What better way to express your strong Christian belief than getting a cross tattoo. Such a tattoo truly showcases how religious and committed to your faith you are. Moreover, it shows your spirituality and also how cool and creative you are even when it comes to religiousness. So, if you’re looking to get a cross tattoo, you’re at the right place. In the following paragraphs, we’ll take a look at some traditional meanings of cross tattoos as well as design ideas to fit your creativity and tattoo requirements. So, without further ado, let’s get inked!
Cross Tattoos Traditional and Modern Meanings
The symbolism of cross tattoos can extend from religiousness to faith, devotion, or even personal transformation. Of course, everyone assigns their own meaning to a cross tattoo, but some traditional symbolism cannot be ignored. For example, a cross tattoo symbolizes;
- Spirit and spirituality
- Sacrifice and death (in direct relation to Jesus)
- Faith and devotion to your belief
- Commitment and loyalty
- Unconditional love for your family and friends
- Rebirth and personal growth or transformation
- Peace and harmony
As we can see, most of the symbolism and meaning is related to Jesus, Christianity, God, and faith. In Christianity, the cross is one of the most essential symbols. Jesus died for our sins on a cross, which is the main source of cross tattoo meanings; self-sacrifice, personal revelation, resurrection, and transformation. The cross can also symbolize eternal hope and one’s ability to overcome even the hardest, most difficult hardships in life.
When we say ‘modern cross tattoo interpretations’ what we mean are the tattoos that stem from a genres of music or subculture originating in the mid and late 90s, and lasting to this day. Such music genres and subcultures usually comprise rock and roll, hard rock, metal rock, and similar music paths which heavily rely on religious vernacular, imagery, and of course, the cross, or rather the anti-structure of a cross or anti-cross.
Many of such musicians and culture representative personas have cross tattoos which often have a unique design suitable to their interpretation of Christianity, Christ, and the whole belief system. The modern cross interpretations often refer to the sin, the devil, the story of Jesus and God’s mistreatment of the devil, and the return of the Antichrist. The tattoos often refer to human nature and people’s tendency to sin and rebel against ‘God’ or the ‘religious system’. Either way, such cross tattoos are works of art and have incredible designs. They surely suit those who want to express their rebellious and transformative nature, rather than spirituality and loyalty to Jesus.
Traditional Cross Tattoo Designs (and the Best Placement Ideas)
When we talk about cross tattoos, one of the most essential topics to cover are the very cross tattoo designs. We’ll take a look at some popular choices and the best placement ideas. Cross tattoos can be styled and designed in hundreds of different ways, and they look good anywhere on the body; this being one of the reasons they’re so popular. But, enough with the chatting and let’s look at some designs;
The Jesus Cross Tattoos
- Tattoo highlights; the Jesus cross tattoos are often large and take several hours to several sessions to complete. Because of how time and labor-consuming they are, you might have to pay up to a few thousand dollars for the final tattoo (including shading, detailing, and coloring, as well as body placement and complexity of the tattoo).
- Best body placement; upper back or full back, chest, should and bicep area, upper thigh, side of the neck, etc.
One of the main cross tattoo design is the one that features Jesus on the cross. This imagery adds further to the traditional interpretation and symbolism of the tattoo. Combining the two most powerful symbols of Christianity is a true sign of faith, belief, and commitment to God. But, for the tattoo to be an ode to God, it needs to be done rather well. Jesus cross tattoos often feature highly elegant and almost baroque-like tattoo style. This style comprises a heavy load of detailing, shadowing, and sometimes even a color-combination of black, white, yellow, red, etc. The color combination is there to emphasize the pain of Jesus, the holiness of the imagery, and the dramatic effect of what the tattoo depicts.
The Holy Trinity Cross Tattoos (Three Cross Tattoo)
- Tattoo highlights; the Holy Trinity cross tattoos are often small to medium in size, so they don’t take too long to complete. Also, apart from filling in the outline and some shading, they don’t often feature any additional colors. This means you’ll probably pay significantly less for a simple, three-cross, black and white tattoo, which is a great choice if you want to save some cash but still pay tribute to the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- Best body placement; shoulder and upper arm area, forearm, side of the neck, ankle, hand and wrist area, etc.
The Holy Trinity cross tattoo, also known as the three cross tattoo is one of the more modern interpretations of the cross tattoo design. The tattoo design often comprises three intertwined crosses that represent the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. In some cases, one cross is designed as a central piece of the tattoo, representing Jesus, while the other two are smaller, placed next to the central one, and represent others that were crucified with Jesus.
The crosses are often black (don’t feature colors), and can have some details or shading for a more artistic appearance. The crosses, however, don’t have to be intertwined; in some designs, the crosses are placed next to each other or made to form some shapes and figures. So, if you want to get a simple, yet effective and cost-friendly tattoo, we surely recommend the Holy Trinity design.
The Rose/Flower Cross Tattoo
- Tattoo highlights; the rose cross tattoos often vary in size and design. They can be small and subtle, or large and occupying the whole body parts, like the upper back. They can also feature a color scheme with red tones to emphasize the rose design. The tattoos can be simple and straightforward or feature an intricate and complex design where the rose and the cross are intertwined. Depending on the size and color choices, the tattoo can vary in price.
- Best body placement; forearm, side of the neck, shoulder area, upper back, calf, etc.
The rose cross tattoo design is equally beloved among men and women. It is a wonderful combination of symbolism and imagery, which elevates the tattoo even more. In rose cross tattoos, the cross is often intertwined with the rose and ‘placed’ within the flower. This artistic layering of symbols enhances the meaning of both symbols individually. The floral infusion of the tattoo, however, adds to the purity of the cross meaning and enhances the design of the cross as well. The tattoo can feature leaves, flower buds, several crosses, a chaplet, etc. Rose tattoos are generally favored by women, but men tend to get them as well, without hurting their masculinity.
The Winged Cross Tattoos
- Tattoo highlights; often large, the winged cross tattoo is a combination of two powerful Christian symbols; the wings of an angel and the cross. The tattoo is often done rather elegantly, where the wings cross is seamlessly incorporated with the wings. Alongside some shading and detailing, the tattoo is often in a black and white combo, but some designs do call for a color scheme including yellow and reddish tones. Since these tattoos often take a lot of space, you could pay a few thousand dollars for the final tattoo, especially if it features several colors.
- Best body placement; upper or full back, chest, upper thigh, shoulder, and bicep area.
If you want to make a statement with your new cross tattoo, then what better way to do so than combine it with angel wings. This is such an awesome design, and because of this it usually takes up a lot of space (deservingly). The cross is generally the centerpiece of the tattoo, but the spread wings do steal the spotlight as well. The tattoo often requires detailing, especially on the wings, and its size depends on the size of the wings. For those who want to make a statement get tattoos that spread across the whole back or chest area. Either way, the combination of such two powerful symbols will make anyone feel super cool and committed to the man upstairs.
Simple Cross Tattoos
- Tattoo highlights; a simple, minimalistic cross doesn’t cost much but is very effective. The tattoo is pretty straightforward and can be done in only one session. Because the tattoo doesn’t require detailing and coloring, it can cost only a couple hundred bucks, so you’ll save money and still get badass ink.
- Best body placement; upper (central) back, shoulder and bicep area, forearm, side of the neck, finger or hand, foot, ankle, rib (the side of the abdomen), etc.
One of the best things about getting a simple cross tattoo is that it looks good wherever you place it. The design comes through as effective and straightforward, which is surely following of the way Jesus died; on a simple cross. Without much detailing and coloring, the design of the tattoo is simplistic, often black and white, and can feature some shading. Because of this, the tattoo session can last an hour max and cost you a minimal price, especially if you only go for a cross outline. Simple cross tattoos are often preferred by women, but in the past few years, men have made it a trend to also get such tattoos.
Celtic Cross Tattoo (The Irish Cross)
- Tattoo highlights; getting a Celtic cross tattoo means getting a highly stylized and detailed piece. The design of a Celtic cross often calls for some color game, but the tattoo can be in black and white with some shading as well. Either way, the tattoo always turns out epic, but you should be ready to pay up for such a piece of body art. The tattoo is usually big, so alongside all the design requirements, you may expect the size to also increase the final tattoo cost.
- Best body placement; upper back, chest or breast area, forearm, shoulder and bicep area, calf or upper thigh, etc.
The Celtic or Irish cross tattoo carries a mix of historic symbolism and Christian meaning. The Celtic cross is a symbol that has survived thousands of years and to this day symbolizes the struggles of religious persecution. When it comes to the design of a Celtic cross tattoo, you can expect some heavy stylizing and detailing. This is not a simple cross tattoo; it requires expertise and hours of work. The final design is often epic and intricate, with complex detailing and shading, especially when there are different color tones. Because of the amazing design and the average size of the tattoo, you should place it somewhere visible because this tattoo deserves some showing off.
The Upside Down Cross Tattoo (Anti-Christian Tattoo)
- Tattoo highlights; the tattoo can vary in size and style. It can be simplistic and straightforward, or complex and detailed. Depending on the size, complexity of the design, and color scheme, the price can vary from medium to high cost. Either way, the tattoo will surely stand out since it does feature an anti-Cristian symbol.
- Best body placement; forearm, upper/center back, side or back of the neck, ankle or wrist, finger, etc.
An upside-down cross is generally an anti-Christian symbol, symbolizing the Antichrist or any negative connotation about Christianity as a religion. In some cases, the cross can represent St. Peter, since he was crucified on an upside-down cross as he wanted to be the complete opposite of Jesus. Either way, the upside-down cross tattoo is can have a completely different meaning, like self-awareness of religious humility. The design of the tattoo is generally simplistic, minimalistic, and straightforward. The tattoo itself can vary in size, which can affect the final tattoo price.
Cross Tattoos FAQs
Getting a cross tattoo can be very exciting. We hope that our little meaning and design guide will help make a good decision about your next tattoo. Cross tattoos are excellent regardless of whether you’re young or old, religious or not, or getting a 1st or 10th tattoo. For more information about the pricing for each design make sure to explore some tattoo shops and ask different tattoo artists about their pricing and offers. Whatever it is that you choose to ink, we wish you good luck!