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Dad Tattoo Designs and Ideas

Richard Hale is a tattoo enthusiast who studies and researches tattoo symbolism, meanings, and history.

Dad Tattoo Ideas

Dad Tattoo Ideas

Dad Tattoos

Some of the most meaningful tattoos are those that are inked to remember or express appreciation for a father. When it comes to choosing a dad tattoo, you will find that there are as many design options as there are reasons to love him. Whether you know your father or not, you have a father out there, and his existence likely holds very important meaning for you. Here, you'll find lots of ideas for how to honor your dad in your next tattoo project.

Dad tattoos are chosen for several different reasons, but they usually all point back to a father being honored. Some women get tattoos of phrases like "Daddy's Girl" or "Daddy's Angel." Men get dad tattoos, too, both to honor their dads or to represent their own fatherhood, perhaps by listing the names of their children, for example.

Memorial Tattoos for Fathers

Many choose a father tattoo as a memorial tattoo. There are countless ways to memorialize a father in ink. For example, many choose to depict a symbol or element that had meaning for their dad, like if he was in the military, tattooed dog tags, or if he was into Nascar, his favorite driver. If you are looking for a father tattoo as a memorial, make it meaningful to him and yourself. Think about what you and your dad loved to do together and use it in your tattoo.

Dad + Mom Tattoos

Dad tattoos can also be designed with mom tattoos. This is a great way to pay tribute to your parents, who play major roles in our lives. For those of us who were lucky enough to have solid parents, a tattoo to honor them might be extremely meaningful.

A Tattoo to Honor a Father Figure

Sometimes, it is a father figure rather than an actual father whom we want to honor. Some may only have a father or perhaps only a mother. You may have a grandpa or a grandma who is more like a parent. Who played that special role in your life? It may be an uncle, cousin, neighbor, teacher, or friend.

Tattoos for Dads and Tattoos to Remember or Honor Your Dad

Tattoos for Dads and Tattoos to Remember or Honor Your Dad

Dad Tattoo Design Ideas

  • His Handwriting. These four siblings had their dad's signature sign-off—"Love you, Dad"—tattooed on their arms. (Tattoo by @kaylamytattoo)
  • Piggyback. This minimal line drawing of a child on dad's shoulders is lovely. (Tattoo by @girolamodigiovanni_tattoo)
  • His Portrait. Whether realistic, traditional, or something else, a portrait tattoo of dad is always meaningful. (Tattoo by @longlivetattooing)
  • His Favorite Team. This image of father and son at the game is very emotional. (Tattoo by @_daniele_falzone_)
  • Holding Hands. Check out this tattoo of a dad fist-bumping his kids and taking them for a walk on the beach. (Tattoo by @poco_tattoo)
  • His Favorite Item of Clothing. Maybe he always wore glasses or a specific hat or a special necklace. Ink it onto your skin so you can always remember. (Tattoo by @leomoscovich)

Dad Tattoo Design Ideas

Although most tattoo artists have flash to choose from, you may want something unique. Many artists are willing to make a design just for you. When designing a custom tattoo, it is important to choose elements and symbols that play a role in your dad's life or your relationship. What did your father enjoy? What made him truly happy? What was his chosen career? What advice did he love to give? What activities did you love to do together? What memories, jokes, or interests did you share?

For example, if your dad was into muscle cars, you might want to incorporate one into your design. If he was a coal miner, you could add a coal lamp or hard hat. If your dad was a police officer, you may choose to get dad inked and have "HERO" under his name. What made your father special?

Tattoos for Dads

If you are a father looking for a tattoo to represent your children or family, there are plenty of options for you, as well.

  • One of the most common father tattoos is having your children's names inked—sometimes with birthdates.
  • If you're a new father, your baby's footprints or handprints are always popular choices.
  • Any symbol or element that is related to your children can be used. This includes blankets, building blocks, toys, cars, or dolls. You may want to choose to get your child's name inked and have it surrounded by building blocks or legos.
  • Your child may have a special talent that you want to portray in your tattoo.
  • You can also portray your child's personality in your tattoo. This can be meaningful and fun at the same time. For example, your child may be like the Tasmanian devil. He or she may run around getting into everything.
  • If your child has a nickname, get it inked!
  • You'll always want to look at that portrait tattoo of your children's young faces.
  • You can also choose from thousands of symbols and elements. You may want to get hearts or stars portrayed in your tattoo.
  • If you are very family-oriented, you may want to choose a wolf or a lion, which can represent "family" and "protection."

Memorial Tattoos for Fathers

Many who have lost their father choose to honor and remember him with a memorial tattoo. A dad tattoo is a very powerful and symbolic tattoo for the wearer. This may not pertain to your situation, but if it does, there are many ways to show respect and appreciation for your dad in ink.

  • As with most memorial tattoos, the cross is one of the most common symbols found within father memorial tattoos. The cross represents everlasting love, faith, sacrifice, and spirituality.
  • Another common symbol found in dad tattoos is the heart—either symbolic ♥ or anatomical.
  • Other common symbols include sports-related imagery, vehicles, games, anchors, tools, barbed wire, flowers, and pets or animals.
  • Many incorporate favorite songs, lyrics, lines of poetry, favorite sayings or mottos, and other important or meaningful words into their memorial tattoos.

Mom and Dad Tattoos

Father tattoos can be designed with mother tattoos to honor or memorialize both loved ones. For many of us, our parents are the most important figures in our life. In many cases, mom and dad are our best friends and two of the few people who are there through thick and thin.

What Does a "Dad" Tattoo Represent?

A dad tattoo can represent a variety of different meanings. As you can see below, one father tattoo might symbolize something completely different from the next. However, in general, most symbolize a special recognition of their father's influence and importance.

  • Protection
  • Honor
  • Guidance
  • Guardianship
  • Love
  • Bond
  • Endurance
  • Family

Remember, though, in the end, your dad tattoo represents what you want it to.


There are some important things to remember before you get your father tattoo or any tattoo.

  • Make sure that you take the time to research your design. Ensure that you fully understand what your tattoo represents and stands for. You don't want to get inked and find out later that your tattoo represents something different from what you thought. Be sure to do your research first!
  • Never rush to get inked! Those who choose to get inked on an impulse usually regret it later on down the road. Don't make this same mistake. Remember, you are planning to wear this for the rest of your life. You don't want to go through the process of laser removal and cover-ups. Be sure to make the right choice the first time around.
  • Father tattoos are meant to be special and emotionally meaningful. You want to make sure that you go to a tattoo artist that you know and trust. Ask them for examples, and don't be afraid to ask questions.


jinali on November 22, 2014:

Mbigram tattoo mom dad

Dianna Mendez on February 15, 2013:

Lots of creativity in these tattoos. I know they would be such a tribute to any father.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on February 12, 2013:

Hi Ricky, Long time no see...The Dad tattoos are beautiful, the one on the hand ( RIP ) is sad, like you stated, " Everyone has their own reason. ) Thank's again....

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on February 12, 2013:

These are really awesome tattoos. I love my dad lots but I'm not into tattoos but for anyone who is these are terrific. Passing this on. How have you been Ricky? Was wondering where you had gone to. Hope all is well with you and your family. Hugs.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on February 10, 2013:

Hi lyric!

I have been missing you and wondered where you had been ----I know, life! I thought maybe you had finally written about all the tattoos there were to write about, but not so. The Dad tattoo is great. Wow, such variety too.

Voted up ++++ and sharing.

God bless you. In His Love, Faith Reaper

acaetnna from Guildford on February 10, 2013:

Oh well you know what I think about tattoos!!! I would never, ever, dream of having one myself but I am somehow fascinated by them. A great hub however as always!!

Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on February 10, 2013:

Such an incredible assortment. Once again you have put such a lot of work into this comprehensive hub.

Well done Ricky

Happy Valentine's Day