heaps cool. This lady has opted for a cheeky little cross just behind the ear. It’s badass and super simple yet super effective.
Leg Cross Tattoo
A cross tattoo on the front of the lower leg is quite common. The cross is great for filling up verticle spaces due to its shape and is ideal for the leg. The simple outline of a cross can be filled with anything really, color, textures, text. Have a browse at some featured in this list for some inspiration.
Leg tattoos are sexy. This girl has got it sorted doting some beautiful tattoos and of course, as this post is about cross tattoos she has a big bold cross filled with roses on the shin.
Before getting your tattoo you should have some idea of what you want. It’s a good idea to have a look online for ideas and inspiration. Take ideas from a variety of sources and piece together something original of your own.
Also selecting the right tattoo artist for your style is another crucial part in getting the tattoo you want. Tattooist’s usually specializing in a certain style so find the right artist to match your style.
Crosses don’t always signify religious faith. Even if you not religious, a cross can signify whatever you want it to. People have been using this symbol for centuries in various cultures throughout the world with a myriad of different meaning so it’s only natural that you can create your own meaning and attach it to the symbol.
Aftercare is a really important stage of the tattooing process and if you do it correctly your tattoo will be looking it’s best. If you don’t care for it properly it will fade and sometimes even need to be retouched. A few hours after your tattoo has been done you can take the bandage off with some warm soapy water. Then immediately apply petroleum ointment or something similar. Keep applying this to the tattoo once a day for the next few days. It will help your tattoo heal and provide a protective coating. Ensure not to get your tattoo wet as this will stop the healing process and tarnish your tattoo. Avoid going to the beach or getting sunburnt to the tattooed area. Keep applying moisturizer to it so the skin remains supple and repairs itself nicely. A tattoo, like any wound, needs to be taken care of so that you don’t become at risk of infection. If your tattoo does become infected contact your tattooist or doctor immediately so they can advise you of the right precautions to take.
The Upside Down Cross
The upside cross has been adopted by black metal bands throughout the world as a symbol of their connection to the occult. The origins are quite different. The first appearance of the upside down cross was involved of the crucifixion of ST. Peter. He felt he wasn’t worthy of being crucified the same way as Jesus and insisted his cross be inverted or turned upside down.
Do you love your mother? Well I don’t see a cross tattoo with her name on your leg.
Neck Cross Tattoo
Neck tattoos have been gaining popularity in the past decade as tattoos are no longer taboo and are widely accepted by mainstream society. Gone are the days of being rejected for a job or being judged tattoos. Thank god. Visible tattoos are now more widely accepted. So what are you waiting for?
If you’re ever short on ideas for your tattoos you can always sass it up with some kissing animals. Snakes are always good.
Texture and Depth
The simple cross outline lends a perfect shape to fill with anything that you desire. These two pictures feature some fine examples of imaginative fill.
Eye of the Tiger
This guy has the eye of the tiger. This is another example of the diversity of the cross. You pretty much fill the basic outline with as much or as little as you like.
Get your feet off the table Bradley!
The Hounds of Hell
Here is a cute puppy to match the cute little cross on the fingers. The cross is upside down which could mean the mark of the devil. That means that this cute puppy could be a hellhound and should be feared. But it’s way to adorable to work carry out the evil deeds of Satan.
The cross is a diverse tattoo that can be paired with anything that you feel passionatlley about. This person has a love for crosses and coathangers so they got it permanently tattood on their middle finger. YOLO!
If you get to see a cross tattoo in this position you are probably getting lucky. This is a sexy little spot, on the hip just above the underwear line and will make your lover red hot when they see it. It works great on guys and dolls.
Back of the Neck Cross Tattoo
Tattoos on the back of the neck are getting more and more popular these days as younger generations are embracing tattoos. The back of the neck is no different and an awesome spot for a medium-sized tattoo. The good thing about it is if you’re not happy with it, it’s pretty much invisible to you.
The back of the ankle is a sensitive area and these three cross tattoos would have hurt. Luckily the simple designs means that this person wouldn’t have to endure the pain for an extended period of time.
The Snus Box
The snus box is the little divot that is inbetween your forefinger and thumb. It was coined that because people used to, and still do put a powdered tobacco there and sniff it. The powdered tobacco is called snus hence the name the snus box.
More Finger Tattoos.
Open Up and Say Ahhhhhh!
Back of the Bicep Tattoo
The back of the bicep is an ideal spot for a medium-sized tattoo and is a little more discreet than other places.
Yes I know this post is about tattoos but this lady’s lips are huge. I didn’t know you could have lips that big.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
We have seen some huge back tattoos but that doesn’t mean they are better. If you’re going for something more feminine you can always scale it down a bit and add some fine details.
This is an unusual spot for a tattoo but it looks great. Sometimes the most unexpected places are the most fun and tattoos are no different.
Small Wrist Cross Tattoos
Cross tattoos look amazing great or small. In this, case it’s a little baby cross nicely positioned on the inner wrist.
On the Feet
Here is another fine cross tattoo on the feet. When getting feet tattoos be cautious that will have the time to allow to heal. For a tattoo like this you won’t be able to wear shoes and socks for a few weeks after.
This is a big old chest piece that would have taken a long time to finish I’d imagine.
A Fine Specimen
This is a fine specimen of a cross tattoo. The detail is very intricate and the overall execution is spot on. It’s a very fine specimen indeed!
Big and Badass Back Tattoos
These two gentlemen wanted their tattoo to be seen. They are big and badass and that works for some people.
This is an interesting tattoo that uses negative space to create a sunrise effect. It’s a clever way of using the natural skin tone of the body to incorporate it into the tattoo.
The Celtic people migrated from central Europe before taking up residence in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The Celtic Cross is their own version of the Christian cross and was featured in early Celtic artworks dating back 500 B.C
The Cross and Circle
The can often be seen with a circle around and in Celtic and Druid culture the circle means eternity and the cross is a symbol of faith. The tattoo above has used the circle and creates texture through the woven leather. The circle really adds to it and makes it the perfect shape for a shoulder tattoo.
The Cross and the Thistle
This tattoo features the interesting combination between a celtic cross and a thistle. Flowers are usually pretty common in the tattoo world but no so much thistles.
Flowers in transform from something average in something blooming and beautiful. They can also transform a boring tattoo into something special. As you can see above this guy as paired a simple cross with a beautiful rose.
Crosses don’t have to take on a religious nature. This person is obviously a fan of medieval times and has gone with some dragons and magic on a Celtic cross
Pop Art Cross
This tattoo style is of the new school and is very cartoon-like. You could call it pop art or pin-up art. Regardless of the name, it looks cool.
No Outline and that’s Totally Fine
This tattoo is uniques because it doesn’t have an outline. It’s fill and it still looks great. I’m getting itchy skin for my next tattoo. I might use the no outline method.