Pass by almost any church and you’re bound to see one thing: A resplendent cross either inside the building or directly outside the place of worship.
It’s a timeless symbol found in lists of the 50+ best tattoo ideas.
The cross dates all the way back to the 5th century and the time when Christianity began to make inroads as a major religion. When you think of Christianity, you’re reminded of crucifixion and the man known as Jesus and the execution style involved being nailed to a wooden cross as punishment.
What’s interesting is that both the vertical and horizontal beams were believed to represent ideas. The horizontal was seen as female, with thoughts of destruction, death and earth. The vertical beam was associated with masculinity – the idea of being eternal, active, and full of life.
Yet when it comes to the older Celtic cross tattoo things are quite different. It’s more than a symbol of Celtic faith and heritage, much like a rosary tattoo. When you see a Celtic cross tattoo, they often combine loops, knots and mazes into the design.
A Celtic knot represents the link between spiritual and physical. Loops are the ending of the circle, and the unique cross tattoo shows us the diverse paths we all take in life.
Not all men’s crosses are are religious tattoos designs; the tribal cross can be a tribute to an ancestor or tribe, while the growing Gothic cross trend links ink with pain and anger.
No matter what your reason, an amazing cross tattoo will evoke a profound connection to what you stand for and provide tattoo inspiration for others, as each beautiful cross tattoo category in this list will attest.
See more about – The Top 135 Best Tattoo Ideas for Men
1. Celtic Cross Tattoo Ideas
See more about – The Top Celtic Cross Tattoo Ideas
Few cross symbol designs are as instantly recognizable as the Celtic cross. While the image can be found in artwork and on Celtic tattoo from all over the world, the true origin and meaning behind this ancient symbol remains contested.
Scholars can’t even agree on who introduced the distinctive cross to Ireland in the first place, although the story goes that St. Patrick brought it back to Ireland with him from Roman Britain.
Some authors believe that the circle on the cross represents the Roman Sun god Invictus, while others say it represents Jesus’ halo when he was nailed to the cross.
Another school of thought is that the cross is simply a holdover from pagan religions, the iconic image combining an even armed cross within a circle—a common symbol in many pagan traditions—and the Christian cross.
2. Cross Tattoos for Men
See more about – Top 87 Best Cross Tattoos for Men
For many people the cross symbolizes faith, and faith has been known to move mountains. There is a popular sentiment that simple means beautiful in relation to a Christian cross tattoo.
But do cross tattoos have to be bland? Much like angel wings a Christian cross can be customized. There are many ways to assist making the simple cross tattoo a little cooler.
A tattoo lover can change the material, add effects around the cross, utilize any technical application, create from an established type of cross – Maltese cross, Greek Cross, Latin cross or Tau cross are just some examples – or you can settle for a wooden cross or simple cross tattoo done with 3d or negative effects.
3. Cross Tattoo Design Ideas for Women
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See more about – The Top 63 Cross Tattoo Ideas for Women
Contemporary women’s tattoo leads innovative style and placement of body art ideas.
The popular Christian cross tattoo provides an interesting design opportunity for faith-based ink and shows off a range of options for epic pieces.
Whether it’s a simple design in black ink or more interpretive pieces of ink the cross allows for meaningful symbolic tattoo ideas to showcase collector’s belief in God.
4. Simple Cross Tattoo Concepts
See more about – Top 51 Simple Cross Tattoos
We are used to seeing the cross in our daily lives as memorials.
You can commemorate the life of a friend or family member by having a tattoo artist etch a simple cross and banner across it highlighting their name to let them live on through your memory.
Perhaps you wish to showcase your faith in Christ, without the flash or flair of more elaborate tattoos. A small wooden cross, a black ink version, or culturally relevant tribal tattoo are three ideal ways to show faith this way.
Whatever tattoo inspiration you choose, know that the simplicity of clean lines and simple execution from a skilled artist can make the humblest of images a striking cross tattoo that you’ll be proud to wear.
5. Small Cross Tattoos
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See more about – Top 69 Best Small Cross Tattoo Ideas
With tattoos a significant part of personal adornment and an embodiment of free will, those of a religious mindset have taken to cross body art to demonstrate their faith.
A cross design is an instantly recognizable, simple and effective mark even if it’s a small or tiny cross tattoo. Along with the Holy Bible the cross is the most visible motif of Christianity and a meaningful symbolic tattoo choice.
It is a concrete method of demonstrating your faith via a tattoo design everyone can recognize and understand immediately, however for some being able to hide a tiny cross or small tattoo idea depending on circumstance is more important than an ostentatious neck tattoo or full back piece.
6. 3D Cross Tattoos
See more about – 50 3D Cross Tattoo Designs
An amazing cross tattoo in 3D is an ideal design for those desiring a creative edge in their tattoo.
The 3D cross tattoo can be worn anywhere on the body, particularly places of significance such as the heart (as a chest tattoo) and points of crucifixion (wrists and ankles), or as part of a larger sleeve tattoo incorporating other religious imagery such as angel wings or the Bible.
Carefully employed using soft curvature and beveled sides, the 3D cross appears slightly raised in appearance. It gives the impression of so much more than mere tattoo art, but a testament to the way of life and faith you can be reminded by all the time.
7. Anchor Cross Tattoos
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The anchor cross design is a universal symbol for strength and faith, no matter the path you walk. It is the mark of one who recognizes and respects their fellow man, and aims to exercise empathy and selflessness in the face of adversity.
The earliest known renderings of the anchor cross symbol were worn by Christians fleeing Roman persecution in the time after the crucifixion; the cross used to identify fellow devotees.
The anchored cross tattoo has been adopted by Christians and missionaries as an expression of stability and perseverance. Small anchor cross tattoos can be found on wrists, ankles, as a chest tattoo or other subtle areas to signify their devotion to helping those in need.
8. Baseball Cross Tattoo Ideas
See more about – 20 Baseball Cross Tattoos
Baseball cross tattoos are beckoning you to join a pitcher’s paradise or a batter’s stronghold. There is no way to strike out with one of these beauties on display!
These extravagant creations merge God and faith with America’s national sport, epitomizing the definition of a good luck charm.
The rustic texture of a baseball is often infused with the luster of a metal cross to create a variety of symbolic sporting ink ideas.
9. Traditional Cross Tattoos
See more about – Top 51 Best Traditional Cross Tattoos
A cross design provides a range of opportunities to make personally symbolic tattoos, especially within the impactful American Traditional style of tattooing – every tattoo studio in the US has at least one artist tattooing in old school.
There are great American Traditional tattoos designs you can make or interpret, whether they come from flash sheets on the wall at the tattoo shop or traditional custom designs you have worked to bring to life.
There’s also versatility within traditional style, from heavy black ink, to classic limited color palettes and bold outlines, or even the brighter and more creative neo traditional design choices that allow more innovation from your tattoo artist and placement possibilities, such as finger, face, and neck tattoo.
10. Rosary Tattoos
See more about – The Top 103 Rosary Tattoo Ideas
The rosary holds special ties to the sacraments of reconciliation and confession.
During the process of forgiveness, the rosary aids in washing you clean of sin while also renewing the love for Jesus Christ. Of course, it also acts as a testament towards the love and mercy Jesus has to offer back in return.
Yet, aside from its purpose, you might be surprised to know this sacred symbol translates to “garland of roses” in Latin. It make sense when you consider that the first beads found on the rosary were crafted from rose petals.
11. Tribal Cross Tattoos
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See more about – Top 67 Tribal Cross Tattoo Ideas
Tribal cross tattoo designs have become an interesting form of ink based self-expression.
While most are linked with Christianity, tribal cross ideas take on more individual concepts than simple cross tattoos in black ink.
There are no specific patterns to a tribal cross; the layout, placement, and style of cross used depends entirely on the preferences of the individual collecting the tattoo.
This allows the subject a greater degree of freedom in style.