11 Small Tattoos That Last A Long Time, According To Tattoo Artists

If you're getting a larger tattoo, it'll open you up to all sorts of options. You can go wild with colors, intricate designs, and shading, thanks to the extra real estate on your skin. But with smaller tattoo designs, you'll be a little more limited — especially if you want your ink to look good for years to come.

Related: Everything To Know About Getting A Finger Tattoo

"One of the biggest factors in your small tattoo lasting a long time, is not having it crowded with intricacies," tattooist Adam Villani, tells Bustle. "Small lines of ink and tiny designs that are close to each other tend to bleed together over time." So the smaller your tattoo, the simpler the design should be.

"The best kind of small tattoo is one that is simple and allows generous spacing between ink," Villani says. There's a good chance a detailed floral design or a small word, for example, will eventually lose its crispness to the point you can't even tell what it is.

While larger tattoos can blur and fade, too, it's even more noticeable the smaller you go. Of course, it's ultimately up to you if you're OK with that, or if you want to avoid blurriness. If you'd like your small tattoo to stay sharp, consider some of the simple ideas listed before, which experts say last really well.


Ocean Waves

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With just a curved line or two, you can have yourself a pretty ocean wave tattoo. "This is a very simplistic design and leaves enough open field of skin so if the fine lines do blur a little, the basic design isn't impacted," tattoo expert Lisa Barretta, author of Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos, tells Bustle.


Zodiac Symbols


Even if it's super small, a tattoo of your zodiac sign can still be pretty cool. "These symbols carry deep meaning for embodying the archetypes that they represent, along with the elements of nature and their associated qualities," Barretta says. Add in the fact they also have clean lines, which hold up over time, and you might have yourself a winner.



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"This is a timeless, simple design that doesn't take up too much body space," Barretta says, "and the minimalistic design is a good choice if you want a tattoo that will not blur out quickly. Plus, it represents forward momentum, she says, which can be pretty meaningful.



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"I've seen small anchors age well again because of the ample space and non-crowdedness," Villani says. "It is simple and will not generally bleed together."

If an anchor is your jam, rest assured it'll look like one for years to come.


Religious Symbols

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Simple religious symbols can look great as small tattoos. If you get them with simple lines and empty space, Villani says, they last forever.


Geometric Shapes

The same principle holds true for geometric shapes, such as circles, squares, or line designs, which also tend to do well, Villani says. They've been quite popular the past few years, thanks to their beautiful simplicity.


Animal Silhouette

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A silhouette may be a good choice, Barretta says, due to all its open space. And depending on which animal you choose, it can come with all sorts of meaning.

Take cats, for example, which she says represent independence, mystery, magic, secretiveness, and hidden power.




Moon tattoos, such as a crescent or full, tend not to blur or fade. As Barretta says, "Moon tattoos can be inked as simple line images," which is exactly what you want when looking for a tattoo that'll last.

It doesn't matter how small you go, either. Since this a moon shape doesn't have any bells or whistles, there's no element that can blur together, or ruin the design.



If you're an outdoorsy person, or simply like the idea of getting a powerful mountain tattoo, ask for one with as few lines and shading as possible.

A simple outline, which Barretta says can represent life's ups and downs, will be clean enough that it won't blend together, or look smudged years down the line.


Cloud Outline

Image how sweet a tiny tattoo cloud could be. As Barretta says, these can symbolize dreams, intuition, epiphanies, and mystery. And thanks to the lack of detail, can look great even when they're tiny.


Lightening Bolt

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"The basic one zigzag line doesn't carry a lot of intricate detail prone to fading," Barretta says. But even better than that is what it can symbolize. As Barretta says, lightening bolts can represent intuition and truth. And who couldn't use more of that?

Of course, the idea of simplicity can apply to other design ideas, as well. You can take details and shading out of pretty much anything, and turn it into a great tiny tattoo idea.

As long as you keep it simple, and take care of your tattoo as it heals, any design has the potential to last.