Dagger tattoos have been popular for over a century. The nature of their shape makes them perfect to go down forearms, upper arms, calves, and thighs. Most are medium in size, but people get them in smaller sizes as well. Often, these tattoos are paired with another object, like a heart, snake, or flower. As with any type of tattoo, there are a number of styles people tend to gravitate toward, and, in this case, traditional and neo-traditional designs are well represented. But you will also find their aesthetic highly stylized and completely contemporary.
We wanted to give you a better sense of the possibilities and limitations of dagger tattoos so we turned to social media to discover the latest and greatest designs that folks are falling in love with. We found dozens of inspiring tattoos to share with you so that you can get ideas for your next bit of ink. Find the right fit for you below and ask your tattoo artist to put their own spin on it.
Dagger Tattoo With a Snake
Most dagger tattoos are of medium size, often taking up a good chunk of the forearm or upper arm. But you will find them tattooed all over the body. This handsome one has a snake wrapped around it, a popular motif.
Dazzling Dagger Tattoo
A rainbow dagger tattoo? You better believe it. We don’t often associate cuteness with weaponry but this person has managed to pull it off.
Here is a dagger tattoo with botanical elements wrapped around it. It has an aesthetic akin to etching, making it look timeless.
Right Through the Heart
Hearts and dagger tattoos are a match made in heaven, as they are an extremely popular pairing. This one features plenty of red and gold for a warm and appealing look.
Here’s another dagger tattoo that looks like it has been inspired by an etching. It has a bone handle which is quite unusual among dagger tattoos.
This tidy dagger tattoo includes moon and star elements and blossoms that help soften things up. The artist has expertly shaded this tattoo to give it texture and plenty of visual interest.
Black and Grey With Snake
We told you snake dagger tattoos are popular! For this one, the artist has done an incredible job with black and grey. This is a stylish take that looks singular and unique.
Snake and Skull Hybrid
We find two popular dagger tattoo pairings in one design here, as the snake that wraps around the blade looks like a skull. It’s kind of creepy but an impressive feat nonetheless.
Bold, black lines look so sharp for this dagger tattoo. The blade appears slightly serrated, which is unusual among dagger tattoos.
Traditional Snake Head
Here is a very old design that still looks fresh today. Snake heads being pierced by daggers have been tattooed on bodies for decades. For an old-school feel, go with something similar for your dagger tattoo.
A Fresh Take on It
The person who shared this image of a dagger tattoo explained that they were inspired by medieval engraving. We think they nailed it.
Sure, a Heart Leopard
We bring you this heart-filled leopard dagger tattoo to show you that the sky is the limit with these types of designs. Tattoos are all about self-expression, and if that means a pink leopard paired with your dagger tattoo, so be it.
Sun and Moon
This person has two dagger tattoos on the forearms. One is embellished with moon attributes, while the other shines like the sun. If you want a dagger tattoo on each arm, think of things the contrast be that concepts or styles.
Micro tattoos are highly favored today. This is a tiny dagger tattoo on the face, and while we know that a face tattoo is not going to be for most, we share it to show how great these types of tattoos look when scaled down. Sometimes the smallest designs make the biggest impact.
Details on Details
Wow! Take a look at all of the intricate detail in the handle of this dagger tattoo. It’s mesmerizing! This tattoo is freshly completed, which is why you are seeing pink. Once it heals, the blade portion will become even fainter, which should look haunting.
Keeping an Eye On It
Here’s an interesting dagger tattoo that finds an eye where the handle meets the blade. It’s an interesting concept and one of the more unusual dagger tattoos with an eye incorporated.
Kawaii Kind of Cute
Kawaii is the Japanese culture of cuteness. This dagger tattoo is the definition of it, with its bright colors and sparkle elements. You can go in any direction your heart is driving you toward.
Here’s a dagger tattoo on a smaller scale that finds the blade piercing a bird’s skull. While medium-sized daggers are the most popular, you can go smaller for an equally appealing design.
Moth for the Win
Cha-ching! This dagger tattoo is money. The lines are so sharp, and the details so spectacular that this tattoo barely looks real. Purple and gold are contrasting colors that really pop next to each other. Bravo!
We are not the biggest fans of spiders, but for all of those goth-inclined folks out there, something similar could be the right way to go for your dagger tattoo.
Our eyes are treated to a rainbow’s worth of color that’s been applied to the petals and leaves of this rose and dagger tattoo. Feel free to go all out with your colors because an explosion of color never hurt anyone.
The Old In and Out
Dagger tattoos that appear to go through the skin are very popular. We saw so many while researching these kinds of tattoos. It’s a very old concept that people are still getting today.
Here’s another heart dagger tattoo that looks unlike most out there. The heart is framed with circular shapes that look like it’s been encrusted with some sort of precious stone. An eye in the center with black, exaggerated tears seems mysterious in all the right ways.
Animal head dagger tattoos are mildly popular today. They symbolize conquering something powerful and wild. In general, animal heads with their mouths open like this are placed over the elbow or knee, but you can pop it on wherever you like.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: A Look Into the Neo-Traditional Tattoo Style
Un Chien Andalou
Here is one of the weirdest dagger tattoos we encountered. It’s a melting eye with a dagger through it. Work with a tattoo artist who can help you realize your unique vision, and you won’t regret it.
What did you think of these dagger tattoo ideas? We hope you found them to be as inspiring and thrilling as we did. If you’d like even more ink inspiration, keep reading. We’ve got tattoos done in the neo-traditional style to share with you. And they are really, really good.
Learn More About Neo-Traditional Tattooing By Looking at the Examples Below.
We find many elements from traditional tattooing harnessed here along with radical color that’s been blended in a more contemporary style. Also notable is the use of black ink to create dimension and texture in the background of the design.
Rose and Snake
What a showstopper! We find a snake wrapped around a glorious rose in this energetic design. Notice how there is a black outline around every shape in this design? That’s a hallmark of traditional and neo-traditional tattoos.
Mushrooms From a Shell
Here’s an interesting design that finds some handsome mushroom springing from a shell. There is so much texture produced from hatching and movement lines.
Sacred heart tattoos are and have been extremely popular for decades. We find a new interpretation in this design that has a pleasing ombré that brings so much color and life to the design.
Horseshoe tattoos have been popular for a very long time as well. We find an update to the old design with the inclusion of the “sparkle” or “confetti” effect which is simply a bunch of dots used to fill various shapes.
Mum’s the Word
Chrysanthemum designs are well-represented among neo-traditional tattoos today. A cotton candy pink meets baby blue in the petals of this stunner.
Blue Flame, Black Bird
Take a look at this black bird’s plumage and you will see tons of little lines added to give the feathers texture. Despite all of it, the tattoo still reads as flat and 2D which makes the blue element really pop.
The black nails on the hand holding these flowers contrast beautifully with the orange rose in the foreground. Roses have been tattooed like this for decades.
Isn’t this lantern tattoo magical? Note the way the color intensity seems to radiate from the flame in the center and fades the further the tattoo moves away from it. It produces a very interesting effect.
Cute characters from nature are a big part of both traditional and neo-traditional tattoos. We find a sweet raccoon holding onto a pinecone here. Notice how green has been applied to the raccoon to make the golden-orange of the pinecone stand out? That’s money.
Eye Heart U
A heart with an eye in it is a classic symbol that’s been tattooed thousands of times. We find it improved here with a heart that’s full of spikes and has dramatic, black shading.
Lady faces are very popular among neo-traditional tattoos. We find a rather sinister one in the above example with a fresh-looking thorn or flame element.
Death’s-head hawkmoths are another popular design these days. When researching tattoos, we encounter tons of these done in a variety of styles. We must say it translates well for neo-traditional tattoos.
We find a rather poetic neo-traditional tattoo here that finds a broken arrow wrapped in a ribbon and some beads. What an attractive entry.
As we mentioned, lady faces are wildly popular and they have been for a very long time. What’s new in the above design is the shading on the face and its freckles. It’s very close to what you would find among traditional tattoos from decades ago.
Here’s a rather intense-looking rooster in this design which has used some incredibly warm colors that contrast well with the black elements of the design.
How daring is this little bird on a planchette? Botanical elements are popular additions to any design that sweeten the deal.
This flamingo tattoo looks positively electric in neon color. Pink, orange, and olive green all play well together in this big tattoo.
Pretty as a Peach
Go ahead and get your favorite fruit inked on you! Fruits make excellent neo-traditional tattoo designs because they put focus on shape and texture.
A black candle looks mesmerizing with bits of the “wax” picking up some of the warm golden colors that surround it. It makes it look as if the flame is being reflected from it.
What do you think of this neo-traditional bat tattoo? It’s fantastic. We find many elements of traditional tattooing here with a. few surprises for a look that feels both vintage and contemporary.
A True Gent
A gentleman cat? Why not! We think this furry fellow looks rather dapper in his green getup. Despite the whimsical subject matter, this tattoo is very close to the traditional tattooing style.
A Dagger of Love
We find dynamic color throughout this design from the handle to the delicately shaded tip of the dagger. “love dagger” feels like an oxymoron but it totally works for this design.
Neo-traditional tattooing is best when it harkens back to classic flash. An hourglass is a popular thing to get tattooed and it’s taken to brand new heights in this design that offers so much visual interest and plenty of imagination.
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We told you fruit is popular among neo-traditional tattoos. These blueberries are the perfect little celebration of the fruit.
Her Father’s Hand
This is a tribute tattoo for her father who was a carpenter. We find a very interesting perspective with a hand seeming to float in front of the tools of the trade. What a sweet, meaningful design.
A Splendid Mystery
In this deceptively simple design, we find all sorts of popular elements married together. A classic rose, a vase, and a sacred heart are all connected in this inspired design that’s been applied to perfection.
Do you have a better sense of the neo-traditional tattoo style? We hope we’ve given you a good idea of the hallmarks of this style and just how astonishing and cool these designs can be. In general, “traditional” is not something most of us are into, but for tattoos, it brings the past to life in fresh, new ways. Happy tattooing!
Andrew is an Assistant Editor for Mamas Uncut with over ten years of experience as a writer in the creative, marketing, and blogging spaces. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a passion for telling stories in a variety of mediums. Obsessively making lists, reporting celebrity news, and diving into emerging pop cultural topics are a few of his interests.
- 0.1 Dagger Tattoo With a Snake
- 0.2 Dazzling Dagger Tattoo
- 0.3 Classic Dagger
- 0.4 Right Through the Heart
- 0.5 Bone Dagger
- 0.6 Floral Dagger
- 0.7 Black and Grey With Snake
- 0.8 Snake and Skull Hybrid
- 0.9 Super Sharp
- 0.10 Traditional Snake Head
- 0.11 A Fresh Take on It
- 0.12 Sure, a Heart Leopard
- 0.13 Sun and Moon
- 0.14 Tiny Dagger
- 0.15 Details on Details
- 0.16 Keeping an Eye On It
- 0.17 Kawaii Kind of Cute
- 0.18 Realism
- 0.19 Moth for the Win
- 0.20 Creepy-Crawly
- 0.21 Radical Rose
- 0.22 The Old In and Out
- 0.23 Lanced Heart
- 0.24 The Tyger
- 0.25 Un Chien Andalou
- 1 Learn More About Neo-Traditional Tattooing By Looking at the Examples Below.
- 1.1 Lucky Fish
- 1.2 Rose and Snake
- 1.3 Mushrooms From a Shell
- 1.4 Sacred Heart
- 1.5 Good Luck
- 1.6 Mum’s the Word
- 1.7 Blue Flame, Black Bird
- 1.8 A Bouquet
- 1.9 That’s Hot
- 1.10 Rad Raccoon
- 1.11 Eye Heart U
- 1.12 She-Devil
- 1.13 Death Moth
- 1.14 Broken Arrow
- 1.15 Cowgirl
- 1.16 The Clucker
- 1.17 Cute Chick
- 1.18 Flamingo-Go
- 1.19 Pretty as a Peach
- 1.20 Light Up
- 1.21 Beautifully Batty
- 1.22 A True Gent
- 1.23 A Dagger of Love
- 1.24 On-Time
- 1.25 Berry Special
- 1.26 Her Father’s Hand
- 1.27 A Splendid Mystery
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