There are 3 main reasons why people get rib tattoos. First of all, numerous tattoo enthusiasts do not afford to show off their tattoos, so they have to get inked on body parts that are not visible to others. Second of all, there are persons so heavily tattooed, that it only makes sense for them to also get rib tattoos in order to cover their skin in ink. Third of all, rib tattoos are sexy and they have the power to change someone’s appearance with the help of designs that simply can’t fit someplace else.
Rib tattoos are among the most painful tattoos because wherever there are bones and a thin layer of skin covering them, there will also be pain. In case you don’t have a cushion to protect you from feeling the needles too close to your bones, then you will have to expect pain. This shouldn’t be a factor to stop you from getting rib tattoos. This is merely a warning that it won’t be comfortable, which doesn’t mean it won’t be worth it.
Ribs can accommodate large designs, which is something that cannot be said about many other body parts. As it follows, you will find many great rib tattoos ideas that will definitely inspire you. When you choose the right design, you will be so thrilled that you will barely stop yourself from showing it off to the world! This is a good thing because rib tattoos will enhance your look and increase your self-confidence! In fact, any tattoo can do that!
1. Beautiful Native-American woman
An expression of beauty and power, this tattoo of a Native American woman falls into the category of traditional tattoos. The lining is simple and the colors are basic.
2. Combined Native-American symbols
Simple and graphic rib tattoos tend to flatter a woman’s side because they do not cover it with extra volume. This example is a combination of Native American symbols that isn’t suited for Native Americans only.
3. Persevere the traditional way
This side tattoo is also an inspirational tattoo. Although you might not perceive it this way, it definitely has this impact on her. The anchor and the sparrow and both positive symbols that contribute to the idea of perseverance A classic design colored with typical colors, it represents a good choice for traditional tattoos lovers.
4. Woman taming a panther
This animal looks like a panther to me, but I’m not sure that’s what it really is. A black and white tattoo, it reveals a woman’s influence on an animal that must be tamed. Rib tattoos for men often include images of sexy women.
5. Lego Superman holding..
Rib tattoos may be fun too! Here’s Superman made of Lego pieces sustaining this woman’s breast. A very original idea, it talks a lot about this girl’s personality and taste.
6. Embellished sword shines through flowers
Rib tattoos may also be empowering. Here’s an embellished sword that shines nicely thanks to the white ink effects through brightly colored flowers and leaves.
7. The warrior stance
Men didn’t lose their interest in the idea of war and some of them found inspiration in old body painting styles used by warriors during the time when their only weapon of choice was the sword. This is the result. Tattooing large chunks of skin evenly is not an easy job.
8. Buddhism inked on ribs
There are tattoo lovers among every type of believer, so expressing their spirituality on skin comes natural. This is a decorative design that compliments thanks to its simplicity.
9. Ribs breathing spirituality
A design very similar with the previous one, this one is darker and smaller. There aren’t 100% similar rib tattoos because everyone’s body is unique and the design must be adapted accordingly.
10. Crossbones and lettering
The crossbones are usually associated with a skull, but this time, the skull is missing and there are some letters accompanying them. This tattoo is positioned on lower ribs, where the pain is not that high.
11. Mandala rib tattoos
Mandalas are basically diagrams that are supposed to represent a microcosm of the universe. They are often filled with geometrical shapes to express complexity. This woman has multiple mandalas tattooed on her, so maybe she’s made of multiple microcosms.
12. Though I try to resist…
…I still want it all. These are words of wisdom chosen by a good-looking girl to serve as reminders. The writing is in capital letters and the black hue is intense.
13. A wounded stag
The image of this stag is pretty sad because it has arrows stuck in its body. Other than that, it is an amazing example of rib tattoos for men. There’s a key hanging from its antlers, which is wrapped in mystery. This is a dark tattooing technique based on etching.
14. The outline of big roses
Rib tattoos can’t be done in one sitting if they are as large as this one. So, the tattoo artist has to first ink the outline.
15. Ganesha on ribs
Ganesha is a Hindu deity that’s widely worshipped. It is the god of beginnings and it symbolizes luck, fortune, protection and so on. It looks like a happy elephant that is always ready to give blessings. Here it is embellished with a half mandala and some other symbols.
16. An effective dreamcatcher
Imitating the Earth’s shape, this dreamcatcher spreads on a woman’s side, accentuating her lean figure. Each part of a dreamcatcher means something, so there isn’t a general one that fits all.
17. The boat that set sail
A boat enthusiast or a former sailor, this guy opted for a realistic image of a boat with huge sails. His tattoo spreads on his chest too, not only on his ribs.
18. Constrained king heart
A surreal tattoo, this one is among the rib tattoos that impress not only by size, but also by meaning. His heart is constrained and he cannot enjoy his status as king. Purple is a very interesting color choice for a heart, don’t you think?
19. A blue crab
It turns out that crabs aren’t only for eating. They represent the lunar power and they are considered symbols of prosperity, success and high status by the Chinese. The crab tattooed on this man’s ribs doesn’t look too serious, especially because it is blue, but it is inked gorgeously!
20. An entire water world
Nautical themed tattoos are usually inked in the traditional style. However, this rib tattoo is an exception. It presents an entire water world with complex happenings especially under the water. Coral and tentacles attack a ship at sunset and that’s amazing because this is art on skin!
21. The reflection of a tree of life
The tree of life located above the waterline looks like it is bloomed. However, the one underneath looks withered. This is a contrasting image that represents duality, but doesn’t really stand for the classical concept of tree of life. However, it is inked cleanly and precisely.
22. A bouquet of wildflowers
I have no clue if this is the finished version or not. I think rib tattoos representing flowers look much better in color than black and white. Even so, not every person likes colored tattoos, so this is for them!
23. An owl in action
Rib tattoos depicting animals are popular, but those that present an owl in action are not. This side of the owl signifies otherworldliness, secret knowledge and psychic awareness. It is furiously bursting out of somewhere and spreads flowers everywhere. The style is neo-traditional.
24. The black bird
While I’m not sure what bird this is exactly, I am sure it has a protective role over its wearer. It is too serious and its posture says nothing but that. I guess the fascination for birds may translate into tattoos as well.
25. The tale of owls
I can’t tell if that is a really bright moon or the sun. Although owls are night birds, in this tale they might have something to do with the sun. The whole tattoo looks like it’s taken from a storybook for kids, which is great!
26. Bible verse rib tattoo
Bible verse tattoos work nicely as rib tattoos. This one mentions Psalm 139, which says something about God’s almighty power that’s searched by a humble man. The cross and the rose are a perfect fit.
27. Russian doll and other ornaments
If you see rib tattoos on people from Europe, you will be amazed of how diversified their tattoo designs are. This is because they come from a different cultural background.
28. Day of the Dead tribute
This skull is not the typical Day of the Dead skull, but it is pretty close! It comes together with 2 roses, which are positioned perfectly because they elongate this girl’s figure. It features a combination of styles that turned out successful!
29. The animal skull
Among other rib tattoos, this one is the type that has to be shown off! It consists of an animal skull and a red background. Its background is a very important element because it makes it stand out and creates a bloody effect.
30. Pastel-colored flowers on ribs
Pastels are colors that you will mostly see on women. They accentuate their sensuous and feminine sides, together with the beautiful shapes of flowers and a butterfly to lift all spirits.
31. A compass for guidance
I just had the coolest idea! What if we could turn our bodies into maps? This guy started alright by getting a tattoo of a compass and a background that looks like the beginning of a map.
32. A rose with buds and leaves
Rib tattoos may create visual illusions. This woman’s back seems more narrow than it actually is thanks to the way this tattoo was placed. Black is a good choice of color when you want to obtain this effect.
33. A giant Koi fish through water
Not long ago, Koi fishes used to be very popular tattoo designs. These days, people don’t choose it as often as during the past. Koi’s skin is impressive thanks to its patterns and it can be found in various colors. Orange is the type of color that is related to self-confidence. So, this guy should get extra points for being practical!
34. Hindi spirituality on skin
Since we express ourselves through tattoos, we can also express our beliefs. This girl compiled 2 very important symbols into one tattoo and got it inked on her ribs. Inspired choice I could say!
35. A profound hybrid
Containing body parts from different animals and other Earthly elements, this tattoo seems to have a profound meaning. Rib tattoos aren’t often hybrids, but this is one sweet exception!
36. Royal birdcage for a free bird
All those sparkly precious stones make me think of royalty. Why would a free bird want to leave such cage, when it can fly freely and return when it wants? Surrounded by flowers of a beauty beyond imagination, the cage is the central element of this tattoo.
37. Hope dies last
Another traditional tattoo design, this one talks about hope. It’s said that hope dies last and so will this man’s tattoo. Theoretically, tattoos last 6 more months after a person dies.
38. Beware of the shark
Do you remember those times when movie producers used to make films about sharks attacking and eating people? This tattoo makes me think of that. A little on the cartoon side, this shark looks angry!
39. Omnia causa fiunt
Tattoos in Latin never get old because no one knows what they say and they are always interesting! Omnia causa fiunt means that everything happens for a reason. The other words suggest that this is a tribute tattoo.
40. The outline of a wolf
Rib tattoos look like this when they are in progress. Basically, this is just the outline of a wolf and of the other elements that will be part of the final composition.
41. The tale of a geisha
The Japanese culture is in close connection to numerous geisha tales. If I’m not mistaken, there is a very popular movie made about a geisha’s life. Maybe that served as inspiration for this dude. The colors, the lining and the shading are flawless!
42. A peek into another world
This tattoo looks like a window that shows you what happens in another world. More specifically, it might give you a peek of the past. It could also be a very well-drawn bookmark.
43. Gory rib tattoo
Three fingertips are placed in a bottle that is filled with water. The bottle is surrounded by flames. The fingers’ incision is easy to see and the whole thing is too gory for me to handle.
44. We can’t direct the wind…
…but we can adjust the sails. This is a quote from Thomas S. Monson and it is nicely accompanied by 3 butterflies. He talked about this in his book called Living the Abundant Life.
45. Tree with perfect crown
When a tree has a perfectly round crown, it is considered perfect. Luckily, we can get tattoos of trees that are shaped exactly how we want them.
46. Two name tags
As already mentioned, rib tattoos are tribute tattoos sometimes. This one looks like a painful one, both literally and figuratively.
47. Full of the world
Corwin Prescott said “The moment you realize your bones are made of the same dust as the planets, your lungs are breathing the same air as the migrating butterflies, and your blood is pumping because of the love and care of thousands; is when you realize you are not as broken as you think you are. YOU are full of the World”.
48. The green sea creature
How adorable is this sea creature? It looks partly like a dolphin, but I think it’s something else. What is green and looks like a dolphin? An original rib tattoo!
49. A rose and a message
Every message is softer when it is inked next to a rose. Red roses are for passion. Is the message passionate as well?
50. A star and the Moon
A minimalist tattoo, this one represents the Moon and a tiny star.
51. So it goes
Rib tattoos consisting of arrows are simple and deliver a clear message. Right is the way to go!
52. In love and death
A bloody tattoo of a hanged heart, this one is valid in love and in death.
53. Bouquet of roses and a message
Rib tattoos so large require multiple hours of tattooing and several sessions as well. This girl was dedicated for her bouquet of roses and her words of wisdom.
54. Joshua 1:9
A strong message from the Bible together with a cross filled with flowers cannot be more beautiful than their purpose.
55. The beauty and the dreamcatcher
The portrait of a Native American woman turns into a dreamcatcher, creating a high-impact image that is hard to forget! That red background left me speechless!
56. The butterfly and the star trail
Cute, feminine and not extravagant, this rib tattoo is simple.
57. The snake-controlling woman
This tattoo tells a story about a woman who controls snakes and feeds them with living mice. It is a story about power and dominance that was ink in a spectacular manner!
58. Tribute to Dia de los Muertos
Candy skulls are especially embellished for Dia de los Muertos and the flowers are brought as offerings for the dead. This tattoo is a permanent offering.
59. The green third eye
Besides flowers and more flowers, chicks tend to get spiritual rib tattoos like this one.
60. A mannequin in nature
A mannequin cannot enjoy nature, so maybe this tattoo refers to the process of creation in nature. Regardless of the message, it is a visual masterpiece!
61. Wolf vs. snake
A typical manly tattoo, it contains, blood, fighting and fierce animals.
62. Keeping skin together
This type of tattoos is not known as rib tattoo, but seen more often on the back or legs. However, it confers the same sewn effect.
63. Dreamcatcher with blue feathers
These feathers are masterfully inked since they look like they are floating and are also weightless.
64. An array of traditional elements
The swallow, the anchor, the diamond and the locket are all traditional motifs.