Frame tattoos offer something special. They allow you to add definition to a design with an effect that looks like it’s been cut out of a piece of art. A frame can add a creative touch and help tie together pieces for a bold statement. It’s likely the frame tattoo trend originated in Korea, and in just a short time, the style of tattoo has exploded worldwide.
This trend started with rectangle-shaped frames but, as you will see, it’s a lot of fun to break the rules and try other shapes. If you are new to frame tattoos or want suggestions for how to pull one off, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got dozens of frame tattoo ideas to share with you. Now, go get inspired for your next ink session.
Turtle and Crane
Let’s kick things off with a design that reflects how this trend emerged. A slender, rectangular frame is filled with tons of minute detail. This Asian-inspired scene is breathtaking. You should consider something similar if you’d like to stay true to the frame tattoos that started it all.
Here’s another example inspired by Asian art and culture. However, this one stretched down the entire arm. This is the longest frame tattoo we have ever seen, and we think it looks fabulous.
Tips for an Abstract Design
Because of the sharp, straight lines of a rectangular, square or triangle, the contents of your frame can contrast best if it features organic shapes like waves. In the above frame tattoo, curvy lines really pop next to the clean borders of the frame.
Pick a Shape, Any Shape
As we mentioned, rectangles are standard but feel free to branch out and choose a unique shape for your frame tattoo. We find Starry Night in a puzzle piece here. What do you think of it?
A Frame’s Frame
A frame tattoo can also have a figurative frame as its border. You get to make the rules! The above example looks positively magical.
Black and Grey Are Okay
We’ve seen mostly colorful frame tattoos, but you can go with black and grey for an understated design. Above, we find two haunting landscapes full of texture that looks like stippling in fine art.
Also highly favored are talisman frame tattoos. Above, we find a masterwork in red of koi fish amongst the waves. How dreamy is this?
For the most dramatic frame tattoo, consider subject matter that can spill out of the frame. These handsome flowers elegantly tumbling out are a beautiful example of how to pull it off. More to come!
When it comes to frame tattoos, the more the merrier. You can create even more visual interest by combining two frames with either complimentary or opposing subject matter.
There are some razor-sharp lines on this frame tattoo with romantic red and orange clouds behind a stern-looking bird. Diamonds are a favorite shape for this genre of tattoo.
Think Outside the Box
Here’s a truly inspired and singular frame tattoo that steps away from convention and ventures into uncharted territory. A black frame with ornamentation looks so incredible as it houses a beautifully tattooed portrait.
Widen your frame tattoo for a look that’s less traditional but equally as beguiling. In this example, we are treated to a paradise scene and it would have been difficult for the artist to fully tell the client’s story if it were thinner.
Similar to the stacked frame tattoos earlier, this example features more than one frame. However, it differs in that the frames are connected by a shared narrative, as evident by the tiger the stretches across the divide. The artist who shared the image explained that mother of pearl inspired them.
Coloring In the Lines
While frame tattoos with objects escaping the borders offer more drama, you might be after something more understated and meditative. If that’s the case, a moody color story contained neatly inside could be the right direction.
The last example has tons of detail worked into it, but that’s not to everybody’s tastes. For something more playful, consider going with a minimalist look.
Defined VS Invisible Frames
Most of the frame tattoos on this list use an invisible frame to cut straight lines. To bring more focus to the frame, consider going with something similar to the above example with double, thick black lines.
Just the Frame
It can be all about the frame and nothing else. This sort of frame tattoo offers a mysterious vibe. For us, the more ornate, the better.
A Frame Apart
This frame tattoo contains the same size frame as the landscape but just as an outline. It’s got a sort of geometric coolness to it. The addition of dots to form other shapes is also intriguing.
Coming Right at You
For some frame tattoos, the device is used to create a surreal perspective. Isn’t this gorgeous line look like it’s coming from one world into another? Amazing!
Invisible Frame to the Next Level
More often than not, we find frame tattoos that are completely filled with color. In this example, negative space makes the invisible frame look even more incredible.
Light and Darm
A landscape scene is standard for frame tattoos, but work with your artist, and you can create new possibilities. These leaves are shown both in light and shadow for an arresting scene.
Cat as Frame
We wanted to share another unconventional shape as a frame tattoo and this cat is where it’s at. If you like, your favorite animal can be transformed into a frame.
Frame as Band
Arm band tattoos are extremely popular. We can say, without a doubt, that they are a perfect opportunity for a frame tattoo. It’s like they were made for the job.
Dancheong is an ancient Korean art form where buildings and artifacts are painted and colored with traditional designs, usually in shades of vibrant red, cinnabar, and blue-green. The term ‘Dancheong’ literally translates to “cinnabar and blue-green” in Korean – or “red and blue” in English. This frame tattoo is a celebration of it.
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You get to make the rules when it comes to frame tattoos. Now that you understand the general concept, the sky is the limit. We leave you with this beautiful portrait framed in an extreme close-up. What a beauty.
There you go! We hope you walk away from this list with better frame tattoo ideas than when you started. These truly are some incredible designs. For more ink inspiration, keep reading. We’ve got our favorite Yin and Yang tattoos to share as well!
Yin Yang With Koi
As promised, here’s an example of a koi fish yin yang tattoo. The crisp, fine lines are remarkable here. Of all the styles of tattoos we surveyed, this is the most popular so if you go in this direction, know that you will be in very good company.
Here’s a cool concept that divides the symbol into the sum of its parts. It looks fantastic down the spine but would also be welcome down an arm or leg.
Sun and Sea
Here’s another extremely popular yin yang tattoo. It finds opposing forces in the ocean and the sun. This example is fantastic, but we have some similar ones to share with you.
A Little Love
We find the circular shapes swapped out for tiny hearts in this charming yin yang tattoo. This is mildly popular, and we think it’s rather cute.
Mountains and Waves
Similar to the sun and ocean yin yang tattoo, this design contains a mountain versus ocean scene. Black and grey look handsome, but you could easily go with color for something more vibrant.
Watercolor tattoos are a huge trend today. The same is true for yin yang tattoos, so it’s a marriage between two very popular designs. There’s so much movement and energy in this piece.
Watercolor Part II
Because this is so popular, we wanted to share another example with you. Contrasting colors pop off of each other here and explode with energy. How beautiful!
Characters, like animals, are also popular with yin yang tattoos. In this design, we find a dark wolf and a white one that also includes astral bodies. What a winner.
Now, most yin yang tattoos are small to medium in size, but this one is situated in a full sleeve. It shows that the yin yang symbol is versatile and can be worked into larger designs.
Here’s a very interesting yin yang tattoo showing the symbol spilling from a split face and flowers. It’s the only tattoo like it that we saw. That makes it a truly singular design.
Ready for This Jelly
Step aside, koi fish, jellyfish are impeccable in this yin yang tattoo. Don’t they look positively haunting? Almost anything can be employed to work as this symbol.
How fun are these little flowers? We think the understated look of this yin yang tattoo will speak to many people. Flowers and other botanical elements are popular, and we’ve got a few more to share with you.
Cute kitties are where it’s at! These darling felines are curled up into the yin yang symbol, and little star shapes sweeten the deal further. Cat-lovers, you could do no better.
Listen to Your Heart
We’ve seen little hearts in the yin yang symbol, but this example is contained in a heart shape. Little botanical elements and ornamentation help bring the overall design to life.
Balance In the Branches
Wow. This yin yang tattoo makes us want to take a deep breath. It’s so perfectly balanced and elegant. We are big fans of tattoos that celebrate nature; this one is a party.
Here is an offbeat yin yang tattoo that encircles the kneecap. The abstract shapes look magical here, akin to flames. This is likely bigger than most will want to go, but you could 100% size it down for something more modest.
As Above, So Below
We find the branches and roots of a tree echoing each other in this yin yang tattoo. It’s perfectly balanced and immediately gave us a sense of calmness.
As promised. more flower yin yang tattoos are on the way. This one has the symbol centered in the flower; instead of a tidy circle, it has a wavy border.
Colorful yin yang tattoos are not as popular as you might expect. You can absolutely take your tattoo in that direction if you want. We find golden petals and flames encircling the symbol and a contrasting green stem that makes the whole thing pop.
Isn’t this yin yang tattoo haunting and ethereal? The swirling lines offer so much movement and energy.
Here’s one of the most unique yin yang tattoos we found. Two bodies have been used to create the symbol in a gorgeous way. This is art, baby!
Head and Heart
A little brain and heart have been used here to create the opposing concepts of the yin yang symbol. Tiny dots have been employed to offer texture and more visual interest.
Cranked Up Color
Did your heart skip a beat? Gorgeous florals stand in opposition to the swirling cosmic scene below. A butterfly and hummingbird flank the shape to complete a natural scene that is bursting with life.
Now, for one of our very favorite yin yang tattoos. A pair of puppies in opposing colors have been used to create the symbol. Aren’t they precious? Bravo to the tattoo artist who brought these fur babies to life.
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Koi Fish Yin Yang Tattoos Are Everywhere
We leave you with one more koi yin yang tattoo because they are just so popular these days. The minute details here will take your breath away. Koi fish are ubiquitous, but you can come up with new ways of representing them by working with a tattoo artist who can help realize your concept.
- 1 Turtle and Crane
- 2 XXL
- 3 Tips for an Abstract Design
- 4 Pick a Shape, Any Shape
- 5 A Frame’s Frame
- 6 Black and Grey Are Okay
- 7 Talismans
- 8 Drama
- 9 Stacked Frames
- 10 Diamonds
- 11 Think Outside the Box
- 12 Wider
- 13 Doubling Up
- 14 Coloring In the Lines
- 15 Minimalism
- 16 Defined VS Invisible Frames
- 17 Just the Frame
- 18 A Frame Apart
- 19 Coming Right at You
- 20 Invisible Frame to the Next Level
- 21 Light and Darm
- 22 Cat as Frame
- 23 Frame as Band
- 24 Embroidered Dancheong
- 25 Final Thoughts
- 26 Yin Yang With Koi
- 27 Deconstructed
- 28 Sun and Sea
- 29 A Little Love
- 30 Mountains and Waves
- 31 Watercolor
- 32 Watercolor Part II
- 33 Astral
- 34 The Sleeve
- 35 Split Face
- 36 Ready for This Jelly
- 37 Beautiful Botanical
- 38 Meow
- 39 Listen to Your Heart
- 40 Balance In the Branches
- 41 Energy
- 42 As Above, So Below
- 43 Flower Power
- 44 Flaming Flower
- 45 Smoke
- 46 Bodies
- 47 Head and Heart
- 48 Cranked Up Color
- 49 Puppies
- 50 Koi Fish Yin Yang Tattoos Are Everywhere
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