The sternum is the area in the middle of your breasts. It’s a popular location for women who want to get a sexy tattoo that can be easily hidden or for men who want to show off their body.
The sternum is the long, narrow breastbone connecting the rib cage that covers the chest and guards the vital organs. The sternum is found between the collarbones and runs between the breasts, down to the area where the ribs meet above the stomach. This important bone protects the heart and is the main piece of the upper skeleton.
Sternum tattoos are usually placed on the man’s breastbone or on the woman’s cleavage. They are a versatile tattoo, meaning they could be as big or as small as you like. You could have a little delicate inking or a big, bold design. Depending on how big you want your piece to be, you can expect a lot of creative freedom when you get a sternum tattoo.
50+ Best Sternum Tattoo Design Ideas
Lotus Sternum Tattoo
Lotus flowers symbolize enlightenment. They are linked to both Hinduism and Buddhism, with Christians also using it in their faith. The open bud of the lotus symbolizes awareness and openness. The white symbolizes purity of heart and the ability to remain faithful.
Mandala Sternum Tattoo
Mandalas come in a range of shapes and size. The series of concentric shapes are popular in Eastern religions. The symbol is used to remind us of the concept of oneness. Before getting a mandala tattoo, you should research the symbolism and meaning of the design because every mandala corresponds to a different chakra and energy center.
Did you know:
Mandala is the Sanskrit word for circle. Like a circle, a mandala reflects balance, eternity, and perfection.
Rose Sternum Tattoo
Roses are the most iconic flower in tattooing. The petaled bloom of the rose is often compared to the emotional opening of a heart. Choose from a realistic color rose, a traditional stick-like design or a more minimalist black fine line tattoo. Roses are especially found in American traditional, fineline and realistic tattoos.
Geometric Sternum Tattoo
Geometric tattoos are incredibly versatile and can be adapted to fit a range of shapes. They can be designed to flow with the body and highlight your shape. Geometric shapes can be used to make a recognizable design or to make something more abstract.
Butterfly Sternum Tattoo
Butterflies have a similar shape to the rib cage, so they make the ideal sternum tattoo. Attractive and popularly used in traditional tattooing, they are attractive and versatile. Butterflies are often inked to remind the wearer that everything is temporary and it’s never too late to change or evolve.
Dragon Sternum Tattoo
Dragon tattoos are a symbol of mystic power but are also agents for chaos. Dragons are popular in many different cultures and art styles. The fierce mythological creature has many positive meanings, in many cultures they symbolize good fortune and will bring luck to the wearer. Dragon tattoos can be designed in a range of styles and colors, all of which have their own special symbolism.
Snake Sternum Tattoo
The long thin shape of a snake naturally lends itself to a sternum tattoo. Snakes, with their shedding skin, symbolize a new cycle. In the Bible, a snake represented temptations. They also can symbolize transformation, renewal and an eternal life.
Lunar Sternum Tattoo
The moon is the symbol of female power, creativity and growth. People find themselves drawn to images of the moon and stars as they represent independence, hopes and dreams. There are many lunar and constellation tattoos, all of which can be tailored to suit your body. Choose from full moons, half-moons, the whole moon cycle or constellation of stars.
American Traditional Sternum Tattoo
American traditional tattoos look fantastic on any part of the body. Reminiscent of old school sailor tattoos, they have a 2D stick effect that makes an impact. Using classic imagery like daggers, roses, and pinups they are inked with saturated colors for a long lasting boldness.
Locket Sternum Tattoo
Put your heart under lock and key with a locket tattoo. Incorporate it into other designs including hearts, jewels and geometric shapes. Because of the location, it will look like you are wearing jewelry.
Wolf Sternum Tattoo
A wolf sternum tattoo is a fantastic way to display loyalty and devotion to family. They are often associated with strength and courage as well as hunting and loyalty. Native Americans see this tattoo as an honor, often pairing it with tribal symbols like feathers, the sun, and the moon.
Watercolor Sternum Tattoo
A watercolor tattoo is bright and vivid. This tattooing style uses a technique that creates a more gradual color fade out. This style mimics classic watercolor painting techniques, creating beautiful and bold designs. The watercolor tattoo style can be added to any designs from flowers to plants and geometric shapes.
Did you know:
Some artists are concerned that a watercolor tattoo will not last as long as other designs as they contain little to no black ink.
Bat Sternum Tattoo
A bat with their wings out is the ideal shape to be placed on the sternum. Placing it upside down on the sternum makes perfect use of the area. Bats symbolize darkness and night-time, favored by people who follow goth culture. They are generally inked in black and gray, much like the real animal!
Skull Sternum Tattoo
Skull tattoos are one of the most popular design styles in the industry. Beloved by alternative music fans and those who enjoy the macabre, it’s a versatile design that suits all shapes and bodies. From little sugar skills to large realistic pieces, the skull can be adapted to your personal tastes.
Bird Sternum Tattoo
Birds with open wings are the ideal shape for a sternum tattoo. From wise owls to cute hummingbirds, there is a variety of bird designs to get inked onto the area. Birds represent our desire to be spiritually free and independent. In some cultures, birds represent eternal life and the connection between heaven and earth.
Bee Sternum Tattoo
Bees are a popular tattoo image for earth lovers and environmentalist. Any bug with outstretched wings is well suited to this part of the body. The bee can look light and dainty, with more ornate and detailed. A long-time symbol for the city of Manchester in the United Kingdom, the Manchester bee tattoo has become a way to memorialize those lost in the Ariana Grande concert bombing.
Ornamental Sternum Tattoo
Your sternum tattoo doesn’t have to have a deep meaning. You could choose a design you like, that looks attractive and enhances the natural curve of your body. Chandeliers and bold gemstone tattoos have become incredibly popular because they can be as bold and colorful as you like. It’s like wear a piece of stunning jewelry you never have to take off!
Small Sternum Tattoo
Sternum tattoos don’t have to be big and take up your entire chest. They can also be small and delicate. A small tattoo can be the size of your palm and can be placed at the top of your sternum or at the bottom under your breasts. If you decide you want a bigger design, you can always add to your sternum tattoo.
Fineline Sternum Tattoo
Fine line tattoos are one of the most popular trends in tattooing at the moment. Mainly black and gray, they are created by using fine lines and soft shading. Although fine line sternum tattoos can be any size, the popular trend is for micro tattoos. The small fine liners will allow you to get a tattoo with fantastic detail. This is ideal if you want a subtle sternum tattoo you can easily hide.
Tribal Sternum Tattoo
Tribal tattoos have a long history in various cultures. They were often tattooed onto warriors to give them a more intimidating look in battle. Tribal tattoos are a rite of passage in many cultures. Consider a tribal sternum tattoo from your culture, to highlight the shape of your sternum. If you are interested in a tribal tattoo from another culture, consider talking to someone from that background first.
Writing Sternum Tattoo
The flat plane of the sternum makes a good canvas for writing tattoos. Remember someone important, get your motto or your favorite lyric tattooed onto your sternum. There are a variety of fonts and styles out there from big graffiti inspired designs to delicate handwritten cursive. It’s just important your written tattoo is correctly spelled.
Did you know:
Every tattooist has a font they love and are the best at tattooing. Ask them for an opinion on which font would be best for your idea.
Sternum Tattoos: More FAQ
Do Sternum Tattoos Hurt?
Yes, sternum tattoos are known for being very painful. This because there isn’t very much fat in the area. Tattoos on bony areas are painful, and the tattoo needle can make your bones vibrate in an unpleasant way.
Sternum tattoos will hurt less if you are curvier. This will add more padding and cushion your bones from shaking. The less muscles or fat around the ribcage, the more it will hurt.
Did you know:
You may struggle with a sternum tattoo if you sleep on your tummy. It’s best to sleep on your back as it heals.
Are Sternum Tattoos for Men or for Women?
Sternum tattoos are generally more popular on females, but they can also look fantastic on male bodies. In fact, because men have a flatter chest area, the tattoo process is easier. Sternum tattoos on men can accentuate the pectoral muscles and bring definition to the chest.
Sternum tattoos are popular with women because they can look incredibly sexy, especially when poking out the bottom of a cropped top or cut out dress.
What do I Wear When Getting My Sternum Tattoo?
Sternum tattoos are an intimate tattoo for women. You will have to be topless, which may make you feel uncomfortable. You won’t be able to wear a bra during or after the appointment. It’s recommended that you wear darker colors for your appointment. The ink could stain lighter colors. For this same reason, you might want to use darker colored sheets.
Tattoo artists recommend not wearing a bra for two weeks after getting your sternum tattoo. Friction can affect the healing process, so it’s important to avoid underwire bras. Smaller chested people could wear pasties or cup-less sticky bras.
Which Celebrities Have Sternum Tattoos?
Lots of male and female celebrities have sternum tattoos. They look amazing when paired with cropped tops and navel revealing low cut dresses.
Rihanna has perhaps the most famous sternum tattoo. The large tattoo of the Goddess Isis was inked as a tribute to her late grandmother. Ruby Rose has a tattoo on her sternum of the cartoonish Jean-Michel Basquiat crown design.
Ink Master host and guitarist Dave Navarro has a huge selection of tattoos. This includes a traditional sacred heart on his sternum, ringed with thorns, dripping blood and toppled with flames. Justin Bieber has a large cross on his sternum alongside Son of God written beneath his pecs. Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine added an eagle sternum tattoo to his large collection of inkings.
Harry Styles is well known for his butterfly sternum tattoo, which often makes an appearance in magazine photoshoots. Rock icon Joan Jett as a V tattoo on her sternum which she often showcases with low cut vests.
How Much do Sternum Tattoos Cost?
The cost of sternum tattoo can vary wildly. There are a number of factors that dictate the price. It can cost more to get a sternum tattoo because the skin is thin, and they may have to work slowly and carefully. Get in touch with your tattoo artist to find out a price, every artist and studio will have their own price list.
What do Sternum Tattoos Mean?
There is no real meaning to sternum tattoos. They can accentuate the area and make a bold impact when on the beach. You can choose a tattoo that has a lot of meaning to your or symbolize a special part of your life.
Will Sternum Tattoos Stretch During Pregnancy?
Yes, pregnancy will affect a sternum tattoo as your skin stretches. Tattoo artists advise getting tattoos in areas like the sternum after having children. Because of where sternum tattoos are placed on women, under the breasts, the area will change as the area goes through pregnancy changes. A sternum tattoo could also be affected by age and weight gain.
How do I Look After My Sternum Tattoo?
Tattoo artists recommend going without a wrap of bandage after the first day. This will allow the skin to heal. Avoid soaking it directly after the tattoo sessions, this will delay the healing process. Keep the tattoo clean by washing it with fragrance-free soap and warm water. Always pat the area, never wipe it clean. Avoid abrasive items like sponge and washcloths.
Sleeping is one of the best things to do with a new healing tattoo. Avoid sleeping on the area, and don’t put any added pressure on it. Be careful with your sheets, new tattoos can sometimes leak and can stain lighter colored sheets. Rotate your sheets to avoid sleeping on old dirty, germ-filled sheets.
You’ll have to wait to show off your new sternum tattoo. Sun exposure and chlorine from pools can seriously affect the healing process. It could not just damage the tattoo but could put you at risk of getting a bacterial infection. Keep your new inking covered when its healing.
Did you know:
It’s best to keep your pets away from your new sternum tattoo. Not only is pet hair a new tattoo’s worst enemy but licking and sniffing the area could be harmful to you. Try to keep your furry friend from touching, licking or sniffing the open wound.