101 Best Tribal Sleeve Tattoo Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind! - Outsons (2023)

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Reviewed & updated: December 31, 2022 by Jamie Wilson BA

If you’re looking for good tribal sleeve tattoo designs, then find your favorite from the list of best tribal tattoos in the article below.

101 Best Tribal Sleeve Tattoo Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind! - Outsons (1)

There are a few different kinds of sleeve tattoos – half sleeve, 3/4 sleeve, and full sleeve tattoo.

Tribal tattoos are pretty common for people who choose to get sleeve tattoos. Tribal sleeve tattoos usually are steeped in history and heritage.

Sleeve tattoos are quite common among people because the arm is one of the parts of the human body which is easily expressible. Tattoo artists can get creative with their designs as well because they get enough space to draw their creative work. Tribal tattoo meanings are not simple, but they carry the stories of the people and the tribes and the wearers can express their social status through their half arm sleeve, full sleeve tattoos, or even full body art at times. Choose the best tribal tattoos from the article below and sign up to get a tattoo and get it to your artist or get creative and make your own unique design.

3/4 Tribal Tattoo Sleeve

101 Best Tribal Sleeve Tattoo Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind! - Outsons (2)

Not a lot of people go for 3/4 sleeve tattoo ideas, but like all other types of sleeve tattoos for men and women, tribal designs are perfect for 3/4 sleeve tattoos as well. They are becoming more and more popular among people who want to get a large tattoo, but also want to be able to hide them easily with rest of their arm sleeve visible. They are also perfect for people who don’t want to get their tattoo covered up by the watch or jewelry they wear. The picture above is of a 3/4 sleeve tribal tattoo with beautiful tribal tattoo designs. It contains maori symbols, geometric patterns, spiral, and wavy patterns similar to most maori tribal arm tattoos. The tattoo started from the shoulder and the arm band design ends at the forearm.

Tribal Full Sleeve Tattoo

101 Best Tribal Sleeve Tattoo Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind! - Outsons (3)

Full sleeve tattoos are popular and tribal arm tattoos look amazing as full sleeve tattoos for men and women. The geometric patterns, traditional symbols, and spiral designs of tribal tattoo ideas at times give the impression of a mandala tattoo which can be very pleasing for the eyes. However, these tribal tattoo designs hold significant meanings that no other tattoo designs can carry. The picture above shows a magnificent full sleeve tribal tattoo that’s covering the entire arm of the wearer. The Polynesian tribal tattoo sleeve includes wonderful geometric patterns with black blocks. Usually Polynesian tribal tattoo ideas have different meanings as the tribal tattoo designs come from different ancient cultures and tribes. These designs represent valour, strength, nature, the heritage, and life stories of the people of that particular cultures.

Tribal Half Sleeve Tattoo

101 Best Tribal Sleeve Tattoo Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind! - Outsons (4)

Half sleeve tattoos for men and women are a more common and excellent choice for most people than full sleeve tattoos. It takes less time, cost, but gives incredible results. Half sleeve, including tribal half sleeve tattoo designs can either be drawn on the forearm or the upper arm sleeve of the wearer’s body as per their choice. You can include tribal tattoo designs on your wrist and fingers for a forearm half sleeve tattoo or designs on your shoulder for an half upper arm sleeve tattoo like the picture above which is of a beautiful tribal half sleeve tattoo covering the upper arm, shoulder, and chest of the wearer. The tattoo design is a Polynesian design and also incorporates a classy design of a traditional stopwatch. The geometric patterns of the Polynesian tribal tattoo and the design of the stopwatch perfectly compliments each other.

Tribal Forearm Sleeve Tattoo

101 Best Tribal Sleeve Tattoo Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind! - Outsons (5)

Forearm tattoo ideas are very popular and common because forearms are on the places in a person’s body that are most visible. People can show off their tattoo designs the best way and it is also one of the least painful areas in the human body. Tribal arm tattoos usually cover the entire areas of the specific part of the wearer’s skin. Hence, they look amazing as evident from the picture above. It shows a beautiful sleeve tribal tattoo that looks like mandala drawings that has been drawn on the wearer’s forearm. This particular design is a pictish tribal tattoo design. The simple spiral designs, black blocks and more are quite common in celtic and pictish tribal tattoo designs.

Polynesian Tribal Sleeve Tattoo

101 Best Tribal Sleeve Tattoo Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind! - Outsons (6)

Polynesian tribal tattoo designs are probably the most popular among people nowadays. The origin of this tattooing style is still a matter of debate because Polynesia includes many different tribes, like Hawaiians, Tongans, Samoans, and more. However, as Polynesian tattoo designs come from many different cultures, their designs hold many different meanings. The designs usually have a common style to them, but they all look incredible as evident from the picture above. It is of a Polynesian half sleeve tattoo drawn on the wearer’s forearm. The design is similar to most other Polynesian tattoo designs that contain several geometrical patterns with black blocks designed perfectly.

Maori Tribal Sleeve Tattoo

101 Best Tribal Sleeve Tattoo Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind! - Outsons (7)

Maori tattoo ideas were started with the indigenous people of New Zealand. The tattooing style is known as ‘Ta Moko’ and included specific artwork from the culture. These tattoo designs held significance to the culture and their heritage. It carried their story and the people considered them to be a symbol of valour and strength. The tattoo style has become popular in today’s world, so it’s important that we learn about the designs properly before tattooing. The picture above shows a large full sleeve Maori tribal tattoo covering one side of the wearer’s chest and shoulder. It contains beautiful patterns similar to other maori tribal tattoo designs with black blocks. All of the patterns in the design hold quite significant meanings to the culture.

Tribal Animal Sleeve Tattoo

101 Best Tribal Sleeve Tattoo Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind! - Outsons (8)

Tribal designs include different types of designs that come from different cultures which have deep meaning to them. In Native American and Aztec culture, their attire, in Filipino culture, their nature and more are the most common for tribal sleeve tattoos. However, the designs that are very common among all culture are animals, like wolves, tigers, or eagles. All these animals and birds have significant meanings to different cultures. The picture above is of a tribal wolf sleeve tattoo drawn on the wearer’s forearm. The tattoo of the wolf looks like drawings as it’s drawn in realistic styles with a beautiful scenery of the nature of night. The moon on the top of the mountains, river in front, and a wolf howling at the moon completes the intricate tattoo design.

Filipino Tribal Sleeve Tattoo

101 Best Tribal Sleeve Tattoo Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind! - Outsons (9)

Filipino tribal designs are steeped in history and culture. Looking back to their history, in Filipino culture thousands of years ago they used ‘tapping’ styles of tattooing. They used the spike of a kind of lime tree dipped into wet charcoal. The most common designs still used to this day for Filipino tribal tattoos are geometric patterns which symbolize nature, animals, and more. The picture above shows a half sleeve Filipino tribal tattoo on the wearer’s forearm. The tribal arm sleeve tattoo is made up of several geometric patterns like most Filipino tribal tattoo sleeve designs. The honeycomb patterns, arrows, straight lines, black blocks, and more geometric patterns are very common in tribal tattoos.

Native American Tribal Sleeve Tattoo

101 Best Tribal Sleeve Tattoo Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind! - Outsons (10)

Native American tribal tattoos are very famous among the people who choose to get tribal tattoos. The most popular designs are of animals, skulls, Native American weapons, and of people with Native American attire. These hold significant meaning to the culture, so wearers should be alert of that prior to tattooing. The picture above is of a Native American tribal tattoo drawn on the wearer’s forearm. The beautiful realistic tribal tattoo arm sleeve in black and grey ink is of an old and wise Native American man with a traditional Native American headdress. A intricate and small design of a horse has also been included in the tattoo. Horses in Native American culture represent freedom and they are considered as a token of war.

Aztec Warrior Tribal Sleeve Tattoo

101 Best Tribal Sleeve Tattoo Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind! - Outsons (11)

Some of the most famous Aztec tribal tattoos include the symbols of their culture. However, the most popular Aztec tribal tattoos include designs of Aztec warriors who are loved, respected, and coveted in their culture. They also look incredibly beautiful even when they are drawn in simple black and grey ink as evident from the picture above. It shows an upper arm sleeve tattoo of an Aztec warrior wearing a headgear and a warrior costume. The design contains a shield with Aztec symbols. There is another Aztec artwork and symbols that is quite common in their culture. The realistic design of the warrior with the symbols is emphasizing the tattoo perfectly.

If you’re wondering ‘how much is a tribal sleeve tattoo’, that depends on the type of tattoo and the size of the tattoo. You may have chosen the best tribal tattoos from the list above, but if you haven’t, then here are a few suggestions –

You can get a full or half body art starting from the shoulder or chest and get your tribal arm tattoos that you can design by getting inspired from the list above.

Most tribal tattoos are drawn in black and grey ink. However, colored and white ink tattoos are getting popular. Hence, you can also choose a tribal design and make it a white sleeve tattoo for your next tattoo.

Still looking for inspiration, then checkout this blog post about tribal sleeve tattoo ideas.

feature image from Pinterest

What is the history of tribal sleeve tattoos?

Tribal sleeve tattoos have been around for centuries, with their origins dating back to various indigenous cultures across the globe. In many cases, these tattoos were used as a form of identification or expression of cultural affiliation. Today, tribal sleeve tattoos remain popular among both men and women, and are often seen as a way to display one’s strength and masculinity.

What are the meaning of tribal sleeve tattoos?

There is no one meaning of tribal sleeve tattoos, as they can be interpreted in a variety of ways. In general, however, they are often seen as a symbol of power and strength. They can also be used to express cultural affiliations or to pay tribute to one’s ancestors.

What is the best way to design a tribal sleeve tattoo?

When it comes to tribal sleeve tattoos, there are a number of things to consider. First, you’ll need to decide on the size and placement of the tattoo. You’ll also need to choose a design that is both meaningful and aesthetically pleasing. Once you’ve done this, you can then begin the process of designing your tattoo.

How do I care for my tribal sleeve tattoo during the healing process?

After you’ve gotten your tribal sleeve tattoo, it’s important to take care of it during the healing process. This means keeping the area clean and moisturized, and avoiding any activities that could irritate the tattoo. Once the tattoo has healed, you can then enjoy showing it off to the world.

How much do tribal sleeve tattoos cost?

The cost of tribal sleeve tattoos will vary depending on a number of factors, including the size and complexity of the design, the experience of the artist, and the location of the tattoo shop. In general, however, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $1000 for a quality tattoo.

What are some common misconceptions about tribal sleeve tattoos?

One common misconceptions about tribal sleeve tattoos is that they are only for men. This is simply not true, as many women choose to get these types of tattoos as well. Additionally, some people believe that tribal sleeve tattoos are only meant to be large and showy. While this may be the case for some people, others prefer smaller, more subtle designs.

101 Best Tribal Sleeve Tattoo Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind! - Outsons (12)

Jamie Wilson

Jamie has over 10 years experience as both a journalist and professional tattooist, working for some of the biggest brands in the UK. He has completed a BA in English, a NCTJ in Journalism and a BTEC level 4 in Art & Tattoo Design. If you would like to know more about Jamie or further details on our editorial policy then just click the links in the footer.


What's the best tattoo to start a sleeve is? ›

The First Ink

If you know you eventually want a sleeve, or if you're going full-sleeve right out the gate, then Gualteros recommends starting at the shoulder. From there, you'll work your way down the arm.

How do I come up with a unique tattoo idea? ›

8 Steps to Come Up with Original Tattoo Ideas
  1. Step 1: Ask Yourself Why You Want Body Art. ...
  2. Step 2: Determine which area of skin you want the tattoo. ...
  3. Step 3: Make a List of Your Favorite Things. ...
  4. Step 4: Look Through Tattoo Portfolios. ...
  5. Step 5: Choose a Style. ...
  6. Step 6: Be Patient and Gather Inspiration.
Nov 22, 2021

How do tribal tattoos tell a story? ›

A tribal tattoo can tell a story about the wearer's heritage and achievements. It can also represent power, strength, and protection. To get the most out of your tattoo, however, it's important to understand the meaning of each design element.

What are the most popular tattoo sleeves? ›

Tribal tattoos are one of the most popular styles for tattoo sleeves because they can easily cover large surfaces, and the final product looks intricate and cohesive. These type of tattoo sleeves are done in all black ink, with thick lines and symmetrical, geometric shapes.

What makes a tattoo sleeve look good? ›

Consider nice four flat spaces in the full sleeve tattoo.

Inside and outside of the forearm, inside of the bicep and outer arm are natural choices for eye-catching pieces. But of course, you do not have to use them all! Sometimes less is more. Significant areas of shading can make the whole sleeve more harmonious.

Whats a good price for a tattoo sleeve? ›

A full sleeve tattoo can cost anywhere from $1000 to $6000, depending on the hourly rate of the artist and how much time the art takes to complete. For a design in full color, expect to spend at least two full days sitting for the piece, or be prepared to sit for multiple sessions.

How do I choose the right sleeve? ›

With your arms hanging relaxed at your sides and the cuffs of the shirt unbuttoned, the sleeves should come down to the center of the back of your hand (or the first knuckle of your thumb).

How much does a good sleeve tattoo cost? ›

A good tattoo artist will charge $1,500 – $7,000 for a full sleeve tattoo. While an artist with a wait list, that can often go beyond two plus years, can cost $14,000 and upwards. Just keep in mind when it comes to tattoos, price shouldn't be a focus point.

What is a smart tattoo? ›

Also referred to as smart tattoos, electronic tattoos have small trackers and sensors that receive and send information via a special ink that conducts electricity. This groundbreaking technology has numerous applications for the healthcare industry.

What tattoos do tattoo artist like? ›

Mandala and blackwork tattoos are popular among artists. Designs with tiny text can get blurry with time, and winged-eyeliner tattoos can age poorly.

What tattoo is most common? ›

According to a list compiled by Singulart, the most popular tattoo in all of America is the butterfly. "With a very impressive 165,000 monthly searches, rose tattoos are in second place, with flower designs in joint third, at 110,000 searches.

What is the most famous tribal tattoo? ›

One of the most famous examples of ancient tribal tattoos is Otzi the Iceman who lived between 3370 and 3100 BC and whose remains were found in 1991 on the border between Austria and Italy.

Is it OK to get a tribal tattoo? ›

Tribal tattoos have a deep meaning for people that are part of the culture they come from. Tattooing such sacred designs on you when you aren't from that culture can be considered cultural appropriation and is damaging to the people and traditions of that culture.

What is the most overused tattoo? ›

Here Are 25 Tattoo Designs That — According To Tattoo Artists — Are Totally Overdone
  • The Deathly Hallows symbol. ...
  • Anchors — usually accompanied by the words "Don't sink." ...
  • Chemistry formulas. ...
  • Big cats in crowns. ...
  • Forests around people's arms. ...
  • The entire Bible. ...
  • Little sun/moon combos. ...
  • Palm trees.
Feb 15, 2020

Which arm is best for a sleeve tattoo? ›

We recommend wearing the sleeve on your dominant arm. This is because the brain receives signals from your dominant arm and hand faster than from your non-dominant arm, which means the sleeve will work better and faster.

Do sleeve tattoos age well? ›

"[The longest-lasting tattoos are] on flatter, less abused areas of the body like the flat of the forearm, upper arms, shoulders, back, and thighs," tattoo artist Toby Gehrlich tells Bustle. "These areas can usually withstand the test of time."

What makes tattoos look brighter? ›

Use Moisturizer on Your Ink. While proper hydration of your tattoo is necessary right after you get a tattoo, it is still just as important to keep up with over time. Moisturized skin is more elastic and hydrated which both help with the looks of your older tattoo.

Does weight matter for tattoos? ›

How Weight Gain Affects Tattoos. Only in cases of extreme weight loss or weight gain will you see a noticeable difference in a tattoo design, says celebrity tattoo artist Dillon Forte: "Weight change has virtually no effect on the tattoo unless the weight gain or loss is like 100 pounds.

Do you tip a tattoo artist? ›

It is customary to tip tattoo artists for their time and skill. A general guideline is to tip between 15-20% of the total cost of your tattoo, but you can adjust this amount based on your personal budget and satisfaction with the service.

How much do 2 sleeve tattoos cost? ›

Full sleeve tattoos commonly range from $1,500 to $6,000 in price.

Is 200 an hour too much for a tattoo? ›

Well, it's pretty average for an hourly rate, not high. I know artists who charge more. Like $400 an hour. You usually pay less for walk-ins or to an apprentice.

What sleeve length is most flattering? ›

Fashion gurus have been known to say that three-quarter inch sleeve styles are the most universally flattering. Because this sleeve has a length between the elbow and wrist, they highlight the smaller part of your arm and are also known as bracelet sleeves.

Do I wear my heart on my sleeve? ›

If you wear your heart on your sleeve, you openly show your feelings or emotions rather than keeping them hidden.

Should an arm sleeve be tight? ›

How tight should elbow sleeves be? Look for a snug fit. If the elbow sleeve is too tight it can do the opposite of what you're wanting, restricting flow and movement. On the other hand, elbow sleeves should not be loose because you lose out on the compression benefits.

How much do you tip on a $200 tattoo? ›

However, the average tattoo tip in the U.S. is at least 15-20 percent. “A tip is a tip—we appreciate anything,” says Clifton. “But you can always follow the Golden Rule of tipping 20 percent of whatever your tattoo price was if you're not sure.”

How do I price my tattoo work? ›


Artists charge anywhere between $50-$400 per hour, with most somewhere between $100-250 per hour. Some charge a flat rate per piece. In this case, your artist will usually provide a cost estimate based on the size and details of your custom design.

How painful is a sleeve tattoo? ›

In general, sleeves don't hurt as much as some more sensitive areas, but prolonged exposure can result in an unusual type of pain. Many people also report that their arm just goes numb after a while, which is probably a good thing.

What tattoo is for anxiety? ›

"Spiritual tattoos — mandala, hamsa, chakra, tree of life, Budha, lotus, etc. — are common for battling anxiety. They symbolize the overcoming of struggle, protection, self care, rebirth, the circle of life, kindness, strength, new challenges, and new beginnings."

What is the tattoo for mental health? ›

The green ribbon, also referred to as the mental health ribbon, is the global symbol of mental health awareness and can also be associated with bipolar disorder. The green ribbon Tattoo is an excellent mental health tattoo choice, especially for people who want to show their support for mentally ill people.

What do tattoo artists not like? ›

Tattoo artists hate when clients don't trust the process, schedule something immediately after their appointment, or go to the beach right away. Showing up intoxicated or not listening to your artist's suggestions will make the tattooing process unpleasant.

Do tattoo artists want to talk? ›

Tattooing requires intense concentration. Some artists love to gab while tattooing but others prefer to be quiet. Let the artist take the lead or ask them what they prefer. Do bring a book to read or movie to watch provided you can do it without moving.

What is the hardest spot to tattoo? ›

The armpit is among the most painful places, if not the most painful place, to get tattooed. The pain you'll experience getting tattooed here is very severe. In fact, most tattoo artists advise against people getting armpit tattoos.

What does the tattoo with 3 dots mean? ›

The three dots tattoo represents “Mi Vida Loca,” which translates to “my crazy life.” It often means the struggles of the underprivileged and the minorities. It's a way of saying, “my life is crazy, but I'm thankful for it,” or “life may be crazy, but I'm still here.”

What is the best age to get tattoo? ›

The safest bet is to wait until you're 18 to start getting inked, but if you just can't wait, there are many ways to still get one with parental consent. Regulations are for your safety and well-being, as well as that of the tattoo artist and the shop.

How much is a tribal tattoo on my arm cost? ›

The average cost for a small tattoo like a heart or cross is $50 to $250. For a medium-sized tattoo like a tribal or portrait, expect to spend between $150 and $450. Hiring a tattoo artist typically costs $120 to $150 per hour, and prices depend on how long it takes.

Are tribal tattoos spiritual? ›

What did tattoos symbolize in American Indian culture? The art of the tattoo was used differently depending on the tribe, but it was considered a sacred and spiritual ritual across Native American society. Individuals were often marked with symbols of protection and guardian spirit emblems.

What is the oldest known tattoo? ›

The world's oldest figurative tattoos have been discovered on two 5,000-year-old mummies from Egypt. Tattoos depicting a wild bull and a Barbary sheep were found on the upper arm of a male mummy, while the shoulder and upper arm of a female mummy bore “S”-shaped motifs.

What is a trending tattoo? ›

Geometric tattoos are a classic tattoo trend that is experiencing a resurgence in popularity, with many tattoo enthusiasts choosing to incorporate geometric designs into their tattoos.

What tattoo ink do tribes use? ›

The Tattoo Ritual

To place a tattoo, sharpened bone was arranged into several levels and attached to a stick by the native tattoo artist. Straw was then burned into ash and mixed with water to create the ink for the tattoo, and used to sketch out the tattoo design on the body.

What does the Bible say about tribal tattoos? ›

There is no mention of body modifications or tattoos written in the New Testament at all. Since there is not an explicit command against the modern-day concept of tattoos, it would mean that it is not a sin to get one. What are the common Christian inspired tattoos?

What does 18 tattoo mean? ›

18 – This tattoo represents the initials of Adolf Hitler, using the first (“A”) and eighth (“H”) letters of the alphabet.

What does the the Bible say about tattoos? ›

But in the ancient Middle East, the writers of the Hebrew Bible forbade tattooing. Per Leviticus 19:28, “You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or incise any marks on yourselves.”

What is the best first tattoo to get? ›

Tiny tattoos are a popular first choice as well. Whether it's hearts, stars, or zodiac symbols, fine line techniques are ideal for a first tattoo because of their delicate design and barely-there size. Another memorable first tattoo choice is a word or mantra that defines who you are.

What kind of first tattoo should I get? ›

Choose a design that includes your favorite colors, favorite images, and a style that you like. Think it through and then think it through some more. Give yourself a few months to think about your tattoo design. If you still haven't soured on the idea, then there's no reason you shouldn't get it.

Can I get a sleeve as my first tattoo? ›

No. In fact, as a tattoo artist I encourage it. My first tattoo was a sleeve. I am so happy I followed the blueprint I envisioned for my tattoo collection.

What should I get tattooed first? ›

If you're worried about how you'll deal with the pain, it's good to test your first tattoo out on the legs or arms, where Brodsky says the pain can be less intense, especially if it's a fleshier part of your body.

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