One of the most popular symbols of all time is the cross. It is the main symbol of Christianity and Catholicism. Oftentimes, we would see it in religious places such as churches and chapels. But now, it can be seen anywhere, even in our bodies. Cross tattoo designs are very common. So, what makes these designs popular with in the industry?
It is common to see crosses that are directly linked to Christianity and Catholicism. That being said, it is mostly deemed as religious. However, you don’t have to be religious or a devote follower to have a cross tattoo. In fact, the image has more meanings than one.
Brief History of the Cross Tattoo
- 1 Brief History of the Cross Tattoo
- 2 What Does a Cross Tattoo Design Represent?
- 3 Popular Cross Ink Designs
- 4 Cross Tattoo Designs for Women
- 5 Cross Ink Designs for Men
- 6 What is the Best Size and Placement for your Tattoo?
- 7 Tattoo Styles
- 8 Choosing your Artist
- 9 When Can You NOT Get a Tattoo?
- 10 Tattoo Aftercare
The cross might be the most recognizable of all the ancient symbols in the world. It is used in crucifixion, a method of torture or death in the old days. It then became a holy symbol when Jesus died on the cross for the sins of humankind. Nowadays, it has become the usual choice for many tattoo and art enthusiast to depict spirituality and religion.
It is believed that the cross also signifies men and women. The horizontal beam is said to represent femininity with their characteristics – passivity, earthiness, and even destruction and death. The vertical side is meant to represent the male counterpart as well as celestial, creative, eternal, positive and active.
What Does a Cross Tattoo Design Represent?
We get tattoos to tell stories or to signify certain characteristics. Getting a cross tattoo is often for the same case. However, the imagery is not purely for religious connotations as what many might perceive.
One of the more common representations of the cross is strength and courage. Of course, it also means faith, devotion, and spirituality. This can also mean a cultural or a family heritage.
Ironically, the imagery can also be used to represent atheism. This is the belief that there are no deities. More often than not, atheists believe in science and that energy created the universe. Some designs are also linked to sun worship. The design usually comes with a halo background or rays of the sun coming from the cross. There are also some that link a cross tattoo to the occult.
The cross can also represent life and a loved one. It is usually the symbol we use in memory of a family or a friend. That being said, it can also mean pain through love and loss.
Apart from being a symbol of humankind, it also denotes the union of man and woman. It is also closely related to the feminine more. That is the reason why the feminine symbol has a cross while the masculine symbol has an arrow.
A few other meanings that can be associated with a cross tattoo are the following:
In the end, how it means depend on the bearer and the design. Many choose to create their own stories using these universal symbols.
Popular Cross Ink Designs
While the symbol is universal, there are variations in designs. These are all the designs you would see in the tattoo industry. In fact, you can get one tattooed on you if you like.
First off is the Christian cross. Again, it could be the most popular symbols of all time. Christianity and Catholicism finds the cross as the foundation of the religion. This is where Jesus Christ died and was then resurrected as the Lord’s right hand after three days. The design could vary. Others choose a simple design while others have decorated Latin cross. This cross is pretty much the basis for almost all the cross designs out there.
The Celtic cross is another common symbol. This design is generally a combination of two other symbols: the circle and a Latin cross. The former is where the lines intersect and depicts the cycle of life and death.
One variation of the Celtic cross infuses knots into the design. With this, it becomes more of a pagan symbol than a Christian one.
The Maltese cross is another variation you might have seen before. This is the best symbol for soldiers, firefighters and policemen as it signifies sacrifice and courage. They often choose this to signify their respect for their jobs. You can easily point out a Maltese cross as it has eight points and V-shaped pongs. You would find this symbol familiar if you have found pictures of the old crusades.
Tribe crosses are a great choice for those who love tribal tattoo designs. This is often a homage for ancestors rather than a religious symbol. Apart from that, it can be worn by someone who believes and respect a tribe and their tradition. It is often made with heavy and pigmented black but nowadays, people tend to give it more color.
Gothic crosses are also gaining more popularity these days. These are the ones that are closer to the Latin cross but often have distinct variations. Many choose to add snakes and dragons. Others choose a design that makes the cross appear like it is made from barbed wire. These designs are usually added so the cross won’t be mistaken for a religious symbol. They can represent anger, pain or just a simple homage to the Gothic culture.
The Iron Cross is a symbol with roots from Germany. It was used since 1800 and was used to depict bravery. This was often used on medals for soldiers. Today, it became more as a decorative symbol in the German military. The symbol has also become some sort of rebellious symbol. It is said to convey a message of nonconformity.
The Anchor cross is another design you might have seen before. An anchor is a device seen on boats that helps keep the vessels grounded on the sea. It pretty much has the same meaning in tattoos. This represents hope and grounding faith.
Cross Tattoo Designs for Women
Cross tattoos are a good choice for women who want to get a tattoo. They can get simple designs which are great for first timers. It also symbolizes femininity so that’s an added bonus.
The Celtic cross is more for women who have experience with getting a tattoo. Of course, those who are adventurous or are ready for more complicated designs can go with this design. There are many intricate yet delicate designs for Celtic cross which makes it a top choice for women.
Egyptian cross or known as the Ankh is also a great option. The symbol signifies life and as a life bearer and giver, it is a perfect choice. But it can also signify the union of a man and woman so it is also a popular choice among couples.
The most common placement for women are often on the wrist, the lower back, lower leg and the shoulder blades. These areas may be a little painful but it is bearable.
Cross Ink Designs for Men
Men often have more options for their tattoos. This is pretty much because they have a wide option of where they can place it. Women tend to have a limited choice as to where it is best to place the tattoo that makes it look delicate.
The most popular tattoo placement for men are on their arms; either a half sleeve or a full sleeve. The forearms, the upper back and the chest areas are also common among men.
As for the design, there really isn’t any significant styles they can get. Again, men have a wider option so they can choose any design they want. Still, tribal and Celtic crosses are getting more popularity these days.
What is the Best Size and Placement for your Tattoo?
No matter what size you want, a cross tattoo still retains its imagery. That might be one of the best reasons why getting a cross tattoo is a good choice. The placement is not an issue as you can have it anywhere you might like. The size would then depend on where you want to place it.
If you want a small cross inked on you here are some good placement:
- On the finger – You can either have it like it was a ring or hidden on side of the finger. This works best if you want a simple design.
- Behind the ear – This placement has become a rather popular placement for smaller tattoos.
- Wrist – Perhaps the best placement to choose if you want a small yet detailed design. There is enough space to make more than a simple cross. However, you can still choose to get a simple one accompanied by a quote, a name or a Bible reference.
For medium sized tattoos, you can have them on the following:
- Forearm – The forearm is a great place if you want a simple to a more complicated design. It is also the choice if you have quotes you want to put alongside the cross tattoo.
- Legs – There is often plenty of space on the legs so it’s also a good place to put medium size tattoos without it getting lost in the space.
Larger tattoos or more detailed ones with backgrounds can be placed here:
- Chest area – This would work on men. The chest area is wide and can offer more space. In fact, you can extend the design to your shoulders.
- Back – The back, alongside the chest, is the biggest area where you can place a tattoo. You can go for the upper, lower or the middle part of your back. However, some choose to get tattoos that cover their entire back area. This could take various appointments to your tattoo artist. You would also need a more detailed design to fill the space.
- Thighs – Although the thighs are not as wide as the space on your chest or back, it’s a great area to place detailed tattoos.
Making a tattoo design is a whole lot like making an art for paper or canvas. You would need creativity if you want your design to be unique. If you want that, here are some of the tattoo styles that could help bring uniqueness to your design.
3D designs are hard to do. It involves a grueling process and a lot of communication with your artist. However, the end results are stunning. Basically, an artist has to use shadows and highlights to create the illusion of a design popping out of your skin. Other designs make it seem like a design has been carved on you.
Minimalist designs are best for first timers. These designs often incorporate lines and patterns only without the heavy shadows and highlights. For example, you can draw a simple Latin cross or an ankh without any complicated decors and background. These are rather simple so it works on women.
Watercolor designs are also more popular on women these days. It is called watercolor as the design incorporates splashes of light pastel colors. It would often look like a drop or a stroke from a paint brush. These tend to be more colorful than the usual black and gray tattoos.
White tattoos are also getting more attention these days. Basically, a tattoo artist would use only white tattoo. These are usually for highlighting designs but can do quite well on their own. The design tends to be “invisible” especially for fair-skinned people which is great if you want an easy to hide ink. However, it would look absolutely stunning on darker-skinned people.
Choosing your Artist
Finding the right and the best tattoo artist is more important than your design. You can be rest assured that that tattoo you want and need would be achievable so long as you have a good artist by your side. So, how does one find the best?
The “best” is pretty much subjective as one might work for you while it may not for others. However, they all have the same qualities.
First off, they should have high regard for your safety. Their tattoo shop should be clean with a sanitizing equipment ready at hand. They should also be using gloves and new ones per customer. The same goes for the needles they use. You should see them opening a new and unused set of needles and throw it away after use. If they are unable or can’t answer your questions regarding their cleaning procedures, find another shop.
Second, they should be easy to communicate with. Some people gets along with others while some do not. You have to find that artist that you can be comfortable with. You have to work with them for the design that you want so you’d likely need someone who you think understands you well.
You’d also want to check out if their package includes free minor changes to your tattoo once it is done. You can approach them after the tattoo is healed and ask for very small detail changes like shadowing or covering a small portion. However, you’d have to pay if you want major changes or cover-ups.
Lastly, they should be reliable. The best way to find that person is to ask your family or friends. You can ask them about the artist and see their work. You can also ask them about their experience. From what you have gathered, you can either go with them or choose another.
When Can You NOT Get a Tattoo?
Anyone can get a tattoo nowadays especially since society is more open-minded about it. However, there are still instances when you wouldn’t be allowed to get a tattoo. Here are when you can NOT get one:
- You are sick.
- No ID
- You are undecided
- You don’t know what tattoo to get
- No money
Know that a tattoo shop could reject you if you are unable to think clearly for yourself. They understand that getting a tattoo should be a decision you are willing to take. That is why they won’t even let you have a tattoo if you do not know what design you want.
Right after getting your cross tattoo, you would likely be bandaged. When can you remove it? Can you wash it after? Here are the things you should do after you get inked.
- Let the bandage sit for 2 to 4 hours. Do not take it off right after getting home. You would notice that the ink would mark your bedding on the first night. That is normal. However, assure that you have clean bedding every now and then.
- You can wash your tattoo after taking off the bandage. But use mild and fragrant-free soap. Do not scrub it, instead gently make circular motions to take off the ink and blood.
- Don’t use bath towels. Only use paper towels to dry it and dab it. You can use your hair dryer on “cool” but you can also air dry it.
- Use fragrant-free lotions to help with the drying. Do not pick the scabs and flakes.
- No swimming and sun bathing for up to 3 weeks. Avoid using bath tubs as well.
It would most likely take your tattoo to fully heal from 3 weeks to 6 months, depending on the size and how you care for it.