The cross tattoo has been a popular fixture in the ink world since tattoos were invented. Commonly seen as a religious symbol, the cross can actually symbolize a variety of things for different people. Cross tattoos are as eclectic as any out there, being found as stand alone art or as a piece of a larger work.
When imagining a cross, and its associated tattoos, most picture the “Christian cross”. The Christian cross is the typical T shape with the cross bar being set higher on the post, often recognized from the depiction of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in the Bible and other religious books. However, there are many forms of cross including a standard X shape, the “Ankh” cross (a cross with what looks like an oval shape attached to the top), the sun cross and even the controversial swastika cross. While people have varying opinions of what the cross symbolizes, certainly the swastika (which didn’t turn into a negative symbol until taken as a symbol of Nazism), the cross traditionally signifies some form of hope. Whether a reminder of faith, a symbol of hope or simply a cool tattoo, cross tattoos are incredibly popular and are a timeless piece of tattoo culture. Let’s take a look at fifty interesting cross tattoos.
50. Cross, Heart and Anchor
This forearm tattoo incorporates several classic tattoo elements: the anchor, the cross and the heart tattoo.
49. Bilateral Crosses
Cross tattoos require a certain balance and these two certainly create a dramatic look. While each is unique, they are similar enough stylistically to create a harmonious look.
48. Shadow of the Cross
While obviously religious in nature, this cross is most impressive because of the shadow work behind the lettering.
47. Tribal Cross
Many cross tattoos incorporate different elements of tattoo work. This one includes a tribal look with the traditional cross.
The watercolor look has become quite popular in the tattoo world. This piece is unique among cross tattoos as the cross is formed with bare skin surrounded by color.
45. Cross and Rosary
As we remember, cross tattoos can certainly be religious in nature. This one includes a rosary.
44. Floral Cross
Flowers are another very popular element of tattoo art. This one combines cross tattoos with floral tattoos in one piece.
43. Faith Script
Creativity is the name of the game with the word “faith” forming the cross.
42. Coloring Book
A phrase from an old hymn is written on this colorful cross. The owner is matching perfectly with the tie dye shirt and pink shoes.
41. Cross Scene
This cross is part of a larger piece. There are many artistic embellishments that can turn a simple cross into a dramatic piece.
40. Easter Cross
Many cross tattoos speak to the actual story of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This one refers to his reappearance among the living on Easter.
This sample highlights the nails storied to be used in the death by crucifixion. Some believe the nails to be nine inches long.
38. Celtic Blue
Cross tattoos have an entire subset dedicated to the Celtic design. This one is very much in that category and is highlighted by a bright blue.
37. Pink Ribbon
This cross is adorned by a pink ribbon, often in remembrance of breast cancer.
36. One Stroke
This cross is created with one stroke of the pen. One continuous line versus making to cross marks.
Cross tattoos are versatile as they can really be placed anywhere on the body. This one is placed on the side, a growing area of tattoo placement for both men and women.
34. Celtic Black and White
This cross utilizes the Celtic knot over and over throughout the cross.
33. Rosary Anklet
Ankle tattoos are a popular placement for cross tattoos. This rosary circumscribes the ankle with the cross resting on the top of the foot.
32. Simple Wrist Cross
This simple cross is placed directly on the wrist. Maybe it serves as a reminder of faith for its owner.
31. Flower Cross
This cross is formed by the stem of a beautiful black and white flower.
30. Flower Cross Two
This cross, strikingly similar to the one above, is placed on the forearm and wrist.
29. Celtic Green
There is no ignoring the Celtic nature of this Irish cross. It looks like this owner is a big New York Yankees fan as well.
Many state that their faith in a higher power gives them strength to face a variety of challenges.
27. Angelic Cross
This cross is adorned by angel wings, another popular tattoo among cross tattoos enthusiasts.
26. Bible Verse
This is a very simple example of how cross tattoos symbolize the owners religious beliefs. It is accompanied by a favorite, or inspirational, Bible verse.
25. Celtic Shoulder Sleeve
This shoulder sleeve is undeniably Celtic. There is a Celtic knot atop the piece with one of the iconic Celtic cross tattoos below.
This is a different style of cross but a cross nonetheless. Nothing highlights a tattoo like a good old fashioned skull face.
23. Celtic Rose
Here we have two more classics combined with the cross tattoos and rose tattoos coming together.
An upward pointing arrow forms a simple, delicate cross on the forearm.
21. Patriotic Cross
This one is sure to be a hit on the fourth of July as the American flag rips through this cross tattoo.
20. Top of Foot
The top of the foot is a very popular placement for cross tattoos as seen in this example.
19. Celtic Highlights
Another Celtic example covers the shoulder with what appears to be armor highlighting the background.
18. Flecks of Green
Here we have the one stroke of the pen cross again, however, this sample has bits of green mixed into the black line.
This sensational piece has some Celtic knot work and the cross and oh yeah, a dragon!
16. All Things
The inspirational element of cross tattoos is on full display here with a popular motivational Bible verse being the key elements.
15. Tiny Rosary
This may be the worlds smallest rosary but no one says cross tattoos have to be large.
14. Color Splash
A whimsical tattoo splashed with water color is the perfect look for a forearm placed tattoo.
This is a unique look in the world of cross tattoos with the shadow outline providing the illusion of a raised cross.
12. Big Side Cross
This is one enormous side tattoo.
This large back piece is obviously in honor of Divinity. Maybe this one adorns a priest or pastor of some kind.
10. Calf Placement
Cross tattoos often find themselves placed upon the calf as the tapered space is perfect for the shape of a standard cross.
This piece is in honor of Daniel Scott Shivy, lost an unfortunately young age.
This cross reveals the Christian background of its owner. The cross itself is unique as it contains multiple crosses inside of each other.
7. Cross and Birds
Cross tattoos, especially those religious in nature, are often accompanied by doves.
6. Tiny Cross
A tiny reminder of faith makes its mark on the finger here.
5. Celtic Green Again
Green is the color most often associated with the Celtic look, presumably due to its Irish heritage.
4. Tree of Life
This tree forms a cross as its blooms begin to expand from the branches. A tree of life, so to speak.
The center of the upper back is another very common placement for cross tattoos.
The three dimensional nature of this cross is so impressive. It ties in the verse with script as well but I bet that is often missed as the cross itself is so eye catching.
1. Praying Hands
It is undeniable that a majority of cross tattoos are religious in nature. This one is just that with praying hands, a rosary and a cross all included.