35 of the Best Knuckle Tattoos for Men and Women

Cool AF.

35 of the Best Knuckle Tattoos for Men and Women

Ever since we first laid eyes upon that salty sea dog’s “hold fast” knuckle tattoos, we’ve secretly obsessed over them in a way that can only be described as unhealthy. While our current employee handbook has its boot securely placed upon our resilient dreams of knuckle tattoos, we’re not completely banishing the idea because, uh, their knuckles tattoos.

But all excuses aside, knuckle tattoos are constantly evolving and separating themselves from the negative stereotypes they have long been associated with. That coupled with the growing acceptance of tattoos of all types among corporate culture, gives us hope that one day people won’t be judged based upon what’s on their skin.

Knuckle tattoos come in various shapes and sizes. When you think of knuckle tattoos, you usually think of the standard phrase sprawled out across the knuckles so that when the fists are held up together parallel to the ground, the phrase can be read from left to right. But while iconic and still very much in style, these types of designs are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the sheer amount of various knuckle tattoos being inked today. In this article, we’ll explore a wide variety of different designs. From the common to the creative, each design has its own characteristics that make it unique.


'Hellbent' knuckle tattoos by Bill Dugan

The design process can be more fun than actually living with your tattoos and showing them off of the daily, and definitely less painful. The phrase “Hell bent” fits perfectly on the knuckles and isn’t too widely inked.  (Photo: Bill Dugan)

These four creatures.

Knuckle tattoos by Isaiah Negrete

These cool characters have been floating around the net for a while now. We posted this image on a previous list and it was one of the first designs that came to mind when the idea of this article became more than just an idea. In stunning black, grey, and white ink, Isiah brought to life four of our favorite creepy cats including WolfMan, Frankenstein, The Mummy, and The Creature From The Black Lagoon.  (Photo: Isaiah Negrete)

‘Farewell’ knuckle tattoos.

'Farewell' knuckle tattoos by Jonathan Aubry

This list contains a few unconventional knuckle tattoos with this one being our favorite. Usually with knuckle tattoos we see the letters running horizontal, not vertical.    (Photo: Jonathan Aubry)

True love.

'True love' knuckle tattoos via Knuckles 365

Here we have the words ‘True Love” in a neo traditional two-tone font. The way the tattoos on the subjects hands flow down onto the knuckles compliments the lettering nicely.  (Photo: Knuckles 365)

Stay true.

'Stay true' knuckle tattoo by Vesso Alexiev

Along with the words of wisdom comes a scripted font that looks great even when its not being displayed. These types of designs are often hard to distinguish when they aren’t lined up for the viewer to see.  (Photo: Vesso Alexiev)

Black and white ink.

Black and white ink knuckle tattoo by Jakub Nowicz

When you think of knuckle tattoos, this minimalistic barely-there design is probably the last thing that comes to mind. Single needle, white and black ink, this is possibly our next tattoo.  (Photo: Jakub Nowicz)

This crown knuckle tattoo.

Crown knuckle tattoo by Isaiah Negrete

This would be an awesome idea for a king and queen style wedding ring tattoo. Earlier this year we put together a list of wedding ring tattoo designs and this design definitely belongs on that list. (Photo: Isaiah Negrete)


'Lonesome' knuckle tattoo by Knuckles 365

Here we have the word “lonesome” completed with diamond and peace sign symbols. This old school Sailor Jerry font reigns supreme when it comes to knuckle tats.  (Photo: Knuckles 365)

This steer skull.

Steer skull knuckle tattoo by Isaiah Negrete

Cattle skulls, bull skulls, steer skulls, cow skulls, whatever you want to call them just seem to ooze western elegance. Steer skull tattoos can symbolize courage, death, strength, or protection depending on the culture.  (Photo: Isaiah Negrete)

These ornamental knuckle tattoos.

Ornamental knuckle tattoos by Shaks

This smorgasbord of different ornamental designs all come together to form one spectacular composition. If you look closely, you can see the white ink accents that give each design an extra bit of contrast.  (Photo: Shaks)

‘Doll face’ knuckle tattoos.

'Doll face' knuckle tattoos by Steffi Cocco

(Photo: Steffi Cocco)

This geometric design.

Geometric knuckle tattoo by Omer Shatz

(Photo: Omer Shatz)

This lion knuckle tattoo.

Lion knuckle tattoo by Alex Tattz

(Photo: Alex Tattz)

These horizontal lines.

Single line knuckle tattoos by Alexandra Hugianu

(Photo: Alexandra Hugianu)


'Timeless' knuckle tattoo by Alex Melrose

(Photo: Alex Melrose)


'Spooky' knuckle tattoos by Michael Langdale

(Photo: Michael Langdale)

These matching ‘bake cake’ tats.

Matching 'bake cake' knuckle tattoos by Dan Cariou

(Photo: Dan Cariou)

These Three Wise Monkey knuckle tattoos.

Three Wise Monkey knuckle tattoos by Taryn Lee

(Photo: Taryn Lee)

These three rings.

Three ring knuckle tattoos via Knuckles 365

(Photo: Knuckles 365)

This heart.

Heart tattoo by Isaiah Negrete

(Photo: Isaiah Negrete)

These seven dwarfs.

Seven dwarfs knuckle tattoos by Chelsey Hamilton

(Photo: Chelsey Hamilton)


Paradise knuckle tattoos by Amy T.

(Photo: Amy T)

This swirl.

Swirly knuckle tattoo by Gustoyle Tattoo

(Photo: Gustoyle Tattoo)

Cross-stitch and leaf.

Cross-stitch and leaf knuckle tattoos via Knuckles 365

(Photo: Knuckles 365)

This dotwork pattern.

Dotwork pattern by Brendan O'Mahony

(Photo: Brendan O’Mahony)

‘Game over’ knuckle tattoos.

'Game over' knuckle tattoos by Aidan Rouse

(Photo: Aidan Rouse)

‘Much love’ tats.

'Much love' tattoos by Kish Jones

(Photo: Kish Jones)

These naturalistic knuckle tattoos.

Naturalistic knuckle tattoos by Rebecca Sophia

(Photo: Rebecca Sophia)


'Kindness' knuckle tattoos by Ben Viatori

(Photo: Ben Viatori)

These matching designs.

Matching knuckle tattoos by Tarnia

(Photo: Tarnia)

‘Grateful’ knuckle tattoo.

'Grateful' knuckle tattoo by Brandon Smith

(Photo: Brandon Smith)

This ship.

Ship tattoo by Ben Grillo

(Photo: Ben Grillo)

‘True love’ traditional font.

'True love' traditional font knuckle tattoos by SIN

(Photo: SIN)


'Homesick' by Dynamo Tattoo

(Photo: Dynamo)

These neo traditional tats.

Neo traditional finger tats by Pablo Ortiz

(Photo: Pablo Ortiz)


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