Small Tattoo Ideas for Women in 2021
Quick and (almost) painless!
Small tattoos are tempting impulse decisions: who hasn’t passed a tattoo shop that reads “walk-ins welcome” and paused? But if you’re sitting in a tattoo shop and suddenly unsure of what to get, let us inspire you with these trendy tiny tattoos. Even though small tattoos are easy to hide or cover up, they’re still a permanent—sometimes painful—piece of art on your body. These hand-poked and fine-line tattoo examples will also give you ideas on the best size and placement. In addition, we’ve included examples of what each idea means for those inevitable, “but what does it mean” questions.
Tiny tattoos will never go out of style and the possibilities are endless. If all that possibility overwhelms you, here are 31 small tattoo ideas that are modern, cute, and minimalist.
1. Your favorite activity (in your favorite color) tattoo
This little watering can is a symbol of a favorite activity for an avid gardener or plant mom. You can customize it by thinking of a symbol for your own hobby: a hiking boot, a camera, a pen or pencil, etc. When someone asks you what it means, you can launch into your favorite topic and share your interests!
Tip for an updated look: color tattoos are on trend in the tattoo world right now. Instead of traditional black ink, ask your tattoo artist if they have your favorite color!
2. Flying birds tattoo
The big, collar-bone-encompassing bird tattoos of the mid-2000s are gone, but birds will always be a tattoo staple. A design like this elegant, microscopic update is sure to stun. Try a unique placement like behind the ear or on the top of your shoulder. Meaning: hope, resilience, and transformation.
3. Planets + space tattoo
A hand-drawn planet of your own design is the best way to prove you’re out of this world! Add a ring, constellation, or a comet to give your idea some “atmosphere”. This tattoo might mean you’re spacey or you’re bold and cosmic.
4. Shining star tattoo
Like planets, twinkling stars are bright reminders that we’re never alone in our darkest moments. Star tattoos symbolize desire, faith, and optimism.
5. Open book tattoo
Another sweet symbol of an activity for a reader or writer, book tattoos highlight your open-mindedness, intelligence, and creativity.
6. Berry or fruit tattoo
Pick your favorite fruit or berry for another colorful tattoo idea. Meaning: sweetness, abundance, and new life.
7. Small doodle tattoo
Is there a kid in your life (or your own inner child) that can draw a small picture for you? Maybe you found an old piece of art from your childhood that reminds you of a simpler time. Meanings abound for this nostalgic idea: innocence, freedom, and childlike wonder.
8. Abstract shapes tattoo
If realistic objects aren’t your thing, go abstract! You can ask a tattoo artist to freehand a design for you, or try a hand at it yourself. Abstract tattoos denote possibility, nonconformity, and creativity. This is another great option for color over black ink; ask your tattoo artist for their color options!
9. Single-stemmed flower tattoo
A strong stemmed flower is a statement no matter how small. Meaning: individuality, independence, and self-love. Give yourself flowers!
10. Your hero tattoo
Do you have a favorite artist or historical figure that you want to emulate? This minimalist Frida Kahlo tattoo will inspire you to keep creating and following your dreams. Take a note of your hero’s iconic look: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court collar, Gloria Steinem’s 70s glasses, or Aretha Franklin’s fluffy fur coat. With an icon by your side, you can feel brave and powerful.
11. Sun + moon tattoo
Sun and moon tattoos are great for matching with a friend or choosing which celestial being best defines you. Sun: bright, optimistic, powerful; moon: mysterious, melancholy, and emotional. For polar opposites who are actually kindred spirits.
12. Butterfly tattoo
A miniaturized version of another classic tattoo, you can’t go wrong with a delicate butterfly. Meaning: serendipity, possibility, and freedom.
13. Colorful heart tattoo
What color would your heart be? Outlined or filled, a colorful heart is ideal for a hopeless (or hopeful) romantic. It can also mean sincerity, “wearing your heart on your sleeve”, and kindness.
14. Feminist phrase tattoo
There’s nothing more empowering than owning your body with permanent art, and a feminist phrase like “GRL PWR”, “yes she can”, or even “nevertheless she persisted” can make a beautiful sentiment to empower yourself and other women!
15. Flower in bloom tattoo
You can pick your favorite flower, your state or country’s flower, or a flower that is meaningful to a loved one. The single, open bloom can represent identity, beauty, and fullness.
16. Airplane tattoo
Represent your love for travel with a miniature airplane. Variations include: an airplane flying around a globe, an airplane writing out a message in the sky, or an airplane flying over the outline of your favorite place. Meaning: adventurous, spontaneous, and globally-minded.
17. Raindrops + rain clouds tattoo
For the melancholy soul, a raindrop or rain cloud is a reminder that even your sad days are meaningful and beautiful. Meaning: ennui, wistfulness, and remembrance.
18. Music note tattoo
Music notes are a delightful representation of your passion for a musician or music lover. They may also symbolize joyfulness, exuberance, and playfulness.
19. Affirmation tattoo
Tattoos are a fantastic confidence boost, and what’s better than a positive affirmation that will stay with you forever? It could be a nickname from a loved one, a favorite description, or just a soothing declaration to yourself. Pick a peaceful font and you’ll always remember to love yourself first.
20. Your favorite food tattoo
A tiny homage to the food that makes you happy is a fun and easy tattoo idea. You may choose a dish from your culture, a meal you can’t forget, or whatever snack that’s worthy of tribute. You may be a chef or a fantastic home cook, or just a foodie with a love of sweets. Eat up!
21. Disney tattoo
Disney magic is forever, and so is a Disney tattoo! This refined little Magic Kingdom outline can inspire you to think of your favorite symbol of Walt Disney’s lasting iconography. It could be Cinderella’s glass slipper, Tinker Bell’s pixie dust, or your go-to pair of Mini Mouse ears.
22. Holographic bubbles tattoo
These multi-colored, ephemeral bubbles are an outstanding idea to embody your bubbly, joyful, and evanescent self.
23. Cursor tattoo
This modern symbol is an ironic and clever option for your online obsession. If you’re a graphic designer, blogger, or editor, this is a fun way to showcase your passion for all things digital.
24. Dragonfly tattoo
If you think butterflies are too common, branch out with another colorful cutie with wings: dragonflies. Dragonflies represent uniqueness, transformation, and self-actualization.
25. Minimalist landscape tattoo
For a photographer or nature lover, a pleasing little landscape serves as a memento of your favorite outdoor spot. Get creative with what features you’ll include: sun, water, trees, or mountains. A landscape tattoo will express that you are grounded and have an admiration for the earth.
26. Teapot or teacup tattoo
Whether you’re sharing tea or spilling it, a teapot or teacup is the ideal tattoo for tea aficionados. Customize your teapot after your favorite decor style or your grandma’s old china. Tea symbolizes harmony, spiritual awakening, and contentment.
27. Cowboy hat (or your favorite hat) tattoo
Yeehaw! A cowboy hat—or your favorite cap, lid, or head covering—is a clean and simple idea. Whether you’re a cowgirl or more of a baseball-cap-wearing sports fan, a hat tattoo shows off your personality with a distinct design.
28. Sprout or sprig tattoo
Celebrate new growth, nature, and your favorite flora with a tiny sprout or sprig. Best on a wrist, ankle, or behind the ear, this little shape will keep you flourishing.
29. Angel wings tattoo
An angelic, ethereal depiction of your heavenly alter ego. Wings symbolize freedom, lofty goals, and the divine.
30. Your favorite animal tattoo
Look at this sweet sheep! A cute drawing of your favorite animal (farm or forest or other) is a precious and aww-inducing option. Your favorite animal will inspire you with its best attributes; for example, the innocence of a sheep, the loyalty of a dog, or the fierceness of a snake.
31. Four-leaf clover tattoo
Lucky you! This classic memento is a small symbol of chance encounters, cosmic coincidences, and endless possibilities. Whatever you choose as your next tiny tattoo, we wish you luck!
We Want to Hear From You
Which idea inspires you? Do you have any tiny tattoos?