18 Tattoos With An Intriguing Story Behind Them

Kasia Mikolajczak
A flower tattoo on a woman's arm.
Unsplash | Jasmin Chew

If you ever thought about getting a tattoo, I'm sure there's a good reason behind it. Many people end up getting inked to commemorate a special time in their life, or it could be a way to honor somebody.

Whatever the occasion, I'm always so fascinated to find out the purpose of a gorgeous work of art. So I thought it would be fun to share some amazing tattoo ideas and the stories behind them.

This Touching Story

owl tattoo on person's arm
reddit | u/TheMadnessWithinMe

"The tattoo I got in honor of my mother who passed away in a house fire last year. She saved one and died trying to save another. Tattoo by Taylor at Self Made Tattoo in Talbot, TN."

Oh, my! I can't even express how sad I feel for this person here. Losing a mom must've been incredibly hard. I hope this tattoo consoles them somehow.

This Memory Tattoo

butterfly tattoo on person's arm
reddit | u/theyseemeronin

I don't know if I told you but I'm really close to one of my cousins. In fact, she is just like my sister. We spend so much time together growing up that we developed a tight bond. So this person who got their very first tattoo to honor their late cousin must feel like I do.

This Beautiful Idea

split screen of picture of child and mother and tattoo honoring mom
reddit | u/ashley09_99

This person chose to celebrate their mom in the most spectacular way — by getting a beautifully drawn tattoo. I really like the idea of the tattoo having no face. Here's what the person who got it said about it:

"I'm glad you picked up on that. It was because I know it's my mom that's being represented for me right but at the same time that same elegant woman there could be me or it could be anyone that comes to mind when you see it because there's no face. It represents a woman's beautiful elegance which is applicable to women as a whole, in my opinion, so yeah ha, ha."

This Tattoo In Honor Of Dad

black and white tree tattoo in honor of dad
reddit | u/PannyLee

"My father passed away 8 years ago, and yesterday I finally got my first tattoo, a commemorative piece with his birthdate. Done by Hoon at Chronic Ink in Toronto."

This is such a unique piece, no? I'm always fascinated by trees, so I'm digging this a lot.

This Cool Experience

an arm with tattoo writing on it
reddit | u/tonystec

“I used to write this on my arm in high school. In February, I got to meet my favorite band and the lead singer wrote it out so I could get it tattooed.”

Getting this tattoo must've been such a fun experience for this person here.

This Powerful Piece

split screen of tattoo and picture of father who served in Afganistan
reddit | u/KindSadist

"My late father in Afghanistan in the '80s by Robert Beeman at Ink and Dagger Tattoo in Roswell, GA."

Wow, this is such a powerful piece, no? I bet this person's dad would have appreciated seeing his likeness in a tattoo like that.

This Family Piece

sunflower tattoo with writing around it on a woman's arm
reddit | u/jyssrocks

"So stoked with my family tattoo from Rodrigo at Comes A Time Tattoo in Fairfax, VA. The handwriting is each from my grandma, mom, sister, and niece!"

Would you look at that? This is such a neat idea. And I love that it's a tattoo of a sunflower too as it's one of my favorite flowers.

This Mother's Day Gift

Mother's Day tattoo on somebody's calf
reddit | u/ProfessorThcKTittY

"Got my calf done Saturday just in time for Mother’s Day yesterday! Tell your moms, motherly figures, or even Mr. Moms you love them! David Parrish, Big Cat Tattoo, Atlanta GA."

Aww, how sweet is that?

This Lovely Piece

outline tattoo of a ballerina
reddit | u/Professional-Fig1919

If you were to pick a tattoo to celebrate your sister what would it be? I don't know why this person picked this particular design here but I think it's absolutely lovely. I adore this line work tattoo.

This Dad Tribute

tattoo of a red sports car
reddit | Reddit | u/coffeyb2

"Tattoo for my late father who worked at Chrysler. Dodge Viper done by Leila Damato at Futurelazertiger in Ferndale, MI."

Ah, what a fun piece, especially for a car enthusiast. I love that it looks a little bit cartoonish too.

This Floral Piece

black and white floral tattoo on person's arm
reddit | u/rissafett

"A floral piece to honor women in my family. Done by Lisette at eyeKANDI Ink in Newington, Connecticut."

This is such a neat idea. Am I right? I hope the women in this person's life appreciate this cool tattoo concept here.

This Special Tattoo

cool black and white tattoo
reddit | u/Vikingsson

"Moved from Sydney to Ireland when I was 10. I'm 20 now and here's my first tattoo. Done by Riion at Jax Wolf, Belfast."

I can tell you right now that moving away from where you were born is never easy. So I'm glad this person commemorated this big journey with an awesome tattoo.

This Marriage Tattoo

Wing of the Irish Magpie tattoo on person's hand
reddit | u/Atlas_Black

"Wing of the Irish Magpie. Done by Barzo Steel at Dark Arts Tattoo & Piercing Lounge in Belfast, Ireland. My wife and I were honeymooning in Northern Ireland, and her nickname is Magpie, so this tattoo was to commemorate the trip and honor our marriage."

How sweet is that?

This Best Bud Tattoo

memorial tattoo of a cat crossing over to the other side
reddit | u/WonkTheLlama

"Kitty heading off to the other side, by Heidi Kaye at The Good Fight in Camden, London. My first proper tattoo in memory of my kitty Ziggy."

Aww, I adore that. This is one gorgeous tattoo if I say so myself. Don't you think so too? I dig everything about this unique design.

This Cool Sound Wave

tattoo of sound wave
reddit | u/drewsoulman

"For my 18th birthday, I got a tattoo of my dad's laugh on my arm. He passed 3 years ago. I have his smile and joy wherever I go now."

Wow! I absolutely love this idea. If I were to get another tattoo it would be something like this, that's for sure.

This Homage To Parents

split screen of tattoo and person's parents wedding picture
reddit | u/ayy-shane

Oh my goodness, check this out. Somebody got their parents' wedding photo tattooed on their arm. What a fabulous idea, huh? This tattoo is so fun. I would love to have something like that too. I wonder what their parents think of that idea?

This Mom's Writing

hand written tattoo with message from mom
reddit | u/merrill1919

"New tattoo. My mom wrote me a note before she passed so I decided to get it tatted."

Aww, I absolutely love this idea. What do you think of that? It's definitely very unique, huh? I bet this person's mom is looking down at them and smiling.

These Matching Couple Tattoos

couple holding hands showing off matching arm tattoos
reddit | u/Deni-art

"My husband and I got matching tattoos. All the moons represent a different day in our relationship. (Down) first kiss, (middle) proposal, (up) wedding day. We married on our 10-year anniversary. Tattoo by Israel Celli at The Tattoo Garden, The Hague (NL)."

Isn't this such a fantastic idea?

So what do you think of these stories here?

woman saying "That means so much."
Giphy | CBC

It's always so cool to find out exactly why people end up getting a tattoo. I, for one, would never rush this decision, and these amazing tattoos here definitely look like thoughtful ideas. Which one resonated with you the most?