Armband tattoo designs continue to explode in popularity year after year. They are so varied in style and symbols that each representation is as unique as the individual wearing it. Armband tattoos can be aggressively bold or designed to be subtle and feminine.
Tribal designs seem to have taken over the armband tattoo genre however there has literally been an unimaginable number of creatures or characters that have been stretched to entwine around the bicep including mystical creatures like unicorns, fairies and dragons. They can house animals, symbols, flowers, vines, bones and be exquisitely detailed or made with an appreciative simplicity.
Armband Tattoo History
At some point in the 1700s, Japanese made the transition of ridding themselves of barbaric practices of amputations of fingers, ears, nose, etc for convicted criminals. For every committed offense, a significant tattoo was created around the arm of their convicted criminals. Around 1870, tattooing of this sort became abolished by Japan.
The Polynesian islands have been wearing armband tattoo designs for centuries and today’s Hawaiian bands are remnant of such ancient traditions. Many modern designs incorporate traditional Polynesian elements into their designs.
Among Polynesian and Hawaiian islanders, an armband tattoo represented status or rank and served a similar purpose of patches that are sewn on military personnel uniform sleeves.
Armband Tattoo Placement
Traditionally, armband tattoos are placed at the bicep’s widest part of the upper arm. Bands that are created around wrists are called cuffs. Additionally, tattoo bands are often linked around the forearm, calf or ankle.
Some artists and cultures believe that closing the band is considered bad luck, however it is also thought that the superstition could have been created due to difficulty in alignment to close the gap. Before committing to an armband, always be sure to discuss closure options with your tattooist.
Types Of Armband Tattoo Designs
Celtic Armbands – These armbands feature intricately angled lines making them a popular choice. Complex knots, crosses, spirals, interlacing lines and both mythical and real animals are common choices.
Hawaiian Armbands – Although these tattoos are part of Hawaiian culture, it has been more recently that they have become a tradition. It began as a popular souvenir in the 1970s for those visiting the Island but then gained popularity with the natives who wanted to show their pride in their culture.
Tribal Armbands – These do not represent any specific culture but they offer bold patterns with an organic feel. The strong black lines of tribal erupted with popularity in the 1990s and continues to be a popular pick.
Indian Armband – Rope, beads and feathers usually make up these armbands that are often paired up with a dream catcher, ax, totem pole or a bull’s skull.
Floral Armband – A string of flowers either in color or black is a popular choice however, one solitary flower on a long vine wrapped around the arm is a simple, elegant idea as well.
Cross Armband – Sometimes the cross is just incorporated in these armbands and for others, the cross itself can be stretched around the arm to create the entire band.
Dragon Armband – Dragons work as well as snakes for bands because they house no definite lines. The curve of these creatures are easily manipulated into a desired pattern.
Barbwire Armband – With so many modern choices available for armbands, barbed wire continues to be popular due to its simplicity and size.
Rosary Armband – These are extremely popular choices whether the individual is religious or not, there is just something mysterious and romantic about an old rosary. These are most often seen as a cuff or an ankle band, especially on females.
You can literally wrap anything you want around your arm. Of course you can choose a traditional option but if you have a meaningful symbol, favorite animals or special words, they are ideal to use so that your armband will be original. There are those that even wear their wedding vows around their arm. The possibilities are endless.
Celebrities With Armband Tattoo Designs
- Pamela Anderson – Actress/model wears a barbwire armband.
- Anna Benson – Model shows off her tribal armband on her left arm.
- Kiera Chaplin – Model/actress has a skull armband on her left arm.
- Melanie Chisholm – Singer boasts a Celtic armband tattoo.
- Willa Ford – Musician has an armband of musical notes around her arm.
- Joey Kramer – Drummer has an armband tattoo on his right bicep.
- Donyell Marshall – NBA player wears a barbwire armband on his right arm.
- Jo O’Meara – Musician has a barbwire armband tattoo.
- Dolores O’Riordan – Singer has an armband tattoo on her right bicep.
- Janna Svenson – Swedish model shows off her tribal armband on her right arm.
- Alicia Witt – Actress displays an original armband of a fern around her right arm.
- Orlando Bloom – Actor has a double black band on his left forearm.
- Kiefer Sutherland – Actor wears a barbwire armband on his left and a Celtic armband on his right arm.