Gifts, phone calls, texts, and greeting cards are wonderful ways to show your love and connection to the members of your family. But if you're looking for a way to show the world that you're a united front, then you could consider getting a matching family tattoo together to demonstrate your unity and eternal bonds.
While many people can and do opt for oversized tats to represent their families (such as having their children's names,
footprints, or pictures inked on their arms or backs), other families prefer the minimalist look: a small matching or complementary design that fits neatly on the wrist, ankle, shoulder, or another area that's subtly visible.
Some family tats have a clear meaning: names, initials, birth dates, or a simple statement like "Family Forever." Others might make people do a quick double-take, such as matching geometric symbols. Not all tattoo meanings will be obvious to anyone outside your family, and that's OK. If a matching set of honeybees, dolphins, cartoon characters, or emojis has a special significance to you and your sibs, that's your business.
Below, find a list of matching tattoo ideas for families to get you started. Have a talk with your parents, siblings, and other family members to see who's on board with the idea and which designs best represent your personalities and ideals (so no one ends up with
tattoo regret), and then schedule a meeting with a skilled tattoo artist to get the ink that you'll be proud to wear forever. 1 Hearts Lucas Ribeiro Avila/Shutterstock
Sometimes basic is best. Each family member could have just one heart tat on their wrist, though some sibling sets opt for a line of open hearts, with one filled in according to birth order. To get a little more intricate, you could also get a heart for each family member with each person’s name inked into the heart.
2 Stacked Triangles Naruder Tusana / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images
Another popular wrist tattoo design for sibs is a row of triangles. The triangle closest to the hand is colored in for the oldest sibling, the second one for the second-born, and so on. To symbolize family unity, have the tattooed triangles interlinking.
3 Birth Order Numbers
Proud of your place in the sibling lineup? Wear it permanently on your arm, shoulder, or ankle. This is a good option for large families (think: Duggars and Bates), for whom a line of hearts or triangles would start to look like a sleeve.
4 Arrows Teresa Gutiérrez / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images
This traditional symbol can have a number of meanings, including things like peace, conflict, and friendship. A single arrow can represent protection or forward movement, while a group of arrows often means strength and unity — the perfect message for matching family tattoos. Two arrows, when facing away from each other, means conflict, but when they are crossed, this represents friendship or a close bond. Siblings often opt to use the design and add the initials of each person in the spaces between the shafts and arrowheads.
5 Birth Dates
Whether represented through words or numerals, the days you and your sisters and brothers were born are a simple way to show your identity. A lowercase script rendering of the birth year (e.g., "ninety five") looks especially cool, while Roman numerals are a popular choice for minimalist tattoos. They also keep the meaning a bit more obscure since you can’t tell exactly what it is at a glance.
Again, a simple statement, but one that is unique to your family. With initials, you can opt for a more
subtle tattoo approach with tiny letters, or go bolder and go large. Your choice of font can reflect your personal or family’s style and be as classic as a typewriter-style or as elegant as flowy calligraphy lettering. 7 Awareness Ribbon Greg Vote, VStock LLC/VStock/Getty Images
For families who have faced serious illness or crisis (or
lost a loved one), a small ribbon is a permanent way to show support and love. You probably already know that pink is linked to breast cancer and a puzzle-piece design to autism, but did you know that a teal and purple combination represents domestic and sexual assault? A navy blue and white pinstripe design stands for ALS because of its association with Yankees great Lou Gehrig. There are numerous colors associated with all different causes. 8 Sun And Moon Giorgio Picinni Leopardi / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images
This is a popular choice among sibling pairs, although it does mean they have to agree on who gets which symbol. ("You're just basking in my glorious light, little sis.") Or, you can forego the sun and moon and choose other planets based on your
zodiac signs. 9 Sun, Moon, And Star
If you’re a fan of the sun and moon idea but want to include more family members, consider having them be the stars to your familial universe. This eternal cosmic trio is great for two parents and a child as well as a set of brothers and sisters. Plus, stars are a nice option for anyone who doesn’t love the idea of a large tattoo. These specks can be as small as a freckle and still hold the same family meaning.
Show your connection proudly and clearly with a one-word statement on your wrist or arm. These are especially cute in matching placements, but they certainly don’t have to be. Make the meaning even more special by getting the tattoo in your sibling’s handwriting.
If you love Hawaii or the Disney film
Lilo & Stitch, you know the deep meaning of this simple word. As Lilo memorably said, "Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten." If you’re looking to represent family unity, what better word is there to get tattooed? 12 Palm Trees
Tiny palm trees on sibling ankles look awesome, and they're a natural choice for sibs who come from Southern states or who live at the beach during the summer. But they also have a deeper meaning: Date palm trees were considered the Tree of Life in ancient times; they can also represent protection, truth, honor, and fertility.
This arrow-like symbol is best known as a military insignia, but Steal Your Style reported that in the ink world, it supposedly means
"create your own reality." For siblings, the chevrons can be filled in according to birth order. 14 Flowers
Garden-loving sisters can celebrate their unity through a matching floral tat. You can't go wrong with roses, but there are plenty of other options. There are all sorts of meanings associated with different kinds of flowers. Violets stand for loyalty, for instance, while oak trees or leaves represent strength. Pink carnations say "I'll never forget you."
15 Yin And Yang Tetra Images/Tetra images/Getty Images
The ancient Taoism symbol represents two opposing halves coming together to form a complete whole, each balancing out the other. If this sounds like you and your sibling, this is the tat for you. This is one matching tattoo especially appropriate for a sibling pair who resonate with feminine and masculine energy: The Yin half represents light, feminine energy, and the lighter Yang represents masculine energy.
Do a little research to learn the gemstones corresponding to your family's birth months, then have your tattoo artist reproduce the stones on all of you. For a truly minimalist option, just use small colored circles (red for July and January, purple for February, etc.). There’s also a set of birthstones that correlate to the zodiac signs, so if you’re not in love with your birth month stone, you have options.
Small and cute, these spotted insects are a lucky sign. They're also a symbol of abundance, balance, faith, forgiveness, and a host of other fortunate meanings. Plus, they make an attractive matching tattoo for you and your family.
18 Mickey Heads
For families who can sing the
Frozen soundtrack word-for-word and who consider the Disney parks to be their second home, there's one obvious tat option. Just think of the family photos you can snap at Disneyland with your tats on display. Even if you’re not a “Disney adult,” many who grew up watching the films correlate Disney with childhood and quality time spent as a family. 20 Roman Numerals
Yet another option for showing off important dates, years, or your order in the sibling lineup. There are really endless options for what you could represent with matching Roman numeral family tattoos. Whatever the case, it’s a great option to hold these special meanings more privately.
21 Ship's Wheel, Anchor, Compass
The nautical theme works well for families who either go boating often or who just live for the beach. The wheel, anchor, and compass also represent guidance, stability, hope, and steadfastness, which will appeal to family members who know they can rely on one another even in life's roughest waters.
22 Sister Figures With Tin-Can Phone
A popular design among sister pairs is a simple illustration of two young girls, each holding her half of an old-fashioned tin-can-and-string phone. The message is clear: These sisters are separated only by miles, not by hearts. Or, use the tin cans as a representation for any long-distance family members.
23 Heartbeats Michelle Esmen / EyeEm/EyeEm/Getty Images
The heartbeat tat represents life, and if it's connected to a name or phrase, it implies that you're deeply bonded to them. You and your loved ones could opt to use the heartbeat on its own, or attach it to your last name or the word
family. To make it even more meaningful, you can get the actual EKG heartbeat lines of your family members tattooed on. 24 Linked Fingers
Remember making those childhood "pinky promises" with your sibs that you swore you'd never break? You can keep that sentiment alive with a tat of two hands crossing their little fingers in a show of support. Now you
really can’t break those sacred promises. 25 Parent/Child Animals
One super sweet way to include the parents and children all together is with animals. So choose an animal — say, a bear, lion, dog, or cat — and let the parents be inked with the adult representation while the kids get the cubs, pups, kittens, chicks, or what have you. It’s one big, happy, furry family.
26 Chain Of Elephants
As you might expect, elephants symbolize strength, intelligence, and longevity. Elephant statues and representations are thought to bring good luck. These impressive animals are also closely bonded to their family herds, so a tat of a group of elephants linked by their tails and trunks shows the world that you and your family are an unbeatable group.
27 Nesting Dolls
matryoshka in Russia, the nesting dolls date back to 1890 and represent motherhood and fertility. This is another good design for a mom and kids; she can have the largest doll, while each child in line has a progressively smaller one. As is nesting doll artwork, these tattoos can be really beautiful in design and color. 28 Infinity Symbols
The infinity sign, which looks like the number eight lying down, can also represent the eternal love you and your family members share. Many people will get the word “family” inked in as part of the symbol to show that family is forever. It's also small enough to fit on your wrist, ankle, hip, or shoulder.
29 House Number
The place you grow up is likely full of memories and can leave a powerful mark. If there’s a childhood or family home with great significance, consider getting the house number tattooed on. You could use common figures, or opt for Roman numerals so you’re not showing everyone your address if you still live there.
30 Area Code Or GPS Coordinates Addictive Stock / Fran Mares/Addictive Stock/Getty Images
As kids grow up, often this means leaving their home state. Signify the one that will always remind you of home and family with matching area code tattoos. Even if you’re spread across the country — or world — the symbol will remind you of where you came from and who you hold dear.
31 Family Tree
Represent family in a very literal sense with a family tree tattoo. To make it more personal, have each branch correlate to a sibling or parent. You could have the number of branches match that of family members, or even get each person’s name scripted into the branch.
32 Stick Figures
Even if you don’t love those stick figure family car decals, it makes a fun
tattoo idea for moms, dads, and siblings. It’s a very obvious symbol of family that’s instantly recognizable. Plus, you can even include the dog.
Whether you prefer a floral design, geometric pattern, or animal motif, the minimalist tattoo options are endless. Whatever you choose will be extra special because of the meaning behind it.
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This article was originally published on
July 17, 2019