Lace Tattoos

Image of woman's black lace tattoo sleeve

Lace can embody a number of different styles, from sweet and romantic to sensual and alluring. Lace is a multifaceted design that has transitioned well into tattoo designs. Thanks to its versatility and uniqueness, there are plenty of different options for those considering this type of tattoo.

A Trend in Timeless Beauty

While it is hard to pinpoint when this trend started gaining speed, some people attribute it to Sara Fabel and the mandala hand tattoos popularized in 2013. From there it seems that the design started to take off among female tattoo enthusiasts as a must-have design. So, what exactly is a lace tattoo?

Essentially, it is an ornate line design that mimics delicate lace patterns. Typically found on women, this design screams beauty and grace. It can come in an array of colors as well as styles. You might see a lace tattoo as a simple line drawing or include shading and details. It almost always includes embellishments like draping and dangling jewels or beadwork. Designs that have started to trend more recently include lace garters and lace topped stocking tattoos.

Lace Tattoo Designs: Fashion to Art

Lace tattoos designs are varied and diverse. They work as a stand-alone feature decorating the thigh or under the breasts or can include additional features like flowers, jewels, and even skulls. While these designs are as diverse at the women that wear them, there are some designs that are common within this genre.

Flowers and Lace

Flowers and lace go together like peanut butter and jelly. Roses, including those that are inked, can signify beauty, elegance, and grace. The delicate petals also have a very feminine feel to them. Combine this with lace, and you have a sophisticated tattoo that celebrates beauty and womanhood.

The lace, with its bold lines, can also add depth to the delicate flower petals. The embellishments that you can add to this piece with dangles and filigree are limitless. While you might enjoy the vintage look of black and gray, you might also choose to add color in the flowers or the lace to liven up the artwork.

Roses on black lace shoulder tattoo

Gems and Jewels

Another common theme found in lace tattoos is the addition of gems. They say that diamonds are a girl's best friend, so you can't go wrong by adding a little lace to your gem tat. The lace and the dangles work to create delicate charm and refinement to this draping piece. The distinct line work of lace makes it billow around the jewel, connecting it to the flower. This helps to create a cohesive design. The addition of the color provides realism to both the jewel and the rose.

Tattoo of a rose and heart-shaped diamond on lace

Garter or Lace Stockings

A very trendy tat in the last few years is the garter or lace stocking. This simplistic tat works in color or in black and gray. This design is typically a feminine design and screams sex appeal. Just like garter belts and corsets, this tat has a playful, seductive spin. While most lace tattoos can fit anywhere on the body, this design is made strictly for the upper thigh. It can take on the look of a traditional garter, or you might add decorative dangles and flourishes. It also works really well in color, particularly reds and whites.

Woman with a lace garter and stocking tattoo

Large Lacy Designs

You can easily imagine a lace shawl creating a beautiful and intricate pattern. Tattooed lace can do this as well. For example, you can use lace to create a bow along your thigh or even a peacock on your back. The rhythmic lines and patterns dance along the skin using the lines of the lace to create the design. Couldn't you just see this as a shawl wrapped around someone's shoulders?

Woman's large floral lace back tattoo


Lace and skulls are classic and timeless; death and beauty combined in one cohesive design element. While you might choose to surround a skull with lace, you can also use the lace pattern to create the skull design. This can work exceptionally well for a candy skull.

Woman's floral sugar skull tattoo on chest

Placing the Piece

Tattoos that incorporate lace or are created with lace are very versatile. They can fit on any area of the body; however, there are specific designs that might work better in some places.

Hands and Wrist

Embellishing the fingers and wrist with lace creates a billowy, delicate feel to them that works along the elegant bones. The lace can even be used to create a ring like effect that connects to the large wrist design. You can also create a small bracelet of lace.


Patterns along the shoulder and collar bone tend to wrap around the area and work along the curves. The lace might flow from the collar bone or shoulder, allowing the dangles to drape along the ball of the shoulder into the bicep.


Tattoos of lace along the neck create a very Victorian feel. They might mimic a choker which is wrapped firmly around your neck. These can be thin or thick designs. You could also have the lace drape like a necklace around your neck falling on to your upper chest. These designs also work well along the back of the nape.


The back is a large area that can accommodate a more elaborate design. This can include a graceful chandelier-like design with flowing beads and fluid chains. This can be a cohesive design that includes other images like hearts, owls, birds, or even an abstract design.

Legs and Ankle

Lace tattoos not only make a custom garter piece but can work as an anklet as well. The flow of the design as it wraps around the bones of the ankle follows the curve magnificently. Additionally, the loose beads and dangles can even flow into the toes into a sleek henna-mimicking design.


Lace is seductive and depending on where you put tat it, you can really add to this effect. Adding lace along the belly button or under the breasts can really push this appeal. This type of body ornamentation also works great with any piercings you might have.

Color Choice

While black is definitely the most common color found on lace tattoos, it isn't the only color scheme. Most patrons that mimic actual lace choose the color because of the erotic appeal that it adds, but this type of line work can be done in any color. Depending on your skin, you could even choose to do this tattoo in white. This isn't as dramatic as the black, but adds a soft sensual effect to the body.

The Process

Tats mimicking lace are done just like your standard tattoo. You can bring in a design to your artist or you can work with them to create a unique creation. Depending on the design and the depth of the detail, the design can be large or small.

Once you settle on a design and placement, the area will be prepped. Then the artist will typically use a liner, which might be a single needle, to create the crisscrossing lines of the pattern. If you have any shading within your design, the artist will typically use a shader, which is a bundle of several needles.

Be Mindful

Trends come and go! This fact is even more true with tattoos. A design that you love today can be a design that you loathe in a few years. It's important to be mindful that this is something you really want before getting in the chair. While lace is more timeless and graceful than some tattoo designs, henna mimics this design well. So trying it on in a less permanent fashion can be a good way to make sure this is the design that you really want, especially on a very visible area like the hands or neck.

Additionally, lace tattoos are line intensive and might take a bit more time in the chair depending on what you are going for. Be prepared for the commitment and pain before you walk into the parlor.

Another consideration that is important for this type of design is the fact any tattoo will fade over time. Depending on your design and the intricacy of the line, you might lose some quality and crispness of the work as time passes. Getting touch ups can be helpful in refreshing your ink. This is especially true if you choose to get a white design.

Lacing Your Body

Having any tattoo is a choice, but if you want body modification that symbolizes grace, beauty, and sensuality then you can't go wrong with lace. This multipurpose, customizable design can literally fit anywhere and can be done in any color. However, be mindful of the commitment and permanence of tattoos before choosing the design and area.

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