Star tattoos are simultaneously one of the most popular and the most unique tattoos designs available. This is because there are just so many different types of stars available! Add in the size, color and placement, and the options are endless.
Choosing a star tattoo design is an exciting task – but don’t just find what looks good. Do you know the hidden meanings and symbols behind star tattoos?
Below you’ll find our top 16 favorite tattoo designs for inspiration (including some celebrity tats) plus a comprehensive list of star tattoo meanings that we’ve deciphered.
16 Star Tattoo Design Ideas
Need some inspiration for your next star tattoo? Check out our 16 favorite designs and discover what they mean…
Simple Star Tattoos
There’s nothing wrong with a simple star tattoo! You could even argue that they age better and you’re less likely to grow to dislike them. Simple designs can have just as complex meanings as extravagant ones, but they tend to be more versatile. These small tattoo designs we’ve found are on the wrist and ankle, but they could go anywhere on your body. As they can be quite small, you could tattoo simple stars inside your hip, behind your ear, at the back of your neck… and anywhere else you fancy. These types of star tattoo designs are great on both men and women.
Minimalist Star Tattoos
Minimalist star tattoos are super on-trend right now. They tend to be quite small and simple, with straight black lines that don’t always meet! Northern pointed stars and simple five-point stars are great in this style, along with moons, constellations and even small quotes.
Although popular with a lot of women, this starry design won’t look amiss on a man. A lot of people like these tiny designs as they’re easy to hide with makeup if necessary. They’re also popular on wrists, ankles, backs and collar bones – all places you can cover up with clothes, watches and jewelry if needed.
Recognize one of these? That’s Rihanna! Trailing stars are beautiful, especially when you cluster lots of tiny stars together. This star tattoo design looks awesome trailing and curling naturally around your body. Just like Riri, you could tattoo stars trailing up your back and neck, or swirling around your collar bones, or curling around a forearm or calve.
Trailing stars look particularly feminine, but they can also look great on men – especially as part of a sleeve tattoo design.
As these trailing tattoos contain so many stars, it’s best to stick with a simple/minimalist star design that can be repeated in slightly different sizes and positions to build up a nice effect.
Inside Out Star Tattoos
These “inside out” tattoos use clever shading techniques to leave blank spaces in the shape of stars! Avoiding straight lines, tiny dots and shadows are used to build up the picture. This star tattoo design is both bold and artistically detailed – which usually means bigger is better. Although it would be possible to tattoo a tiny star in this design, all those little details would be hard to see – so what’s the point, right? Bigger is better! Try these stars trailing along your torso or decorating your arms and legs where they’ll be seen. Men tend to prefer this tattoo design over women, but it can still be feminine and delicate if designed right.
Moon and Star Designs
A moon – usually a crescent moon – and stars is a pretty design that sets more of an atmosphere than just stars alone. Intricate details within the crescent moon or drifting clouds across the scene add more mystical vibes. This tattoo design looks best with medium and large tattoo sizes. The inner wrist, ankle, or shoulder are all great places to have this tat. If you line up the stars and moon (see solar system designs below for more inspiration) they could even fit along a finger!
We love the versatility of this star design. The style of the tattoo can look lovely on both men and women of any age. In fact, some people associate the moon with wisdom!
These northern style stars, with two points longer than the others, create a more oblong shape tattoo that’s perfect for areas like your wrist/forearm, behind an ear, or along a finger. You can certainly go for bold lines and simplistic designs (e.g., a diamond shape) with this type of star, but usually the minimalist design is more popular, especially with women. Adding dots or extra lines gliding away from the center of the star gives it a glowing/sparkling effect that’s particularly pretty. Like the nautical stars, this design can also symbolize travel or a journey. This is sometimes the star used in pictures of the nativity scene, guiding people to Bethlehem.
Constellation tattoos link together several dots (or very tiny stars) to show a constellation! These designs are more versatile than you think – the constellation itself can have a meaning but incorporating flowers and other symbols into the design adds some extra flair.
Did you know that your zodiac sign has a constellation? Some, like Cancer and Aries, are quite simple, while others like Gemini, Sagittarius and Virgo are quite complex! Constellation tattoos are a fairly new trend, so you usually see them on younger people (including hipsters) but they’re quite versatile with size (huge or tiny) and are nice on men and women alike. Choose a thin design and these constellation tattoos can be a lot less painful than others.
Colorful Star Tattoo Designs
You’ve probably noticed by now that most tattoo designs are black and white, but very colorful ones do exist! You can use the color of the stars to represent different things. Pink for surviving breast cancer, for example. Or even a rainbow of colors to celebrate gay pride. These tattoos are more eye catching than the simple black ones and look particularly stunning on display – ankles, arms, necks and other exposed areas of skin are lovely spots for this tattoo. The bright colors are usually more popular with younger generations of any gender.
Including an image of a person with your star tattoo can be a lovely way to commemorate someone you love, or someone who has passed away. It’s also an opportunity to take your star tattoo to the next level. These large tattoos look great on your back, ribs, upper arm or even thigh (particularly for women), where you have a large canvas to work on. Angels, fictional characters and family members are all popular choices for star portraits. Monochrome or colorful tattoos both look great for this design too. Just make sure that you really want the image of another person on your body before you commit to this tattoo design!
Tribal Style Designs
Some tribal designs naturally include stars to represent things that are important to that culture – other tribal designs just use the tribal style (thick black bands) to create interesting tattoos. Tribal star designs are no different. These bold tats look great as large and very large designs and placed in the traditional places for tribal tattoos: the upper arm, sleeve, or back shoulder blade. These tattoo designs are far more popular with men than women.
Geometric Star Designs
These star tattoos look great on all ages, and both men and women. The sharp lines and geometric angles have minimalistic vibes but can also be more symbolic than other star tattoo designs. Pentagrams, or simply mathematical angles and calculations to symbolize an interest in the sciences are popular with this design. Geometric star designs look good as medium-small tattoos that fit on your wrist or ankle. They can also be shrunk down to hide behind your ear or on a toe.
Nautical Star Designs
This design is exceptionally popular with adventurers, travelers, sailors and those in the navy. Traditionally, the nautical star represents the compass rose that was used for navigating. Each star point is split in half and colored in to create the iconic symbol. Both men and women have this tattoo, particularly on the wrist, arm or ankle. It tends to be better as a medium-sized tattoo rather than super small or super large.
Black and white is traditional, but other block colors are good too. Pick blues, purples, reds and other dark colors that will contrast well with the light blocks of the star.
Starry Scene Designs
Placed along your forearm, these starry night scenes are quite popular, especially with the younger generations of ink addicts. Designed vertically or horizontally, these star designs feature a night sky (sometimes with a moon, sometimes without) with other scenic items. Trees, animals, or an iconic skyline can all be incorporated to represent a place that is special to you. Perhaps it’s the place where you were born, or your favorite place in the world. This tattoo is popular with both men and women, as the scene can easily have a masculine or feminine vibe.
Star Sleeves and Bands
Like a string or trail of stars, these tattoo designs can also loop entirely around your forearm or create a delicate band around your upper arm, wrist or ankle. Fine lines and tiny stars are most popular with women, while full sleeves and bold, large stars are more popular with men – but not always. The key to this design is to pick a simple star that can be repeated over and over to look cohesive, but not too busy.
Star Solar System Designs
Similar to constellations, solar system star designs incorporate the moon, planets and other astrological symbols with stars to create a sleek tattoo. The design is usually in a straight line, with the star, moon, sun and planets lined up along your forearm or finger, or even along a collarbone. But it looks equally nice arranged together in a group, so it can fit on your upper arm or shoulder blade. Beautiful on men and women.
Cute Cartoon Stars
Last on our list is these cute cartoon star designs! These designs add more character and a playful nature to your tattoo. They can also be used to celebrate a favorite artist or show, like the soot sprite holding the star from Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away. Bold colors are great for these tattoos which tend to be medium to large in size. This tattoo is most popular with younger men and women, placed on the wrist, hip or lower back. Make sure you really love the design before you tattoo it on your body – these cartoons don’t age as well as minimalistic designs.
The Meanings Behind Star Tattoos
Star tattoo designs vary widely – which is great! Design your own star tattoo and you’ll be sure that no one else in the entire world has the same tattoo as you. Totally unique.
But in general, star tattoos are a symbol of ambition and success (you’re a star!) or honor and hope (looking up at the night sky). It can also be a guiding symbol, like how travelers would once navigate by the stars. Your star tattoo can be a reminder to follow your goals, or that fate will guide you.
A lucky star might bring you luck or protect you from harm too.
Sometimes, a star tattoo can also be a way of remembering a loved one who’s passed on and now lives amongst the stars. Beautiful.
For many people, their star tattoos have a unique meaning. When the ink is permanently embedded in their skin, it’s a way to symbolize something that has a personal message or meaning behind it… or perhaps they just like the aesthetics of a lovely star tattoo. There’s nothing wrong with that!
When help you choose the type of star tattoo design you want, here’s a list of all the different types and what these star tattoos mean.
Types of Star Tattoos (and What They Mean)
Nautical Star – represents a compass rose and symbolizes guidance, finding the right path, and staying true through a rough storm.
Shooting Star – wishing and dreaming. It’s good luck to see a shooting star and make a wish!
Russian Star – commonly used by Russian criminals and prisoners. It shows authority and rank, depending on the placement.
Geometric Star – the sharp lines can represent structure and order, or perhaps it means balance… or perhaps we just prefer the bolder designs!
Minimalist Star – modern and simple. A minimalist style star tattoo can be large or small. It can have a variety of meanings.
String of Stars – another star tattoo design that can mean following a path or guidance. Can also symbolize achievements, adding an extra star for every milestone.
Pentagram – a magical symbol of a star inside a circle that some people associate with Wicca, and others associate with evil.
Tribal Star – designs differ from culture to culture. This star usually represents protection, strength and honor.
Celtic Star – with three points, the Celtic star is also known as the Celtic knot. It can have religious connotations or represent numerous things, like mind, body and spirit.
American Flag Stars – a very patriotic star tattoo design!
Stars and Moons – the night sky in a tattoo can symbolize family. The parent is the moon, while the little stars are children.
Winged Star – a beautiful way to symbolize a lost star. Commemorate someone you’ve lost.
Linked Constellations/Zodiac Stars – represents whatever the constellation or Zodiac sign means!
3 Stars – growth and achievements, especially if the three stars are in a line. Three stars forming a triangle can represent the circle of life or strength and unity.
Star Point Meanings
4 Point Star – sometimes represents the Star of Bethlehem, or the four points of a compass. A great design for filling long areas like toes and fingers.
5 Point Star – the most common star tattoo, associated with many different beliefs and even the freemasons, as well as American patriotism.
6 Point Star – conjuring and contacting spirits. Also closely associated with the occult and pentagram (see above).
7 Point Star – could represent the 7 days God used to create the world (according to Christianity) or 7 planets. Also called a septagram.
8 Point Star – many meanings throughout history, including the Babylonian symbolism for goddess Ishtar and the planet Venus. For women, this star design symbolizes lust and sexuality.
Usually, the design of the star holds the meaning of the tattoo, but sometimes the location of the tattoo on your body can mean something too. A star on your foot or hand can symbolize leading you somewhere, while over your heart or the back of your neck could be to help you remember someone you’ve loved or lost.
For small tattoos: finger, wrist, ankle, foot, toe, neck, collarbone/clavicle, hip, under eye and behind ear.
For medium tattoos: wrist, forearm, elbow, angle, foot, calve, neck, shoulder, lower back and hip.
For large tattoos: upper arm, forearm, calve, shoulder, back of shoulder, lower back, and hip.