10 Museum-Worthy Watercolor Tattoo Designs

Tap into your inner artist.

ICYMI, Selena Gomez broke the internet when her go-to tattoo studio, Bang Bang NYC, finally revealed her newest tattoo — a watercolor rose — on Dec. 28. The dreamy design is the latest iteration of a major body art trend that’s taken over your timelines and Pinterest boards: watercolor tattoos.

The pretty ink has grown in popularity recent years for good reason. A watercolor tattoo can look like a museum-worthy painting, turning your body into a literally canvas. “Watercolor is a popular technique because it’s just not the typical tattoo we have seen for decades,” Inked NYC tattoo artist Koral Ladna tells Bustle. “It is fairly new compared to some other styles. Certainly a result of evolving tattoo technology.” Tattoo artists like Baris Yesilbas and Amanda Wachob have taken the technique to the next level, creating breathtaking designs that have helped set the tattoo trend ablaze.

But before you run to your tattoo artist and start planning your new watercolor ink, keep this in mind: you’ll need space to create that ethereal watercolor look. “Watercolor is all about the rich textures of paint and transparent gradients,” Ladna explains. “To create this illusion, we need space.” If you want a smaller, more dainty tattoo, talk to your tattoo artist about what design and which colors would look the best and last the longest.

Speaking of, Ladna also shares that you should consider a design with a black outline. “That outline is the constant that will hold up 30-40 years from now, leaving the color space to change and evolve with your body.”

Now for the fun stuff. Read on for 10 dreamy watercolor tattoo ideas that will show off the beauty of the technique.


Sail Away

This dreamy sailboat tattoo is anything but your average nautical ink. The mind-blowing realistic look of the water juxtaposed to the cartoony starry night is everything.


Delicate Bracelets

If you’re into the idea of permanent jewelry, this watercolor bracelet tattoo is the one for you. Detail the style with flowers, jewels, or whatever your heart desires.


Matching Puzzle Pieces

Looking for a matching tattoo with your bestie, family member, or partner? These detailed puzzle pieces are a super cute way to express your connection with a loved one.


Abstract Lines

Turn your body into a true canvas with an abstract design like this one. The brushstroke effect makes your body art look almost fluid and in motion.



Floral designs and watercolor pigments are a match made in heaven. The soft shades will made your flower look effortless beautiful.


Out Of This World

The pigment used to create watercolor tattoos are super vibrant and make otherworldly tattoos even more incredible. Consider adding abstract lines and unexpected shades to create a unique work of art.



Channel Nelly Furtado circa 2000 with this pretty design. Adding a wash of color will bring your birds to life.



Love butterflies? This watercolor design will it look like it’s fluttering on your skin. The shadow and color gradients will catch everyone’s eye.


Beautiful Inhale

Your instinct may be to get a brightly colored watercolor tattoo, but a design like this one is equally as stunning and let’s the design do the talking.



Pay homage to your hometown or favorite city with your watercolor tattoo design. The pop of color will capture what you love about the place.