Crosses have always been among the most popular designs because of the numerous distinct meanings that they hold. The common misconception about crosses is that they are solely religious connotations, but they hold many different meanings to the specific bearer. Some of the most widely known meanings include; courage, dedication, honor, death, spirituality, peace and equality, to name a few.
Among many other things, the potential to personalize the cross tattoo design to match the individual’s interest and style are cherished by all – the number of possibilities is profound. Even though the simple cross style tattoo is the most in-demand tattoo, yet one can add many different features to make the symbol depict the meaning that they want.
Following are some of the best tattoo styles you can try:
- 1 Christian/Catholic Cross
- 2 Small Cross
- 3 Celtic/Irish Cross
- 4 Tribal Cross
- 5 Iron Cross
- 6 Gothic Cross
- 7 Wooden Cross
- 8 Maltese Cross
- 9 3D Cross
- 10 Upside-Down/Inverted Cross
- 11 Nail Cross
- 12 Latin Cross
- 13 Ankh/Egyptian Cross Tattoo
- 14 St. Anthony’s Cross/Tau Cross
- 15 Crucifix / Jesus on the Cross
- 16 Greek Cross
- 17 St. Andrew’s Cross
- 18 Cross and Rose
- 19 Heart and Cross
- 20 Cross with (Angel) Wings
- 21 RIP (Rest in Peace) Cross
- 22 Cross with Halo
- 23 Cross and Dove
- 24 Anchor Cross
Yes, the most famous association of the cross is as a Catholic and Christianity symbol. Catholicism is one class who highly regards the cross as the fundamental layer of their religion due to Jesus’ crucifixion, following a rise from the dead.
On the other hand, Christian/Catholic cross is relatively simple in design and the artist can etch it in any color the person selects. However, one can always coordinate with their tattoo artist to customize and expand the tattoo as per their discretion.
This tiny, petite style is an ideal choice for someone who is looking for something subtle. It is a perfect low-key reminder of the respective person’s faith – plain spiritual reason or Christianity. People often get these tattoos on narrow areas of the body, like behind the ear, ankle, shoulder blade or wrist.
The delicate cross is an appropriate choice to display the person’s belief to others while maintaining a level of subtlety. Even though individuals prefer to have them inked in a simple design, using black ink, but one can opt for complex patterns, jewels, and colors, as per their taste.
A Celtic cross tattoo is one of the most popular designs around the world because it impeccably combines the Christian faith and Celtic heritage. For this reason, this style is preferred by individuals who either have a background or affiliate culturally with one, or both, the aspects.
Celtic designs are famous for their intricate loops and knot designs that people often get in shades of green, black or gold. Similarly, Celtic cross designs derive inspiration from traditional Celtic tattoo designs, but unlike conventional styles, the Celtic Cross represents a connection between the spiritual and physical world, and loops are used to illustrate eternal and cyclical nature of life.
A tribal cross tattoo is the perfect mix of tradition and religion that consists of interlocking patterns and bold intricate designs made with rich black color. Tribal cross tattoos, in particular, are the best choice for someone who is looking to display courage, strength, and dedication from their marks. Since tribal designs are known for their intricate and intense styles that are an immediate eye-catcher.
The iron cross style comes from the history of Germany from the time the German military used them in the late 1800s. Nowadays the iron cross tattoo is used as a rebellious icon to transmit a message of a stand against the submission for the system. The four sides of the design of this cross are made equally, with the ends flaring out, and inked in grey and black. One can always have more colors or elements added to the design as per their liking.
Individuals who would like to have their cross tattoos focus on darker implications of the cross then going for a Gothic style would be an ideal choice. There are different options for Gothic design tattoos, such as making it look like a stone by adding tomb or gravestones to the whole motif.
The most popular Gothic Cross tattoos have intertwined thorns or snakes, ornate edges, and blood-red or black accents. These elements add a personal layer that aids in depicting the true nature of Goth culture, art, literature and Gothic movements.
Wooden cross tattoos are perfect for individuals looking for a close replica of the real thing. This one only acts as a display of their faith Christianity for others but it is also a reminder of them. As per the biblical tradition, Jesus suffered crucifixion on a wooden cross before rising again to ascend to heaven. For this reason, this style of cross is particularly famous among Christians.
Most individuals prefer to have the design simple, but some tend to personalize it by including the initials of their names, or the date of their baptism.
This specific style of tattoo has its origins from the time of Crusades, and they represent courage and sacrifice. For this reason, they are especially popular among police officers, member of armed forces and firefighters. The purpose of this tattoo for such individuals is to an emphasis on their dedication for their country, job, and community. This style is usually in black and a more ‘v’-shape rather than a classic ‘T.’
3D cross designs are ideal for people who are searching for tattoos with a realistic look to it. A three-dimensional tattoo will appear to be slightly raised and elevated, giving an illusion that its more than just a tattoo, preferably a real object on the person’s body. The 3D style is available for all kinds of tattoo designs, and they make the tattoo stand out.
The inverted cross has its roots from the cross of St. Peter who suffered crucifixion on a cross that was upside down because he believed that he was not worthy enough to die in the same manner as Jesus. For this reason, many individuals like to have this style inked on themselves because they believe that even though that they cannot attain the level of perfection as Jesus, but they should continuously thrive to follow his path.
Even though it has more commonly used to as a symbol of Christianity, but recently they are gaining popularity as a symbol of occult, and atheism. For example, you might have come across many black metal bands who have had this style of tattoo inked on themselves as their allegiance to Satan.
The nail cross style of tattoo is more relatable to Christian belief. Romans nailed Jesus to a wooden cross made out of two nails. Individuals tend to diversify the design by choosing a different style of nails, and the material that these nails will entail.
For instance, one can have old or conventional modern time carpenter nails. The materials can vary from a thatched rope, barbed wire, or absolutely nothing at all. At times, people tend to add a full verse or a biblical notation to the design to make it more personalized.
The Latin cross tattoos are another way to have a beautiful and ornate style of tattoo. It is a simple long vertical line and a smaller plain horizontal line that bisects it one-third of the way, and the ends of these beams can either be knotted or curved. The vertical beam of the cross is used to illustrate divinity. Meanwhile, the horizontal beam represents a union of the divine world.
Mostly these cross tattoos are small in size and inked in black and grey, and because of that, they are trendy among women who get them tattooed on small areas of their bodies such as ankles, upper arm, and writs.
Ankh/Egyptian Cross Tattoo
Egyptian crosses are widely in demand among both men and women. They are also known as ankhs. The symbol is an emblem of life. Therefore it is notably more in demand among women. The motif is also used to illustrate the meeting of feminine and masculine, that has been a reason for couples to get the same cross tattoos on their bodies.
The ankh is also used as a symbol to tribute the culture and wisdom among the people of ancient Egyptian. For this reason, this style of tattoo is ideal for someone who has an affinity with the Egyptian culture or belongs to an Egyptian heritage.
St. Anthony’s Cross/Tau Cross
The Tau cross is also known as the cross of St. Anthony’s due to its connection with the saint depicted as a Tau cross. The Tau cross represents eternal life, and due to its shape, T, it is named after the Greek letter that it resembles. Ideally, one should keep the T-shape of the traditional design, with the horizontal bean lying inked above the vertical beam.
Crucifix / Jesus on the Cross
For some, the cross and the crucifix are two distinct concepts, but for others, they are interchangeable notions in which Jesus’ body is on the cross. The Cross tattoo which entails Jesus is regarded as an explicit symbol of their faith Christianity.
One can personalize the tattoo by adding different colors other than the usual grey and black, and add bible quotes that they can personally relate to. Even though this style of tattoo can be inked on smaller parts of the body yet many prefer to have it tattooed on a large scale to cover all intricacies of the design.
The Greek cross has its origins from the pre-Christian times, it was primarily used by the Assyrians to illustrate the heavens, and therefore, it represents sun-worship in history. Due to the equal placement of this design, it is an equilateral cross.
Even though the design is quite simple, but one has chosen many ways to make it relate it to themselves. Among many other, an exciting style can consist of having four smaller Greek crosses within the quadrants of the large Greek cross.
St. Andrew’s Cross
This well-known cross displayed on the Scottish flag, known as the St. Andrew’s cross, is identifiable from its equal-length beams meeting at the centers. The cross is a tribute to St. Andrew who suffered crucifixion on this style of cross.
Individuals tend to have all personal and unique features added to their design, such as if they are Scottish or have an admiration for the country and its culture, so they tend to pay tribute to it by getting it inked like the Scottish flag – white with a blue backdrop.
Cross and Rose
Adjoining a rose with the cross tattoo design is another way one can choose to personalize and beautify the style. However, one should be mindful of the type of cross they want in the design, such as Gothic cross representing darkness and death, or a wooden cross indicating spirituality and Christian faith.
As per the cross that the person chooses of their tattoo, adding a rose to that can have multiple meanings attached to it. For Gothic cross, adding a thorny rose is increasing the dark meaning and implying suffering, seduction or desire that results in one’s end.
Heart and Cross
Even though cross and a heart are more popular among women, yet it is a meaningful and beautiful design for anyone who chooses to get it etched. The cross accompanied by a heart is a representation of faith and love together. They are a mark of remembrance of a loved one who might have passed away.
Among many others, the one design that is particularly feminine is a simple outline of the heart with either spirals or curves around the cross. It looks classy and elegant when done with one color, such as black. On the other hand, individuals who prefer to have a more masculine touch to it add a pair of wings or drops of blood to the design to represent suffering and heartbreak.
Cross with (Angel) Wings
Going for a tattoo with angel wings is the perfect way to pay tribute to a lost one, and it also symbolizes the concept of Jesus rising from the dead to go to heaven. Therefore, people like to get it inked as a mark to remind them that Jesus is watching over them. There are many ways one can personalize this style of the tattoo as per their taste.
For instance, instead of having angel wings they can have animal wings like a butterfly or a bird. However, if the wings are of an angel one can have clouds added to the design to elaborate their illustration of heavens.
RIP (Rest in Peace) Cross
This style of the cross is popular among individuals who wish to remember their loved ones but does not wish to add wings to the design. The type of cross can vary from Greek, Gothic and Latin, or any other the person prefers to have in their design.
For the RIP style, one can either have it written in full or just the initials, atop or on the ribbon of the tattoo. Moreover, they also tend to add the person’s name on whom they base their tattoo. Even though most of the time it is done in a dark color, but one can opt for other colors as per their preference.
Cross with Halo
Another way to always keep remembers a loved one who has passed away is by adding a halo to their religious faith design. Moreover, they can also include angel wings in their design. Some may consist of rays of light and clouds at the background to lay more emphasis on the notion that the loved one is watching over the heaven, or keep it utterly simple with a cross with angel wings and a halo.
Meanwhile, people with Irish heritage tend to mix Celtic cross and Claddagh ring which is similar to halo. To personalize the design, even more, they tend to add the name of the person they have lost.
Cross and Dove
Combining dove with a cross tattoo is an ideal way to boost peace and harmony as a dove is a symbol of peace and tranquility. So individuals like to have it added to their cross tattoos to display a message of peace through faith. Usually, the cross uses a Greek or Latin cross, but since Gothic cross creates a juxtaposition of darkness and peace, few tend to choose that.
On the other hand, custom tattoos feature doves perched in a way that the beam or look like they are flying or are hiding behind the cross.
The combination of anchor and cross is a representation of faith and hope and the notion that faith should be strong enough to ground the person. Artists can design this in a variety of ways, such as using a Latin Cross, Greek or Egyptian/ankh cross. Moreover, one can have it look similar to the real anchor, or one can add Jesus crucified on their cross to elaborate their faith.