Tattoos don’t have to be large to make an impact. Today, smaller tattoos are trending – especially for women. That’s because dainty body art can seem more elegant than oversized pieces or full sleeves as the tattoo will appear more in proportion. Tiny inkings can also be easily covered by clothing. Just because they are smaller in size, doesn’t mean they are any less meaningful. Read on to discover your next favorite small tattoo idea.
1. Small Cute Small Tattoos
Small tattoos come in cute designs. Those that are young at heart will find cute tattoos reflect their personalities perfectly. Playful and petite, these designs are an excellent choice for your first inking or a matching tattoo with your best childhood friend. Adorable animals like pandas, puppies, and frogs are popular choices for these tattoos. Try cartoon-style artwork for an extra cute look!
2. Small Meaningful Tattoos
Even small tattoos can have a powerful meaning. When choosing a meaningful tattoo, many women choose their life’s motto, favorite song lyrics, or the name of a loved one. Your hand or inner wrist are ideal placements for these inkings as you can always see them and be reminded of their meaning.
3. Small Simple Tattoos
For those who have a relaxed and classic sense of style, or prefer minimalist tattoos, small and simple designs are a perfect choice. They are also ideal if you’d prefer a short and inexpensive tattoo session, as they can be done in one sitting. Plus, the beauty of a small and simple tattoo is that you can place it almost anywhere!
4. Small Butterfly Tattoos
Butterfly tattoos are some of the most popular inkings for women. That’s because the butterfly represents transformation, nature, and freedom. Additionally, they have a beautiful and feminine look. A versatile tattoo choice, butterflies, look just as good in color or in black ink. Plus, even as a small piece of artwork, these winged insects stand out.
5. Small Sunflower Tattoos
Sunflower tattoos are a popular inking design. Because of their vibrant yellow color, they will stand out even in a small size. These flowers have a rich history and meaning. They represent longevity and adoration as well as religious faith, as they turn to ‘follow’ the Sun. To many people, they also symbolize warmth, happiness, and joy – so they’re ideal if you are known for your ‘sunny’ personality.
6. Small Cross Tattoos
The cross is a sacred symbol in Christianity, representing the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. For followers of the religion, having a cross tattoo is a way to affirm their commitment to their faith. But it doesn’t have to be large and elaborate to be meaningful. For many women, a small cross tattoo is perfect because it can be placed almost anywhere on the body. Instead of showing off their faith to others, it acts as a subtle – yet powerful – reminder that God is always with them.
7. Small Heart Tattoos
Heart tattoos have been popular for decades, particularly for women. That’s because they are simple, feminine, and represent the most powerful emotion: love. Heart tattoos can stand for many kinds of love, from romance to family or even grief. A small heart inking is a simple reminder of what’s most important in life and expresses your passionate and affectionate side.
8. Small Elephant Tattoos
Animal tattoos of all kinds are my favorite designs. However, elephant tattoos have been trending recently. These majestic animals represent prosperity and good luck. They are also symbols of dignity, longevity, and wisdom. Women are particularly drawn to elephant tattoos because the animals are matriarchal – all elephant herds are made up of females and their children.
9. Small Angel Wings Tattoos
Angel wings can look just as good as a small tattoo as when they are larger. For some women, the design represents their better nature – the ‘angelic’ side. They can also be a symbol of freedom or a desire to escape. For others, the wings are a reminder of their ‘guardian angel’ who is always watching over them.
10. Small Anchor Tattoos
Like many nautical tattoos, anchors come from the sailor tradition. They are a sign of safety and the end of a long journey. While some might think the anchor is a masculine symbol, many women also love the design for its simplicity and significance. A small version of the anchor tattoo looks good when placed on the wrist, ankle, or fingers.
11. Small Lion Tattoos
Lions represent strength, self-confidence, and courage, making them the perfect tattoo design for fierce ladies! Many women also choose the lion tattoo to represent their zodiac sign of Leo. They are known to be optimistic, passionate, and spontaneous, and love to be the center of attention. Because they are such a recognizable symbol, you don’t need a large lion inking to make an impact. That makes them perfect for small tattoos.
12. Small Lotus Flower Tattoos
In Hinduism, the lotus is a symbol of divine beauty and purity. Its open petals represent expanding the mind and soul. As a result, it has become a popular tattoo choice for many women – particularly those with a spiritual side. Delicate and dainty, the lotus makes a great small tattoo. To add to the spiritual aspect of a lotus flower tattoo, choose a placement that aligns with your chakras.
13. Small Cat Tattoos
Cats are a great choice if you’re looking for a small tattoo design. Cute and striking, these animals stand out. Whether it’s a mysterious black cat or a playful cartoon kitty, you can show your appreciation for these beloved furry friends. While many women get a cat tattoo to commemorate their pets, these inkings can also be symbolic. Cats represent resurrection because they are said to have ‘nine lives’ and are a feminine symbol across many different cultures.
14. Small Mountain Tattoos
Mountains represent the hurdles and painful periods in life that we have overcome. Many women choose this design for their tattoos after going through a stressful life event. Mountains remind us of the inner strength or the physical strength, that was discovered when we were put to the test. For that reason, it’s a significant choice for an inking. Because these tattoos are metaphorical, they don’t need to be large to convey their meaning.
15. Small Quote Tattoos
Quote tattoos are often placed on the forearm or wrist. That’s because they are easy to read in this position. However, you can also have important words inked on other parts of your body to make it easier for others to read or to make the message legible when reflected in a mirror. Whatever you choose – whether it be a line from your favorite movie, book, or song, or words of wisdom – the impact will be felt no matter the size of your inking.
16. Small Sun and Moon Tattoos
Sun and moon tattoos are popular choices for couples and best friends. That’s because these celestial bodies represent the harmony between opposites. On an individual, the tattoo symbolizes the two sides of your personality. For example, extroverted and introverted, action and rest, and masculine and feminine. The design can also be a sign of the passage of time and the cycle of life.
17. Small Tree Tattoos
Whatever art style you choose, a small tree tattoo will stand out and look great. Trees are a trending tattoo design because of their moving meaning: they represent knowledge and wisdom, as well as long life, growth, and protection. Trees can also symbolize a family tree, where each branch is a different person.
18. Small Compass Tattoos
Another nautical-themed tattoo, the compass design, means staying true to yourself and your path. Many women and men choose to combine this inking with other tattoo motifs. A popular option is a two-crossed arrow tattoo. These symbolize an unbreakable friendship or bond. That makes it an excellent choice for a matching tattoo with your best friend. Because it’s a simple design, the compass inking looks great large or small.
19. Small Dragonfly Tattoos
The dragonfly is one of the most positive tattoo designs you can choose. It’s a sign of transformation, change, bravery, strength, and joy. Because it doesn’t fly in a straight line, the dragonfly is also often thought to represent having a free spirit. The dragonfly also has a mystical side; in some Native American cultures, a dragonfly represents purity and rebirth, while in Japan, dragonflies are frequently used in art. That’s because they are symbols of victory as they never fly backward or ‘retreat.’
20. Small Skull Tattoos
Skull tattoos are some of the most popular designs, representing many things. In some cultures, skulls are a symbol of rebellion and rebirth. Other people use them as a reminder to live every day as if it’s their last. For a feminine take on the skull design, try a smaller tattoo, or combine it with roses, representing love beyond death.
21. Small Dreamcatcher Tattoos
In some Native American cultures, dream catchers are hung over the beds and cradles of babies and children to protect them from nightmares. Traditionally, dream catchers were woven by mothers and grandmothers, which could be why many women feel connected to the symbol. When inked as body art, it symbolizes safety and protection from harm. If you have Native American ancestry, a dream catcher tattoo could be a way to honor your heritage. If not, you could incorporate some elements of the dreamcatcher – it’s hoop shape, webbing, or feathers – into another tattoo to remind yourself of its special meaning.
22. Small Snake Tattoos
Snakes are popular tattoos for women because their twisted shapes make them ideal for placing anywhere on the body. While snake inkings look fantastic at any size, a small serpent is perfect for placements like the under boob. Because they shed their skin, snakes represent new beginnings. They can also symbolize temptation – from the Biblical story of Adam and Eve – as well as sexuality, fertility, and protection. The best part of a snake tattoo is that you can make the meaning personal.
23. Small Star Tattoos
Star tattoos are one of the most popular inking choices for women. They represent finding light in the darkness, making them a moving and beautiful design for body art. Ther are also perfect for small and dainty tattoos. A string of stars often symbolizes a journey that’s been taken by the wearer. It can also be a religious tattoo, particularly for Christians, as the Bible describes people being ‘guided’ by stars.
24. Small Tribal Tattoos
If you love the aesthetic of tribal tattoos but can’t have a large design visible, why not try a smaller version? The tribal art style can be adapted to suit lots of different inspirations, from natural symbols like the sun to animals or even abstract symbols. Popular placements for small tribal tattoos include the upper arm, wrist, ankle, or back.
25. Small Rose Tattoos
Dainty rose tattoos are in-demand right now, and it’s no wonder they have become so popular. The minimalist and understated take on the classic floral design suits those who have a modern, sophisticated style. A petite and pretty rose tattoo can be placed nearly anywhere, from the forearm to the fingers, wrist, or hip.
26. Small Wolf Tattoos
Wolves are a protective symbol in many cultures because they can see in the dark. That makes wolf tattoos a great tattoo choice for both men and women. Another aspect of wolves that people feel connected to is their duality; they are wild, fierce, and untamed, yet very loyal and live in tight family groups with their mates and cubs. For that reason, many couples choose to get matching wolf tattoos. A wolf tattoo looks striking in any size, including small.
27. Small Owl Tattoo
Owls represent wisdom and knowledge, which makes them a great tattoo design for graduating students – or people with a love of learning. Owls also have a spiritual side, as their nocturnal nature means many cultures associate them with the afterlife. To make the most of a small owl tattoo, choose a design that shows off its wings or has a unique art style.
28. Small Phoenix Tattoo
The phoenix is one of the most well-known symbols for transformation and rebirth. In ancient legends, the bird bursts into flames and is reborn from the ashes. Many people connect with this message and choose the creature as a tattoo design. For a feminine take, choose a small phoenix tattoo with a watercolor art style.
29. Small Geometric Tattoo
Geometric tattoos are versatile and can add a fresh twist to a classic inking or a futuristic touch. For women, the geometric style looks great when contrasted with an ultra-feminine inking like a flower tattoo or animal. Best of all, these tattoos suit smaller placements as the angles and lines are eye-catching on their own.
30. Small Minimalist Tattoo
Minimalist art has become a huge trend recently, and it’s equally popular when it comes to minimalist tattoos. The style uses pure black ink without shading, to create striking yet understated designs. These tattoos look best in a smaller size. For these reasons, they are ideal for women who want a unique and artistic inking that goes with every style.
Small Tattoo for Women FAQs
Where should a small tattoo be placed on a woman?
A small tattoo can really go anywhere on your body. Ideally, you want to choose a location that will show it in the best light. The wrist and ankle are excellent choices. They're smaller, more delicate areas of your body, so a mini tattoo won't seem out of place. Other good locations include your ribs, fingers, and along your collarbone.
How long does a small tattoo take?
A simple design that's around an inch in size will generally take less than an hour, depending on your artist. Tiny pieces may take only 10 minutes.
How much does it cost for a small tattoo?
Most tattoo shops charge by the hour, so getting a small tattoo can be reasonably inexpensive. However, some shops will have a minimum starting price. Expect to pay between $50 and $200 for something small and basic. The more details and colors you have, the more time it will take and the more it will cost.
Where do tattoos hurt the most?
The areas where tattoos will hurt the most include the head, center chest, ribs, groin, inner thighs, feet, shins, hands, inner and outer elbows, and armpits. Generally, anywhere that has more muscle and fat will hurt less, as there's more cushioning and protection of nerve endings. However, remember that everyone experiences pain differently, so consider your pain threshold before jumping in.
Arabella Roden is a skilled writer and sub-editor with over ten years of experience across print, digital, and B2B. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and specializes in beauty, hairstyles, fashion, tattoos, and lifestyle topics. Arabella is currently the Chief Sub Editor at Mecca Brands and has been writing for The Trend Spotter since 2019.
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