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30 Wonderful Wave Tattoo Ideas for Men & Women in 2024

The duality of the ocean’s waves: their peaceful rumble and playful feeling call us in, but when mother nature gets rough they have the power to take our lives like it’s nothing. The wave is the iconic image that connects us with the seas. And for ocean lovers like you, it’s no wonder that wave tattoos are so popular.

But before you go and get your own wave tattoo, let us help guide you in choosing the perfect piece of ink. Below we’ll show you the most unique, most stylish, and best-looking wave tattoo ideas of 2024. You’ll surely be inspired with the perfect idea for your next piece of ink.

With that said, let’s begin. 

Wave Tattoo Ideas 1

We Hope You Enjoy These Wave Tattoos! First Off: A New School Sea Waves Tattoo

Looks like a scene right out of the street art at Wynwood Walls in Miami. This is graffiti for your forearm. The bright colors bring the waves, moon and sky to life and are then framed for your viewing pleasure. Very Cool.

IG: naryn.wave

Wave Tattoo Ideas 2

Japanese Waves Frame Tattoo With Red Sun

Japanese artworks and tattoos often depict waves as these finger-like extensions. Rather than using color, the waves here are depicted in varying tones of gray. The colorful contrast of the red sun plays so well against these grays. The waves – all bottled up and ready to take home.

IG: frankrochatattoo

Wave Tattoo Ideas 3

A Minimal Wave Tattoo For Men

This design is minimal but mighty. Take a look and you can feel the strength of these waves crashing to the shore. Although basically 2D, depth is added with the addition of the dots.

IG: bodyartmag

Wave Tattoo Ideas 4

A Circular Tattoo of Realistic Ocean Waves

Any irregularity of this circle would be immediately evident. Thanks to the artist’s skill it’s perfect as it creates a “globe” filled with these beautiful waves. Watercolors along with blacks and gray are precisely inked to realistically recreate this scene. Lots of credit to the tattoo artist who did this piece!

IG: geem_tattoo

Wave Tattoo Ideas 5

Small Wave Tattoo on Ribs

Trace this one line and you get a wave. How cool. How sophisticated. This simple wave tattoo, done in the minimal style, is great for the Tattoo-newbie. It’s small and in an inconspicuous place and you alone get to choose who sees it.

IG: aohna_ink

Wave Tattoo Ideas 6

Blue Cartoon Wave Armband Tattoo

This wave design looks like it came right out of Dragon Ball. The cartoonish look gives a playful feel to the art piece.

IG: newtattoo_studio

Wave Tattoo Ideas 7

A Rectangular Wave Tattoo With the Meaning of Love

Wave tattoos come in many forms, but this one is awesome: from the beautiful colors, to the “snapshot” of the ocean, to the movement of the two Koi fish; and of course the included text. Koi fish will stay together forever, as expressed with the words: “Wherever you go…” This Is Perfection.

Some people are curious of the meaning of wave tattoos. I believe wave tattoos symbolize many things. The power of mother nature. The ability to transform and adapt, just like waves flow in many directions. And a love for the sea.


Wave Tattoo Ideas 8

Old School Japanese Waves Tattooed With Blue Ink

Japanese style often has large solid planes of ink and this blue ink is off-the-charts gorgeous. The curves of the lines and small circles impart a sense of movement to the waves as they roll over the length of the outer forearm. The linear “bookmarks” at either end of the design are an artist’s creative touch.

IG: nobodytattoo

wave tattoo ideas

Single Line Wave Tattoo With Some Shading

This single line creates the energy and movement of a wave. If the line was not inked with even, consistent pressure the slightest irregularity would be noticeable. Thankfully the tattoo artist’s skills are on display here with how good they made this simple wave tattoo.


wave tattoos

Realistic Blue Waves Armband Tattoo

Think of an armband tattoo and tribal images come to mind. Well think again. This wave armband beautifully graces the arm. With the power of the waves you sense strength. With the dabs of Watercolors you sense beauty. A Perfect Combination.

IG: studiobysol

Under the Wave off Kanagawa Color Tattoo

Under the Wave off Kanagawa Color Tattoo

“The Great Wave off Kanagawa” is a famous Japanese woodblock print from the 1830’s. And if you’ve never seen it now you have; this tattoo looks just like it. Although encircled, the strength of this wave isn’t contained. With the beautiful golden haze in the background, it seems to go on forever.

IG: rogab_tattoo

Wave Tattoo Ideas 9

Minimal Nature Tattoo of The Sun, Mountains & Ocean

This little tattoo’s got it all: the sun, the mountains, the ocean and waves. The very precise Linework brings this scene to life. Big props to the artist @sidneygulka out of Ladysmith, BC Canada.

IG: bloomtattooco

Realistic Waves Tattooed on Forearm

Realistic Waves Tattooed on Forearm

Realistic style with its use of black ink, gray tones and shading is often used for portraits. Although this is an awesome looking tattoo it’s more stylized or abstract than realistic. Of course this style can be used for any design. Your Choice.

IG: mary.moss.tats

Wave Tattoo Ideas 10

Triangle Tattoo Filled With Waves

These waves appear both beautiful and powerful. Although accented with beautiful pastel blues, the black Linework creates the sense of intense movement; movement which isn’t contained within the black triangle. The upside-down triangle often symbolizes water. In a nice creative touch, the water also parallels this shape.

IG: screaminal

Blue Watercolor Wave Tattoo on Back of Arm

Blue Watercolor Wave Tattoo on Back of Arm

With this blue wave tattoo you can see how location matters. The width of the design is perfectly balanced by the elbow. The design isn’t too big. It’s not too small. It’s just right. The pretty pastels look like the artist “painted” them on. Adding the white ink is a nice but difficult to do technique-wise. What a beautiful, realistic small wave tattoo design this is!

IG: tattooist_dante

Wave Tattoo Ideas 11

More Ideas for Wave Tattoos: A Minimal Wave Finger Tattoo

Anyone saying “Instagram”? This small wave tattoo is totally Insta-ready. With only one, continuous, fine black line you get an awesome minimal tattoo. It’s not only great looking but also interesting. What does it mean? I’m not sure but, I’d guess this person likes the beach. And I am sure that this little tattoo will invite lots of conversation. Good way to meet people.

Wave Tattoo Ideas 12

Black and Gray Wave Armband Tattoo

If you love the ocean why not dip your arm in and get a wave armband. Waves swirling around the arm are highlighted by the thin black line at the bottom. The gap of negative space between the line and the waves is a really cool artistic touch.


Wave Tattoo Ideas 13

The Great Wave Off Kanagawa Tattooed on Forearm

This is a powerful yet subtle interpretation of the Japanese artwork “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”. Large areas of un-inked skin serve not only as canvas but detail for the design. Even with the design ending abruptly at both ends, the surrounding negative space gives it a much larger feel.

IG: architex_tattoo

Wave Tattoo Ideas 14

Matching Wave Tattoos

Swim together, surf together, tattoo together. These matching wave tattoos look like an artist painted them on with a brush. While this simple wave tattoo may look easy to do, it actually requires skill to avoid the Watercolor style from looking disjointed and messy. Again it is always good to check out an artist’s portfolio first.

IG: waltattoo

Wave Tattoo Ideas 15

Circular Shaped Tattoo of a Big Wave

Here’s another wave captured within a circle. This tattoo showcases precise Blackwork and great shading skills. The circular background frames the waves and makes them impossible to ignore.

IG: e.bin_ink

Wave Tattoo Ideas 16

Black and Gray Tattoo of The Great Wave Off Kanagawa

This is an insanely beautiful take on the Japanese artwork “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”. The diamond shape immediately draws your attention and pulls you in. Then you can’t help but admire the overall inking and gray shading with the deep red sun and crashing waves completing the picture. Props to the artist.

IG: inkrow_tattoo

Wave Tattoo Ideas 17

A Colorful & Unique Wave Tattoo

Like a snapshot, this tattoo captures the waves. And just like with a photo you want to take a second look. The sun immediately draws your attention standing in contrast to the surrounding tones. Beautiful shading is on display including the use of whip shading; a tattooing technique used to produce different gradients of ink.

IG: hill_tattoo

Blue Watercolor Minimal Wave Tattoo

Blue Watercolor Minimal Wave Tattoo

Here’s a wave tattoo that can satisfy your desire for both minimalism and color. Dabs of pretty pastel blue and turquoise are used to accent the waves. Running the length of your forearm, it will always be within easy view.

IG: studio_anabella

Wave Tattoo Ideas 18

Minimal Wave Tattoo With Red Ink

Looking for Minimal style but with a slight (minimal) added punch? Then have your design inked in red. It’s unexpected, it doesn’t symbolize water and it works without veering away from Minimal style. This one is abstract enough that it’s sure to invite questions. If you’re Ok with that then dive right in.

IG: seoeontattoo

Black Waves Tattooed With Red Ink Sun

Black Waves Tattooed With Red Ink Sun

This tattoo certainly grabs your attention and deservedly so. It’s beautiful and dramatic. The planes of opaque black ink are so rich and contrast perfectly with the muted red sun and gray tones. The fact that this is a heart and inked over the heart is all we need to know – this guy loves the water.

IG: yutta_tattoo

Wave Tattoo Ideas 19

An Ocean Lover’s Tattoo of An Orca & Sea Turtle

This custom wave design is one you might not have thought of when thinking of wave tattoos. You can sense the movement of the orca and turtle in the water. Then with the addition of the fine lines they both become “grounded” and truly at home swimming on your arm. This is a really unique piece of body art.

IG: olgacaca

Wave Tattoo Ideas 20

Crashing Wave Tattoo on Woman’s Upper Back

The circular wave design within the circle is cool but it becomes so much more impressive with the addition of the surrounding lines. With the lines the waves gain both power and importance. This is how you elevate a design.

IG: evgrafovatattoo

Wave Tattoo Ideas 21

Crashing Wave Sunset Tattoo

This tattoo fits perfectly with the others on display: they’re all nature brought to you in tones of black and gray. The florals even gracefully frame the setting sun. The prominence of the sun with its beautiful shading then adds a cohesiveness to the design.

IG: laridestro_tattoo

Wave Tattoo Ideas 22

Minimal Wave Tattoo With Linework Sun & Crescent Moon

With one line a wave is created that flows across the earth; an earth made magnificent with its exquisite detailing. Then add an Aztec-inspired sun and a Crescent moon and you get one beautiful design. And as you can see, wave tattoos can look good on all different parts of the body.

IG: santiagogdon

Blue Waves Tattooed on Collarbone

Blue Waves Tattooed on Collarbone

I love how this tattoo not only accents the shoulder but then flows across the collarbone. The swirling black lines create a sense of motion while the dabs of pastel up the sheer beauty of this tattoo. Of course it’s nice to match your wardrobe with your tattoo. Since water flows naturally, with wave tattoos it’s important to choose a location that also flows with your body.

IG: katytheladyy


Realistic Wave Tattoo on Foot

Realistic Wave Tattoo on Foot

You can feel the absolute power of this wave. It’s amazing how that’s created with nothing more than black ink and tones of gray. The tiny gaps of negative space even recreate the bubbling of the water. Awesome dark shading completes the picture. Props to Justin Sandelli of Evolink Studios out of Morristown, NJ.

With that said, we hope you found inspiration from our wave tattoo designs.

IG: evolvink