The Top 70+ Best Scottish Tattoo Ideas – [2020 Inspiration Guide]
From Celtic knot work, to the multi-colored tartans that represent the different Scot clans, the culture and traditions of Caledonia provide endless inspiration for Scottish tattoo designs.
While many people are familiar with Braveheart and the Highland Games, Scotland is far more than just kilts and fine whisky. The history of this beautiful country is embraced by people around the world and its culture and traditions are a point of pride for anyone with Scotch blood.
In fact, many people choose to dedicate their flesh to their heritage and the 70+ Scottish tattoo ideas in this gallery are excellent examples of what is possible with such an interesting and unique culture as design inspiration.
1. Celtic Inspired Scottish Tattoo Designs
While not specifically Scottish, the intricate knot work and unique Celtic tattoo style represents both Scottish and Irish cultural heritage. This style is not new; in fact this ornamental knot work dates back to 500 BC, long before the nation states and borders of today. Despite their ancient origins, Celtic knot work designs remain as exciting today as they did centuries ago, and they can make for excellent elements in Scottish tattoo design and full sleeve tattoo.
The pieces in this collection use a variety of styles-realistic, sketch, and illustrative; full color and black and gray are all here-however the instantly recognizable lines of these fascinating Celtic designs shine through. They are powerful symbols of Scottish heritage that will bring the wearer’s joy for years to come.
2. Lions and Scottish Tattoo Ideas
Proudly displayed on the Royal Banner of Scotland, a red lion with blue tongue and claws, rearing on its hind legs is a powerful symbol of Scottish national pride. The tattoos in this gallery take a variety of different approaches to this fierce symbol, but each tattoo artist ensures that everyone who sees these Scottish designs will make no mistakes about the wearer’s country of origin. One stand out piece even has the lion wearing Scotland’s unique national garb, the kilt.
3. Scottish Tattoo Ideas with Stags
Another powerful symbol that has its roots in Scotland’s fascinating and untamed history is the stag. A large animal, the stag is a symbol of the forest and the natural world that sustained the early highland Scots.
Much like in many cultures around the world, the stag is also a symbol of physical prowess, fertility and the regenerative character of the natural world, which makes the animal a popular motif for world renowned artists.
As these unique Scottish tattoo designs demonstrate, the stag, with his large antlers and stern countenance is an exciting design element that can make for a truly compelling Scottish sketch tattoo.
4. Football Club Tattooing
The world of Premier football is one of opposing teams and fierce rivalries that go back generations. While Glasgow Celtic and Rangers may be the most famous clubs, there are 12 teams in the Scottish Premier league with a number of Glasgow and Edinburgh cross town rivalries that excite die-hards and casual fans alike.
The Scottish tattoo designs in this collection use an interesting effect that gives the Edinbugh and Dundee club badges and tartans the appearance of being beneath the skin of the wearer.
There is no way to better demonstrate undying allegiance to your club than to ink their badge on your body and these are some great examples with the Scottish Premier clubs as inspiration.
5. Scottish Tattoos for the Hands and Fingers
While they aren’t for everyone – and not every tattoo shop will ink them-Scottish inspired hand and finger body art proudly displays the wearer’s style and pride in their cultural heritage. Whether it is a simple Viking or Celtic knot work design, wrapping around the ring finger or an impeccable stag cover up piece, inking the fingers and hands can make for some truly striking tattoos.
The compelling effect created by a Scottish Rampant Lion, placed directly on the hand is hard to argue with.
6. Tartan Scottish Tattoos
Tartans are the woven textiles that were historically used by the different clans in Scotland to differentiate from each other and show solidarity and pride. Today, these multicolored patterns remain powerful symbols of Scottish heritage and the unique culture of this wild country.
Most people use tartan tattoo convention to display their heritage to the world, and the pieces here are great examples of this approach to Scottish tattoo design.
The first two tattoos are also interesting for the way they incorporate tartans with designs that are associated with New Zealand: the first 3/4 sleeve tattoo uses ta-moko designs from Maori tattooing and adds a Scottish tartan, while the second incorporates the silver fern that is a national symbol for this island nation.
6. Scottish Tattoo Design with Thistles
Another interesting symbol of this fascinating country is the Scottish thistle. It is the national flower of Scotland and the Scots like to say this humble weed is as bold and beautiful as the country they love. With a number of stories and myths surrounding this lovely little flower and it’s links to the brutally beautiful Scottish Highlands, it is no wonder that many people choose the Scottish thistle as part of their unique Scotland tattoo design.
Scottish Tattoo FAQs
What does a tartan tattoo represent?
Dating back to the 1600’s in Scottish history, tartans were used by the different clans in the region to differentiate from each other and express pride in their respective groups. Today, with the development in tattooing skills they can be made to look almost like the real thing. A tartan tattoo can be made to represent the wearer’s pride in their clan or simply demonstrate the importance of Scottish heritage in their life.
What does a Scottish thistle tattoo mean?
The Scottish thistle has a long and storied history in the Gaelic nation, with one tale even giving credit to the humble flower for foiling a Viking invasion in the 1300’s. The national flower, the thistle has become an instantly recognizable symbol of Scottish tattoo convention. A Socttish thistle tattoo is the perfect way to demonstrate pride in this fascinating tradition.
What does a Scottish lion tattoo mean?
The Lion Rampant of Scotland, also known as the Royal Banner of Scotland, is a flag that has been in use since the 1200’s and is a powerful symbol of this fiercely independent nation. Lions are common themes in Scotland tattoo designs and-whether a realistic depiction or using the illustrative style of this traditional banner- a lion is perfect symbol of solid Scottish pride.
Did you enjoy this glimpse into Scot tattoo designs and the pride of the Scottish people? If you’re looking for more Celtic and Gaelic tattoos for your next ink visit to the tattoo parlour click on the links below: