Pass by almost any church and you’re bound to see one thing: A cross either inside or outside.
It’s a timeless symbol that in lists of the 50+ best tattoo ideas, and dates all the way back to the 5th century with a lot of meaning behind it.
When you think of Christianity, you’re reminded of crucifixion, or more commonly the man known as Jesus. The execution style involved being nailed to a wooden cross as punishment. But what’s interesting is that both the vertical and horizontal beams were believed to represent ideas.
The horizontal was seen as female, with thoughts of destruction, death and earth. While the vertical was seen as male, with the idea of being eternal, active, and full of life.
Yet when it comes to the Celtic cross, aka the oldest cross in existence, things are quite different. It’s more than a symbol of Celtic faith and heritage. When you see these types of tattoos they often combine loops, knots and mazes into the design. Knots represent the link between spiritual and physical. Loops are the ending of the circle, and the cross itself shows us the diverse paths we all take in life.
Though, not all men’s cross tattoos are religious in purpose. Take for instance the tribal cross which can be a tribute to a tribe or ancestor. Or even the growing gothic trend with all sorts of things like barbed wire or snakes to associate pain and anger to ink.
No matter what your reason, these top 60 best cross tattoos for men are sure to evoke a profound connection to what you stand for. I’ve put together a collection that features this design on the arms, back, legs, and many other places. Your ink options are endless gentlemen.
Cross Tattoo Ideas
For God and country, a soldier’s creed. The cross illustration in this tattoo is identified as one of the iconic symbols of Christianity proudly taking center stage. It is carefully positioned on its layout wherein the intersection of the stars and the stripes, the American flag, is splendidly visible. This is perfect for the patriots, whose sacrifice for his country is incomparable.
This is a simple cross tattoo accented with the sinister facial features of an animal, a panther to be specific. It is a clear demonstration of power and strength bundled up in artwork rendered in black ink.
The rosary is an extraordinary religious object for Catholics. It helps track of the prayers of the entire Rosary and, aids in the meditation aspect. This body art a hand gently holding the crucifix of the rosary beads. A crucifix is a cross bearing the nailed Jesus Christ which is tackled in the sorrowful mysteries, crucifixion and death. As the Rosary focuses on the tales of the life of Jesus and his mother, Mary, the cross gently held on this creation honors that this prayer begins and ends with the sign of the cross in homage to the holy trinity.
Another ink art which pays tribute to the Rosary, a latin word which means a garland of roses, which is symbolically represented by a single rose at the upper portion of this tattoo. The three main objects featured are essential to the meaning of this highly spiritual symbol – the beads, the rose and the crucifix. This type of design would certainly appeal to guys who have special affinity to the Rosary.
The cross engraved into the shield of an angel. The iron cross is a popular symbol of bravery particularly carried around with the sword, which is also shaped like a cross. This ethereal creature gearing up for battle is inked in black ink.
The story of passion and death of Jesus featured in this masterpiece which conveys the spiritual journey of the wearer. For Christians taking on the cross, literally and figuratively, is the ultimate sacrifice, and the reward is redemption. This tattoo creation of the cross, rendered in black ink, with details so intricate is perfect for the gentleman who has strong spiritual affinity.
Highlighted in vibrant red is the crusader’s cross held by a soldier geared to fight a battle. The rest of the illustration is rendered in black and very striking aesthetically. This cross tattoo is popularly associated to the Templar knights disbanded more than 700 years ago but has regained popularity when The Da Vinci Code became a commercial success. At present red cross is the symbol of humanitarian organization. Such that, whether one chooses the old or the new red cross, one thing is certain – the welfare of humanity is their common concern.
The inverted cross gently laid out on the wrist in deep, solid black is eye-catching. This type of cross is associated to St. Peter, who didn’t want to be executed the same way as Jesus because he felt unworthy. So, he was crucified upside down. This simple cross design is versatile and can be worn on different areas of the body. On this illustration, however, tattoo took the subtle route such that it’s partly hidden in certain angles.
When the unassuming shape of the cross takes on a different task, like in this case, providing direction as it is presented as a compass in terms of concept. This leg tattoo has some smeared water color in between intersection giving a sun illusion into the whole artwork.
The glistening skin with a captivating multi-dimensional cross tattoo, gorgeously laid out on an arm, is a sight to behold. The overlapping curve white lines give added layer of dimension. This is a classic wooden cross encircled with a crown of thorns. It represents the cross of Jesus, who was crowned with thorns before his execution. This type of cross tattoo is a cool choice for guys who are proud of their faith and would like to pay tribute to one of its biblical foundations.
This is a good option for the guy who wants to memorialize a love one through a cross and heart inspired tattoo along the lower portion of the arm. It has a dark and gothic theme although it tackles a highly sensitive subject, death of a love one.
The ancient medieval cross design taking on the spotlight and perched on armored arm tattoo. These cross designs were either use for emblems of the Christian crusaders highly visible on their shields and sometimes, used for medals, too. It is also a symbol for courage, bravery and patriotism.
This is a perfect option for a memorial tattoo inked on arm. When Jesus was laid to rest, meaning his mortal body moves on, as indicated in this illustration. Such that when a love is put to rest, we hope that our beloved dead takes on the same path.
This arm tattoo is an option for those who are looking for a concept of a cross inspired family emblem. This is a highly embellished design, rendered in black with inspired by a medieval cross. The star of David is added at the center or Solomon’s seal indicating that this specific design is Jewish.
The Celtic cross is also popular among guys who wants to get a cross tattoo. Its intricate details of knot work, sophisticated loops and often rendered in black giving it a more stunning effect. The loops represent both the cynical and eternal nature of life, while the knots symbolizes the link between the physical and the spiritual.
This full sleeved masterpiece gives us another glimpse of Jesus on the cross, an illustration of the very moment when the cross was about to be taken up, to stand upright after he was nailed. This is heartbreakingly beautiful in its interpretation but a man who will take this illustration into his arm must be a strong, persistent and fearless human being.
The king of the jungle, the very soft roses with the wooden cross at the center of the illustration. The aesthetic of this body art is unbelievable. The warmth added into its color gives it a softer illusion. The majestic lion looking beyond conveys that this tattoo is dedicated to memorialize someone very dear.
This amazing collection of tattoos discloses several ways the cross was used section per section all throughout this body art. It was used to form part of an architectural structure such as the church, a marking on the tombstone. Black ink was used in rendering these tattoos and must have been a product of long hours of labor to get this kind of creation.
The wooden cross draped in white cloth is the celebration of Easter in the Christian community. This is the holy day on which it is believed that Jesus rose from the dead, third day after death. As shared in this tattoo, is a faithful ardently praying in thanksgiving.
A geometrical interpretation of the three-dimensional cross perched diagonally at the upper back of the wearer. It’s precise positioning provides added illusion of dimension. This is perfect for those who want to employ minimalist designs for their cross tattoo.
The classic outline of a cross draped in angel wings design is usually associated as memorial, a thoughtful way to remember the dead. It may also symbolize the ascension of Jesus and has gone to heaven, looking after his people. This is a tattoo design which can be personalized and modified in several ways. Some details of the dead can be added if the intention is to memorialize. The back is a huge canvass for a tattoo, that’s why there is enough room to explore in terms of collaborating with the artist so a more personalized design can be achieved. Like in this case, rest in peace was added on one side.
This is a highly intricate arm tattoo of the Sacred Heart of Jesus perched on a cross. It is a religious and holy subject matter and should be interpreted with respect and gently.
This is such mind-blowing art work which tackles a very religious subject. There are several devotees who pay homage and honor the wounds of Jesus during the passion and death. The way one of the wrist wounds of Jesus was mirrored to the exact the same spot of the wrist of the wearer is simply incredible.
Crucifixion of Jesus is a popular material for tattoo artists to work on. Aside from it’s very symbolic among the faithful and devotees, its aesthetic value is a vast source of wonderful artwork. Take into consideration this full sleeved tattoo rendered in black ink. The way Jesus is perched on the wooden cross captured the crucial time wherein Jesus was about to slip into unconsciousness.
This simple inverted cross may be interpreted as a symbol for goth or cult association, or any anti-Christian movement or practices. However, the inverted cross, generally refers to as St. Peter’s cross. The keeper of the church asked not to be executed the same way as Jesus. He felt that he was not worthy. So, Peter was crucified upside down.
The stunning and humble cross on an unadorned back looks amazing. It may have been chosen to be a standalone tattoo on the back of the wearer to ensure that its meaning will always be significant. Its location is strategic enough to be located right through the heart. Every tattoo is unique just like this one.
This is another religious tattoo draped around the full arm which features Jesus mortal life. It speaks of the God’s sacrifice and love for humanity that He gave his only son, so everyone may be saved. It is beautifully executed by the artist, rendered in black ink.
This is a sacred geometrical pattern wherein the cross as two intersecting lines forms part of. Its integral participation within the pattern, helped make the object a reality. This type of design is a constant reminder that we are all interconnected, that we form part of the bigger story.
This is a unique way of tackling a cross tattoo inspired design nestled on an elaborate Victorian pattern. It’s added details on the bed of the outline produce a striking effect making the cross standout even more.
A cross tattoo design to consider as an option, is to have the cross with hands clasped together in prayer, which can either be below, centered with, or holding the cross. This design is easy to personalize, as you first have several different cross designs, many of which are detailed in this article, to choose from.
Jesus was nailed on the cross. He was not the first nor the last to suffer in the Christian community. There were so many martyrs who were killed after him. Just as the nail is highly symbolic to Christianity, it is important to ensure that this is a design you would like to explore. There are two symbolic factors to be considered: the nail and the cross.
This illustration is a haunting way of interpreting the passion and death of Jesus presented in an abstract manner. The concept is indeed unique, using the contour of each part of the landscape as an integral part of Jesus facial features.
The brave knight getting ready to fight the battle and defend its people, and the God he believes in. This arm tattoo takes on interpreting how the symbol of the medieval cross was worn and what it represents to its people.
The skull generally conveys death or a bad omen, or perhaps just a warning. This sinister illustration has so much personality. It’s dark subject matter, as the skull holds on to the cross bones adds humor into this artwork.
Jesus died with two other accused victims alongside him. This is highly significant for the faithful as Jesus grants forgiveness to the two thieves while he himself was suffering on the cross. It is indeed a blessing to be given the chance to be cleansed and start over. This tattoo design is small enough to be executed on the wrist and can be personalized with added text or colors.
Cross Tattoo FAQs
What is the meaning of cross tattoo?
A cross is primarily known as a symbol for sacrifice, unity and love. To translate this t-like these intersecting lines into a permanent ink and add it to the human body, must mean deeply to its wearer. There must be varied purpose of getting inked with the cross. It is most often symbolic, could be an association to an emerging pop culture, a religious affinity for Christians with the crucifix as one of its identifying symbol, a celebration of life’s notable moments, memorializing a death of a love one, or just a simple geometrical shape wherein the aesthetic value is cool enough to be on the skin.
This extremely versatile object is proudly worn and tattooed in permanent to reveal stories of courage and survival as told by the soldiers holding on to their mighty swords, a cross with a pointed end. It’s the same symbol of death and mortality as shared by a grieving heart holding on to a crucifix for sheer strength. A cross also reveals stories of hope, triumphs, and joyful celebrations may it be marriage or thanksgiving.
Where do you put a cross tattoo?
Upon making a decision as to which design will be inked on your skin, next is to ensure you are selecting the ample spot on your body to showcase your body art. There are some considerations for the cross tattoo, size, appropriateness of the subject matter and the contour of the selected area of the body versus the tattoo design.
How much is a simple cross tattoo?
The average cost for a simple cross tattoo design starts at $50 and could run as high as $250. The cost of the tattoo may be affected by location of the tattoo in your body, size and design, experience level of the artist, the equipment and the amount of ink which will be used, amount of time to finish the design. Some tattoo artists charge by the hour and mostly starts at $75 to$ 100 per hour.
Getting inked is an investment since it’s a permanent art that will be tattooed on the skin. It requires careful planning and thorough consideration. This is one of those times wherein getting it right the first time must be applicable.
What does the 3-cross tattoo mean?
There are two ways of interpreting 3-cross symbol or creation. One, it represents the humanity of Jesus as he was crucified at Golgotha with two thieves. And, second, it refers to the doctrine of the trinity in Christianity. It reveals that there is one God, who is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.