Tattoo Bucket List – The Most Popular Styles

Tattoo Bucket List – The Most Popular StylesCompiling a bucket list is one of the most enjoyable things you can do in your life. Taking the time to sit down and think about your dreams and the things you want to accomplish is truly a magical feeling.

When most people imagine a bucket list, they will think of places they want to travel in the world, or those thrill-seeking activities such as skydiving. The reality is that your list is about the things YOU want to do and not what bloggers or influencers tell you to do. That’s why you should delve deep and consider all aspects of your life, because you may have more meaningful items to add to your list you have never considered before.

If you’re looking at beginning your list, then check out our How to Start your Bucket List guide.

Speaking of meaningful, a popular item for many bucket lists is getting a tattoo. It could be you’ve always wanted one but never found the courage to go. This is why we’ve created a tattoo bucket list, so that we can hopefully inspire you with ideas of which one you would like.

How Should You Pick What Tattoo to Get?

Getting a tattoo should be a decision you don’t take lightly, mainly because they are permanent. Most people consider getting a tattoo because they see a design which resonates with them. Choosing one which is meaningful will reduce the risk of you regretting your tattoo in the future, so ask yourself why you want to get it. Is there a story behind it, does it form a kind of tribute to someone or something special, and will you feel happy thinking about it in years to come whenever you spot the ink design on your body.

We say this because once you have your tattoo done it will be with you forever, so choose wisely.

If you’re still undecided about whether to get one or not, then here are a few pros and cons which may help you decide.

Pros of Getting a Tattoo

  • Tattoos are pieces of body artwork we invest in, and they are the greatest form of self-expression and individualism. This is why finding a talented tattoo artist is essential.
  • Many people feel more confident and attractive with their tattoos. There are also a lot of people who find tattoos attractive on others.
  • For most people, tattoos are used to remember a moment of their life, grieve someone they loved deeply, or to create a bond with friends or family.
  • There’s an element of spiritualism for some people.
  • Some people use tattoos to cover scars they no longer want to see. It’s a great way to replace negative memories with new positives ones. Especially because it is a controlled choice for someone who wanted that particular tattoo. You pick your design, and you choose to have it done.

Cons of Getting a Tattoo

  • The obvious one is the fact that tattoos are permanent, and many people have regretted their choices; especially if they were done under the influence of drink or drugs. This is why careful consideration is needed before going ahead, such as research into the tattoo parlour and artist. We have seen some awful tattoos over the years, so if it sounds cheap then the results will probably reflect that. There is tattoo removal, but this takes many sessions and there will always be a faint shadow left.
  • Tattooing tends to be a painful procedure because tattoo artists use needles to inject ink into the dermis layer of the skin. The injections cause localized swelling and damage to the skin. Once the tattoo procedure is over, the area may be sore for about a week before the swelling goes down.
  • There can be health risks associated with tattoo’s, including bacterial and viral infections, or allergies to the ink used. It’s essential you have a test done of the ink (similar to if you were dying your hair), and you ensure the hygiene of the parlour.
  • Your tastes can significantly change over your life, as can your personal circumstances. We all know of the person who tattooed someone’s name on their body, only to break up with them. This is why meaningful is the way to go, something that you can reflect on with joy in the future.
  • When you think about the fact that a tattoo is done onto skin, then it really makes you appreciate the talent of the tattoo artist. But what you must consider is that because skin is a soft surface and can move to a degree, the design might not match your expectations. It will also depend on the quality of the tattoo artist, as we said above, we have seen some awful tattoo’s which are nothing like their original designs.

If after this you still want to go ahead, then talk to your tattooist about any worries you may have. If the main concern is pain, then they should be aware before you begin. This is a difficult one to judge because everyone has different pain levels. For most who have gotten a tattoo, they describe the feeling as a hot scratch.

Tips and Procedures When Getting Your Tattoo

skull tattooWe aren’t experts in tattooing, so make sure you ask your tattooist for guidance. But from our research the best tip is to relax and try to keep calm. Everyone is nervous when they go for their first tattoo, but the tattoo artist is there to make sure it doesn’t hurt. Keep yourself occupied, whether it’s a podcast or tv show on your phone or taking someone with you to keep you chatting. Just make sure you follow everything the tattooist says to get the best result.

It’s recommended that you don’t drink alcohol or take pain killers before your appointment. They thin your blood and as such can cause you to bleed more than you usually would. Also make sure the area is clean, so you could for example have a shower before you get it done; this should help prevent infection.

We’ve already mentioned it above, but make sure you go and check out the tattoo parlour and artist before you agree to go ahead. If the salon doesn’t appear to be clean, or there’s something in your gut which tells you that it isn’t right, then leave and check out another.

The steps of preparation that the tattooist should take include,

  • The tattoo artist will first wash his or her hands with a germicidal soap.
  • The to-be-tattooed area on your body will be cleaned and disinfected.
  • The tattoo artist will put on clean, fresh gloves (and possibly a surgical mask).
  • The tattoo artist will explain the sterilization procedure to you and open the single-use, sterilized equipment (such as needles, etc.).
  • Using the tattoo machine (with a sterile, single-use needle attached), the tattoo artist will begin drawing an outline of the tattoo under your skin.
  • The outline will be cleaned with antiseptic soap and water.
  • Sterile, thicker needles will be installed on the tattoo machine, and the tattoo artist will start shading the design. After cleaning the area again, colour will be injected. A new bottle of ink should be opened for each individual.
  • Any blood will be removed by a sterile, disposable cloth or towel.
  • When finished, the area, now sporting a finished tattoo, will be cleaned once again and a bandage will be applied.

(Courtesy of Wikihow)

20 Popular Tattoo Designs

1) Tribal

tribal tattooTribal tattoos cover a number of designs such as Māori, Celtic, Native American, Aztec and African. For many, having this type of a design is seen as a way to connect with a person’s heritage, as they hold spiritual and ritualistic importance. In many cultures this kind of a tattoo is said to provide protection, offer good fortune and ward off evil spirits.  

2) Star/Nautical Star

Star themed tattoos are incredibly popular options, more so for women, because they are meaningful in such an individual way. The best part is that they can be as large or small as you want, and you can have them pretty much anywhere on your body. Star tattoos aren’t simply visually appealing, they tend to have deeper meaning for people. Whether it’s a representation of love, guidance (nautical stars), a passion for astrology (constellations), or even luck (shooting stars). Many see the star as a protector from harm and a symbol of hope, which is perfect if you’ve overcome many struggles in your life.

3) Cross

For many people choosing a cross tattoo, the symbolism tends to revolve around religion, faith, protection, and sacrifice. This of course connects back to the Christian symbolism of Jesus on the cross, but it is quite adaptive across various cultures. It maybe that you’ve found your faith and want to express a personal commitment with body art, or you’re commemorating a spiritual moment such as a loved one dying. Many see the cross as symbolic for personal growth, and the immense progress they have made in their lives.

4) Angel

Most people see the emblem of an angel as representing faith, death, or a tribute to a loved one. But for many angel wings are seen as representing freedom or protection. If you’re looking for a symbol of struggle and growth then the angel is also a great option, as it reminds people of light after the darkness.

5) Dragon

Chinese dragon tattooThis will obviously depend on the design chosen, but the more popular are the Eastern-style dragons which are said to symbolise wisdom, strength, freedom, and good luck. Some of the longer bodied dragons are water deities and as such are associated with rain or bodies of water. In contrast you have the traditional European dragons which are classed as evil, so it maybe that you’re simply looking for an awesome tattoo to show your strength and growth.

6) Phoenix

Most people know that the Phoenix is a mythical creature from the Arabian desert, and it lived for five or six centuries. After that time, it burns itself on a funeral pyre and rises from the ashes to live through another life cycle. Because of this many people choose the Phoenix to show their growth, resurrection, survival, renewal, or perseverance from a personal situation.

7) Butterfly

butterfly tattooAnother popular choice for women, mainly because they can be so pretty. But if you’re looking for something more significant, then you may be surprised to know that butterflies are a symbol of hope, rebirth, and life’s cycles. If you choose this tattoo, it maybe that you want to convey an endurance or change in your life. It is the perfect daily reminder of where you’ve been, where you’re going; but also, that change, and transformation can lead to beauty and freedom.

8) Fairy

This is another popular tattoo, but its meaning can be personal and will depend on your individual interpretation. The obvious initial connection is mystical and supernatural because fairies provide a sense of fascination. But they are also heavily connected to the natural world and are seen as free spirits, so you may be looking to express your independence.

Depending on the fairy tattoo design you choose, many portray a femininity and as such can be seen as representing womanhood. But there is also an element of protection and good luck, because they are the unseen creatures who will protect us from harm.

9) Lion

lion tattooAs you can imagine, Lion tattoos are incredibly popular for men, because they represent courage, strength, wisdom, and fearlessness. Many people view lions as the head of the animal kingdom and as such they want to express themselves as being in control of their life. We have friends who have chosen the lion symbol to show they are a fighter, as they battle through personal issues such as illness.

10) Tiger

We’ve explored the fact that the lion expresses strength and courage. Tiger tattoos are quite similar, as at the core they are about strength. But they can also symbolise freedom, independence, pride, nature, confidence, and power. Again, another popular tattoo with men, because of the fact that a tiger signifies protection.

11) Rose

Although we’ll look at flowers separately below, roses are so popular they deserve a section of their own. The symbolism firstly depends on the colour of the rose, with red signifying life, beauty, strength, and passionate love. Most of us connect red roses with love, but there can be a deeper meaning for those who are looking for a lasting reminder that true love never dies. We have seen red roses representing sacrifice, or as a memorial to honour a loved one. White roses are seen to symbolise purity and mysticism, pink roses for healing and innocence, whereas blue is for the unattainable or impossible.

12) Heart

heart tattooThe obvious symbolism of the heart tattoo (normally in red) is love, romance, passion, and commitment, it’s why many couples have them to express their affection to each other. But it can also be a result of self-discovery, where you realise that the main person you should love is yourself.

You may see other heart tattoos such as black for loss and grief, a stitched heart if you’ve gone through trauma, a winged heart for spirituality of the soul and a Celtic heart for strength, to name a few.

13) Zodiac

Star sign tattoos are popular among people who have a passion for one of the 12 constellations of the zodiac. It is said that star signs can determine personality traits and be a predictor of love, fortune, and health. This maybe the ideal tattoo if you’re interested in the cosmos, more specifically the star sign connected with your birth month.

14) Skull

Although most think of skull tattoos as symbolising death, afterlife, and rebellion, it can also link to a celebration and fragility of life. There are many varieties of skull tattoos, so if that’s what you fancy then take some time to think about the style. The best part of this tattoo is that when you look at it, it’s a reminder to enjoy the short time we have in life and to appreciate it all.

15) Flowers

Another popular tattoo option for women is flowers, and they can symbolise many things. Your choice may convey love, beauty, success, life, or grace. It could be that you have a favourite flower, or you want something which shows your growth and happiness. If you’re considering a flower tattoo, then do your research until you find something that clicks.

16) Pin Up Girl

pin up girl tattooThis style of tattoo became quite popular in the 1950’s with sailors and is seen as one of the classic choices, especially for men. Generally, a pin-up tattoo is an image of a voluptuous woman who is clothed or partially nude and posed in a seductive way. It’s said that pin-up girls represent femininity and empowerment of women, but for most men it’s because this kind of tattoo is a timeless choice.

17) Eagle

Eagles are another classic tattoo and they have been used to express different meanings. This could be freedom, strength, power, courage and even loyalty, but the eagle is also seen as a bird of protection and safety, especially in Native American traditions. For the person choosing this tattoo, the context used tends to be based on their individual beliefs.

18) Crown

This again is quite individualised, but in general the crown is said to represent victory, power, and evolution. Some people choose Queen tattoos to show love and respect for the incredible women in their lives, or if you’re a woman having the tattoo it could signify self-empowerment.

19) Sun

For many the sun is the ultimate sign of truth and moving from the darkness into the light, so this tattoo is a great way to symbolise change. There are many sun designs and as such the tattoo is completely dependent on your interpretation. Sun tattoos are also seen to represent love, passion, and desire, so it may be the ideal show of connection to a partner.

20) Anchor

This one isn’t as popular as it has been, but for those who chose an anchor it normally means stability, power, or the sense of feeling grounded. It may be that they have reached a point where times have been rough, but they have found someone or something stable in their life. Alike the other tattoo designs the interpretation can be quite varied, as can the design.


There are of course many more tattoo designs available, each offering some form of symbolism. Our advice would be to take your time and find the right tattoo for you. Ask the tattooist for ideas, search online or on places such as Instagram and Pinterest.

phoenix tattooYou’ll know when you find the right tattoo which connects with your personality and soul. Because essentially this is you displaying your inner most feelings externally, so it should matter.

For those who are artistic, and you don’t see anything you like online, then why not design your own? We have friends who have done this, but you need to check with the tattooist that they can replicate it to the same standard.

If you decide to get a tattoo then we’d love to see which one you chose, so please tag us on Instagram. We love to see how our readers are doing with their bucket lists and that they are leading fulfilling, exciting and challenging lives.