For generations, the flame has stood for both life and destruction. It’s believed man discovered fire 470 million years ago, and since then, it has come to represent life and death, creativity, and remembrance.
60+ Flame Tattoo Design Ideas (And Meanings)
Flame tattoos can have just as much meaning, or you could choose this design that is silly and fun. Here are some of the best flame tattoos and the symbology behind them.
Blue Flame Tattoo
In chemistry, blue flames indicate burning of carbon, for example, on a gas fire. In spirituality, blue flame symbolizes a purifier, a destroyer, and the power of life. It represents illumination, destruction, and renewal. In dreams, blue fire warns of a cold-hearted woman that you may have conflict with.
Did you know:
Blue Flames is an armor effect in Halo: Reach and can also be a euphemism of farting.
Moth and Flame Tattoo
If someone is strongly attracted to someone or something, it is said they are like a moth to a flame. This is because moths are attracted to bright lights, no matter how dangerous it is. Some represent the flame as a fire, whilst others get candles or flashlight tattoos.
Twin Flame Tattoo
A twin flame is an intense soul connection that is both challenging and healing. The mirroring nature of a twin flame will show you deepest insecurities but help you overcome them. This tattoo is common by those in love or newlyweds. Although there is no official symbol, many consider the twin flame logo as a triangle with a flame inside sitting on top of an infinity symbol.
Black Flame Tattoo
Black flames are connected to anarchism as they represent the return to the void and the infinite nothing. In spirituality, the black flame is the essence of every human being and the power they have within them.
Did you know:
Black Frame is a song and album by Bury Tomorrow.
Flame Sleeve Tattoo
Flame tattoos are big and bold, so why not get one that covers up your entire arm. Choose flames alone, wrapping around the limb or choose to incorporate it into another design. Japanese tattoos lend themselves to sleeve tattoos, as they are traditionally bigger designs.
Are you a heavy smoker or the person people go to for a lighter? Get this inked into your skin. This funny little tattoo suits all styles but are commonly found in American traditional style. Lighters are traditionally rectangular, but they can be designed in a range of shapes from quirky cartoon characters to morbid coffins.
Skull Flame Tattoo
The combination of a skull and a flame is generally just a cool design favored by those with an edgier style. Skulls represent mortality and flames rebirth, so this combination makes a nice contrast. You can have lots of fun with this tattoo, as it’s such a bold design.
A lit torch is seen as a symbol of enlightenment and hope. A torch facing upwards represents life, while a torch pointing downwards represents death. A lit torch is also connected to the Olympics, bringing people together to celebrate the abilities of humans.
Remember the good old times of sitting around a campfire? Celebrate this by getting a tattoo. Have just a campfire and tent image or get a whole landscape inked on your skin. A good artist will even replicate your favorite childhood camping spot!
Minimalist Flame Tattoo
Minimalist tattoos are very fashionable at the moment. Flames are so recognizable so you can get a small, delicate tattoo and everyone will know what it is! Little minimalist tattoos can be easily hidden and placed in discreet spots like hips, ankles, and the neck.
Lit Match Tattoo
A lit match is a popular flash-style tattoo. This lit match symbolizes a light to look to in the dark and a way to find yourself him. A lit match also represents hope in a dark period of your life. This tattoo works well in black and gray, or in a realistic color design.
Flame Heart Tattoo
A burning heart has long been a favorite for classic traditional American tattoo artists. It can symbolize a burning passion, but it usually represents being heartbroken. Although traditionally black, the new trend has leaned towards pastel or bold shades. Some people add the names of loved ones inside this design.
Flame Lettering Tattoo
Flame lettering is a bit late 90s early 2000s, but that Y2K fashion is incredibly cool again. This chunky, bold font works well with one single word or number, rather than a whole sentence. Traditionally black, this wavy fonts replicated flames with a jagged edge.
Phoenix Flame Tattoo
Phoenix tattoos are highly popular because it looks stunning, this bird erupting from fire, as well as holds great meaning. A phoenix rising from the ashes is a common story in many mythologies and cultures around the world. This is powerful imagery because it represents restoration and rebirth. The phoenix rises from a cloud of darkness to start a hopeful new life.
Did you know:
Maggie Q, Mel B, Margaret Cho and Ben Affleck are just some of the celebrities who have a phoenix tattoo.
Sacred Heart Tattoo
Sacred hearts are the most iconic symbols in Christianity, commonly depicted in religious art. The sacred heart is a flaming, bleeding heart circled by thorns. To followers of Catholicism and Christianity, the sacred heart is a powerful representation of Christ’s enduring love for humanity, despite his suffering. Choose black and gray or a saturated color tattoo.
Did you know:
Adam Levine has a sacred heart tattoo on his neck.
Cartoon Flame Tattoo
Cartoon flames are a fun little design that imitates your favorite TV show as a kid (or maybe as an adult?). Humanize the flame by adding a face to the fire or add flames to your favorite cartoon character. Embrace bright colors, over the top shapes and unrealistic scenarios with this style of tattooing.
Man on Fire Tattoo
Man on fire tattoos can represent trial by fire, walking through fire and coming out the outside alive. Usually silhouettes, this style shows a human character on fire.
Did you know:
The cover of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here album depicts a man shaking hands with a man on fire.
Chilli Pepper Tattoo
Chilli peppers are important to many cuisines and make a fantastic tattoo. These little red peppers are the perfect way to celebrate your love of all things spicy or to get as an in-joke with friends. This flaming pepper tattoo could also symbolize your spicy sexuality.
Many firefighters will get flame tattoos to honor the important work they do every day. A popular firefighter tattoo is of a helmet, it’s unique and very personal thing to every fireman or woman. A tattoo if a firefighter’s helmet engulfed in frames is a fantastic representation of the job. Two axes in an X shape place on the fireman’s badge is also another popular design.
Did you know:
Comedian and actor Pete Davidson has 8418 inked on him alongside a fireman helmet. This is in tribute to his father, a firefighter who passed away on 9/11.
A popular traditional tattoo, cards and flames are popular imagery in tattooing. The combination of the two is a very cool design, especially if you are a regular gambler. Aces on fire, a sign of a fantastic player, is a popular version of this tattoo.
Burning Flag Tattoo
A burning flag symbolizes anarchy and your distaste for your country. It is the destruction of a symbol of national unity, which means it has been banned in some countries. This is a controversial tattoo that makes a huge political statement.
Symbology of Flame Tattoos
Flames have long meant something to different cultures over the years.
Technically, a flame is made from carbon dioxide, nitrogen, water vapor and oxygen. These gases get ionized in extremely hot temperatures to produce plasma, resulting in flames of different colors and intensities.
In Greek mythology, Prometheus was said to have stolen fire from the gods and gifted it to the mortals. Prometheus created humans out of mud, choosing them over Olympian gods. This connects fire and flames to rebirth.
Back in 324BC, Alexander The Great extinguished one the three “Great Flames”. It was a tribute of honor and respect regarding the loss of his close friend Hephaestion.
Flames are also connected to Christianity and hell. Hell is represented as a place filled with fire and flames and is where those who sin go to suffer for eternity. Fire is also a symbol of the Holy Ghost and represents the burning bush Moses saw.
Many cultures around the world have similar stories where heroes travel to the land where fire can be found and take it back to mankind. Native American mythology have a few of these stories, where tricksters like Coyote steal fire and anger the gods.
Fire is also personified in stories. Anansi the spider invited Fire to dinner, where they burned the house down. Other tales use fire to burn a sacrifice and appease their gods. In Islam, flames represent God, purging, and cleansing. Muslims also acknowledge that flames can cause death and destruction. Like Christianity, flames are connected to hell and sin.
Locations for Flame Tattoo
Once you have decided on the right design for your flame tattoo, the next step is deciding where you want it placed. If you are unsure where it should be placed, try using henna or a liquid eyeliner pen to find the right spot. Henna will last for a week, whilst eyeliner can be immediately washed off.
Before considering your tattoo placement, consider your lifestyle and employment. Some employers are very conservative and do not accept visible tattoos. Check before getting a neck, hand or wrist tattoo.
Also consider how your tattoo will age. Some areas are prone to expanding and changing over time. Stomach, hip, butt and thighs will change and stretch over time, especially for women after pregnancy. Arms, ankles and the neck will change less after time. Consider how your tattoos will look in a few decades, not just next week.
Arm Flame Tattoo
Arm tattoos are common for a good reason. This area is a little less painful than others and can be easily hidden for work. Flame tattoos are versatile and so is the arm. Choose designs that go length wise or ones that wrap around the arm.
Leg Flame Tattoo
Legs are a fantastic location for larger tattoos, as they are less painful. Thigh tattoos are popular for big designs, whilst the knee and calf suited to smaller designs. Because flame artwork is so elongated, the long leg area is ideal.
Did you know:
Thighs are prone to cellulite, and it’s common to have stretch marks here. Keep this in mind when choosing this location. A good artist can incorporate stretch marks into the artwork.
Ankle Flame Tattoo
Flames around the ankle are incredibly popular. The ring of flames around the ankle is a classic design that has come back into fashion. A more modern version of the ankle flame is a little Fineline design on the side, just under the ankle bone.
Neck Flame Tattoo
Neck tattoos are becoming very popular. The flame tattoo suits the side of neck, under the ear to under the hairline. Women especially love neck tattoos, as they can be covered up by hair. This can be a tender area to be inked, be warned.
Also Read: 70+ Coolest Neck Tattoos for Women in 2023
Wrist Flame Tattoo
Wrist tattoos are quite popular, especially as employers are more accepting of tattoos. A ring of orange flames around the wrist is iconic but the inside of the wrist is a more common spot these days.
Hand Flame Tattoo
Hand tattoos are the latest celebrity trend, with both men and women. Little black flames are often seen on fingers, as well as on the back of the hand. Be warned, hand tattoos can fade quickly as you are regularly washing them and exposing them to sunlight.
Chest Flame Tattoo
Chest tattoos have long been popular with men. Pec tattoos can emphasize the time you’ve spent at the gym. This location is not just for men, women can also enjoy chest tattoos on their cleavage, sternum or just under the neck. Remember, these tattoos will draw attention to the area, so be proud of it!
Bottom Flame Tattoos
Minimalist, fineline flame tattoos are very popular, especially with young women. The bottom is a cheeky and cute location for such a small tattoo. Choose an area just under the waist for a hidden design, or something that will peek out of a swimsuit bottom. This area isn’t very painful either, as it’s a fleshy area.
Flame Tattoos: More FAQ
Do Any Celebrities Have Flame Tattoos?
Justin Timberlake has the NSYNC band of a flame circling red carpet ropes inked on his leg. Both the wrists of Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington is inked with red and blue flames, reaching up to the middle of his forearms.
Sophie Turner added to a flame her finger tattoos in a nod to her X-Men character, Jean Grey, who is known by the aliases Phoenix.
Should I Get My Flame Tattoo in Color or in Black and Grey?
Flame tattoos are usually red and orange in color, but you don’t have to feel limited by this. Flame designs can come in any shade, including green, blacks and blues. Each color has a unique meaning in both chemistry and spirituality.
Both styles of tattoo are painful, but some people find the black outline more painful than the color shading part of the process. The color of the ink will not impact how much the inking will hurt. Color tattoos may hurt more because the tattooist will need to go over the area multiple times to pack the bold shade in. The size and location will dictate the pain more than the ink used.
Will My Flame Tattoo Fade?
Generally, most tattoos will fade over the years. How long before it fades will depend on the location of your flame tattoo, your skin tone and how much time you spend outside. Other factors will dictate how long before fading happens:
- Color tattoos will fade quicker than black and gray designs.
- How you care for your tattoo will dictate how well it lasts. Always follow the aftercare instructions given to you by your artist.
- Keep the tattooed area out of the sun and always wear sunscreen (once the tattoo has healed).
- Ribs, collarbones, and upper thigh tattoos will last for longer as they are usually concealed behind clothing.
- A good, experienced artist will know how to pack in color better, making your design look vibrant for longer.
- Keep the area moisturized with gentle formulas to keep the shades vibrant.