20 Micro Tattoos That Show Subtle Ink Can Be Powerful

Making the decision to get a tattoo is just the first step. You have to figure out where you want it, what you want to get, and most importantly, find a good, reputable artist to do it. Trust us: you don’t want to end up with a tattoo fail. But even if you’ve decided it’s time for some ink, you may not be ready to go all the way. Some people need to dip a  toe in the water before they can really commit. And these small tattoos are absolutely perfect for that! You don’t need to get a big piece for your first tattoo. Also, small tattoos are great for those of us who have tattoos but maybe don’t have the space for a larger piece. The beauty of these little works of art is that they fit anywhere, they’re powerful, and beautiful.

Small tattoos can be fun, they can be meaningful, and best of all, they can be easily hidden. Because a tattoo is a big commitment! And if you’re not ready to go all-in, starting with a micro tattoo in a secret spot can be like test-driving a new car before you buy it. We know there are people out there with just one tattoo, but in our experience, your first tattoo is usually just the beginning. So start with one of these small tattoos (or something similar!) to get the ball rolling.

Small tattoos don’t have to be small in meaning. This little one is really powerful.

small tattoos
Image: Instagram/@loganjozipovic

Project Semicolon was started in 2013, as a way to bring hope and love to those who are struggling with mental illness, depression, addiction, self-injury, or suicidal thoughts. They chose the semicolon because “an author could’ve chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.” You can read more about the powerful project here. Since the start of the project, thousands of people have gotten a tattoo of a semicolon to honor their own story and acknowledge their own  struggles. It’s a small but mighty bit of ink. 

Show some love for your favorite things.

Image: Instagram/@theserottendays

A little wave is perfect for people who love the ocean and the beach. And of course, you can’t have a little wave without a little palm tree! Plenty of people go with small tattoos that bring to mind something they love, like spending days at the beach with your toes in the sand or a piece of the landscape from where you call home. The great thing about these little pieces is that they’re timeless. If you love the beach or trees or the mountains, you’re always going to love them. And you’re always going to love the small tattoos that you got to remember them.

Small tattoos don’t have to be one-dimensional.

Image: Instagram/@cagridurmaz

This geometric pyramid looks like a little puzzle, and the detail on it is amazing! This is a perfect example of how important it is to find a good tattoo artist. Because small tattoos are so … well, small, you need a skilled artist who can capture the detail and precision in such small lines. You don’t want it to look burred or muddled – you want all the detail, all the clean lines, just in a smaller package. We are loving this little geometric pyramid, and we can totally see a whole series of geometric shapes like this on someone’s body.

Just a tiny reminder to follow your heart.

Image: Instagram/@small.tattoos

It’s so simple, but absolutely perfect. We love small tattoos like this because they can mean something different for everyone. Maybe it’s a reminder to follow your heart. Or maybe it’s a sign that you’re a straight shooter who always tells it like it is. No matter what the reason or meaning behind a little arrow like this, it’s dainty enough that you can put it anywhere. And the clean, simple lines are perfect for someone who’s nervous about getting their first tattoo, or just wants to add something clean to their collection. Such a good idea for a micro tattoo!

Stairway to actual heaven.

Image: Instagram/@inkpick

It’s a tiny doorway, but inside is a whole new world. This is such a cool micro tattoo, we’re actually pretty jealous that we didn’t think of it! Not that we’re above copping it, but still. What a perfect little piece for someone who loves the cosmos, exploration, or travel. And we’re getting some serious Alice in Wonderland vibes from it, too! That’s probably the thing we love most about tattoos – everyone can look at the same tattoo and see something totally different. Maybe this person is a Led Zeppelin fan and really loves “Stairway to Heaven”! The possibilities are endless, just like what lies beyond that door. 

Again, so simple, but just beautiful.

Image: Instagram/@tattoosdelicados

Details can be hard to accomplish on a small tattoo, but going minimalist like this geometric cat is a great option. See, if you wanted a more realistic tattoo of a cat, that would be hard to do with a micro tattoo. The details that you’d want included wouldn’t exactly transfer well in a small piece. So sometimes, you have to think outside the box! This tiny little kitty is really sweet, and from the looks of it, only about the size of a quarter. Love the placement, too. Inside of the ankle is a great spot for small tattoos. 

This one is stunning.

Image: Instagram/@tattoosbychico714

So this one is a bit bigger than some of the other small tattoos we’re featuring. But it’s just so amazing, we had to include it. And technically, it would still qualify as a micro tattoo – it looks to be about three inches or so, so definitely small! But this is a perfect example of thinking outside of the box without going too big, and still getting what you want. There’s something so haunting about this horse coming out of the fog. There’s very little actual detail; you can only really see part of the face and the two front legs. But the way it’s done, with the rest of the horse seemingly hiding in the fog, is exquisite. 

Small tattoos are great for couples or friends or siblings.

Image: Instagram/@tattoo_ideasx

Love the big meaning behind these little tattoos. This little trio of a sun, crescent moon, and a star would be perfect for siblings or friends. Notice how a different celestial symbol is filled in on each tattoo. You could easily do this same design, or use flowers or hearts or even card symbols, like a club, ace, diamond, and heart. So many options for these small tattoos, and every one is perfect! You don’t need a big tattoo to make a big statement, and you can certainly fill a micro tattoo with a lot of sentiment and meaning. 

This is perfect!

Image: Instagram/@goalstattoos

5 tiny tattoos for siblings, symbolizing their birth order. This is probably one of our favorite micro tattoos, for a few reasons. First, it’s such a great idea for a group of siblings (and sibling tattoos are so good!). Second, you can barely even tell it’s a tattoo; at a quick glance, it could easily be mistaken for a cluster of freckles or something. And finally, it’s one of those tattoos that is sort of mysterious until you see it next to the whole collection. And then you put them together and it’s like pieces to a puzzle – it all first so perfectly. 

Pet tributes are a lovely reason for a little tattoo.

Image: Instagram/@creative_toe

Cutest little toe beans! We’ve done a whole roundup of pet tattoos before, and it’s pretty clear that when people love their pets, they LOVE their pets. Like, they love them enough to get a permanent tribute to them tattooed onto their body. That’s love! This little set of paw prints is the perfect micro tattoo for the animal lovers out there. Notice the little hearts inside the paws? It’s just a sweet way to say, “Hey, I love my cat and I don’t care who knows it!”. You don’t need a reason to get a tattoo, but if you want one, look to your fur babies for inspiration. 

Details in a small tattoo can be hard, but it’s not impossible.

Image: Instagram/@micro_man_

The quarter for scale is blowing our minds! What a gorgeous little bee. Now, here is a perfect example of what we mean when we say that finding a really good tattoo artist is SO important. If you want something like this, which is a style known as fine line tattooing, you need to find an artist who specializes in fine line tattoos. Tattoos have definitely come a long way, and there are so many different styles now (fine line, single needle, water color). But this kind of detail in a micro tattoo takes a lot of practice. This is just gorgeous, and one of our favorite small tattoos. 

The beauty of small tattoos is that they can fit just about anywhere.

Image: Instagram/@crazytattoolegnano

This little heart tucked behind an ear is so good. And we especially love how it’s a heart shape and an actual anatomically correct heart (which usually look nothing alike, but it totally works here!). All we could think when we saw this one is, “Listen to your heart”. Now, getting a tattoo on your actual skull is not something we would recommend if this is your first tattoo, LOL. Because listen, it hurts, and the sound takes some getting used to. But if you’ve got the stones, behind the ear is an awesome spot for a micro tattoo. 

Wanderlust is real.

Image: Instagram/@tattoosbydavidcarter

Such a great little piece for someone with the travel bug. Most of the small tattoos we’ve seen so far have been in black and gray, but there’s no reason you can’t add some color to your micro tattoo! Again, when you go to a really good tattoo artist, you have so many options no matter what type of tattoo you’re looking to get. This is such a unique piece, and really speaks to someone whose heart is full of wanderlust. The plane moving around the globe is such a cool statement. People can be so clever when it comes to finding their perfect tattoo!

{Also read: 18 Quote Tattoos That We’re Absolutely Obsessed With}

There is no shortage of places on your body to put a teeny tattoo.

Image: Instagram/@small.tattoos

Seriously LOVE the placement of this little tulip. What an interesting place for a micro tattoo! This is one of those that you totally wouldn’t be able to see unless you were really looking. And even then, you might not really believe it’s an actual tattoo. When you start to think of tattoos as little accents rather than large statement pieces, the sky’s the limit in terms of what you can get and where you can put it. Small tattoos are like little hidden gems, all over your body. And this placement is definitely one of our favorites in the whole gallery. 

We wonder if there’s another, even smaller doll tucked inside?

Image: Instagram/@kas.berlin

This matryoshka could even be the start of a line of even smaller dolls. And again, this is certainly one of the bigger small tattoos that we’ve featured on this list. But it looks to be about three inches or so, so still qualifies in our book! That’s the great thing about small tattoos – small can be anything from a micro bee the size of a quarter to a slightly larger tattoo like this matryoshka doll. We love the idea of continuing this piece with smaller dolls in a line, just like a real nested doll set. Such a cute tattoo.

A single sprig of lavender in the perfect spot.

Image: Instagram/@liannadefleur

Single flowers, branches, and various other flora and fauna make excellent small tattoos. This lavender sprig along the collarbone is such a dainty and beautiful micro tattoo, and we love that it’s done in the fine line style with no color. There’s something so poignant about black and gray tattoos, especially when it’s something that you expect to be in color, you know? We could totally see a bunch of different plant or flower pieces in that same spot. Very pretty, very feminine, and just lovely. As we’ve seen so far on this list, there’s not much that wouldn’t make for a really awesome micro tattoo.

When you need a magnifying glass to see the detail…

Image: Instagram/@ruza.tattooer

It doesn’t get much smaller than that! We’d love to see what the tattoo looks like when it’s not magnified like that. But a small and dainty bracelet like this is a great idea for placement for a small tattoo. Honestly, anytime you can make your tattoo look like a piece of delicate jewelry, that’s a win in our book! There are just so many ways you can go with small tattoos. You definitely have more leeway in placement than when you get a bigger piece. And from what we’ve seen so far, going small certainly doesn’t limit what you can get. 

The color in this one, though…

Image: Instagram/@bycamilaconti

This is a small tattoo that is HUGE on color and beauty. Just look at the gloved fingers next to it – this thing ain’t very big. A few inches, probably? But just look at that color. The detail. It looks like a tiny little photograph of a cherry blossom tree in full bloom, This is an absolutely stunning tattoo, and we love that there is no outline. No harsh black lines. Just the beautiful pinks and browns, which speak loudly enough that they can’t be reigned in by some lines, you know? God, we love this one so, so much.

IN LOVE with this idea.

Image: Instagram/@a.di.a

It’s so delicate and sweet, couldn’t love this more. This is the quintessential tiny tattoo. Literally tiny enough that it looks like a single piece of string tied around a finger. What a fantastic idea. This sweet little ribbon tattoo can be a reminder for you for whatever you need – to remind yourself that you are loved, that you are awesome, that you are a freaking goddess. And with 10 fingers, you can put it anywhere, choose any design, pick any color. Your small tattoos can be whatever you want them to be, and we think this should be in the running when you’re deciding on what you want to get.

When your mantra is short and sweet, it makes the perfect small tattoo.

Image: Instagram/@thetattooroomcanggu

What a lovely reminder for us all. Sometimes the smallest, simplest tattoos pack the biggest punch. We all need to reminded of this every once in a while, right? Life gets hectic, we get caught up in the minutiae of the day-to-day, and while we’re just trying to keep our heads above water life is passing us by. Go live! Live your life, whatever that means for you. And if you need to be reminded to live it before it’s gone, consider putting it somewhere on your body. A place you can glance at from time to time, for a little pep talk.

Are you trying to decide on your first/next tattoo? Do any of these small tattoos speak to you? Let us know in the comments!

(Image: Facebook/Gorgeous Me)

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