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 family tattoo together to demonstrate your 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 other 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. Still others might not be obvious to anyone outside your family, and that's okay. If a matching set of
honeybees, dolphins, cartoon characters, or emojis has a special significance to you and your sibs, that's your business.
We've put together a list of ideas 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 (
as well as which ones don't), 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.
2 Stacked Triangles
Another popular wrist tattoo design for sibs is a row of triangles (sometimes interlinking). The triangle closest to the hand is colored in for the oldest sibling, the second one for the second-born, and so on.
3 Birth Order Numbers
Proud of your place in the sibling lineup? Wear it proudly and 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.
Native American symbol can have a number of meanings, explained Bustle. A single arrow can represent protection or forward movement, while a group of arrows often means strength and unity — the perfect message for a family. An arrow penetrating a diamond represents the courage to move forward, according to YourTango. Your fam might choose this if you've been through an ordeal together. 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.
Again, a simple statement, but unique to your family — and your choice of font can be as classic as a typewriter style or as elegant as a flowy calligraphy lettering.
7 Sun And Moon
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.")
8 Sun, Moon, And Star
This eternal cosmic trio is great for two parents and a child as well as a set of brothers and sisters.
9 Awareness Ribbon
For families who have faced serious illness or crisis (or lost a beloved member), a small ribbon is a permanent way to show support and love. Not sure which color is right for you? This site lists the
colors and patterns associated with various causes. 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/purple combination represents domestic violence and sexual assault? A navy blue and white pinstripe design stands for ALS, because of its association with Yankees great Lou Gehrig. 10 "Sisters"
Show your connection proudly and clearly with a one-word statement on your wrist or arm.
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." 12 Palm Trees
Tiny palm trees on sibling ankles look awesome, and they're a natural for sibs who come from Southern states or who live at the beach during the summer. But they also have a deeper meaning, according to Thoughtful Tattoos.
Date palm trees were considered the Tree of Life in ancient times; they can also represent protection, truth, honor, and fertility. 13 Chevrons
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 Femenine lady in thin silk white top and khaki panama hat and authentic hipster arm tattoos smiles to camera in middle of wheat field Shutterstock
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. If you're looking to express a meaningful statement, this
list of flower meanings from The Old Farmer's Almanac might have what you're looking for. 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
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 tattoo especially appropriate for a sister/brother pair, since the darker Yin half represents female energy and the lighter Yang represents male energy. 16 Big/Middle/Little
If you prefer to spell it all out rather than play with symbols and numbers, then a "Big Sis/Little Sis" or "Big Brother/Middle Sister/Little Bro" combination is for you.
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.). 18 Ladybugs
Small and cute, these
spotted insects are a lucky sign, according to Spirit Animal. 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. 19 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. 21 Roman Numerals Tattoo artist make roman numerals tattoo. Close-up of tattoo machines and ink. Shutterstock
Yet another option for showing off your birth dates, birth years, or your order in the sibling lineup.
22 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. 23 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.
According to Tattoos Win,
the heartbeat tat represents "the preciousness of life," and if it's connected to a name or phrase, it means 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. 25 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.
26 Parent/Child Animals
Although many family tattoos are designed for siblings, there's no reason to leave Mom and/or Dad out of the picture if they want to be part of the ink club. One sweet way to do this is to 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.
28 Chain Of Elephants
As you might expect,
elephants symbolize strength, intelligence, and longevity (as affirmed by FMag). Elephant statues and representations are thought to bring good luck. Elephants 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. 29 Nesting Dolls
matryoshka in Russia, the nesting dolls date back to 1890 and represent motherhood and fertility. Another good design for a mom and kids; she can have the largest doll, while each child in line has a progressively smaller one. 30 Infinity Symbols Infinite love Shutterstock
The infinity sign, which looks like an 8 lying down, can also represent the eternal love you and your family members share. It's also small enough to fit on your wrist, ankle, hip or shoulder.