Ultimate Cross Tattoo Guide With 100+ Examples

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Many people look to get a cross tattoo, for different reasons: faith, good luck, or a memorial symbol.

For the religious Christians, getting a cross tattoo is a way to show their religious conviction.

For the non-believers it can still be a sign of protection, reminding them of their believing family members.

In the Christian religion, the cross is a powerful symbol of love and sacrifice.

So, what are some unique cross tattoo designs?

We explore cross types as well as gather many designs for your inspiration!

Every Tattoo Has A Story – Cross Tattoo Meaning

What is a cross?

Cross is a structure consisting essentially of an upright and a transverse piece, used to execute persons in ancient times, as per this dictionary definition.

The cross is just one of many important symbols in Christianity.

It represents the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the central figure of the religion.

Christ’s death by crucifixion and subsequent resurrection are considered the principal and defining events in Christianity, and as a symbol representing them, the cross is accorded great importance.

There are many prophecies of the Cross in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

Gazing at the cross for many brings the sense of relief of the past hurt, pain and problems, as they feel that Jesus has taken it on him by getting crucified.

Types Of Crosses

Depending on the Christian denomination one follows, there are four basic types of iconographic representations of the cross:

  • the crux quadrata, or Greek cross, with four equal arms;
  • the crux immissa, or Latin cross, whose base stem is longer than the other three arms;
  • the crux commissa, in the form of the Greek letter tau, sometimes called St. Anthony’s cross;
  • the Orthodox cross (also known as the Eastern, Greek or Russian Orthodox Cross), in the form of three horizontal crossbeams make,the lowest of which is slanted downwards
  • and the crux decussata, named from the Roman decussis, or symbol of the numeral 10, also known as St. Andrew’s cross for the supposed manner of the martyrdom of St. Andrew the Apostle.

Find more types of crosses in the infographic below:

types of crosses

Best Cross Tattoo Placements

Where should you get a cross tattoo?

A forearm cross tattoo is a great option for getting a small or medium sized tattoo, with the possibility to add decoration or background elements around it.

If you want a noticeable but small piece, a cross neck tattoo can be done behind the hair at the back or even behind the ear or you can go for a cross hand tattoo.

For a larger piece, cross chest tattoo, especially at the center and surrounded by wings or gates of heaven would make a great piece.

Cross Tattoo Ideas

To help you with your research for your next tattoo design, we went on a hunt through Instagram to find the best cross tattoo ideas.

Take a look below to check them out all:

Small Cross Tattoo

Crosses are often worn as an indication of commitment to the Christian faith.

Many have dear memories receiving them as gifts for their important spiritual milestones such as baptism and confirmation.

A small cross tattoo can serve the same purpose – as a confirmation of your commitment to your faith.

It can also be a memorial tattoo, to remember your personal spiritual guardian, like your parent or grandparent.

Celtic Cross Tattoo

The Celtic cross is a form of Christian cross featuring a nimbus or ring that emerged in Ireland, France and Great Britain in the Early Middle Ages.

The Celtic Revival of the mid-19th century led to an increased use and creation of Celtic crosses in Ireland.

The Celtic Cross comes in many forms. Some are plain, while others are quite ornate.

There are two theories as to how this cross came to be, and both include St. Patrick and his conversion efforts of the old pagan kings.

One theory is he took the circular pattern of the pagan sun god and combined it with the cross of Jesus Christ to represent God’s light and life. Another is he took the moon goddess symbol (a circle) and marked with a cross creating the first Celtic Cross.

In any case, it is a strong symbol of faith and sense of connections to one’s Celtic heritage through a Celtic tattoo.

3 Cross Tattoo

There were three crosses on Calvary on the day Jesus Christ was crucified, as there were men were crucified on Good Friday.

One of them is obviosuly Jesus, while the two others were thieves.

The three cross tattoo is the ultimate reference for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ at Golgotha.

For some say it is a sign of the holy trinity, interpreting the the other men as Father and Holy Spirit.

Many combine this tattoo with a lion tattoo, rose tattoo, or just have it alone as a cross neck tattoo.

Cross With Wings Tattoo

Cross with wings tattoo is a common memorial tattoo art used by people of faith, wanting to signal that their deceased one is now in heaven with the angels.

Cross With Roses Tattoo

Cross with roses tattoo is both aesthetically beautiful, as well as full with meaning.

In Christian symbolism, the red rose stands for the blood shed by Jesus on the cross.

It has also become a symbol for earthly love, a tradition which continues today.

The rose may represent the Virgin Mary, and thus virginity, or fertility and passion.

Rose tattoos can also symbolize your loved one, or it being their favorite flower.

Cross With Flowers Tattoo

Every flower has their own symbolism, stemming back from 18th century.

Flowers can also have a personal meaning, like your loved one’s favorite flower that will forever remind you of them.

Birth flowers can also be used around the cross to portray your family and your joint connection in faith.

Faith Cross Tattoo

Cross is the ultimate faith tattoo.

It is a versatile way of portraying your spiritual path and relationship to religion.

Depending on the way it leads you, or through which paths it has lead you, it can be done in various style.

It can have additional symbols like doves, eagles, gates to heaven, praying hands, roses, for a feminine style tattoo or a more masculine version of it.

It can be done in all sizes, too, a sleeve tattoo being a great large tattoo option.

Jesus On Cross Tattoo

For people who relate to Jesus Christ, his struggles and see him as their saviour, a Jesus on cross tattoo is a great way to demonstrate it.

It is further than just getting a cross tattoo, and it can be additionally supplemented with other religious symbols that one resonates with like nature, sun rays, prayers, and verses.

Are you looking for a custom cross tattoo design? We got you.

Our expert tattoo artists will provide a quick initial draft to get you going.
Happy inking ❤

Milena Petrovic

Milena Petrovic

Co-founder of Tattoo Stylist

About the author

Milena has decided to start an organization that will create a safe environment for everybody to get their first, second or third tattoo and to encourage young people to transform their ideas into tattoos safely, with talent and vision.

You can find her writing about tattoos on Quora or updating our Pinterest profile with awesome tattoo ideas!

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