50 Amazing Hourglass Tattoos and Meanings

Perfect for passing the time.

Hourglass Tattoo Designs | TattooBlend

If you’ve ever spent time watching the sand pass through an hourglass then you know just how hypnotizing it can be. As one of the first timers ever invented, the hourglass has long outlived its usefulness. But that doesn’t mean they are any less fascinating. The only hourglass you’ve ever handled was probably made of plastic and came in a board game, but once upon a time, they were as common as a watch or iPhone.

When it comes to tattoos, timepieces are always popular design choices. While we tend to see a lot more pocket watches, there’s definitely no shortage of hourglass tattoos floating around out there, and for good reason. In this article we’ll take a look at some of the best and most well-executed examples of hourglass tattoos in existence. We hope you enjoy this article, and don’t forget to share and save your favorites!

This gorgeous feminine design.

Feminine hourglass tattoo by Hello Tattoo

(Photo: Hello Tattoo)

This stunning sketch style hourglass tattoo.

Sketch style hourglass tattoo by Inez Janiak

(Photo: Inez Janiak)

Hourglasses are sometimes referred to as the sand timers, sand watches, sandglasses, or sand clocks. I know, creative huh? While the exact origin of the hourglass isn’t definitively known, scholars believe it most likely originated somewhere in India or perhaps ancient Alexandria. The hourglass was predated by the waterglass, basically the same concept as the hourglass but with water instead of sand. The oldest known reference to the hourglass was a painting on the top of an ancient sarcophagus discovered in the 18th century in Rome.

This ornamental hourglass tattoo.

Ornamental hourglass tattoo by Sami Locke

(Photo: Sami Locke)

Dotwork sand.

Dotwork hourglass tattoo by Tiago Oliveira

(Photo: Tiago Oliveira)

This cute hourglass tattoo with hanging stars.

Cute hourglass tattoo by Mini Lau

(Photo: Mini Lau)

This cosmic watercolor design.

Watercolor hourglass tattoo by Sasha Unisex

(Photo: Sasha Unisex)

Is that really sand inside?

The short answer is yes. Many hourglasses did use sand and still do to this day. However, many experiments were conducted to find a medium that offered the most consistent flow, especially during the time that hourglasses were relied upon for scientific and day-to-day tasks. Aside from sand, the hourglass was filled with crushed marble, tin and lead oxides, and even crushed eggshells. Experts soon found out that in order to achieve the most ideal and consistent flow, a ratio of granular bead to neck width should be 1/12 but not greater than 1/2 the width of the neck of the bulb.

And another.

Watercolor hourglass tattoo by Will Muller

(Photo: Will Muller)

This sketch style design.

Sketch style hourglass tattoo by Luca Testadiferro

(Photo: Luca Testadiferro)

This subtle hourglass tattoo.

Subtle hourglass tattoo by Hello Tattoo

(Photo: Hello Tattoo)

This romantic design.

Romantic hourglass tattoo by Anna Yershova

(Photo: Anna Yershova)