Skull tattoo ideas

60 Best Skull Tattoos – Meanings, Ideas and Designs

Skull tattoos are very common amongst men and women. They have always been favorite tattoos for many since the ancient sailors’ days. Today, they have become very popular. The skull & crossbones is one of the oldest and still in the memories of many. It represents death as well as danger. A lot of designs for tattoos have come up today.

Skull tattoo ideas

Why they are Popular

Different people like different things. For this reason, many people choose skull tattoos because they come in various designs with various meanings as well. This way, one can get a tattoo that interprets what he or she believes in, whether positive or negative. In fact, these kinds of tattoos are some of the most popular in the world today.


Individuals with such tattoos possess different reasons as well as various meanings for them. On the other hand, different people interpret them differently. All the same, they can symbolize both negative and positive attributes. Skull tattoos have a wide range of meanings. However, this will depend on the way the actual skull is utilized. A human skull tattoo that has huge eye sockets will mostly be associated with death. On the other hand, it can be very remarkable. Some will wear them to show that death doesn’t frighten them. Other designs symbolize acceptance to own mortality while others remind people that they have to die at some point hence, they need to enjoy life while they can.

Different designs and their meanings

Sugar Skull- this one is associated with Mexican’s day of the dead, which is quite significant within the culture of Mexicans. This is a time when families come together to make sugar and candy skulls. For women, the skull has to be integrated with beautiful flowers.

The Skull Leaves- these are quite common too. They are meant to cover the arm or the leg. They indicate that whoever wears them loves living by his or her rules. People who love pirates combine the skull with crossbones.

Old school- there are several of these and they were in practice during the early times. They have bold outlines and are naturally simple. Most contain the skull in the company of military symbols, pinup girls, as well as hearts. Others have ribbons comprising of unique dates, mottos, or names. Most modern skull designs could be considered to be old school mainly because they are simple, however, bold.

Skull & Rose- a common skull design brings together both skulls & roses. Both roses and skulls portray different meanings hence such designs cannot be easily misinterpreted. Such tattoos mostly characterize the difference that exists between the two elements (death & life/decay & beauty). They create a symbol of duality, which portrays the undying struggle between ugliness & beauty, as well as evil & good.

Cool skull tattoo on man’s hand


This cool tattoo shows a skull drawn on a man’s hand in such a way that all of the skull is drawn except the eye sockets. The skull is all black and white and the man’s hand can be held onto his face in such a way that one may think the skull is part of his face.

Dark skull tattoo on a guy’s upper arm


This cool tattoo depicts a black and white skull drawn on a man’s upper arm. The skull appears to have worn a crown. It appears to be smiling with part of its lower teeth broken. The skull appears to be set on some red flowers.

Intriguing skull tattoo on a man’s lower arm


This cool and intriguing skull tattoo idea is definitely for those who want something intriguing on their arms. The tattoo itself only shows one half of a black and white skull that appears to be laughing.

Cool human skull tattoo on a guy’s upper arm


This is the best skull tattoo idea for anyone who wants something intriguing on their arms. The tattoo itself depicts a skull with an open mouth. Its sockets, nose and mouth all appear to be red in color like some light is inside the skull.

Awesome human skull tattoo on a man’s upper arm


This awesome skull tattoo design depicts a black and white human skull set on a man’s upper arm. The skull has been drawn in such a way that all its interiors appear to be red in color suggesting that a red light is emanating from within the skull.

Cool skull tattoo design on a man’s arm


This cool skull tattoo design has been set in such a way that it does not have the conventional skull features. A diamond has been drawn in place of the usual empty eye sockets and the skull nose has been drawn in such a way that it looks like a spade sign.

Intriguing skull tattoo idea on a buy’s arm


This is the ultimate skull tattoo idea for anyone who wants something intriguing on their upper arms. The tattoo depicts a human skull with part of a catholic rosary hanging from its shut teeth. Part of a clock has been drawn on its forehead and a large eye has been drawn just below the skull head

Large black and white skull tattoo on a guy’s back


This is one of those skull tattoos ideas that is best suited for individuals who want something cool on their backs. The tattoo depicts a large skull set on a guys back with a clock with roman numbers worked into the skull to appear like its forehead. Two other skulls appear to be beside the large skull.

Awesome skull tattoo on a guy’s hand


This is probably one of those skull tattoos that are best suited for an individual who wants something intriguing on their hands. The black and white tattoo only shows part of a human skull set on a hand in such a way that the eye sockets and nose are shown. A dark green color is emanating from these openings.

Epic skull tattoo on a guy’s back


This is probably one of the best skull tattoos that one can place on their backs. The tattoo depicts a large skull placed on the back to feel the entire back. All the skulls openings such as the eye sockets and the nose are completely black.

Cool tattoo on guy’s arm


This cool black and white tattoo has been placed on a guy’s upper arm. The skull appears to have been set among some flowers with a red rose flower placed below the skull, another one placed right behind it and another one placed right above the forehead.

Cool skull tattoo on guys arm


This is the best tattoos idea that an individual who wants something awesome on their arms can adopt. The tattoo depicts a skull set among some flowers and leaf vegetation. Some spike features appear to be running along the middle of the top of the skull all the way down its back to the bottom of the skull.

Awesome skull tattoo on a guy’s breast


This is a tattoo whose position and artistry are simply nothing short of magnificent. The tattoo itself depicts a black and white skull with its jaws wide open. A wolf appears to be having most of the skull head within its mouth.

Epic skull tattoo on a guy’s arm


This black and white skull tattoo is nothing short of awesome. The tattoo depicts a skull with an olive branch placed round its head. The skull appears to be holding a large hoe.

Intriguing skull tattoo on guy’s arm


This intriguing tattoo depicts a skull that has something like a hood covering it. One of its eye sockets appears to be empty while the other has an eye. A boney hand holding four cards has been drawn just below the skull.

Full length skull tattoo on guy’s arm


This tattoo depicts a human skull that has been drawn to cover most of the arm’s length. The skull has the usual empty eye sockets and nose with jaws shut to make it appear like it is smiling. A flower has been placed on the skull’s head.

Cool skull tattoo on guy’s arm


This tattoo depicts a skull placed among some red rose flowers and some leaf vegetation. A black bird appears to be flying over the skull. The skull has some flowers in place of its empty eye sockets.

Cool tattoo with a skull on a guy’s arm


This cool tattoo depicts an owl drawn on a guy’s arm. A human skull has been drawn in such a way that it appears that the skull is within the owl.

Awesome skull tattoo on guy’s chest


This is the ultimate idea for a skull tattoo that would best suit anyone who wants something that is far from plain on their chests. The tattoo depicts a skull set in the middle of a man’s chest. A pair of hands appear to be held over its eye sockets while another pair of hands have been held over the skull’s side. A single hand is covering the skull’s jaws. A human head is on each side of the skull.

Cool skull tattoo on a guy’s upper arm


This awesome skull tattoo best suits individuals who wants a lesser than usual tattoo on their arms. The skull has been drawn to include some flowery detail on its forehead with a cross symbol with triangle shape at its top placed in the middle of the forehead. An eye surrounded by some love shape designs has been placed right below the skull.

More skull tattoos on the next page…

Inscribed skull tattoo with a red rose


This is a great skull tattoo idea. Although in this case it is tattooed on the neck, it’s perfect for the back or shoulder as well. The vibrant red of the rose and the blue wings, make this tattoo stand out. The bleeding ink technique is rare to see and makes this tattoo truly unique.

Black and white, music inspired, skull tattoo


For this chest tattoo, the skull is placed in the background almost as if it is looking at you from behind the music. It gives an element of rock and roll without being too obvious about it. The heart and wings give the impression that even though the heart has died, the music lives on.

Stunning and realistic arm tattoo with a rose and a skull


This almost scary tattoo is captivating. The color and realism force you to notice all the details. A great idea for a tattoo on your arm, chest, or shoulder. The red rose gives the impression that this is the skull of a woman, but who knows.

Multi-colored Indian chief skull tattoo on arm


Here the bleeding ink technique is used again. The vibrant colors are smudged into each other. A great technique for any tattoo design. The chief is looking to the side, ever watching where the wearer goes. Although a tattoo of a skull, it is somehow positive.

Autumn or Halloween inspired skull tattoo on arm


This amazing tattoo covers the whole shoulder and upper arm. The realistic skull seems melancholic or deep in thought. The fallen leaf, as if fresh from the graveyard, is beautifully colored. A smaller version of this tattoo would also look great on the leg, back or shoulder. One of many great tattoo ideas.

Stamped, dark skull tattoo on leg


This is a dark tattoo. It looks as if it is stamped within the skin, rather than on it. The perfect shading makes the tattoo realistic. The cracked skull and missing jaw add another element of dread. This is a cool tattoo idea that can work anywhere on the body. It is mysterious and frightening.

Golden skull and dead tree tattoo on arm


Another realistic tattoo with plenty of details. The golden skull stands out, but the dead tree captures the imagination. The black brush strokes create a perfect frame for this piece of art. The skull tattoo design is so well done that it can stand alone without the tree and the brush strokes. Those elements, however, make this tattoo unique and interesting.

Unique spider with a skull 3D effect


A great and unique tattoo idea. This tattoo has a 3D effect. In other words, the spider looks like it is actually on the arm. The skull adds a specific morbid sense of humor as well as curiosity. This tattoo can also be done in any size and color can be added. A great tattoo for both men and women.

Japanese inspired lotus and skull tattoo on leg


This Japanese-inspired tattoo has subtle waves and a predominant lotus flower. The flower adds a calm and positive element to an otherwise somber subject. The large skull appears to be rising out of the flower and through the waves. A great tattoo idea.

Steampunk styled, detailed skull tattoo on arm


This is a great skull tattoo idea. The thick black borders make every detail stand out. From the clock to the rose, to the skull, to the key. Every aspect is dark and well shaded, except for the blue glow which makes the whole tattoo seem alive. The whole tattoo wraps masterfully around the arm.

Flesh colored skull tattoo on leg


This flesh-colored skull tattoo runs down the length of the calf. From the knee down to the ankle. It’s a big skull. The flowers and petals add interest to the tattoo, but this is not for the faint-hearted. The leg almost disappears, and only a work of art remains. A well detailed and one-of-a-kind skull tattoo design.

Dark skull over brush strokes on chest


One of the many great tattoo ideas. The skull is surrounded by shockingly realistic black brush strokes. The cracked and old skull is looking up as if searching for something. The skull itself is perfectly shaded, but the brush strokes really make a statement.

Operation skull with veins on chest


This tattoo features a realistic tattoo with added veins going through it. The scalpel and forceps make it almost medical. The detail on this tattoo is done perfectly. The more you look at it, the more detail you notice. The veins wrap around and through the skull as if it’s alive.

Steampunk poetic skull tattoo on the whole side of the chest


This large tattoo tells a story. The skull is the clock that shows time running out. Five minutes to midnight. The black ink blots can be also taken as blood stains. The poem itself is in French but any thought provoking poem can work.

Romantic skull with a rose in its teeth on a hand


The rose between the teeth of the skull creates a great tribute to romance. The skull itself appears to be smiling and looking at you because of the great shading and contouring. Here it is done on the back of the hand, but can easily be done on the arm, shoulder, leg or chest.

Japanese inspired tattoo with lotus flowers across the chest


This tattoo covers the whole chest. All three of the lotus flowers are unique giving the tattoo an organic and natural feel. The skull is tilted down, as if sleeping, and has wings coming out of it. These wings and one flower wrap around the shoulders so the tattoo doesn’t appear stamped on but rather natural. The skull is colored and shaded to appear 3-dimensional. A skilled tattoo idea.

Fire, light, large skull tattoo on arm


The large tattoo shows a skull looking to the side. The image of a home inside its eye like a memory. Something forever burned in its mind. The coloring and shading are done in such a way that it seems like fire, or a red light is coming out of the skull. A great tattoo idea for the arm.

Steampunk skull tattoo with brush strokes and Hawaiian flowers


One of many great skull tattoo ideas. This tattoo shows a skull that seems to be encased in the dark green and pink brush strokes. On one side, the Plumeria, a beautiful yet poisonous flower, and on top of the skull, two ravens feeding. The clockwork replaces and eye making this tattoo modern.

Illusion skull tattoo with clowns drinking champagne


This is a great tattoo idea. Depending on how you look at it, you will see two different images. One of a skull smiling and looking at you. Another of two clowns drinking champagne while the man begs the woman for something. An illusion which makes anyone look twice.

Screaming skull and bones tattoo that wraps around the whole arm


This dark colored tattoo depicts a screaming skull that is surrounded by the sharp edges of different bones. Done in black, blue, and red, it appears to glow. The skull appears captured or tortured. A dark, artistic piece and a great skull tattoo design.

More skull tattoos on the next page…

Skull tattoo on upper arm


This intricate tattoo shows an amazing amount of detail. You can see a skull that is donning a cape. Its vacant eyes are eerie and what used to be a nose is just an empty socket. Inside the big skull’s mouth are two smaller skulls.

Skull tattoo on hand and wrist


This ornate skull tattoo begins at the wrist, where the top of the skull that is adorned with a crown starts. The crown itself has many beautiful details. The tattoo design continues to the back of the hand where the rest of the skull fits perfectly from above the knuckles to just below the wrist.

Arm sleeve tattoo


This tattoo begins at the top of the left arm and takes up quite a bit of space, ending at the elbow. It is of a smiling skull and is full of colorful detail. Atop its head sits a beautiful colored crown. The tattoo continues below the skull, showing the skeleton’s neck and ribs.

Leg skull tattoo


This is a very detailed and clear, black and white tattoo. On the skull’s head, an eye is drawn vertically, with clock hands coming from the pupil. Solitary, well-detailed roses decorate the left temple and chin of the skull. A beautiful, dotted design is drawn along the skull’s edges.

Intricate left sleeve tattoo


This is yet another tattoo design of a skull wearing a crown. The beautiful crown has amazing detail and swirling designs that resemble hair emanate from it. Below the skull, there is a clock with minute and hour hands pointing to roman numerals. Beautiful lines and designs – that look like 6’s – surround the entire skull.

Lower right leg tattoo


This tattoo starts at the calf and continues all the way down the leg. The skull is drawn so that only the right side and the front of the face are visible. The right side of the skull, however, is covered with smoke designs. The smoke originates from the mouth, where two smoking cigarettes have been drawn.

Calf skull tattoo


This calf tattoo starts below the knee and ends above the ankle. It is simple –not very detailed – but beautiful. Below the upper jaw of the skull, there is a vortex-like design with something that looks like a blue fish going into it. The tattoo is mostly black, but it has a few dashes of color that break up the monotony.

Forearm tattoo


This is an all-black tattoo of a skull with lines on the forehead. Its eyes are black orbs of nothingness, making it look sinister. Right below the nose, there is a mustache that gives off clownish vibes. The skull also has a lengthy beard with a bow-tie on it.

Right sleeve tattoo


The tattoo begins at the top of the shoulder and is mainly of trees. A few bolts of lightning seem to be appearing from the sky and the trees are bent, as if swaying in the wind. At the bottom of the tattoo, there is a man rowing a boat in water. The skull is inserted cleverly and subtly into this picture.

Animal skull tattoo design


This tattoo is of an animal’s skull, probably a deer because it has antlers coming out of it. The skull is enclosed in a square, whose corner is also enclosed in a bigger square. This is one of the best skull tattoo ideas as it is not very imposing or intimidating.

Big animal skull tattoo


The skull tattoo is part of a much larger one that encompasses the right shoulder, upper right back, and right sleeve. The skull itself is on the right sleeve. It is a deer’s skull or any other animal with antlers.

Above-the-elbow tattoo


This black tattoo is very plain and simple. Located above the right elbow, on the back of the arm, this tattoo is of a deer’s skull. The antlers take up more space than the skull itself.

Colorful arm tattoo


This is a very elaborately designed animal skull tattoo. Instead of eyes, the artist put in red roses. The skull is designed to look like a tree trunk, with all the right bark details. The antlers also look like branches.

Forearm tattoo


This is yet another deer skull tattoo with antlers. This particular one is among the good tattoo ideas. The skull is surrounded by many intricate designs, which make it stand out. The eyes of the skull are wide open and stare straight into your eyes.

Upper back tattoo


This upper back animal skull tattoo is black. The skull itself is quite simple but there is a lot of detail from the antlers, all the way up. It also has leaf-shaped ears that make it look like a plant.

Right calf tattoo


The branches and leaves of a tree form this skull. It is not one of the typical skull tattoos. It starts as a tree and as the branches come into view, they are made to look like a human skull.

Owl and human skull tattoo design


This is a very elaborate tattoo of a human skull with an owl sitting atop it. The skull has empty eye sockets and a missing nose. However, its sides are covered in the owl’s plumage, making it look eerily beautiful.

Thigh tattoo


This is a black and white tattoo of a human skull. The outline of a human skull is clearly visible, but it is filled with vertical black and white stripes. It almost looks like a human skull wearing zebra skin.

Simple wrist tattoo


This is a small skull tattoo on the inside of the wrist. Its eye sockets have been left blank, and it has ornate flowery details all over. This is one of the best skull tattoos idea for novices, as it is simple and nonthreatening.

Forearm skull tattoos


These forearm skull tattoo designs are mostly similar save for a few minor details. Both are of a smiling human skull with little details inside them. However, one has a flower design on the forehead while the other has a diamond one.


Skull tattoo designs are very common today and come in various designs. Famous celebrities have chosen to have them too. Mickey Rourke, the actor, has one located on his right arm (an Innate American Bull skull with feathers), Nicholas cage has a flaming skull design on his left arm, and Rihanna has a girly skull behind her left foot.