Sentimental Tattoo Ideas

Updated July 20, 2017

There are many sentimental tattoos that can honour or memorialise a family member or loved one. Each has a particular style and ideal placement on your body for both practical and meaningful purposes. Traditional tattoos are done in black and grey, though you can choose to use colour if you prefer. As with any tattoo, consider every last detail before application and always view an artist's portfolio before employing him for a tattoo.


Portrait tattoos are lifelike renderings that are meant to closely resemble a photograph rather than a drawing. They are an extremely difficult style and usually require a large flat area to display all the detail adequately. Thighs, upper arms, chests (for males) and backs are ideal spots for this purpose and proper care and time to heal are absolutely crucial for portrait tattoos to appear real. Only employ highly skilled and experienced artists for portrait tattoos.

Advice Script

Choose a particular passage of advice given you by a family member or loved one you wish to memorialise and have it tattooed. It can be one word or several sentences. You can choose from literally hundreds of font types or design it yourself; however, if the person is still alive, you may wish to have him or her design it. Simple fonts can be small and fit most anywhere, but some can be overly extravagant and detailed, meaning they may need a flat large, flat area to display entirely.

Random Object

Think of any random object that carries sentimental value between you and the person you are honouring. It can be a tree, toy car, roller skate, absolutely anything, so long as it has a shared significance between the two of you. The size and detail of the object will dictate the ideal placement and colour may be necessary to pinpoint its unique sentiment. For instance, if you are memorialising a grandparent who gave you a yellow toy car when you were a child, you should make the tattooed car yellow instead of just black and grey.

Initials and Dates

Initials and dates are something that can be added to any tattoo or simply represented on their own. You can choose any combination of style and fonts for the letters and numbers or design them personally. One suggested placement can be over your heart, but any placement would be thoughtful. If you don't want just a string of letters and numbers, consider a bar code or number plate with the number replaced by important initials and dates.

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About the Author

Izzy Barden began writing in 2010 for various websites, specializing in golf and tattoos. He was awarded the Russ Morrison Golf Scholarship in Santa Barbara, Calif., where he attended Santa Barbara City College to study journalism and later dentistry at University of California, Los Angeles.