101 Gorgeous Cross Tattoo designs & Ideas with Meanings (2019)

Cross tattoos may be inked for various personal reasons. Perhaps you are thinking that it is a good tattoo to show off your religious beliefs. Perhaps the cross tattoo on your wrist is there purely for aesthetic purposes. Some others might even include the cross tattoo design within another bigger tattoo design. Whatever the case, tattoo designs remain relevant for men and women all around the world even today.

So, if you are looking at this list of cross tattoo designs, you probably have something in mind. What are you inking this cross tattoo for? Is it for aesthetic reasons, religious reasons or does it have a personal significance to it? In any case, we hope that you will find a cross tattoo design that will resonate well with what you are getting inked for. Let’s take a look at the cross tattoo designs that we have prepared for you below!

Who makes Cross Tattoos?

Сross tattoos are by far one of the most universal and common. In many photos, you can see the carriers of such a tattoo. The most popular image is a Latin cross, symbolizing the Christian and Orthodox religions, and the Celtic cross.

1. Full Body Cross Tattoo Design

This tattoo tells a story! A look at it will let you know that this is a tattoo based on Christianity, when Jesus was put on the cross for humankind.

2. Jesus Carrying Your Sins

In the Bible, it is said that Jesus died for all of his followers’ sins. He carried his cross to the site where he was to be crucified, just as depicted at the bottom of this tattoo.

3. Hands Put Together in a Prayer

With the significance of the cross tattoo made to be known, it is then not too surprising for the cross tattoo design to be linked with prayers and rosary beads. Cross tattoos like this one are typically seen on males.

4. Cross Tattoo to Commemorate a Loved One

It is also common to ink a cross tattoo on the back or anywhere around the body to commemorate the loss of a loved one. Usually, a tattoo with this significance will also have the date when the loved ones departed the world.

5. Watercolor Brush Strokes

Some people prefer their cross tattoos clean with solid edges. Others prefer theirs a little more natural like this cross tattoo on the back. It looks like watercolor brush strokes!

6. Cross Tattoos with Animal Embodiment

Have you ever seen tattoos of crosses with animals in it? There are a rooster and a snake wrapped around this cross tattoo. Perhaps there is a religious significance to it, but we will never really know.

7. Ornamental Cross Tattoo for Men

Men looking for a different variety of cross tattoos might like this one. It looks classy and elegant. Perhaps it’s because of the ornamental design!

8. The Crucification

Cross tattoos can also be depicted with a portrait instead of the classic cross design. The person portrayed in the tattoo has the same pose that resembles a cross!

9. A Glimpse of the Heaven

There’s Jesus, there’s a cross, and there’s the pure white doves flying around. If anything, we know for sure that this cross tattoo was inked for religious purposes!

10. 4 Points of A Cross

Perhaps you want to make a cross tattoo but don’t want to appear religious. In this case, you can make your tattoo with the outline of a cross, but decorate it with other designs. The one above, as an example, is decorated with diamond shapes!

11. Inverted Cross Tattoo on Arms

A solid cross hand tattoo

Not everyone, who makes such a tattoo, keeps religious overtone of the cross. For some people, there is a sacred, deep meaning hidden in this image.

12. Elaborate Pattern on Back Tattoo

An artistic lace cross back tattoo

This is one of the more subtle cross tattoo inked on the back. When you have a tattoo like this centered on your back, you will not need any other tattoos to decorate this area!

13. A Patriotic Cross

A patriotic cross tattoo with the USA flag

Just as we mentioned above, cross tattoos do not need to have religious undertones. This cross, as an example, portrays patriotism right on this man’s shoulder!

14. Proverbs 3:18

A striking cross on the back – just to remember

To save you the trouble of Googling what this Proverb is, here’s what it says: “She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.” What a beautiful association this tattoo has with its phrase!

15. A Cross with Wings Tattoo

Does this tattoo remind you of the 2000’s? In those years, cross tattoos are often accompanied by a pair of wings – just like this one!

Cross Tattoos for Men and Women

Cross tattoos usually adorn the male body (shoulder, back, arm). Girls prefer more graceful and small-sized tattoos of this symbol. The cross can be seen on the female foot, ankle, arm, belly and lower back.

16. Full Frontal Cross Tattoo on Men

A very unusual brutal cross torso tattoo

This guy wasn’t playing around when he had this tattoo inked on him! The cross tattoo literally embodies his entire front – even on the chest areas where people will usually avoid tattooing.

17. Cross Tattoo on Wrist

A cross-like elegant quote wrist tattoo

This would have been a normal cross tattoo if not for the word that is also embodied in it. The word ‘faith’ is also closely related to the cross symbol – very matching!

18. Ornamental Cross Tattoo on Arms

Any tattoos can be made more elegant when detailed with these ornamental designs. The small beads outlining the cross is a nice addition.

19. Cross Tattoo for Women

Notice how the cross tattoo here is decorated with blue flowers and some twines growing around it. It’s a more feminine version of a cross tattoo. It even looks suitable for younger girls!

20. A Cross on a Skull

Now this just looks like it’s the execution of a vampire or some other underworld creatures. Look at how the cross seems to be emitting some smoke! It’s as if the skull was burned by the cross.

21. 3D Cross Tattoo with Wings

If a normal cross tattoo design is too boring for you, you can have something like this. It looks a little 3D and has ornamental wings on top of it as well!

22. Crown the Cross

If the cross has a really significant meaning in your life, why not recognize its value with a crown? This way everyone who sees the cross tattoo on your arms will know for sure that it is King in your life.

23. Cross it Like Mosaic

Sure this tattoo looks cool, but doesn’t it look a little like the tiles that you might find in some religious places’ walls or even floors? We aren’t sure if we want to get a tattoo like this one.

24. Subtle Cross Tattoo on the Heels

Clear nice cross heel tattoo

A cross tattoo may be as small as this one! It is also located just a bit above the heels, making it easy to hide. You can walk around knowing that you are the only person aware of the tattoo that you have!

25. Simple black cross with small pair of wings

A conservative cross belly tattoo

Cross tattoos like the one pictured above can look really good on the ribs. Sometimes, simpler designs are just the best!

Meaning of the Cross Tattoo in Different Cultures

The cross symbol is used in many cultures and religions around the world. As the symbol of the cross was used all over the world, it is not surprising that it is assigned a number of different values and meanings. As an example, a Gothic cross has no religious heritage; its basis is the Christian cross. The image of the Gothic cross tattoo normally takes the center stage, along with items such as knives, swords, or cloth, passed through it.

In the twentieth century in Germany, the cross became a symbol of Nazism and later, neo-Nazism all around the world. That was not a good time to be associated with cross tattoo designs! Meanwhile, in Africa, the symbolism of the cross is connected to patronage, protection, unity, fate and supreme authority. These two countries have very different definitions and meanings associated with this simple symbol; but wait, there are more meanings that can be associated with the cross tattoo!

There is also the Greek cross, which is equal in length in all four directions. It has been recognized as the symbol of “red cross” three thousand years ago.

Let’s explore some of the significant meanings of the cross tattoo design below!

26. Cross with Rosary Beads

Reminding cross tattoo

Cross designs paired with rosary beads and date usually commemorate the memories of a loved one. Perhaps they have departed the world long ago, but this rosary bead and cross design will keep them in prayers, always.

27. The Crucifixion of Jesus

Expended Crucifixion scene tattoo on the back

Never judge a book by its cover! This full tattoo of Jesus’ crucifixion on the back has an obvious religious undertone. Sadly, some people still do not view tattoos in a positive light.

28. Amidst the Flowers

Remarkable compound cross hand tattoo

Surround your cross tattoo design with some blossoming flowers for an extra feminine touch! It can also be seen as a more elegant design – you can take your pick on what angle to look at this tattoo from!

29. On the Small of Her Back

Graceful whirl cross tattoo on the back

Smaller tattoos are usually more elegant. Any tattoos that are small in size and paired with ornamental designs around the side can easily make a girl look graceful!

30. A Simple Gothic Design

Aesthetic Gothic cross hand tattoo

Gothic cross tattoos are usually more ornamental than religious. In fact, Gothic cross designs are usually only used for fashion and style purposes!

31. Lace Patterned Cross Tattoo on the Thighs

Chic Gothic cross thigh tattoos

The lace details in this cross, paired with fine beads making up its string makes the tattoo even look sexy! One look at this tattoo is enough to tell that it is not at all a religious cross tattoo.

32. Gothic Cross Tattoo for Men

Nice variant of Gothic cross back tattoo for a man

Gothic cross tattoo designs are applicable for men too! In the instance above, the cross takes on a more solid look with features highlighted and shadowed appropriately.

33. Jesus’ Sacrifice

Astonishing 3D cross forearm tattoo

For Christians, a cross will always remind them of God; of his exploits for the sins of men. It is a symbol of suffering, which unites Heaven and Earth, as well as a sign of fate, the personal spiritual cross which everyone carries throughout life.

34. The Traditional Depiction of a Crucifixion

Realistic Crucifixion back tattoo

Jesus carried the cross on his back as he walked his way to the place where he was to be crucified. It only makes sense that some people choose to carry Him on their backs, eternally remembering His sacrifices for them.

35. Locked in a Prayer

Beautiful prayer hands tattoo

Most cross tattoos are also depicted with hands held together in prayer. You might also see the rosary beads portrayed in some of these instances. It is only natural, as this is how Christian prays in church.

36. Minimalistic Cross Tattoo

Cross shoulder blade tattoo

A cross is also an ancient, universal symbol of the cosmos. The two crossed lines can symbolize the four directions, the four phases of the moon (as portrayed in ancient Babylon), or natural disasters, or the four basic elements of the universe (as told in Syria).

37. A Cross with Chinese Characters

Cross in the oriental spine tattoo

In Chinese culture, the cross was thought to symbolize a staircase to Heaven. In this tattoo, the Chinese characters read as ‘Don’t Give Up’.

38. A Depiction of Pain & Suffering

Some cross tattoo designs focus on the pain and sufferings that Jesus went through for His people. The one above is particularly harsh and cold, with thorns and a worn out fabric wrapped around it.

39. Cross Symbolism in Mexican Culture

Back tattoo with a cross in Mexican style

In Mexico, the cross is seen as an attribute of the Gods of wind and rain. As such, it is common for a cross to be depicted among the clouds or with the sun rays.

40. The Undertones of a Cross

You can start your tattoo design with a single cross or a similar sign, and then expand the pattern outwards until it develops into a complex tattoo that can fill up your entire arm.

41.Expand the Cross Design

This is another tattoo inspired by the original simple cross design. You can expand the pattern to a new complex one. We love the dotwork involved in this tattoo as well!

42. Cross-Inspired Tattoo on the Ankles

The area around the ankle is painful to tattoo on, but good designs can easily make up for it! This cross design is not inspired by the one commonly associated with Christianity anymore; it leans more towards an artistic expression based on the Greek cross design.

43. Criss Cross Sleeve Tattoo

Technically, this is still related to cross tattoos – just not in the conventional context. This one is more like a criss-cross pattern. Well, we’ll take it. It’s still very unique!

44. Criss Cross Mosaic Designs

Make your mosaic designs more colorful! The dots and design of this tattoo can be connected to form small crosses here and there, but it is not the main theme of the design. The mosaics are the priority here. Can you spy the Greek cross design in this tattoo piece?

45. Cross Tattoo on Neck

Iron cross neck tattoo

The neck may be a suitable location for some individuals to tattoo smaller designs such as this one. It is not a very special Greek cross-inspired tattoo, but it sure can give viewers a surprise! Sometimes, girls with longer hair can have a tattoo that you don’t expect on the nape of their neck – just like in this picture.

46. Your Own Take on Cross Tattoo Designs

Peculiar cross back tattoo

Why take on the conventional cross tattoo design when you can have your own unique touch for it? This cross tattoo on a girl’s back is adorned with twists and turns, making it almost adorable!

47. A Metallic Design

Splendid cross rib tattoo

Some cross tattoos can have sharp edges like portrayed above. The points on all four ends of the cross can be sharp!

48. Spiritual Cross Design

Sophisticated Greek cross tattoo

While not completely equal in length, the cross tattoo on a person’s back like this one can still be seen as inspired by the Greek cross. The wafting smoke or fire reminds onlookers of traveling spirits.

49. The Greek Cross

Greek cross tattoo design

It’s quite uncommon to see a cross tattoo together with a country’s flag, but there’s one right here. Perhaps it is not too uncommon, but you have to admit that it is still a special design!

50. The Egyptian Cross

Ankh typical Egyptian cross tattoo

For most people, one look is all it takes to recognize this tattoo as an Egyptian symbol. The Egyptian cross with a loop is considered a sign of immortality, sometimes understood as the key to divine knowledge.

51. An Ankh Back Tattoo

Ankh back tattoo

Even the Egyptians have their own versions of the cross tattoo, showing how universal this symbol can be all around the world. We love how bronze-like this back tattoo is!

52. A Curious Egyptian Design

Curious Ankh leg tattoo

You have to admit that this is a unique take on the ancient Egyptian tattoo. There are several other Egyptian characters inked within this Ankh tattoo, giving it a truly Egyptian vibe.

Features that Cross Tattoos have

In the older times, it was believed that the tattoo of a cross, made on one body part or another can protect the person from injuries. For this reason, cross tattoos are usually inked on the left side of the chest to protect the heart, which is the most crucial organ to protect.

53. Cross My Heart

Lovely cross tattoo on the left chest

If cross tattoos are believed to protect a person from harm and injuries, it only makes sense for the tattoo to be inked where it is most useful for protection – the heart. If only cross tattoos in this area can protect us from heartbreaks too!

54. This is Love

Spectacular Crucifixion chest tattoo

A tattoo of the cross and Jesus is already enough to show that it is a religious cross tattoo. This cross tattoo on the chest is also accompanied by a quote, ‘This is Love’, symbolizing Jesus’ sacrifice.

55. 3D Cross & Chains Chest Tattoo

Cross chest tattoo with 3D elements

This tattoo is so realistic! It looks as if the chain is pulled through this person’s skin only to emerge with a cross at its other end.

56. Faith

Tattoo of a cross

The basic meanings of cross tattoos can also be related to power and honor. This association is related to the fact that the tattoo of a cross is a prototype of the knightly Iron Cross. Therefore, the person who selected a cross as a sketch of the tattoo abides by the knightly code of honor; the core values for him are power and nobility. With that in mind, the Faith tattoo above can also be seen in the same way!

57. Protecting the Cross

Tattoo of a cross

Perhaps it’s the dark outline surrounding the cross that does the trick. It looks as if the darker cross outline is protecting the sacredness of the white cross hidden within.

58. A Cross and A Heartbeat

Tattoo of a cross

The cross tattoo on the ribs above are joined to what we can assume is someone’s heartbeat. Somehow, this simple tattoo looks morbid – possibly due to how the cross looks like a gravestone.

59. An Ornamental Cross on the Shoulders

Tattoo of a cross

A cross tattoo design can look delicate when inked on a lady. This is especially true when the cross is ornamental like pictured above! It is elegant and beautiful, an excellent cross tattoo design for women.

60. Harsh Tattoo Design on Forearms

Tattoo of a cross

Here’s what Psalm 23:4 is all about: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” A tattoo portrayed with this quote can show trust and faith in the God and religion.

61. A Cross & A Ribbon

Tattoo of a cross

This tattoo looks like a cross over between the ancient Egyptian cross tattoo and the Christian cross tattoo. Well, we don’t know what exactly it signifies, but a cross tattoo on the wrist like this one must signify something important for the person involved.

62. Like a Real Bracelet

Tattoo of a cross

The tattoo of these rosary beads and the cross on the wrist makes it appear as if this person is really wearing this accessory! The shadow details and the reflection from the beads are also super realistic.

63. Another Ornamental Cross

Tattoo of a cross

Cross tattoos for women are usually more ornamental and decorated, but this one is surprisingly simple yet sweet! Women like to put cross tattoos on this area of their back and around their wrists.

64. A Cross on the Neck

Tattoo of a cross

For some other women, a cross tattoo is subtle in comparison to the rest of the tattoo. This woman above has her cross tattoo followed up by a quote that runs down the length of her spine. Sounds like a painful tattoo!

65. Watercolor Design Inspired Cross Tattoo

Tattoo of a cross

You can still tell that this tattoo is inspired by the cross design, even though the overall look is relatively subtle. The gentle hues outlining the cross adds on to the soft features of the cross. We love this one!

66. Visual Illusion Tattoo of a Cross

Tattoo of a cross

This tattoo will make you look twice! Which one did you see first – the crucified Jesus or the bigger face that hides behind the cross?

67. Find Strength in Him

This tattoo of a cross highlights the trait that you can associate with it. In Christian beliefs, Christians are asked to find their strength through Him, for He is always there for them.

68. Flying Birds Surrounding a Cross

Tattoo of a cross

We have all heard that Jesus set His people free. Perhaps that is why these birds are pictured flying above the symbolic cross!

69. A Decorated Cross

Tattoo of a cross

How honored a person’s mom and dad would be to see that they are remembered with something so permanent? When you tattoo a cross with a person’s name, it is like you are always praying for the person and sending them blessings.

70. A Subtle Cross on the Wrist

Tattoo of a cross

This cross tattoo is so small and simple that it’s beautiful! A cross tattoo with a design like this can be popular for both men and women.

71. Simplistic Brush Strokes

Tattoo of a cross

Make your cross tattoo more artistic by including brush stroke patterns like you would paint when you are sketching around. The wild brush strokes may be seen as a sign of desperation, but when paired with a cross, it can symbolize hope.

72. A Little Cross on the Finger

Gentle cross finger tattoo

Cross tattoos can be small enough to fit on the small space on your fingers! Tattoos like this one are gentle and feminine.

73. A Symbol of Faith

Impressive cross forearm tattoo

A cross can symbolize faith for most people, which is why it may also be seen on top of a pair of hands reaching out to something. When you have faith, what you hope for will be given to you. That’s the symbolism of this little cross!

74. A Large 3D Cross Tattoo  on the Back

Original cross back tattoo design

Large cross tattoos made on the person’s back are a symbol of destiny and predetermination of choice, i.e. “I choose my destiny myself.” A tattoo this big has to represent a lot of determination!

75. Celtic Cross Tattoo Design

Celtic cross back tattoo

Cross tattoos with designs like this one is usually of a Celtic origin. There will be plenty of little crooks and nooks and the linked curves within it.

76. The Outline of a Cross

Uncommon cross back tattoo

Have you ever seen such a long inscription on a back tattoo? This person must have inked an entire prayer onto the cross tattoo!

77. The Symbolism of Jesus

Metaphoric cross back tattoo

Notice the quote ‘He is risen’ on the ribbon underneath this tattoo. There is no doubt that this cross celebrates Jesus!

78. Cross Tattoo on a Foot

Meaningful cross ankle tattoo

Cross tattoos with a faceted jewel in the middle mean “search for the meaning of life”. Four ends of the cross, in this case, represent the four corners of the earth, and the gem is the meaning of life.

79. The Meaning of a Cross with a Gem

Noticeable cross leg tattoo

The cross tattoo here also embodies a shiny, red gem. We love the shine reflecting off it!

80. Jeweled Cross Tattoo on Leg

Jeweled cross leg tattoo

Some individuals tattoo the cross on the side of their leg – a prominent location that no one can miss!

Variants of Cross Tattoos

If you consider yourself a believer, it is possible to make the Orthodox cross, but the Celtic cross is of highest demand among atheists. You would also have seen the Gothic cross variant which is more decorated in comparison. Of course, with all the other cultural associations of the cross tattoo, who knows how many total variants there are for this simple symbol?

It can also be associated with Gothic, floral, sun, Byzantine, or other themes.

81. A Cross & A Dragon

Gorgeous atmosphere Cross tattoo with a dragon

A green dragon with majestic wings is wrapped around this Celtic cross tattoo on the forearms. The green gems complement the cross dragon nicely!

82. Complex Celtic Cross Tattoo with a Skull

You can see in many photos how attractive and beautiful the Celtic cross is in its usual form. It is a complex assembly, having neither a beginning nor end.. This is especially true when the tattoo is followed by a gruesome, detailed skull design!

83. More Dragons & Crosses

If there is a way to make the cross appear fierce and cool, it has to be the addition of a dragon. Just look at the forearm cross tattoo above!

84. Decorations Around a Cross

It is also possible to make crosses stylized in any other direction, e.g. the image above. The cross is accompanied by Egyptian design-inspired cats and symbols of the eye.

85. A Simple, Ornamental Cross

Make your cross tattoo more dramatic by adding a simple backdrop to it. It can appear like simple brush strokes that focus on the cross.

86. Stalked by Demons, Guarded by Angels

Cross tattoos are often accompanied by meaningful quotes. This quote in the tattoo is a unique variant!

87. A Gothic Cross Tattoo with Wolves

What could it possibly mean when a cross tattoo is accompanied by that of a wolf? We are very interested to find out!

88. Floral Cross Tattoo Design

Floral cross tattoo for women seems to always be so elegant and beautiful. Does anyone want to argue on this point?

89. The Greek Cross Symbol

For some reason, Greek cross tattoos are always accompanied by mosaic-like patterns. This is one of the designs!

90. A Simple Wooden Cross

If your cross tattoo is just for symbolic purposes, a wooden cross surrounded by stones or rocks like this one will do. After all, Jesus did rise from a stone cave after 3 days.

91. Wild & Free

Why are simple tattoos like this always artistic? The messier it is, the more artistic the tattoo looks.

92. A Subtle Addition

Cross tattoos can also be a side focus of a bigger tattoo. In this piece, the cross is only a small addition to the tattoo outside this photograph!

93. A Thick Outline

It doesn’t get any simpler than this. The cross is big and thick enough to get attention, but it is not for any weird features.

94. Dotwork Cross Tattoo

The cross tattoo depicted here is filled with dotwork and cursive writing of the word ‘faith’ alongside it. It’s feminine enough to be a female cross tattoo, but can also be inked on a man.

95. Cross = Faith

With so many cross tattoo designs being linked with faith, it is no surprise that this cross tattoo is integrated with the word ‘faith’. This tattoo is a great choice to represent your faith, and you can find the best for yourself from many photos that we have here.

96. The Dark, Celtic Cross

Brutal variant of an atheist cross back tattoo

Atheists will usually go for cross tattoos like this. You will see them pairing their cross tattoo with skulls, chains and other dark themes.

97. A Complex & Realistic Celtic Cross

Curious Celtic cross upper back tattoo with a cracked skin affect

Doesn’t the crack on the skin look real? The Celtic cross also looks metallic with the white highlights and dark shadows surrounding it.

Celebrities’ Cross Tattoos

98. Robbie Williams’ Celtic Cross Tattoo

Famous Robbie William’s cross tattoo

Robbie Williams has a Celtic cross on his right hip.

99. Britney Spear’s Feminine Cross Tattoo

Britney Spears’ cross tattoos on the neck

Britney Spears has black-and-pink cross tattoos dotted around her neck.

100. Anastacia’s Pagan Cross

Anastacia’s unusual pagan cross rump tattoo

Anastacia has a Pagan cross tattoo contained within a circle on her lower back.

101. Drew Barrymore’s Subtle Cross Tattoos

Drew Barrymore – a cross on the ankle, the other on the hip.

Drew Barrymore is a “fan” of cross tattoos

Drew Barrymore has two cross tattoos – one on her ankle and the other on her hip.

Cross tattoos on the arms are some of the better variants that people look for when looking for their next cross tattoos. If you are currently thinking of inking a cross tattoo anywhere on your body, we hope that this extensive guide has inspired you to some extent. After all, there are more than 100 cross tattoo design ideas that you can pick from here! Remember that there is no wrong choice for tattoos – as long as it is meaningful for you, any different variants of cross tattoos or other symbols can be inked anywhere on your body.

Sketches of cross tattoos