60 Sleeve Tattoos Design Ideas for Women (2021 Updated)

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Sleeve tattoos are an unusual but elegant way to express yourself. Not many women will decide to express themselves that way. Sleeve tattoos are a popular choice of body art among strong women who are not afraid to be in the spotlight, women who want to stand out from a crowd.

These tattoos can be very chic, girly, and badass at the same time. Your sleeve tattoo can include flowers, hearts, whatever you want or find meaningful to you.

Small, tiny tattoos have their own appeal but sleeve tattoos have an impact because this artwork is bound to be noticeable. These kinds of tattoos are unique. You can find someone with a similar sleeve tattoo, but not totally identical.

Tattoos are not just to decorate your body. They are a statement or a tool you use to express your beliefs, emotions, and whatnot.

Sleeve Tattoos for Women

We all know if you want a tattoo you need to be aware it’s permanent to your body, something that will be there for the rest of your life. For that reason, it can be very difficult to choose the right one. Maybe the best thing about sleeve tattoos is that you have a wide range of styles at your disposal to choose something unique.

Sleeve tattoos have a theme, the images relate to one another. In this article, we will show you different styles of sleeve tattoos so whether you decide to have a sleeve on your whole arm or half you will be noticeable. Sleeve tattoos require patience, money, and imagination, and of course a good tattoo artist.

Scroll down to see them all.

1. Half Sleeve Tattoo

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To make a statement you don’t need to cover your whole arm, these days half sleeve tattoos are a more and more popular choice. Half sleeve tattoos are self-explanatory the design usually starts at the top of your arm and ends halfway, stopping near your elbow. Or they can go from the wrist to the elbow.

To make a cool half-sleeve tattoo unique, choose something that means the most to you. But don’t go for too many different styles and designs; know the space on your arm and take the tattoo artist’s advice into consideration.

This option is more discreet, you can cover it up very easily. Because of that half sleeve tattoos is more popular among professionals working in environments where tattoos are frowned upon. And money-wise, half sleeve tattoos are on the cheaper side. Half sleeve tattoos can be very badass, cool, girly, or whatever you want them to be, because your upper arm is a perfect canvas for your creativity.

The big plus with half sleeve tattoos is that if you haven’t decided on a full sleeve this is a great way to start. Tattoo artists say the focal point of your ink should be on the outer part of your arm to make it more visible.

2. Full Sleeve Tattoo

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A full sleeve tattoo begins at the top of your arm and ends at your wrist. It has a big canvas to cover so you need to include several different elements in your decision.

When it comes to these tattoos, you should go big or go home, as tattoo artists explain.

Because it is very noticeable you need to carefully decide what you want on your arm. There are a lot of do’s and don’t that you will think about when you decide on a full sleeve tattoo so make sure to ask the tattoo artist for advice. You can put a flower, skull, portrait, something spiritual, or just combine a few ideas into one.

Full sleeve tattoos usually don’t hurt that much but more exposure can result in unusual pain so be prepared. And take care of your tattoo when it is finished because your arms are more exposed to the sun. Nowadays there are a lot of products to buy to care about your piece of art.

3. Tribal Sleeve Tattoo

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Tribal tattoos have been around for centuries and were usually associated with men. But times have changed, nowadays it’s not uncommon for women to opt for tribal tattoos to pay tribute to their heritage, beliefs.

Ancient tribes used tattoos to tell the status and achievements of the tribe for the individual. While meaning of tribal tattoo may vary from one tribe or culture to another, it usually represents wearer’s achievements and heritage. These tattoos also symbolize power, protection, and strength.

People choose tribal tattoos for one of two reasons. First reason is generic and purely decorative. In these cases, tribal tattoos consist of sharp lines that are thicker in the middle and tapering on both ends. They are usually abstract. And, of course, the second reason is to pay tribute to your cultural background and heritage.

The tribal tattoo is more than an aesthetically pleasing ink; it has a deeper meaning. So if you go down this road, you need to respect the culture that is associated with a specific tribal design. Tribal tattoos can be Polynesian, Hawaiian, Samoan, Chinese, Dulong, Dai, Celtic, Maori, Aztec, Mayan, Native American, just to name a few.

4. Skull Sleeve Tattoo

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There is no doubt that a skull sleeve tattoo can look intimidating, but there is deep beauty in this style. The skull sleeve tattoo has a strong meaning behind it. Skull isn’t just related to death, something dark depression even. It can be used to symbolize beauty in the afterlife, show our faith in God.

We are aware of death; we all die but our skeleton remains. For many people, a skull represents mortality and motivation to live their lives to the fullest.

Skull sleeve tattoos have been popular for many years. They happen to be a bold statement for brave women, women who have something to say and they are not afraid to say it.

You can choose a skull and flower design to make it more feminine. For instance, you can modify design to make it more realistic, but put flowers in the background. Or maybe your skull sleeve tattoo can feature wings that make it more spiritual. Wings of an angel are always a good idea. They’re chic and powerful at the same time.

If you want something truly impressive a 3D design of the skull is a good option. But not many artists will do this type of tattoo because it is very difficult to maneuver. Be careful when choosing your artist, look for the experience and excellent reviews to find the best one.

Skulls don’t always have to be intimidating. You can make them cute with ease. Cute is in our DNA! Put a heart on it or maybe a bow. Skulls can be colorful, cute, feminine, and cool. Or if you are not interested in a human skull you can choose an animal skull instead.

Badass biker chicks can add flames around the skull to make it more powerful and fiery.

Couples, relatives, friends can use matching skull sleeve tattoos. This is a perfect idea to honor someone or to show love for someone.

5. Colorful Sleeve Tattoo

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When you start thinking about the sleeve tattoos one of the most important decisions you need to make is whether you want black/grey or multicolor ink. Color adds a feminine touch to your sleeve tattoo and may even represent your personality.

If you opt for a multicolor sleeve tattoo you need to consider a couple of things. First of all, you need to know that shade lighter than your skin tone or a shade darker shows the best on your arm.

Women with fair skin color could benefit the most from shades like violet, white, and red.

On the other hand, women with darker skin tone will find darker shades such as dark blue, black, crimping red look perfect on their arms.

If your skin has a medium or tanned tone, you may want to focus on green, light blue, or orange shades.

Color tattoos are a little more sensitive to the sun so keep in mind to take care of your sleeve tattoo properly.

6. Religious Sleeve Tattoo

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For spiritual women devoted to their faith, a religious sleeve tattoo is a perfect option.

Religious sleeve tattoos can be admired for their size, complexity, beauty, and details.

The most popular designs for the religious sleeve tattoo are quotes that are used from scripture and the cross. The meaning of a cross tattoo can vary from one person to another. Some people choose a cross tattoo because every person carries their own cross. Others do it to feel closer to God.

Besides cross and quotes, an angel tattoo is a common option for persons who want to get a religion-themed tattoo. Angel is a guardian that protects the wearer from evil.

Additionally, some women may go for the face of Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary on their sleeve tattoos. Hands put together in the prayer are also a common motif.

7. Dragon Sleeve Tattoo

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Dragon is a mystical creature that represents strength, power, wisdom, and protection. A dragon sleeve tattoo is enriched with details with special meanings. The shape of this mystical creature makes it a perfect choice for the sleeve tattoo.

Dragon tattoo can be multicolor or black and grey. One thing is certain dragon sleeve tattoo will be magical, beautiful, feminine, and bold.

In Chinese tradition, the dragon symbolizes achievements (sovereignty of emperors) and pride. Dragons are guardians of good fortune, strength, and power.

If you want a dragon sleeve tattoo, you may want to go for a Blue Dragon, a guardian and protector of the zodiac and also an epitome of leadership.

Or you can choose a dragon called Yofune-nushi, a large sea serpent from Japanese myth. This dragon holds hidden truth, and it has a sense of freedom that can only be discovered by seeking the truth.

Like yin and yang symbols in Eastern culture, the dragons can be understood in two different ways. In Western culture, however, dragon represents power and strength. Dragons are usually seen as destructive.

But in Eastern cultures, dragons represent a mystical being whose wisdom makes mankind better.

Dragoon sleeve tattoo for women is a form of art and it is the coolest way to show their feminine side. Women use their imagination and come up with spectacular designs, dragon with a tiger, a skull, or with a snake. Also you can use Japanese dragon style or tribal style. You can incorporate flowers and other nature-related images.

Don’t be afraid to choose what you love, to choose what will be the most meaningful for you. Be bold, be brave, be feminine, be a woman with an attitude.

8. Japanese Sleeve Tattoo

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Japanese tattoo, also known as irezumi, is one of the most popular and recognizable tattoo styles in the world. They look the best in larger, more elaborate designs such as the sleeve. Japanese tattoo style aims to use the whole area of the skin and it doesn’t leave much “free” space.

Irezumi tattoos come in two forms: modern and traditional. The main difference is in the method of tattooing, not the designs. Traditional tattoos are applied with non-electrical machines while for modern irezumi tattoos an artist will use a modern tattoo machine.

Japanese tattoos are colorful and feature images with deep meaning and symbolism in Japanese cultures such as peonies, dragons, tigers, sakura (cherry blossoms), skulls, and koi fish.

What makes Japanese tattoos stand out is the incredibly detailed work and strong connection to the wearer’s personality. To rock an irezumi, you need to go for a design that speaks to you the most. Your tattoo should carry a special meaning and thankfully there’s plenty of motifs in Japanese culture to make that happen.

9. Traditional Sleeve Tattoo

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American traditional tattoos are a popular choice for men and women alike. Like Japanese tattoos, this design looks exceptionally beautiful in larger size meaning it’s perfect for sleeve body art.

You can recognize a traditional tattoo by its heavy black outlines with minimal color and plenty of black shades. While traditional tattoos can be multicolor, the shades and hues are not as striking as in Japanese tattoos. Traditional ink is usually darker in appearance. Multicolor tattoos usually revolve around simple shades such as red, yellow, green, and blue.

Hearts, animal designs, and nautical images are popular motifs in traditional tattoos. What we love about American traditional tattoos is their simplicity in keeping things realistic. For example, even if you choose a skull and decorate it with flowers, it will still remain a human skull. There’s beauty in keeping things simple.

It’s also useful to mention American traditional tattoos can be incredibly creative. Just choose a talented tattoo artist who will help you transform your idea into proper artwork.

10. Floral Sleeve Tattoo

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If you are looking for a sleeve tattoo that’s going to embody both power and femininity, floral designs can help you out. Flowers are always beautiful to see and there’s something chic and elegant about them, even on a huge sleeve tattoo.

The symbolism of floral sleeve tattoos depends on the

specific flowers you choose. For example, sunflower tattoos represent romance, everlasting, and hopeful love. Sunflowers may also embody positivity and optimism. Roses, depending on the color, symbolize love, passion, new beginnings, and more. Peonies represent wealth, prosperity, and good fortune.

Take your time and explore different flowers and their symbolism in tattoos to choose the ones that match your character the most. Your tattoo artist can give you a few suggestions too.

11. Black and Grey Sleeve Tattoo

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Black and grey tattoos are timeless. They always look chic and never go out of style. So if you’re looking for sleeve tattoos that will look trendy in years to come, black and grey tattoos are a perfect choice.

Probably the biggest advantage of these tattoos is their durability. They last a lot longer than multicolor tattoos. Since they don’t fade as quickly as colorful images, you won’t have to worry about getting corrections. This is especially important if you’re the type of person who appreciates practicality.

Even typically colorful designs such as flowers look sophisticated and chic in black and grey. Sleeve in this style is also a great option for women who don’t want to experiment and prefer sticking to a sure thing, something that always works.

12. Leg Sleeve Tattoo

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When sleeve tattoos come to mind we immediately think of ink covering arms. But it doesn’t always have to be like that. A sleeve tattoo is also a type of body art that covers your leg, or half of it.

If you want to keep your arms intact, or there’s no more room for tattoos, then legs are a good idea. Just like sleeve tattoos on arms, you can easily cover up leg sleeves when at work, if your workplace frowns upon tattoos.

Options for leg-sleeve tattoos are numerous. You can opt for tribal, Japanese style, traditional tattoos, you name it. All you need is a great tattoo artist and a lot of patience to sit through multiple sessions in the studio.

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