The placement of tattoos on the knees can have symbolism. Traditionally, they are associated with strength, action, protection, and adventure. Much of this has to do with the fact that the knees are among the most sensitive and/or painful places on the body to get a tattoo as there is a very thin layer of skin between the needle and bone. In the past, one would commonly find knee tattoos applied in American traditional or “old school” style, which is generally characterized by contrasting colors and thick-bold outlines. Of course, you’re not beholden to any of this. You may simply like the way the placement looks and enjoy the fact that through warm weather you’ll be able to put them on display while wearing shorts or a short skirt. All that’s left is to decide upon a concept. Below are some examples of knee tattoo ideas that have been pulled from the portfolio of our downtown Vancouver studio. Let’s have a look!

Knee Tattoo Concepts and Placement Examples to Inspire Your Own

Garter Ribbons

Garter ribbon tattoos are usually found on the back of the leg or on the upper thigh if on the front. While this certainly creates a sexy aesthetic, they remain hidden from most eyes. If you like the garter ribbon concept, you can celebrate the fact (with a tattoo) that it also works well when placed just slightly above the knee like this:


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Word Combinations

Right to left (so that others can read it) word combinations are ideal of knee tattoos. “Love / Hate” was once a popular combo, but these days it’s more refreshing to simply “Give Love” and leave it at that.


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A popular yet edgy concept is to position wide open jaws around the knees. It can be a human skull with its mouth agape, or the skull of some other beast. Fans of Shark Week may consider the concept below. Fossilized shark jaws are a super-cool aesthetic that you see on t-shirts, and as tattoos.


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Star tattoos on the knees hold a lot of meaning. The infamous eight-point star is one of the most recognizable tattoos in Russian prison and is often placed on the knees to signify disobedience and that one won’t kneel before the authorities. If you like the general concept, but don’t want to be called out for not having done a 10-year stretch in Siberia, you may instead consider something more celestial. This example below is a great place to start.


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Sleight of Hand

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