Mermaids have been the stuff of legend for centuries thanks to their mesmerizing beauty and enchanting siren songs. And whether you can quote a certain Disney classic word for word or just have an affinity for the sea, many have forged a permanent bond as mermaids are part of a long tattoo tradition that traces back to the earliest sailors. With a multitude of stories and meanings behind them, there’s an endless array of designs to choose from. If you’re looking to add a mermaid to your arsenal of ink, scroll on to see some of our favorite siren-inspired tattoo designs.
1. Old-School Siren:
Mermaids been a popular nautical tattoo motif since as far back as the 16th century, and Sailor Jerry and other old-school styles are still popular today.
2. Seashell Siren: While you only get a peek at this mermaid’s tail, the seashell motifs that make up its scales almost resemble the look of stained glass — just add color!
3. In the Weeds: Fins need not be made of fish scales to look cool. A swath of seaweed and a few fishy friends are more than enough to make it look amazing.
4. Little Bit of Line Work: Talk about a tiny tat! This little mermaid was actually hand poked onto the ankle but would look amazing anywhere else you decide to add her.
5. Pretty in Pink: Just because Disney outfitted its signature siren with red locks doesn’t mean you have to stick to the same script.
6. Little Lily: You can also opt for a siren who swims upstream and finds fresh waters like this lily-laden little mermaid.
7. Sweet & Simple:
It’s easy for a tattoo to get a bit intense when it comes to details. But the minimalist silhouette of this little mermaid, paired with the subtle shading, helps bring her to life no matter where you place her.
8. Scales Beneath the Surface: We’ve all pretended that our legs had magically transformed into a shimmering fin. But this splashy tattoo shows the 3D sheen of scales that almost makes the dream of becoming a mermaid a reality.
9. Twist on a Classic: Take elements of a classic and make it feel fresh. This minimalist take on Ariel (and the tiny crescent moon accompanying her) is instantly recognizable.
10. Abstract Appeal: Minimalists can score the essence of a mermaid even without featuring her face. The flip of the fin, the seashell, and the anchor weaving everything together are all you need.
11. Secluded Siren: You don’t have to wear your creature on your sleeve if you don’t want to! This miniature mermaid can easily swim under the radar and your shirt until you want to show her off.
12. Looking for Love: Just like Ariel, it appears that this small sea dweller is searching for something more, but she might have to look above the surface to find it.
13. Posideon’s Pitchfork: Another abstract option, this one not only includes a flipping fin but also the god of the sea’s signature trident used to stir up the waters. This tat would look amazing on arms, legs, or even along the spine.
14. Water Color Wonder: The featherlight look of this one requires someone who specializes in this type of tattoo to make it come alive. We have to admit the little drips add an aquatic touch to the whole look.
15. Under the Sea:
There are endless ways to ink everyone’s favorite little mermaid, but this version has some serious understated appeal thanks to the open line work and the soft wash of color in the shaded areas.
16. Fake It ‘Til You Make It: But if you’re not ready to commit just yet or just want to play with placements before booking your appointment, there are glittery temporary tats that you can try out first!
Which of these siren-inspired tattoos did you flip for? Follow us on Pinterest for more ink inspo!