Here are the 160 best skull tattoos EVER (in our opinion), including descriptions, HD photos, tips and info for getting skull tattoos. Let’s face it, skull tattoos look really cool! I’ve read so many negative things about tattoos that incorporate a skull that I have to say people are really wrong. A skull tattoo is badass! What if skulls represent death and they were used on pirates’ flags? Does that make them an unfortunate addition to one’s skin? I don’t think so.
Candy skulls for example, are very popular and are not at all scary. Well, they should be, because they actually refer to dead people. Indeed, they are embellished with flowers and pretty colors, but if we really have to associate skulls with death, then this type of skull tattoos are the most appropriate.
Other negative references regarding skull tattoos are about prisoners, gang members and bikers. Skulls are intimidating, so of course they are chosen by people who want to look tough! However, they shouldn’t be considered a mark of the bad!
Here are the 160 Best Skull Tattoos EVER (in our humble opinion):
Long time ago, the skull accompanied by the crossbones was a symbol used to mark cemeteries. It was first used in Spain and taken over by other countries. The Spanish weren’t the only ones to use this symbol.
A little before the 18th century, Germans crafted some kickass uniforms for themselves that included hats. They added the skull symbol on their hats to inspire fear and create the impression that they were above others.
Despite all these examples, the sign that has probably made the skull and the crossbones famous is the one for poisonous substances. Even so, youth these days may not be aware of all these meanings and get a skull tattoo just because it is cool.
What is really important is to personalize your tattoo design and make sure it means something for you. Also, there’s nothing wrong in tattooing something on your skin just because it looks cool. It’s enough if that something makes you feel better and you like it!
As it follows, you will discover 60 skull tattoos that go from simple to complex. Bidimensional and tridimensional designs are included, as well as colorful and black and white images. Find the one that appeals to you the most!
60. The butterfly effect skull tattoos
Without any connection to the actual movie, the Butterfly Effect, this hand tattoo is based on an optical illusion. When you think you see a butterfly, you are actually seeing two skulls as well. The skulls are not positioned frontally, but their shape is quite obvious. This could be a contrast between lively and dead.
59. Branches forming a skull
The skull part of this landscape looks like it is formed out of branches. It is a pretty gloomy composition, especially because of the silhouette that can be seen sitting next to the tree. However, it can have various deep meanings thanks to the tree’s roots and the black birds that fly away.
58. The skull of petals skull tattoos
Art has reached a whole new level of awesomeness. These days, you can incorporate a skull into a rose and make it look like it’s not even there. This is among the skull tattoos that are meant to look great. I seriously doubt it is about associating the rose and the skull as correspondents for life and death.
57. Tucked in the middle of a rose
Redder and more obvious than the previous one, the skull from this tattoo looks like it’s tucked in. However, the withered leaves behind it are a sign of death. So, this could mean the rose is about to die as well or that is kept alive by the memory of a lost soul. The black background makes this design stand out nicely.
56. Kissing without lips
How about this perfect loving couple that is about to kiss? Oups! They have no lips! I like everything about this tattoo! It is so anatomically correct that you can tell the woman is on the right and the man on the left. It’s something about her position towards him that makes me sure of it.
Ready for more skull tattoos? Here we go!
55. No way to definition skull tattoos
This full chest and abs tattoo is made of multiple elements. Its size only makes it impressive, not to mention the plethora of symbols that are included. The actual shape of the skull and its teeth are pretty accurate. The same thing cannot be said about the details that form the mandible. It’s a dual tattoo thanks to the triangles that point both up and down, and the plants that replace the bones.
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54. The leaf is alive
Well, the leaf is not really alive because that’s a skull positioned upside down. It’s not a simple leaf either. So, could it be a symbol of dying nature that regenerates? If nature regenerates, then maybe souls reincarnate and come back in material form. Either way, this is a sick ink work!
53. One woman, one skull
Probably one of the most successful skull tattoos that aren’t really skulls, this tattoo plays tricks on my mind. Besides the fact that there’s no real skull in this image, there aren’t two women either. It’s just one woman and her reflection in the mirror. I bet the artist who drew this design is a genius!
52. Half dead, half alive
Part of the mind blowing series, this half skull tattoo matches its owner’s face perfectly. She looks half dead thanks to the tattoo and half alive thanks to her real face. It looks so genuine that I am actually impressed! I can’t say her sparkling nails help though.
51. Smirking skull in a 4 leaf clover
The 4 leaf clover is a symbol of luck. The wearer of this tattoo is clearly not associating luck with death. This means that the smirking skull is just a really cool addition to this green design. Or, it could represent the consequences of being too lucky. I am referring to people who forget where they come from or those who immerse themselves in vices because they can afford it.
50. Inwrought skull in a heart
There is something about this tattoo that makes me think of Alice in Wonderland. I am sure there is a fascinating story behind it. The skull looks rudimentary, but I guess that representation is enough in order to make a point. I especially like the ornamental details that surround the ace of spades.
49. Pin-Up skull can’t talk
Judging by the hairstyle of this skull, his owner is definitely a pin-up fan. What’s interesting about him, is that it has his mouth sewn. Right under it, there’s a shaving razor that looks a little bloody. Did someone use it to draw the red lines on his face? Maybe beauty requires pain since they are so precise and symmetrically positioned.
48. Girlie pin-up skull
Pin-up skull tattoos are easy to identify mostly because of their hairdo. This dead beauty has an updo embellished with a purple bow that looks more than pretty. Her lips were carefully defined with an appealing shade of pink for a more feminine effect. Did you notice how her nose (or what’s left of it) is shaped like a heart? So sweet!
47. Curved lines masterpiece
Take a bunch of stripes, position them correctly and you’ll obtain a skull! Voila! I wish this was so simple! This is a very interesting and precise drawing of a skull seen from a different angle than usual. The stripes vary in thickness where they are meant to create dimension. I think the white parts are actually this person’s skin, not white ink. Pretty genius!
46. Hand skull replaces half face
The masculine version of half dead, half alive, this tattoo looks fierce! Its owner is making a funny face that helps with the whole idea of creating a dreadful image. I especially admire the way its teeth look! What can I say, some people have better denture in the afterlife!
45. Wavy lines reveal a skull
It’s fascinating how slight deviations of straight lines plus some shadows can create the image of a skull. If you look at this tattoo for too long, your vision might play tricks on you. Skull tattoos are tricky to draw anyway, let alone in this very unique manner. This guy has definitely made a great choice!
44. Inked shoulder armor skull tattoos
Although this is not really a shoulder armor, it definitely looks like one thanks to the very inspired choice in placement. This gal took the image of a cracked, half skull and combined it with pretty, bloody flowers. Usually, the combination between skulls and flowers refers to life versus death.
43. Under skin sneak peaks
Red and black are just as contrasting as dead and alive. I think the point of this tattoo is that flesh and blood are ephemeris. Bones are the only parts of our bodies that stay longer on this Earth than we do. The fact that this woman’s eyes are closed could also be related to death, but she isn’t dead since her mouth is open. Would you like people to ask themselves this many questions when they see your skull tattoo?
42. United by greatness
When this man puts his arms together, the tattoos on his forearms form one big skull. However, if you look close enough, you’ll see that he has caves, bats, tunnels and rocks individually drawn on each arm. Although it’s hard to distinguish every detail, his idea is awesome!
41. Death in a bottle skull tattoos
Alcoholism is a sure way to self-destruction and, ultimately, to death. This tattoo depicts that message very clearly and it does it in an artistic way! The tattoo artist who managed to draw this masterpiece was attentive to details. I’m saying this because he or she took the time to ink the air bubbles from the alcohol. This design could be a reminder that alcohol kills or it could’ve been done in the memory of someone who died because of alcohol.
40. Two faced Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe once said that If you’re going to be two-faced, at least make one of them pretty! Her words echoed in this person’s mind and probably soul too. She chose to represent the not so pretty face by drawing half a skull next to the pretty half face of Marilyn Monroe. Keep in mind that only professional tattoo artists can ink such a good portrait of someone. It takes years of practice in order to reach such level of precision.
39. Creepy one-eyed skull with a cloak on
Legend has it that the ace of spades is the death card. It’s affiliation with this creepy, one-eyed skull makes perfect sense! Another meaning of this card is key to the mystery of life. I’m not trying to be mean or anything, but this guy failed to find out the mystery of life since he ended up in skull mode.
38. Tiny sugar skulls
Thumb tattoos aren’t exactly popular, but this example of skull tattoos might give them a little boost. Tiny, but detailed at the same time, these two sugar skulls are a pair. The white one is clearly the lady and the black one, the gentleman. Instead of eyes, he has two little hearts for her sparkling eyes to see. Maybe the wearer of these two skulls believes in love after death.
37. Alien mode on skull tattoos
The blue light coming out of this apparently frowned skull makes me think of aliens. The type of aliens from the Alien series. My reasons aren’t really logical, but I bet you are randomly associating images with movies all the time! As a hand tattoo, this skull fits perfectly and looks super-rad as well!
36. Lovebirds on a bed of flowers
If you aren’t already used to seeing flowers next to skulls, you should start now! This association is one of the most common ones. As previously said, skulls and flowers form the contrast between something alive and something without life. Thanks to this tattoo, the couple drawn on this person’s skin will live on for as long as this person does.
35. Happy white skull
A super cute ankle tattoo, this white skull looks so happy! I can easily include it in the sugar skulls category. Although it’s a simple design, I think it’s better than others just because it is white. Getting a white tattoo is not yet a common thing, so you can still pull it off by inking one soon! For more white colored tattoos, check out this article http://www.tattoo-models.net/33-white-tattoos-white-ink-lovers/
34. Huge thigh skull tattoos
This gorgeous brunette picked a huge skull tattoo for her thigh. She added a few roses and ornamental elements to make it more feminine. I totally agree with her decision and admire how good it looks on her lean body. Not everyone can get a tattoo in this area and display it without flaws!
33. Native American thigh skull tattoos
Numerous descendants of Native Americans choose this tattoo design to show their love for their inheritance. This one looks like the Indian chief, who is the most respected and feared member of the tribe. The feathers follow her bodyline fact which emphasizes her curves. A very flattering tattoo!
32. Lips and skull
On a lighter note, here are some pink lips, a skull and crossbones. Since these lips look so perfect, I think the pattern was taken from a database. Even so, that skull looks playful and somehow happy to be there. At least it isn’t also pink. Looks like a lady tattoo, don’t you think?
31. 4 miscellaneous skulls
This person must love skulls in general. I’m saying that because he or she chose 4 different types of skull tattoos. I’m sure the first one on the left is a human skull and the first one on the right is a bird skull. I can’t identify for sure the other types of skulls. Can you?
30. Time is a heavy burden
This big back piece is quite emotional. Besides the main skull, there are two additional small ones that suggest sadness. The clock positioned above is a cruel reminder that our time on Earth is limited. We should make the most of what we have and get as much ink as we want!
29. Changes, passion and unusual knowledge skull tattoos
Skull tattoos surrounded by fire and flames are dynamic! Although fire has lots of meanings, I think we can sum it up and call it a symbol of changes, passion and unusual knowledge. The first two attributes fit best for this particular tattoo. The job itself was nicely done since it has received an award!
28. Ignited rocky skull
This is a disintegrating skull made of rocks that looks ignited. Grinding itself from within, it is slowly, but surely, falling apart. If there is such thing as facial expression in case of a skull, then I can read despair on this one’s face. What caused such sorrow to this poor little guy? I guess we’ll never know.
27. Vintage skeleton is king
A classic depiction of a skeleton, this design is part of the vintage skull tattoos category. It has the customary flowers around its head, symbolizing the duality of life and death. Also, those flowers can be seen as a crown. The skull with a crown on is a motif that went through a lot of changes lately. You’ll see lots of shiny crowns instead of a wreath.
26. New age skull wears a hat
Take a very detailed and realistic skull and combine it with abstract splashes of color. You’ll obtain a new age skull tattoo that is a pleasure to look at! This one looks especially fancy thanks to the hat on its head. I like how random those red lines look!
25. Light in the dark skull tattoos
Assuming the skull represents darkness, it would be appropriate to say that the light coming from inside is positive. Light in the dark is a sign of hope. No matter how bad things are, if a skull is still literally filled with light, then there’s nothing to worry about! Things have a way of sorting themselves out.
24. Cross-hatching a scholar skull
Cross-hatching without shading is mainly a drawing technique, but it can also be used in tattooing. Looking like a scholar, this skull’s character is emphasized by the hat he’s wearing. A 70’s rep, his image is confident, charming and really far from scary or dangerous. Nothing bad can happen if you leave your hat on!
23. The diaphanous face of a butterfly
Butterflies don’t really have faces, do they? Not in the conventional way, anyway. Someone had this cool idea to replace the body of a butterfly with a pretty, feminine skull. Red is the dominant color in this tattoo, fact which makes it stand out beautifully. The face itself looks like those celebrating the Day of the Dead.
22. Under-bust jewelry and a skull
Under-bust tattoos are very popular among women. They are very flattering because they perfectly frame a woman’s shapes. Besides the skull that is nicely centred, this tattoo consists of chains and beads like those used for necklaces. Delicate and dark at the same time, this tattoo idea is very appealing!
21. The hero of the story skull tattoos
The Latin inscription from this skull tattoo means I am the hero of this story, I don’t need to be saved. In other words, this girl is quite confident on her own strength and believes that she can carry her own cross without anyone’s help. This is an empowering message along with an awesome-looking tattoo.
20. The couple skulls
Clearly couple tattoos, these skull tattoos are very cute. They have the bow and bowtie additions that are characteristic to woman and man. Moreover, the masculine skull has a funny mustache and a hat that denote chivalry as it used to be centuries ago. Both skulls have small holes in them. I wonder what those are.
19. Dying flowers form a skull
Simple and out of the ordinary, this tattoo is not of a skull per se. It includes flowers that wither, but which somehow look like a skull. Maybe the fact that the flowers are about to die is a detail that needed a hidden message consisting of a skull. Or, perhaps this design was impossible to overlook because it is so mysterious.
18. Green horrors on skin skull tattoos
This fellow is infuriated! I don’t know what to fear most: the human skull or the creature next to it? These two look like bad news! Do you realize how qualitative this work of art is? It is capable of inspiring fear and terror to a simple viewer. Beware of the green light!
17. Behold the true king
Royalty or not, death got to him too! The crown is a symbol of power, as well as supremacy. Is death wearing a crown because it ultimately wins the fight with life? The meanings of this tattoo are varied and they really depend from one person to the other. Do you feel inspired?
16. Under-bust corset inked in skin
The role of a corset is to thin out a woman’s waist. This girl definitely looks like she has a thinner waist thanks to her tattoo’s point of interest and the choice of colors. These types of skull tattoos encompass the same symbols. The differences lay in positioning and patterns.
15. Fierce skull on the breastbone skull tattoos
This girl was brave! It’s well-known that the breastbone is one of the most painful areas where we can get tattooed. Moreover, she chose an intimidating design considering it is not an easy to cover area. The association between skull and flowers is present here as well. Overall, this is a beautiful chest piece.
14. Skull on another skull
As if one skull wasn’t enough, here’s an example of a skull, on another skull’s forehead. You have to give credit to the artist who made this, because it is exceptional! I feel like its face is coming out of his skin. Realistic and very well inked, this design would be one of my top choices.
13. Autumn is death
The colors used for this tattoo, as well as the withered leaf make me think of autumn. As you know, Spring is associated with rebirth and Autumn with death. The skull and the crossbones emphasize the idea of death. Did you notice the golden tooth? That’s a funny detail!
12. Evil strikes again
This skull looks like a villain from a horror movie that is funny more than it is scary. Probably satisfied for destroying something, it is playing the whole thing again and again in its head. Indeed, there’s a house that burns down and that’s not something to laugh about. The fire adds dynamism to the whole tattoo.
11. The human skull emanates Universe
Undoubtedly a girl’s vision, this tattoo has deep significance. The Universe practically emanates from the skull. This could mean that once we die, we become one with the Universe and maybe we find out its secrets as well! Colorful and inoffensive, this design is worth duplicating!
10. Illuminated skull is toothless
Illuminated skull tattoos have a considerable visual impact. They look like they are alive and they can actually see you. Although it’s out of the question, this type of skull has a real appearance thanks to the way it was inked. Only talented tattoo artists can come up with such great results.
9. See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil
If you remember, the three wise monkeys or the three mystic apes, then you’ll know what this tattoo is all about. One of the monkeys has his eyes covered, the other his ears and the last one his mouth. Also called a pictorial maxim, this scene determined the artist to replace the monkeys with one big skull. The principle remains unchanged though.
8. Colorful skull tattoos with a diamond
The diamond from this skull’s forehead looks like a Bindi. A Bindi is that red dot that you see on Indian women. There are no other elements that suggest an association with the Indian culture, but that diamond definitely means something. Other than that, this is a colorful skull that catches the eye.
7. Rainbow-ish arm skull
If you ask me, I don’t think that anything colored like a rainbow can look scary. This skull looks so cute that it makes me want to pinch his cheeks. I obviously can’t do that, but you get the point. The colors seem weightless, especially on the skull’s edges. They look like they want to rise up and float.
6. Illuminated hand skull tattoos
Hands and skull tattoos are a great combination. If the wearer makes a fist, his tattoo looks like a genuine skull. Size really matters in this situation because it’s similar with the real deal. He can animate the lifeless skull on his hand by moving it. If I ever ink my hand, I will choose a skull! Early human skull.
5. The wise pharaoh skull
Think about Tutankhamun, the Egyptian pharaoh! Can you identify the resemblance? The stairs located under this skull’s chin totally look like that thing below King Tut’s chin. The golden hue used for his eye doesn’t help either. Gold is all over his coffin. Maybe he did decompose after all!
4. Pastel wildflower skull tattoos
The colors look purposely washed out on this tattoo. Wildflowers don’t always have bright colors. They are more discolored than other types of flowers. The seeds, however, play the role of teeth unimaginably well! A tattoo that matches autumn, but it’s more alive than it will ever be!
3. Bright colored flowers make up a skull
Quite similar with the previous tattoo, this one is made of brighter colored flowers. I find adorable how its nose is a rosebud and how its teeth are leaflets. The daisies that replace the eyes look like long eyelashes. Cute, feminine, bright and well-done, this tattoo might look like a skull, but it’s everything a skull isn’t.
2. Breathtaking and uplifting back piece
Opting for a tattoo this large asks for dedication and a contoured vision of the final result. This person put some thought into this design and committed to her decision. An angel, hills, the sun, trees, roots, water and triangles are all powerful and meaningful symbols that create a skull together. This back piece has a complicated story behind it that we can’t crack just by looking at it. Can’t look away though.
1. First was the apple
The apple is the first forbidden fruit without which there was no death. What better choice of portraying a skull than by incorporating the fruit that made death possible? Whether you are a Christian or not, this idea is excellent! I’m sorry I didn’t think of it first.
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