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Weeping Willow Tattoo (Meaning, Design, and Placement Ideas)

Tom has been an online writer for over seven years. He loves sharing unique tattoo designs.

Are you thinking about getting a weeping willow tattoo? Keep reading for some inspiration.

Are you thinking about getting a weeping willow tattoo? Keep reading for some inspiration.

The weeping willow is among the more unique and gorgeous trees on the planet. They grow well near ponds and creeks, and their roots help prevent erosion. One of their most striking features is their branches, which hang, sway, and act as barriers to break heavy winds. Because of their natural beauty, these trees are the subjects of many works of art, including those of tattoo artists.

What makes weeping willows such awesome subject matter are those wonderful, drooping branches, which hang down on a day without much wind and sway brilliantly when stronger gusts fling the branches out in a magnificent display.

The Meaning of a Weeping Willow Tattoo

As the name suggests, weeping willows are often tattooed as symbols of grief, sadness, and loss. Additionally, they can represent more positive things, like hope and life.

Weeping Willow Tattoo Meanings

  • Endurance through tragedy
  • Overcoming challenges
  • Growth
  • Safety
  • Strength
  • Belonging

These tattoos are also used as memorials to represent loved ones, either those that have passed or those who happen to love these huge, droopy trees.

Weeping Willow Tattoo Design

When it comes to tattoo design, the emphasis is usually on how these trees look on a calm, windless day. Weeping willow tattoos commonly show the tree standing alone, though some designs incorporate other images as well. Remember, this is your tattoo; you can incorporate as much detail as your heart desires!

Something I personally love about these tattoos is that almost all of them are done in dark ink. I believe that most tattoo themes look better when dark ink is utilized, and that's definitely the case with the weeping willow.

Want an Even More Unique Design?

Consider breaking the tree into its components. Maybe opt for a tattoo of willow leaves (like this one), a trunk, a single hanging branch, or something a little more striking (like this tattoo, which incorporates crying eyes into the "weeping" design).

A Weeping Willow makes an amazing tattoo design on the shoulder or back.

A Weeping Willow makes an amazing tattoo design on the shoulder or back.

Added Components to Consider

If you're looking for more personal, unique details to accompany your tree tattoo, here are a few ideas.

What Else to Include in a Willow Tree Tattoo

  • More trees
  • Flowers
  • The name of a loved one
  • The date of an influential event
  • Background scenery
  • Geometric lines
  • Birds
  • Woodland animals

Weeping Willow Tattoo Placement

Weeping willow tattoos can work both as something small and dainty, or large and impressionable. Because of this, the placement of your tattoo is entirely up to you.

  • Shoulder (like this)
  • Back
  • Bicep
  • Forearm (like this or this)
  • Lower back
  • Wrist
  • Back of the neck
  • Thigh (like this one)

Below are some more in-depth examples of different designs to consider.

A realistic weeping willow design.

A realistic weeping willow design.

Realistic Tree

The natural attributes of the tree, with branches moving like whips in the wind, are the focus in this case. These features are difficult to incorporate, as the scene can become too busy and full. When done correctly, however, these details can elevate the entire image.

A weeping willow with a skull above.

A weeping willow with a skull above.

Rib Placement With Skull

This tattoo has its own focus, with a skull emerging from behind and dark, ominous clouds. The tree itself is great, especially the gnarled-looking area of the tree trunk and roots. The twisted trunk, looming clouds, spooky skull (which could also be interpreted as a moon), and dramatic shading all work with one another to create an eerie image. This is a darker, more supernatural version than the rest shown in this article.

Of course, the most prominent things about this tattoo are its size and its placement. The design starts right under the armpit and reaches all the way down to this individual's waistline. For more inspiration about tattoos on this area of the body, check out Rib Tattoo Information and Ideas.

A weeping willow tattoo placed on the shoulder.

A weeping willow tattoo placed on the shoulder.

Shoulder Placement

In the tattoo above, we have an interesting twist on the subject. The artist and designer decided to go with a dark, wide tree trunk at the center of the piece, with the branches spread out to the top and the sides. I think this is actually pretty cool, as it's a different interpretation of the tree than many other artists use.

If you know you want to get a shoulder tattoo, but you're unsure about the design, here's an article on everything you want to know about shoulder tattoos.

More Tree-Inspired Tattoo Ideas


CraftingTime from Spring Hill, Florida on June 26, 2012:

Where was this blog three years ago during my search for a weeping willow image? A weeping willow tattoo was all I wanted but only found blobs attempting to resemble a willow. I love the rib willow. That is where I was planning on getting mine. Well written hub, good job!