226 Best Forearm Tattoo Designs EVER (For Men & Women)


If you have been thinking about getting a tattoo, but weren’t sure where to start – the forearm might be a good place. Forearm tattoos are very popular, especially among men, and are more cost-effective and less time-consuming than having a full sleeve done. The forearm is a favorite location for tattoos because of the all the blank space it provides for creating. Also, because the forearm is such a prominent part of the body, any tattoo that you put there has maximum visibility.

Although forearm tattoos are usually associated with men, women are also jumping on the forearm tattoo bandwagon lately as well. Gone are the days when women sat meekly by, turning their noses up at tattooed men. These days, women are getting just as many tattoos as men and proudly showing them off! Not just on their forearms, but all over their bodies as well.

Today, forearm tattoos are a method of creative self-expression. People get all kinds of things tattooed on themselves that usually have some special meaning to the wearer. The names of loved ones, important dates in their lives and tributes to live and love are some of the things that people choose to immortalize in their ink art. However, this used to not be the case. Throughout history, forearm tattoos were used as affiliation markings or and brands of sorts – not just for creative self-expression. Some tribal people would get forearm tattoos to signify being a member of a certain social class or group while others were tattooed with their specific trade in life, like a baker or carpenter. Tattoos were an integral part of certain cultures and just about everyone had one.

The fact that you do not see too many older people with tattoos says a lot about how the tattooed lifestyle used to be portrayed by society. Many people in the early twentieth century believed that only the rough crowd got tattoos so if you had one, you must have been some sort of rebel or outcast because no decent person would get them. Well, there might be a bit of truth to that, seeing as how tattoos have always been popular with bikers, sailors and other traditionally (back then) “unsavory” types. It is possible that the same mindset still exists in some parts of society today, but it is also just as likely that less people care what other people think of them and choose to live their lives on their terms without conforming to socially acceptable norms.

What ever the case may be, forearm tattoos are still one of the most popular types of tattoos out there today and there are lots of reasons why. First, the forearm is a part of the body that is least likely to change as we age. This is partly because the skin in that area does not sag or stretch in a way that a tattoo would get distorted over time. The forearm is almost never exposed to direct sunlight, which helps to preserve the integrity of the tattoo as well.

Another reason that forearm tattoos are popular is because those who lift weights and body build like to draw attention to their efforts. Let’s face it. Guys (and girls) like to show off their muscles. What better way to do that than to slap some eye-catching ink art right on top of those ripped bodies? On the other hand, forearm tattoos can easily be covered up with long-sleeves, if the situation warrants. For instance, just because forearm tattoos are okay with the management where you work now doesn’t mean the boss you have five, ten years down the road is going to feel the same way. Tattoos are never going to be acceptable to some people so it is a good idea to have them in a place where you can conceal them when the need arises – if you care!

Here’s a look at some of the absolute BEST forearm tattoos for both men and women, along with a brief overview of their meanings. Check ’em out.

forearm tattoos
This lovely lady makes a beautiful forearm tattoo. She’s a mermaid – of course – with pretty green hair and realistic facial features. We can also see different types of sea life, fish and shells surrounding her head while a ship sails just off a beach in the distance.
What the buck? This super cool deer tattoo features a half realistic head and half bionic head – both of which share a huge rack of gorgeous antlers. This would be an awesome forearm tattoo choice for an avid hunter or outdoorsman.
Ohana means family – and not just the kind you are blood related to. In the Hawaiian culture, ohana can also include friends and loved ones, too. This forearm tattoo pays a wonderful tribute to that culture and is highlighted by a beautiful hibiscus flower with a pretty pink tint and lovely green leaves.
Everyone loves compass tattoos and matching tattoos are also a favorite as well. This gorgeous puzzle-piece tattoo combines them both to create a true work of art. There are two halves of a compass surrounded by a beautiful frame of leaves that fit together to create a whole design. Beneath each half is a date in Roman numerals, likely depicting when the happy couple first met or even their anniversary date. This is a beautiful, heartwarming choice for anyone who is considering a matching tattoo with their mate.
Roses are always a nice, feminine choice for tattoos and this one is especially lovely. It features the four stages of growth – from a bud to a full grown rose – in beautiful shades of red. This forearm tattoo likely depicts the cycle of human life, too and reminds the wearer that even the tightest of buds can bloom into gorgeous fully bloomed flowers.
As we said previously, names are a popular choice in forearm tattoo designs and this one is a gorgeous example. The background features big, beautiful roses with lovely shaded details. The name “Paisley” was created in lovely, cursive font emphasized by the flowers in the background. We think this is likely the name of the wearer’s daughter – such a beautiful tribute to a little one.
Dia de Los Muertos is a popular cultural event in Latin American countries that celebrates loved one who have passed on. This cultural influence is gaining popularity in countries that did not traditionally celebrate Dia de Los Muertos, including the artwork associated with the event. This amazing Dia de Los Muertos tattoo features a beautiful girl in traditional sugar skull makeup, wide eyes and lovely flowers in her long, shiny hair. The detail in her features is amazing – despite the tattoo being a completely greyscale design.

Also See: 125 Of The Best Cat Tattoos Ever!

American flag tattoo designs will never go out of style. This super cool flag design features a faded greyscale color scheme that creates the illusion of a well-worn, well-loved flag. Even though there is no color in the design. the shading creates a waving effect on the flag and the design is instantly recognizable. USA all the way!
Nature-inspired tattoos are a nice choice for someone wanting an earthy vibe for their design. These kinds of tattoos are a way of bringing nature with you when you can’t get out into it as often as you would like. These forearm tattoos are beautiful fern leaves that are incredibly realistic in their design. We think these look great as they are, but would be even more amazing with a little life-like greenery mixed in.
The dove of peace! Such a beautiful little bird. We love the backdrop of color splashes that bring this lovely bird to life. This is a pretty feminine choice for anyone who is looking for a tattoo design to remind them to always find their peace.
Sometimes life isn’t kind and we end up with a broken heart. We’ve all been on the receiving end of that painful experience and usually don’t want to be reminded of it. This tattoo is a tribute to a broken heart – and uses lots of black to emphasize those dark feelings. There’s a dagger through the center and features cool engraving on the blade and on the handle. The flowers along either side of the tattoo give it a softer edge, despite it being such a bold and heavy piece.
Latin phrases are very popular, even among people who are not fluent in the language. This Latin phrase translates “Always toward better things” and serves as a simple, yet effective reminder to keep moving toward bigger, better things in life – always!
We love tribal tattoos! They are cool, bold and super unique. This one is a double band of geometric shapes with solid bands in the center and would look amazing on anyone that is wanting a forearm tattoo with an ethnic feel.
Here is another example of matching tattoos for couples. These feature song lyrics to You Are My Sunshine and each side has a tiny little sun on one end. This would be a great idea for a couple’s tattoo that reminds them that they are each other’s bright spot in life.
As you can see from these examples, couple’s tattoos are wildly popular. Couple’s tattoos don’t have to be matching to be complimentary. You can be as unique and personal as you want to – so long as the design has meaning to you and your significant other. One side of this design features a colorful feather and whimsical colored birds in the background along with the phrase, “I’ll be your wings….”. The other one features a nautical design with an anchor and sea gulls – along with the phrase, “I’ll be your anchor…..”
We don’t know who this girl is, but she is absolutely stunning. She seems to be of Hawaiian decent with a lovely hibiscus flower in her hair and a lei around her neck. Her gorgeous hair is incredibly life-like, as are her facial features. Is she someone’s girlfriend? Someone’s wife? We may never know, but it’s fun to wonder.
Look! A sloth! Who doesn’t love a sloth? They’re cute, they’re cuddly and they do a whole lot of nothing all day long. This guy is just hanging out on a tree limb and looks perfectly content to do so. We should all take a little time out of our days to act like sloths!
Lions are majestic creatures that are known for their many endearing traits. Lions are associated with pride, loyalty, strength, royalty, respect and leadership. It is no wonder why they are considered the kings of the jungle. Perhaps the wearer of this lion forearm tattoo can relate to that mindset and considers himself the king of everything, too!
Women are a popular subject when it comes to forearm tattoos for men. Usually, you will see a depiction of a female loved one on their arms, like a wife, mother or child. Sometimes, it’s a tribute to someone famous, like Marilyn Monroe. Other people just choose random females to be part of their ink art because of how cool the design looks – like this one! It’s a female warrior dressed in full battle gear carrying a giant engraved sword. We don’t know who she is, but she sure looks tough.
Here’s another forearm tattoo inspired by Dia de Los Muertos. It features a beautiful sugar skull surrounded by gorgeous pink roses and greenery. The wearer of this tattoo may be of Latino decent and got this tattoo to honor a loved one who has passed on or they may simply may be a fan of the art. Whatever the reason behind it, this sugar skull forearm tattoo would be a great choice for a man or a woman.
We love tattoos that obviously have a personal meaning for the wearer and this one is absolutely a beautiful example of such. It features the incredibly life-like face of a young Navy sailor, possibly dating back to the World War II era. His eyes seem to be staring off in the distance and the shading on his face gives him a bit of a worried look. The words U.S. Navy are clearly visible across the front of his military-issued hat. This tattoo was probably a tattoo artist’s rendition of a treasured family photo provided by the wearer. What a truly awesome tribute to their special sailor!
This romantic little forearm tattoo could be from a page in a book. It features a couple locking in an embrace, sharing an umbrella as raindrops fall around them. The trees and grass in the background provide a great backdrop to this lovely scene. This would be a good choice for a forearm tattoo for a woman, but it would actually look great anywhere on the body.
While this forearm tattoo hasn’t been completely filled in yet, the stunning detail in the large rose in the center gives you some idea of how fabulous it is going to look when done. The shading, highlights and coloring on the petals are so realistic that it almost looks like a real rose laid upon the skin. The backdrop of this design features other flowers and greenery that tie the whole design together to create a gorgeous piece of ink art.
Here is another beautiful tribute tattoo to a loved one. It features a beautiful angel with large wings praying at a cross. There is a white dove of peace and pretty roses along the edge. At the bottom of this tribute, you will find a set of dog tags with the name and military identification numbers, which likely means this tattoo was meant to honor a fallen soldier. So touching.
Whimsical tattoos like this one are always a fun choice for anyone looking for a non-traditional tattoo design. This one is a gorgeous wide-eyed crescent moon with large pouty lips curled into a smile. The moon is brightly colored with floral shapes and a single star hangs in the center. This would be a nice tattoo choice for an astrology fan or anyone looking for a fun, whimsical design for their next – or first – piece of ink art.
This beautiful Indian maiden will be the center of attention wherever you bring her. She is wearing a stunning headdress with a beaded band and gorgeous feather accents. All of her facial features are shaded in a way that makes her appear incredibly life-like. If you look closely, you can see the outline of her war paint as well. We think this would be a great choice for someone of Native American decent or someone who just wants to be reminded of their inner warrior goddess.


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