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Getting your first wrist tattoo can be very exciting, but it needs proper planning and thought. The wrist is one of the best places to have a tattoo inked, especially if you want something that has a deeper meaning. It is an intimate area of your body, yet perfectly exposed to reveal your expressive side. Besides, the wrist is believed to radiate spiritual energy, which makes it more appropriate for inking a symbol or design that is special to you.

Wrist tattoos can be positioned and sized as per your desires to create a timeless and eye-catching statement. Unlike a back tattoo or shoulder tattoo, the ink on your wrist will be readily visible and draw the attention with a glance. At the same time, you can cover it easily with a piece of clothing, watch, or jewelry if you need to for any certain occasion. This makes wrist tattoos great when your workplace policies do not allow visible tattoos or modifications.

What You Need to Know About Wrist Tattoos

When you select your wrist tattoo design, there are a few things you should be aware of to help you choose the right one for you.

Are Wrist Tattoos Painful?

All tattoos are painful to some extent. So no matter whether you want a minimal wrist tattoo or a colorful one, it is going to hurt. Yet just like any other area, the pain of getting a small wrist tattoo inked will depend upon your particular pain threshold.

The wrist is composed of many short bones and the skin around the wrist is very thin. Therefore, you should expect an uncomfortable feeling while tattooing. However, there are not many nerve endings on the wrist, so it will likely be much more bearable than getting a tattoo on a more sensitive area of the body.

Choosing the Right Wrist Tattoo Design

Remember that your wrist tattoo will not only call attention to itself easily, but it will also be permanent. Therefore, keep these considerations in mind when looking for a tattoo design to ink on your wrist.

  • Importance. Your wrist tattoo is going to sit there for the rest of your life so it should mean something important to you. This could be anything that inspires you or signifies your love for someone or something.
  • Wear and Tear. If you love wearing bracelets or watches, then you should consider how they would affect your new tattoo. Even after proper healing, your lifestyle and daily activities will have a big impact on the life of your tattoo.
  • Size and Design. You cannot go for any tattoo design when inking one on your wrist. The limited area on your wrist makes it vital to decide the appropriate design that will look appealing even in a smaller size.

When it comes to choosing the tattoo design, you may feel quite intimidated by the thousands of ideas that the internet throws on you. So to make things a little simpler, below is a compilation of the most attractive wrist tattoo designs and their symbolic meanings.

1. An Airplane Connected to a Heartbeat Line

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Airplane tattoos are very fashionable and popular among those who love to travel. It not only symbolizes how deeply you love exploring different places but also reveals the true adventurer inside you. Airplane tattoos can be accentuated with many things like a globe, map, or compass. However, adding a heartbeat line to it will add a deeper meaning to your small wrist tattoo and say it aloud that traveling makes you feel alive and free.

2. Flying Birds and an Infinity Symbol

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Inking a flying flock of birds on the wrist is one of the most romantic tattoo ideas. It also represents the freedom of the mind and soul and means how you admire discovering life without any restrictions. Including an infinity symbol alongside the flying birds will give it a unique twist. It will also give a special meaning to your wrist tattoo, saying that you can never be bound by the limits of life and will keep on exploring forever until you find your purpose.

3. Play, Pause, Forward, and Rewind Buttons

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If you are an ardent music lover, then this simple wrist tattoo can be an elegant way to show off your passion. The tattoo can also have a deeper meaning, signifying how you need to play life as it comes, pause to enjoy special moments, look forward to staying motivated, and learn from your mistakes that you can never rewind. You can also add your zodiac sign on the audio progress bar to make it more charming, and include your birthdate and year as the timestamps.

4. Colorful Wine Glass

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This cute little wine glass tattoo can be your perfect match if you are a wine lover and will let you pay a small tribute to wine. The colorful yet simple style makes the tattoo elegant and easily noticeable. You can even have a wine bottle inked on your partner’s wrist to pair it with yours and make it more special. It can even symbolize truth, as the Latin phrase “in vino veritas” means “in wine lies the truth.”

5. A Simple, Tiny Palm Tree

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A palm tree tattoo design is unique in itself with beautiful fronds and a slender trunk. The singular nature of a tiny palm tree wrist tattoo can mean different things to different people depending upon the variation. A palm tree generally represents eternity and immortality and can be a way of remembering someone you have lost. The tiny palm tree on your wrist will be a constant reminder that your loved one is always with you. In some cultures, date palm branches represent triumph, wisdom, and goodness, and are even a symbol of God.

6. A Rising Phoenix

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A phoenix has different meanings in different cultures. In ancient times, a phoenix tattoo was believed to be a powerful amulet that could prolong human life. It is also said that the phoenix represents kindness, reliability, prosperity, and good virtues. The rising phoenix wrist tattoo can also be your way of expressing how you have endured through difficult times beating all the odds, and have “resurrected” from your past falls. It means the beginning of a new life and a new you.

7. An Elegant Black and Grey Vine

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This wrist tattoo extending to the back of your hand makes it look like an elegant innate accessory. The wrapping and winding of the vine tattoo symbolize your partnership, strength, endurance, and progress. It can also mean promise and friendship. A vine was considered a sacred symbol in early Christianity and was even associated with the Garden of Eden. You can include a flock of birds on the inner wrist as well to add a unique twist to the tattoo.

8. “One of Two” Matching Sibling Tattoo

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If you have a sibling, then there cannot be any cuter way to show your love for each other than by inking this tiny tattoo on your wrists. You can go for any favorite quote for this sibling tattoo as well, having the first part inked on your wrist and the last part on your sibling’s wrist.  The phrase “One of Two” tattoo makes it special by representing the unbreakable bond between you two as well as meaning that both of you are equal in every aspect of life.

9. Waves in the Ocean

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Having a small wave tattoo inked on your wrist shows your connection with the sea. Many Pacific Islanders used to ink a wave tattoo to show their respect for the ocean and its might. Today, it has emerged as a way to represent the constant motion of life and that you should always look to move forward regardless of what comes your way. It can also be a subtle reminder to be humble knowing that you are small and trivial in front of the force of nature.

10. A Dragonfly

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Choosing a dragonfly tattoo design holds different meanings for different people, which could be peace, purity, prosperity, maturity, luck, strength, or harmony. A tiny dragonfly wrist tattoo also symbolizes your independence and shows that you are not afraid of change. It also means that you are not limited by any kind of self-created illusion but embrace change to transform yourself and evolve for the better. It can also be your family tattoo design when coupled with the One of Two wrist tattoo.

11. Birds around the Tree of Life

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If you are a nature lover, then a tree of life wrist tattoo would be perfect for revealing your true self to everyone. The tree of life represents eternity, immortality, knowledge, strength, growth, wisdom, and forgiveness. Encircling the tree with a pattern and adding two birds above it will show how you yearn to achieve and uphold those virtues. In the same way, the wrist tattoo will also signify the importance of humankind’s responsibility toward nature and the environment.

12. The Sun and Moon with Vines

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The sun and moon is another popular wrist tattoo design that represents two opposing powers, which could be good and bad, life and death, or anything else. This tattoo design merges the sun and the moon in a delicate way to mean much more than that and shows that you are capable to blend in with any conflicting forces. Adding two vines further balances the tattoo design and signifies that even contradictory ideas can sometimes be united for progress and growth.

13. Paper Plane in the Wind

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If you are looking for a minimal wrist tattoo, then inking a tiny paper plane on the inner wrist will be ideal to express your carefree attitude. A paper plane floating around can symbolize freedom, fun, youth, and a worry-free lifestyle. It also shows that you are a creative thinker and do not shy away from letting the wind take your life in whichever direction it wants to. Paper airplanes also represent the ancient art of origami and symbolize a new beginning.

14. Flowers on the Cross

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This graceful wrist tattoo will remind you of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, and you can celebrate God’s love by adding flowers to it. It will act as a subtle reminder to stand fast in your faith, spread love, forgive one another, pray continually, and cherish your connection with God. You can also add roses to the tattoo to add more meaning to it as roses symbolize promise, hope, and new beginnings.

15. Black and White Four-Leaf Clover

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The four clover petals have different symbolic values – they stand for faith, hope, love, and luck. According to Irish culture, St. Patrick once used a three-petal shamrock (a variety of clover) to illustrate the Holy Trinity of Christianity. The fourth petal in clover adds more peculiarity and individuality to the tattoo. You can get the black and white clover tattoo inked to represent your religious beliefs as well as symbolize how you are not afraid to push your luck.

16. Broken Chains on Fire

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A broken chain tattoo symbolizes freedom from a challenging situation in life. This small wrist tattoo design reimagines the idea by adding fire to the broken chain. It says aloud how you survived the tough times and liberated yourself from the burden. At the same time, the intact chain on the other wrist stands as a constant reminder that some things can still restrain you and you need to evolve persistently to be free from those shackles.

17. A Classic Feather

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A feather tattoo can represent many different characters that are found in birds, such as freedom, courage, truth, and more. It also symbolizes your ability to fly away creatively or emotionally. In Native American culture, wearing a feather reflects their rich heritage and spirituality. Some civilizations even symbolize feathers as messages from the spirit world. In any case, getting a feather tattoo of your favorite bird will allow you to showcase your individuality and independence.

18. A Bumblebee with Honeycomb

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This beautiful bumblebee wrist tattoo stands for trust, cooperation, and hard work. Adding a hexagonal honeycomb design on your wrist will remind you of the importance of structured collaboration, while the cute bee will represent loyalty, protectiveness, and courage. Unlike honeybees, bumblebees do not sting unless truly provoked. This makes the wrist tattoo a great way to remind yourself to keep calm under all circumstances and focus on the power of collaboration instead to build the perfect honeycomb.

19. Angel Wings

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This is another graceful wrist tattoo idea to represent your faith and your need to be closer to God. At the same time, the elegant tattoo design will resemble freedom, love, affection, and harmony. While the Flowers on the Cross tattoo reminds you of God’s grace and forgiveness, this one will stand as a reminder of His constant protection and care for you. It also means liberation and your ability to let go of whatever held you back in the past.

20. A Vibrant Red Rose

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A small rose tattoo on your wrist can mean many different things depending upon its color and your beliefs. A red rose tattoo, for instance, symbolizes love, purity, mysticism, and passion, while a pink one will represent grace, gratitude, and affection. Roses have different meanings in different cultures as well. In Christianity, the red rose was regarded as the symbol of the Virgin Mary, whereas Romans considered it a symbol of Goddess Flora, and Greeks associated it with Aphrodite, the goddess of love.

21. Sunflower Sun, a Colorful Whale, and a Paper Boat

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This small wrist tattoo can bring your childhood memories back to life, reminding you of the times when you used to play out in the sun and on the beach. Replacing the sun with a sunflower will add more meaning to the tattoo and symbolize your desire to move toward light always. It will infuse a positive vibe whenever you look at the tattoo. Including a whale will further lift your spirit by reminding you of a joyous and peaceful life.

22. An Anchor with a Heart

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This small romantic wrist tattoo could mean many things to you. It can resemble your religious beliefs, as the anchor generally represents hope and salvation. Likewise, it can mean calmness and commitment in your life. Adding a tiny heart shape on the top instead of the anchor head will make it more exceptional and signify your loyalty to your partner or devotion to your faith. If you have someone in the navy, it will deepen the bond and relationship between you two.

23. Semi-Circle Mandala Band

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Mandala tattoos are becoming increasingly fashionable these days due to their deep symbolism. Being a circle design, it means eternity, balance, infinity, and perfection. You can add a creative twist to it by inking a semi-circle mandala design rising out of an artistic band. This will reflect on your desire to achieve greater spiritual growth day by day while emulating a sense of harmony and enlightenment. Mandala tattoos also symbolize the idea of life energy and the semi-circle design on your wrist will mean that you are open to realizing you’re still learning and growing.

24. A Cross, Heartbeat Line, and Heart Combined

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Where the Angel Wings tattoo reminds you of God’s protection, this elegant tattoo design reminds you that love triumphs over everything. This delicate symbolic representation of the Bible verse  I Corinthians 13:13 can inspire you to let go of negative emotions and move ahead with constructive thoughts. Even if you are non-religious, the faith, hope, and love tattoo can form a statement of harmony and joy that you want to embody in life.

25. Adventurous Images Rising Out of a Book

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This cute wrist tattoo symbolizes your creativity, individuality, and character. The paper boat, airplane, and origami bird in the tattoo combine the symbols of peace, happiness, freedom, youthfulness, and a carefree nature. The rocket emerging from the book could also stand for your desire to explore and express your imagination. Together, this little wrist tattoo makes a perfect reminder to let go of things that hold you back and enjoy life wherever the wind takes you.

26. Sleeping Cat with a Tiny Heart

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If you are a feline lover, then this small wrist tattoo is for you. Cat tattoos also have a deeper meaning, often symbolizing mystery, intelligence, grace, luck, or even life after death in some cultures. There are many variations of cat tattoos, and they can mean different things to different people. Yet this minimal sleeping cat will be the ideal one to show your true love for the cute little creatures.

27. A Black Rose Silhouette

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Just like the red rose tattoo, a black rose tattoo on your wrist can also mean multiple things. Often, it is considered a metaphor for death and is associated with mourning and grief. Although many people go for a black rose tattoo in memory of someone they have lost, some have it inked to symbolize rebellion, boldness, individuality, and strength. Black tattoos can also mean hope and courage, which has made black roses a trending tattoo style despite its dark symbolic meaning.

28. Colorful Boxing Gloves

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If you are a boxer or a fitness enthusiast, then this small wrist tattoo will be a great innate accessory for your hands. Boxing gloves represent power and protection while symbolizing strength, dignity, and honor. The wrist tattoo can also stand for the battles you have faced in life and how you have emerged as a champion through hard work and dedication. It will also remind you that even if something knocks you down in life, you should learn to get back up and keep fighting.

29. A Rising Sun Over a Mountainous Landscape

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The rising sun wrist tattoo represents new beginnings just like how the rising sun marks the start of a new day. It can signify how you overcame the challenges in your life and how they transformed you into a new self. The mountains in the tattoo not only make it more pleasing to the eye but also remind you of the hard times of the past. The sun shining on the horizon also gives you hope for a new life and a fresh start.

30. Love & Hate Combined

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Love/Hate is one of the most popular knuckle tattoos where love is inked on the right hand and hate on the left. The love and hate wrist tattoo is a reimagined version of it, which merges both the terms together in a single design. It symbolizes the constant struggle between good and bad and reminds you that there should be a balance between every positive and negative emotion to express confidence in your personality or relationship.

31. Black and White Sunflower

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If you like the sunflower tattoo idea but are looking for a simpler one, then this tiny wrist tattoo would be an excellent choice. Sunflower tattoos symbolize love, loyalty, and longevity, as well as a strong desire to constantly move toward the light. Having a black and white sunflower tattoo inked on your wrist will speak aloud about your preference for simplicity and practicality.

32. Painterly Dogwood Flower

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If you love the mystical and gorgeous appeal of dogwood blossom tattoos, but do not want a big ink on your body, then go for a single dogwood flower on the wrist. The small and delicate dogwood flower has some powerful symbolism too and it is often connected to Christianity because the tree was chosen for the crucifixion of Christ. A tiny dogwood flower tattoo can not only represent your spirituality, but it can also stand for innocence, purity, love, or affection.

33. An Inspiring Short Quote like “Love Yourself”

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Inking a short, inspiring quote like “love yourself” will be perfect for you if you do not want anything fancy or too complicated on your wrist. You just need to find the right quote for you that will lift your spirit and motivate you each time you look at the small wrist tattoo. Make sure to choose the right typography and style too that will blend well with your personality and fashion preferences.

34. An Artistic Blue Butterfly

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Blue is one of the trendiest colors used in butterfly tattoos, often accentuated with a black shade. A small blue butterfly wrist tattoo will symbolize your joyful nature, freedom, femininity, beauty, and luck. In some cultures, a blue butterfly is known as a granter of wishes. A butterfly tattoo also represents transformation and can act as a reminder of how you have evolved over the years and transitioned into your new self.

35. A Black and White Sun Outline

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A tiny sun inked on your wrist can make you feel happier and more cheerful in every situation. A sun represents truth and light, bravery, and peace. The bright shining sun can define how you triumphed over the darkness in your life and survived through the difficult period. Similarly, it can also help you to remember that no matter what comes in life, there is always hope for a new day and a fresh start.

36. A Black Paw Print

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If you are a cat or dog person, then getting a small paw print inked on your wrist will be an amazing way to show your love for your feline or canine friend. This can be in remembrance of your pet or to signify your desire to personify certain characteristics of your favorite animal. You can also choose a pattern of paw prints to represent that you are constantly trying to move forward and reach the goals in your life.

37. Initials with a Small Attached Heart

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If you want a truly minimalistic wrist tattoo, then having your initials (or just the first letter of your name) inked will be the best option. You can also go for your partner’s initials when choosing this tattoo. Adding a tiny heart symbol to it will give it a subtle romantic appeal. You can later add an infinity symbol over the letters as well, like in the flock of birds tattoo, to symbolize your never-ending love for your partner.

38. A Seashell and Waves Line Tattoo

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You can have a seashell tattoo inked on your wrist in a variety of ways. This minimal wrist tattoo design represents your love for the sea while symbolizing happiness, freedom, protection, and prosperity. In ancient times, seashells were used as currency in different parts of the world, which make it a symbol for affluence too. So this small tattoo will also be a clever inspirational symbol on your wrist to keep you focused on your goal.

39. Three Unique Snowflakes

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If you thought that snowflakes are only associated with winter and the holidays, then you cannot be more wrong. Every snowflake is unique in itself and the tattoo design can help you to express your individuality, tender nature, quietness, and beauty. The trio of snowflakes in this wrist tattoo design can also be a sign of Christmas, and can remind you of its message and spirit all year long. Snow makes everything look fresh and clean, which means that the tiny tattoo can also resemble purity, transformation, and new beginnings.

40. Tibetan Lettering

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If you like letter tattoo designs, then check out this one to add an exceptional twist to the idea. You can find the Tibetan letter corresponding to your initials and have it inked on your wrist to create a unique style. Plus, different letters in the Tibetic language can also have different astrological meanings, which will make the tattoo more significant to you.

41. Barbed Wire Band

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A barbed wire wrist tattoo band can be an excellent way to show off your physical and mental strength to others. It can also be a reminder of how you have overcome a challenging situation in your life and how it has transformed your personality. It can also represent the Christian faith and symbolize the crown of thorns that Jesus was forced to wear on His way to the cross on Golgotha. This can also mean that you are willing to take on any level of pain to achieve your goals.

42. Ornamental Spear through Crescent Moon

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Ornamental art has been around for centuries and can be seen in many tattoo designs. This small wrist tattoo couples an ornamental spear passing through the crescent moon. It merges the symbolic meanings of growth, creativity, transition, and fighting spirit. The tattoo also stands for the ever-changing ways of life, delicately creating a reminder that you always need to be as ready as a warrior to face the challenges ahead to accomplish your goals.

43. Crystal Bracelet with Your Name

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Crystal tattoos are mystical and can represent different meanings depending upon the stone you choose. This simple bracelet tattoo merges a stunning crystal on the outer wrist with your name on the inner wrist. This gives your tattoo a deeper meaning and connection with your persona. You can choose the crystal based on your zodiac sign and connect to its metaphysical energy around you. The tattoo can also mean positivity, confidence, and prosperity.

44. A Yellow and White Daisy

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Daisies resemble innocence, purity, loyalty, patience, and love. It is a feminine flower and can be tattooed on any part of the body. As daisy tattoos can be customized in different color and sizes, it sits perfectly on your wrist as well. The daisy flower has been a significant symbol in old Celtic cultures as well as Norse mythology. The tattoo represents your gentleness, modesty, beauty, and commitment to your loved ones.

45. A Name Written in an Elegant Script with a Heart

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Nothing can be as simple as a name tattoo on your wrist. You can make it even more interesting by having the first name of your fiancé/fiancée inked on your wrist. Adding a stylish minimal heart symbol over the name will further emphasize on your romantic relationship. Remember to choose the fonts, typography, and style carefully to match your persona and styling preferences as in the Initials with Love tattoo idea.

46. A Unalome Symbol

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A simple unalome tattoo on your wrist can mean a lot of things. In the Buddhist culture, a unalome symbol indicates the way to enlightenment; the spirals represent the twists and turns in your life while the straight line symbolizes the moment when you have attained peace and harmony within yourself. The tiny dots at the end, on the other hand, represent death and denote how we fade away to nothing. You can choose from many different unalome symbols for this unique wrist tattoo; all of them have spirals, straight lines, and dots to convey the same message.

47. A Semicolon with a Colorful Lotus

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A semicolon tattoo is often used as a message of acceptance of one’s struggle with depression, addiction, and different kinds of mental health issues. Adding a lotus flower on the top of the semicolon symbolizes enlightenment, self-renewal, and rebirth. It says aloud that, from any struggle, you can produce a beautiful flower. The tattoo can act as a symbol of hope for people with physiological illnesses and help them to accept and adapt to it.

48. An Infinity Symbol with a Heart in the Center

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This one is another version of the Flying Birds and an Infinity Symbol wrist tattoo design. Here, a heart shape is merged with the infinity symbol to denote your never-ending love for your partner or an unbreakable friendship. You can also include your names within the infinity symbol or on its edge near to the heart shape to make it unique and signify that the special person will be close to your heart forever.

49. Colorful, Painterly Forget-Me-Not

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A forget-me-not is one of the most beautiful floral tattoo designs out there. The balanced appeal of the yellow, green, and turquoise colors make it quite appealing and pleasing to the eye. Typically, the flower symbolizes beauty, elegance, courage, love, and peace. You can have it inked to signify your everlasting love for someone you admire the most in your life or to cherish the memories of a loved one you have lost.

50. A Black and White Sleeping Panda

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Panda bears are not only cute but they also hold great significance in Asian culture. The panda bear has been considered a symbol of peace and serenity for centuries, while it also stands for a carefree and fun nature. This small sleeping panda wrist tattoo symbolizes the worry-free and happy-go-lucky side of you, denoting that you are never troubled by the quandary of life and take everything in a calm and relaxed way.

Finding the Right Pick for Your Wrist Tattoo

No matter how small it is, your wrist tattoo will be a part of your appearance for the rest of your life. It will also play a big role in how you choose your accessories and jewelry. So it is crucial that you take your time to find the right tattoo design to ink on your wrist.

Bear in mind that even though it is a small wrist tattoo, you should give it the time to heal naturally so that it lasts forever. It may take a longer time to heal if you choose designs like An Artistic Blue Butterfly or A Colorful, Painterly Forget-me-not. This is not only because of the vibrant colors in the tattoo designs but also because the wrist is a joint and generally takes more time to heal.

As your wrist tattoo starts to heal, it may start cracking as well if the area is too dry. This can cause a loss of ink and make the tattoo look patchy and distorted. Therefore, it is recommended to use a tattoo aftercare product that will keep the tattooed area well moisturized. The After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer can be a good choice to make sure that your tattooed skin stays soft and supple. You can also use the Ink Scribd Tattoo Balm to promote the natural healing and conditioning of your wrist skin.

Once healed properly, you can admire your wrist tattoo for years and show it off to everyone, explaining the profound significance of the symbol or design. If you are not sure of how the tattoo design and placement will look on your wrist, you can even try a few temporary tattoos to get the feel and find exactly what you are looking for.