Body art is a way to express yourself, share what is important to you, and make a statement, and what better place for it than with a back tattoo? This placement is so popular because of its versatility; it is large enough to allow for big and detailed pieces, but small and simple inkings look just as good. It is also considered low to moderate on the tattoo pain scale and is easy to cover up. You may wonder why you’d want to get inked somewhere you can’t see every day, but you don’t need to see your tattoo for it to have meaning. Instead, wear it like a badge of honor and a reminder of why you chose to get it in the first place.
1. Back and Neck Tattoo
The back is one of the most popular options for body art for several reasons. For starters, a back tattoo is an excellent spot for ink because it is easy to cover up and considered low on the tattoo pain chart scale, especially the further you get from the bones of your spine and hip. That said, for those who are daring and have a rebellious nature, a large piece covering the back and neck is a fantastic option. The neck is one of the most controversial places to get inked because of its visibility. This makes it hard to hide and can affect your job prospects. Although the attitude towards ink changes, a neck tattoo represents strength and indicates a desire not to conform.
2. Full Back Tattoo
Do you have a design that you love that is large and detailed? Then opt for a full back tattoo. There is no better placement because the area is big enough to allow for ink that requires a lot of detail. The spot offers versatility because there are very few limits to what you can get done, and it won’t be as painful as in some other places. Pick from various options, including mandalas and unique geometric patterns or body art that tells a story. For example, a snake wrapped around a rose. You can show off your ink when you want and cover it up, making this the perfect spot.
3. Back and Shoulder Tattoo
Deciding on the placement of your body art is just as important as the design. For example, a back and shoulder tattoo is a gorgeous place for a woman to get inked. The outer shoulder has thick skin and fewer nerve endings, meaning it won’t cause you extreme discomfort, and the skin does not stretch the way other places will. This means your ink will look great for longer. It is also easy to cover up, which makes this location versatile. When it comes to your chosen piece, your creativity is your limit. Perhaps you want a stunning floral or bird design that spreads over the shoulder and down the back. Or you can pick something unique with symbolic importance to you.
4. Upper Back Tattoo
The upper back is usually one of the widest areas on the body, making it a fantastic location for a large and detailed inking. Deciding on an upper back tattoo is smart because wearing off-the-shoulder or open-back tops is easy to show off when you want. Another reason people are drawn to this spot is because it is considered low to moderate on the tattoo pain chart scale. The area typically has thick skin and fewer nerve endings. Remember, the closer you ink toward the bone or your spine, the more painful your piece will be.
5. Lower Back Tattoo
Lower back tattoos have gotten a bad reputation with people who got something done that they later regretted. It earned itself an unflattering nickname in the 90s when it was shown off with low-cut jeans and crop tops. But the attitude towards body art has changed a lot over the years, and this is not a trashy placement for your body art. Of course, your chosen design and how you show it off will affect the public’s attitude toward your artwork, but you’re getting it for you, no one else. The area is also considered low to moderate on the tattoo pain chart scale and can be a sensual and feminine location.
6. Spine Tattoo
Many individuals are drawn to the back for their body art because of its size, versatility, and relatively low pain level. That said, the spine is more painful because of the nerve endings in the area. How detailed your design is will also play a part in the discomfort; for example, something that requires a lot of shading and for you to sit for a longer session will hurt more. There are so many fantastic options for a spine tattoo, though. This includes the different phases in the lunar cycle or a quote piece created using an interesting font. Before deciding on a spine tattoo, weighing the pros and cons is important. Some caution against spine inking if you need an epidural during childbirth or spinal surgery. This could increase the risk of infection.
7. Small Back Tattoo
For those who love getting a back piece but don’t want something large or overly detailed, a small tattoo is the best option. Tiny ink is great because it doesn’t cost as much, requires a shorter tattoo session, and will cause minor discomfort. Plus, they are discreet. There is no limit to what you can or cannot ink, whether it’s a cute animal that you love, a little symbol that means something to you, or a single word that moves you. It is often best to keep small tattoos simple and without too much detail because they do not age well.
8. Cross Back Tattoo
If your faith plays an important role in your life, then a cross tattoo on the back is a beautiful choice. The cross symbolizes many things, including representing Jesus’ undying love, sacrifice, and selflessness. It can also be inked as a memorial piece for someone who has passed. The cross is a simple symbol, but if you want a more detailed artwork, this can include other images, depending on the meaning you wish to convey. For example, some may choose to incorporate Jesus and a crown of thorns; others may want to add the name of a loved one or an important date.
9. Tribal Back Tattoo
Tribal tattoos are rich in symbolism. Although there are many different styles to choose from, each with its unique meaning and interpretation of images, tribal tattoos celebrate cultural heritage and show hierarchy and personal achievements. They can represent strength, bring the wearer good luck, or offer protection. The meaning changes from culture to culture, but there is no denying that the option for a piece like this on your back makes an important statement. Maybe you feel closer to your ancestors, or perhaps you want to honor them in some way. However, it is essential to remember that using a tribal tattoo for decorative purposes when you have no ties to that culture could be offensive and misappropriated. For this reason, it is always important to do your research beforehand.
10. Japanese Back Tattoo
Japanese tattoos, or the art of Irezumi, have a distinct style, often distinguished by their bold appearance, vibrant colors, and identifiable and meaningful subject matter. The designs are expressive and rich in symbolism. There are usually several images that are favored, which have cultural significance. These include koi fish, geishas, the lotus flower and cherry blossom, and mythical creatures like a dragon or phoenix. As stunning as this technique is, it is also shrouded in controversy as the infamous Yakuza gang was known for inking their bodies, and body art does carry a stigma in Japan.
11. Chinese Back Tattoo
The fantastic thing about back tattoos is that they lend themselves well to various designs, styles, and sizes. Chinese-inspired body art is symbolic and a celebration of Chinese culture. These can be mythical creatures like the Chinese dragon, which represents good luck and power, or a Chinese symbol, a very popular choice among individuals without Chinese heritage. If you choose to write in a language you do not understand, it is important to do your research and ensure that you do not end up with a piece with an entirely different meaning than you intended.
12. Floral Back Tattoo
Covering your back with floral designs will create a striking and feminine look. Flower tattoos represent so many things, including life, beauty, and love. There are also different blooms to choose from, each with its unique symbolism. The rose is one of the most popular options for body art and represents the balance between beauty and pain. It is a reminder that love can hurt. The lily is associated with purity and modesty, while a sunflower tattoo symbolizes direction, warmth, and joy. Whether you choose a single flower or combine multiple, there is no denying this will make for a stunning piece.
13. Sexy Back Tattoo
The back is undoubtedly one of the sexiest places for a tattoo because it draws attention to an area that is considered an especially attractive body part. It could also be that this location is often covered up with clothes, so exposing the back and showing off your artwork makes it a sensual and striking choice. There are so many designs to choose from, from delicate and pretty, to bold and attention-grabbing.
14. Wings Back Tattoo
Individuals who are drawn to the concept of freedom and the idea of freeing themselves from physical or emotional constraints placed upon them by society will love a wings tattoo. They are also associated with the ability to fly, faith, and protection. The back is an excellent spot for this inking because it can look as though you have your very own wings, whether that is a replica of angel wings or birds. This is undoubtedly one of the most symbolic choices for body art and a wonderful way to express yourself.
15. Angel Back Tattoo
Angel tattoos are deeply symbolic, and although there is a wide range of different options to get inked, from tiny cherubs to archangels, the back provides an excellent spot for your ink because it allows for enough detail and is low on the tattoo pain chart scale. Angels are messengers of God and a symbol of faith and devotion. They can also represent purity, goodness, hope, and guidance. These are fantastic qualities to celebrate. You may also be drawn to an angel as a memorial piece for someone who has passed, and this could include the name of your loved ones. Body art can provide comfort and solace to those who are hurting or be a way to express thoughts and desires. It is an exceptionally meaningful tattoo design regardless of your reason for choosing an angel inking.
16. Eagle Back Tattoo
If you look up at the sky and see an eagle soaring through it, you will probably be filled with feelings of respect and awe. These mighty birds represent courage, wisdom, power, and spirituality. For some, the eagle is also associated with freedom, as it can spread its wings and fly away. There are many reasons why getting an eagle tattoo is a good idea; your back provides the perfect location for it, especially if you’d like the wings to be spread out and show the creature in motion.
17. Dragon Back Tattoo
Dragon tattoos are popular choices because they are associated with strength and power. That said, they typically mean different things to various cultures. They are respected and feared, admired and hated. In the West, they are seen as greedy and evil, while they bring good luck in the East. There are also certain styles and techniques that suit this design, from hyper-realistic to Japanese-inspired artwork. The mythical creatures are interesting to look at, making for a fantastic statement tattoo in black ink or colors.
18. Classic Back Tattoo
We refer to a classic tattoo as the American traditional tattoo technique. Its bold outlines, bright yet limited color palette, and almost cartoonish images define this style. Several themes, including nautical and animal designs, can easily be combined to create a story. Depending on your chosen image, its meaning can change slightly. However, there is no denying that these pieces make a statement. Although those on the fringes of society once only inked them, the style is now enjoying mainstream popularity and recognition. You can honor the art form by opting for this technique. Pick something that will make you want to show off your back constantly.
19. Phoenix Back Tattoo
There are few creatures as beautiful and symbolic as the phoenix, and it is not surprising that a phoenix tattoo has become a popular choice to ink for both men and women. The bird is associated with death and rebirth, eternity, strength, and renewal. Legend states that the phoenix bursts into flames and then rises from the ashes of its predecessor. This signifies a journey and a powerful statement about overcoming anything and being stronger for it. The back is a fantastic location because you can include all the detail you want; perhaps this is the bird rising from the ashes or its brilliant wings spread out.
20. Quote Back Tattoo
Words can move us. Perhaps there is a saying from your favorite film that has stuck with you for years or an excerpt from a poem that resonates with you. If this is the case, then a quote tattoo is a great decision. These pieces can be incredibly meaningful and can be open to interpretation. They can take you back to memories of your childhood or happier times or remind you that you are strong and resilient. In addition, the back provides the perfect location because you can easily cover it up or show it off, and it is large enough to allow for a decent-sized quote.
21. Star Back Tattoo
Star tattoos are simple but also symbolic. The star has many meanings associated with it. It is a symbol of protection and honor; for others, it represents freedom and the ability to dream, and it can also offer direction and guidance. If you decide to get a star and want your piece to be a bit more complex and detailed, you can add various other images. For example, if you love nautical themes, then an anchor or a swallow could accompany it. Or perhaps you want to honor a fallen comrade or recreate the night sky. There are so many options to choose from, allowing you to make your piece unique to you.
22. Skull Back Tattoo
You may not be able to look at your back piece daily, but it is not always about that when you have a meaningful design. Just knowing that you have inked something symbolic onto your skin is often enough; a skull tattoo is undoubtedly filled with symbolism. The human skull represents many things but is most commonly associated with death. This is not always a negative thing. Sometimes, it can show that you are not afraid of death or a reminder to live each day to its fullest. Skulls also look great when accompanied by other images, such as flowers, a butterfly, or a serpent, each of which can alter the meaning slightly.
23. Geometric Back Tattoo
Geometric tattoos are stunning to look at, often formed using a series of patterns and shapes. They can create an abstract design or something recognizable, like an animal or a flower. The result is mesmerizing but also evokes feelings of calmness. They represent balance, mystery, and symmetry and can be a way to remind yourself to slow down and take in the beauty of the world. When choosing a geometric design, the back is a wonderful spot because it is big enough to allow for derailing, which these pieces often require. So, if you’re looking for a modern approach to body art, this is it!
24. Wolf Back Tattoo
The wolf is an animal that is celebrated for being loyal and devoted to its family. The canines live and hunt in packs, relying on each other for strength and survival, which is why many people want to honor their own familial bond with the image of a wolf. It can be a wonderful way to remind yourself that you need other people and it’s OK to ask for help. Or that there is strength in numbers and the importance of teamwork to succeed. Regardless of the meaning that appeals to you, a wolf tattoo makes for a gorgeous inking when etched across your back.
25. Lion Back Tattoo
The lion is a mighty and fearsome beast. The king of the jungle represents bravery and courage and is a fantastic piece for someone who values these qualities. It is also an animal that is associated with royalty and grace. If you want your lion tattoo to have a more feminine energy, you can opt for a lioness instead. She will represent motherhood, fertility, and strength. It could also be a way to celebrate your female energy or the bond you share with the other women in your life.
Back Tattoos FAQs
Are back tattoos good?
The back is an excellent place for a tattoo because of its versatility and size. You can ink small and delicate pieces or extensive and detailed artwork in this spot. It also allows you to cover it up easily, which is fantastic if you do not want to show off your body art or work in a corporate environment. It is also worth noting that just because you do not see your piece daily does not remove its importance. Another positive is that ink here is not high on the pain scale. This is because of the thick skin and muscle.
How bad do back tattoos hurt?
Determining how much a tattoo will hurt depends on several factors, including the size and detail you require and your threshold for pain. That said, the back is considered one of the least painful options for body art because there is thick skin with fewer nerve endings. However, as you move close to the spine or hips, the more it will hurt.
What is a good tattoo for the back?
The back is a large and flat area, making it ideal for tattoos requiring more detail. There is no limit to what you can or cannot get done, allowing you to get creative with your artwork and find something particularly meaningful to you. Some ideas include Japanese-styled ink, intricate floral designs, and angel wings, a fantastic choice for someone drawn to the views of freedom and protection. You can play around with the placement of your body art, choosing for it to be inked along your spine, entire back, lower back, upper area, and neck.
What is a backpiece tattoo?
A back piece refers to a tattoo that has been created on your back. This usually covers much of your back and involves a detailed and meaningful design. It may include several images that tell a story or be one large and intricate artwork. Depending on the complexity of your chosen design, these pieces will take around 30 hours to complete and will be costly.
How long does a back tattoo take?
The length of time that your back tattoo will take to complete depends on several factors. This includes the size and detail you opt for. A complete back design could take around 30 hours or more if it requires a lot of shading. A smaller piece may only take an hour or two. Your tattoo session will also influence the price.
Cailyn Cox holds a degree in journalism and has been working with The Trend Spotter as a writer for over ten years. She has worked with some of the most prestigious women’s and men's lifestyle publications. For her, writing is not just a job; it’s a passion, which is why each article she writes is approached with such enthusiasm and dedication. She has extensive knowledge of hairstyles, tattoos, and beauty and has made a career out of creating informative articles that appeal to women and men of all ages.
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