Tiny Tattoo Ideas: Dime-Sized Designs

Updated on March 18, 2020
Thundermama profile image

I have lots of experience taking care of my tattoos—first to heal them and then to keep them looking good.

A tiny tattoo can be discreet, awesome and meaningful. Explore a few tiny designs, from hearts to ladybugs.
A tiny tattoo can be discreet, awesome and meaningful. Explore a few tiny designs, from hearts to ladybugs. | Source

The Tiny Tattoo: Itty Bitty Awesomeness

You’ve done it, you’ve made up your mind, and you're ready to get your first tattoo, but you’re scared. What if it hurts? What will your mom think? What about your job? What if you don’t like it in a year? Good questions, but frankly if you’re this frightened maybe you need to hightail it out of the tattoo parlor and think a little while longer.

But if you’re still hell-bent on getting a tattoo so you can become the coolest person ever, why not start by dipping your pinky toe into the inky waters of permanence, instead of your whole left leg? For you, my friends, might I suggest the itty bitty awesomeness that is the tiny tattoo? Don’t scoff—great things come in small packages, so why not a tattoo?

Things to Consider About Getting a Small Tattoo

  1. Is the design suited to miniature size? Try to keep it simple. I have seen a tiny tattoo go very bad recently because they tried to fit too many lines and colors into a space the size of a dime.
  2. Placement: Putting a tiny tattoo in a giant expanse of skin may end up looking more like a mole than art. Find just the right little crook for your ink blot of happiness.
  3. Building Potential: Tattoos are kind of like potato chips; it's hard just to have one. Why not give yourself a little breathing room in case you're ready to take things a step further with your design at some point in the future?
  4. The Artist: All tattoo artists are not created equal. Each has their own specialty, like medicine. For example, I have one artist who rocks with fine needle design but isn't as strong with shading and fill. If you're going tiny, take a peek at your artist's portfolio to get an idea of their needle control. You may be going small and simple, but that doesn't mean just anyone should do it.

Design Gallery for Dime-Sized Tattoos

Now take a look at some of the super cute designs and ideas below to help you get started on your tiny tattoo adventure.

  1. The Ladybug
  2. The Sweet Treat
  3. The Heart
  4. Gotta Bee Me
  5. Behind the Ear
  6. The Wrist

A tiny ladybug tattoo.
A tiny ladybug tattoo. | Source

1. The Ladybug

In my much younger pre-tattoo days, a bunch of us headed out to get pierced and tattooed together as a way of bonding. I got my nose pierced for the third and final time (long, silly story) while another friend of mine got his nipple pierced, something I never need to see again. And a girlfriend of mine decided to get her first tattoo: a tiny, delicate ladybug.

At the time it was a bit of a revelation to me that not all tattoos had to be giant, honking skulls. Of course, she winced and cried like she was having a giant skull tattooed, but not all pain thresholds are created equal. The end result was feminine, pretty and only visible at close range.

Discreet sweet treat tats.
Discreet sweet treat tats.

2. The Sweet Treat

Oh, how I wish I would have thought of this as an idea when planning my own artwork. I have a major sweet tooth and love the idea of having a secret cupcake or lollypop on my body somewhere. Delicious and lucky for the one who finds it.

A tiny heart tattoo.
A tiny heart tattoo.

3. The Heart

What could be a more lovely and fitting tribute than a having a small, simple heart etched onto your skin in a vivid red or your l'amours favorite colour? If you're willing to inch up in size just the slightest bit, you could even squeeze an initial on there.

A bee with the word "ME" printed on it.
A bee with the word "ME" printed on it. | Source

4. Gotta Bee Me

One of my favourite "almost" tiny tattoos belongs to my fab cousin who is mightily inked up but has managed to find a home for a sweet little bee with the word "ME" in it. It sits on her wrist as a reminder to stay true to herself. She went on the small side instead of tiny, but this concept could easily be simplified and shrunk down to a tiny size.

Even in a sea of tattoos, the right placement can make a small tattoo have some serious impact. I might have to steal this idea from her and get a bee of my own.

Behind the ear is a lovely, secret spot for a tiny tattoo.
Behind the ear is a lovely, secret spot for a tiny tattoo. | Source

5. Behind the Ear

What a perfect spot for a tiny tattoo. I have seen anything from initials to a small feather in this location and have pined for one of my very own. If only I could reconcile myself with my skull vibrating for an hour or two while I get it done.

A wrist tattoo can also be discreet, like these whimsical glasses and mustache.
A wrist tattoo can also be discreet, like these whimsical glasses and mustache. | Source

6. The Wrist

Another ideal spot for a tiny tattoo. This certainly seems to be the favoured spot of celebrities and people who want to push the envelope just a little bit. This spot is visible, but it's not in your face, and the tattoo can easily be hidden with a watch or bracelet if you've gone tiny enough.

Some people opt for a word or an initial in this spot; Britney Spears famously opted for a classy pink dice to match her then-husband's blue one. I'm big on whimsy, so I absolutely love the one pictured here.

Happy Inking!

So there you have it: some great tiny tattoo ideas to get you on your way. Trust me, something so small and cute can never be a bad thing. Happy inking!

© 2012 Catherine Taylor


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    • C Afra profile image

      Catherine Afra 

      7 years ago from Gloucestershire, UK

      What lovely little designs - I've always wanted to get a secret tattoo just for myself, if only I can pluck up the courage to face the dreaded inky needles! Great idea.

    • Thundermama profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Taylor 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks Mama Kim and Teaches. I am quite a fan of these tiny guys. Sometimes something small has more impact then something big.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      I absolutely love that little heart! It is so sweet. I think the small tattoo designs are much more appealing than the ones that are larger works of art.

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 

      7 years ago

      Adorable. I like the behind the ear space. I really want to get in for more. My first and only were two forearm tattoos 2.5 inches by 1 inch. I have at least 2 more I want to get for sure that are much larger. Great tips, voted up!

    • Thundermama profile imageAUTHOR

      Catherine Taylor 

      7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks BB. You wrote a novel! Colour me impressed.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Love the ladybug tattoo....in the only novel I have written so far, a whistling ladybug is one of the main characters. :) enjoyed the hub!


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