Cross tattoos are one of the most popular styles of tattoos for men. They are striking, often symbolic, and can be incorporated into a variety of designs. But you don’t have to be Christian in order to get a cross design tattoo. The cross is not just a Christian symbol. It has meaning in secular life too, giving you plenty of reasons to play around with the motif for your own versions of beautiful cross tattoos.

Cross tattoo ideas

Meanings of the Cross

In Christianity: In modern Christianity, the holy cross is a symbol of Christ’s triumph over sin and death and a reminder of God’s love in having sacrificed his son for the salvation of humanity. It also represents atonement.

Before Christianity: The cross that was used for Christ’s execution is itself a reminder of the historical use of the cross for the punishment of convicts. The convicts were cruelly and inhumanly strung on wooden crosses and met a brutal end.

The Ankh Cross: The ancient Egyptian Ankh cross symbol, with a teardrop-like shape mounted on a T was a symbol of the balance of life and death, immortality, as well as male and female union. The Egyptians used the symbol in their picture-script (hieroglyphics) for the word “life”.

The Celtic Cross: This is another ancient symbol in the shape of a cross and a ring surrounding the intersection. The symbol was used in Ireland and Scotland to represent heritage and faith. It also has a mystic meaning that many people associate with the circle of life. The Celtic cross is seen in a variety of intricate and beautiful ornamental designs in art and in tattoos in particular, since the Celtic Revival.

Tribal Crosses: Tribal crosses owe their origins to ancient tribes from across the world, where the men would decorate their bodies with natural pigments and vibrant colors along with black. The purpose of these tattoos was to ward off evil. Many modern tattoo artists enjoy creating cool variations of tribal crosses with additional design elements.

Cross tattoo ideas for guys

Many Christians like to wear cross designs for tattoos with some lettering of their favorite verse from the Bible. To make it even more striking, you can have your favorite Bible verse lettered in the form of the cross itself. Alternatively, instead of having the entire verse tattooed, you can simply have the chapter and verse number in the design. Along with these, you can have some other relevant symbol. For instance, your favorite bird for Psalm 139:9 “If I rise on the wings of the dawn…”

  • The Celtic Cross is very versatile as a tattoo for guys and can be stylized in many ways. One of the most popular traditional ways is to have a Celtic-knot pattern down the arms of the cross. You can also combine a Celtic cross with Celtic-knots to wear as a tattooed armband around your biceps.
  • You can wear a holy cross tattoo on your back along with stylized angel wings for a striking full-back tattoo. This is a popular men’s cross tattoo design that can have many cool variations with color and style.
  • Aztec cross patterns are very cool renditions of the geometric Aztec prints in the form of a cross. The cross itself can be a Celtic cross (with a circle at the intersection) or a plain one.
  • Men who are fathers have a great option to wear a mens cross tattoo along with their love for their kids, on their body. You can have your tattoo artist design a pattern for you in the form of a ribbon wrapped around the longer shaft of the cross, engraved with the name of each child on each visible loop.
  • Tribal-inspired men cross tattoos can be classic, elaborate and lined with color, or they can be more modern, minimalist versions.

The great thing about crosses is that you can wear them anywhere on your body. You can have a tiny cross etched on your finger, or a large full-back or shoulder design. Small cross tattoos for men can be worn on the neck. Cross tattoos can also be worn on the forearm or upper arm. Some guys have crosses tattooed on their knuckles for a very cool, permanent-ring effect. Shade them, cover them with thorns, and make them burn in flames or leave them as striking black and white. You can’t go wrong when you choose a cross tattoo that is beautiful, meaningful, cool and timeless.

The Best Cross Tattoo Designs for Men

Blue Cross Tattoo on the Back

blue cross tattoo and the back

A cross arriving in massive size is laid upon the arch of the back, permeated with the heavenly blue faded color like the stained glass windows of ancient times, with full-blown gigantic wings comprised of numerous delicate feathers resting behind it.

Symbolic Cross Tattoo on Arm

symbolic cross tattoo on arm

Created with beveled sides, soft curves, and nailed at the middle, this symbolic cross appears slightly elevated and raised, giving the impression that it’s separate object rather than a painted tattoo, and that you can almost grasp it with your hands.

Red Cross on Shoulders

red cross tattooed on sleeve

Lined in gothic borders, this cross is filled with the powerful, strong and passionate red color. Solid thick black lines smoothly glide and wrap its way around the cross design tattoo holding both curved and pointed ends just like sharp, piercing thorns.

Gothic Wooden Cross Tattoo

gothic wooden cross tattoo

The wooden cross is a classic image among cross tattoo sketches. Thick wood that’s intricately detailed with lines carved onto the surface are enhanced with the piece of cloth Jesus wore draped over it, and highlighted with the crown of thorns and pointed nails beneath.

Ideal Cross Sleeve Tattoo Design

ideal cross sleeve tattoo designs

Simple yet very beautiful, this plain cross gives the ideal cross sleeve tattoo designs to flaunt. It is bare within, but the outline is brimming with curves, stokes, and waves of different sizes and hues of black, making the arm look quite attractive.

Winged Cross Tattoo

winged cross tattoo

Exhibiting a thick cross figure that’s lined with pointy edges, where the wings of an eagle are spread out and stretched right at the back. Feel the freedom and strength the bird owns as it soars high and proud up in the sky with this winged cross.

Christian Cross Tattoo on Chest

Christian Cross Tattoo on Chest

A design that stands out among the beautiful cross tattoos, giving a much more divine appeal, this cross encompasses the Holy Trinity- the Father, Son and Spirit, altogether in a cross to carry with entwined thorns stinging and embracing the neck.

Cross and Feathered Wings Tattoo Design

Cross and Feathered Wings Tattoo Design

A full-bodied elevated cross giving off the look of elegant marble, laden with your name or someone significant to you. The feathered wings of a dove or maybe an angel are widely spread and hug the cross, evoking more grace into it.

Cross Design on Guy’s Back

Cross Design on Guy's Back

This cross renders a very meaningful design. It looks heavy, made out of stone or rock, one that has a strong foundation. The fill and borders are all deep with lines and various shades, heightened with names written right across.

3D Red Cross Tattoo Ideas

3D Red Cross Tattoo Ideas

A unique presentation of the cross, the skin torn apart to have it drawn within using thin lines, and then given a bloody red color. It is set amidst a background of what’s similar to an armor, shield, or scales of a ferocious beast.

More cross tattoos for men on the next page…