25 Rib Tattoos For Men Who Laugh At Pain

Rib tattoos are impressive works that not everyone would want to attempt. The rib area including the sides are considered the second most painful body part to place a tattoo. The benefit of a rib tattoo however, is the large expanse of skin to place a tattoo. You can go wild with a large tattoo, like traditional Americana or Japanese style tattoos. However, most people who have rib tattoos have a lot of restraint by placing smaller and more manageable tattoos on their sides and ribs.

The following are some examples of tattoos on the rib cage and sides. They are of different sizes, styles and themes and provide a great variety of images to choose from if you care to have your own rib tattoo.

1. Simple Rib Tattoo

If you are big on details, a simple rib tattoo is an effortless way to look cool and appealing. When we say simple, it can be anything from a well-loved pet to names of a loved one. These tattoo designs are more personal and uncomplicated. It is also devoid of details thus, it is easier to complete. If you are after some basic designs, opt for pieces done in black ink. It is more focused on the meaning rather than the design.

2. Abstract Rib Tattoo

Abstract tattoo designs are very personal and they can mean anything in this world. Everything about abstract tattoos are between the wearer and the artists. Depending on how they are rendered, the meaning can be simple or they can be deep and dark. These types of body art are versatile and flexible. You can use various colors and techniques. Abstract tattoos are often full of mystique, but the designs can range from geometric, 3D, juxtapoz of colors and shades or a standalone piece of art. 

3. Heart Rib Tattoo

A heart tattoo is a universally recognized and well-known design. You don’t have to choose a scientifically correct representation of it as it can be done simply or intricately. Depending on the person, hearts symbolize love, life and passion. It can be associated with romantic relationships, personal loss or heartbreak. Heart rib tattoo can be done in various techniques including geometric, watercolor and hyper-realistic choices.  

4. Side Rib Tattoo

When you have a rib tattoo, you’ll always want to show it off because they are cool and interesting. The placement of the design makes for a masculine and powerful appearance. Side rib is the perfect placement for big meaningful designs that requires big spaces for details. When skillfully completed, it will clearly show the significance of your chosen tattoo design. Alternatively, you may also opt for smaller, simpler designs to place on your side rib. It is a less painful choice, but still a meaningful tattoo.   

5. Dreamcatcher Rib Tattoo

Dreamcatchers are beautiful hand woven crafts from the Native American culture. They are designed to help people have a peaceful sleep. According to beliefs, dreamcatchers filter out bad dreams and negative thoughts. This talisman has become popular around the world as an intricate rib tattoo design for men or women. Its details and the elements around it are visually interesting. It is also a symbol of spirituality and protection. 

6. Lion Rib Tattoo

For a man that rules his life and destiny, a Lion rib tattoo is the perfect form of self-expression. When creatively detailed, a lion tattoo becomes a symbolic choice to represent power, bravery and nobility. It will be a reminder of your strength in overcoming hardships. This majestic beast requires a detailed and beautiful rendering for a body art. The rib area is an ideal spot for an accurate representation of a hyper-realistic lion tattoo.  

7. Wolf Rib Tattoo

Wolves are pack animals. They symbolize family and unity. These animals rely on one another for security and protection, thus they are strong representation of familial bonds. The wolf rib tattoo will work as a reminder that you are not alone and it is associated with loyalty. For some Native Americans, the wolf is a spirit animal and they hold great respect. 

8. Dragon Rib Tattoo

Is it fearlessness and passion that you want to represent through body art? Then choose a dragon tattoo design for you next inking. Dragons are mythical creatures that are respected, feared and revered. It is a masculine and powerful choice if looking for a rib tattoo design idea. Have it wrapped around your back and hooked on your rib cage. Depending on the size or color of your design, your tattoo can have various meanings too. Black means bravery and red is used as a symbol of wisdom.  

9. Phoenix Rib Tattoo

The phoenix is a mythical bird that is associated with life, death and rebirth. It is a wonderful choice for men who deeply contemplate mortality and want something that will remind him of the cycle of life. The phoenix bird is believed to rise from the ashes of its predecessor, and it effectively represents one’s triumph over adversaries. For a full effect and a detailed rendering, get a phoenix tatt in warm colors. This impressive art should be placed in spacious spots and the rib area is an ideal spot. 

10. Snake Rib Tattoo

Snake tattoos are popular designs for men considering a rib tattoo. They are universally recognized and carry with them various meanings – both positive and negative. Snakes are important in some cultures and various techniques can be applied to create a striking body art. Some opt for hyper-realistic design, while others apply Japanese technique for a more intricate detailing. Snakes are also associated with healing, transformation, death or rebirth. Aside from the rib area, the leg and arms are also great placement for this body art. 

11. Tiger Rib Tattoo

Another popular tattoo design choice for men is the Tiger. This fierce predator is a skilled hunter, a silent and deadly animal. They are associated with independence, freedom and strength. There are various designs for a tiger rib tattoo. You can have a traditional, realistic or Japanese technique for a unique and striking piece of body art.

12. Butterfly Rib Tattoo

Another popular yet uniquely beautiful image for a rib tattoo is a butterfly. This insect represents many things including freedom and transformation. It looks great when etched in black and colored ink. You may also include other images such as flowers or skulls. It is a great reminder for people who overcame hardships in life and of the significant period of change that they have experienced. 

13. Feather Rib Tattoo

Flying is an ability that humans wish can be copied from birds. People are obsessed with flight and flying. Feathers help birds become airborne, and because of it, people have always associated feathers with freedom.  Feathers also symbolize wisdom, courage, and strength. And depending on the type of bird that your chosen feather comes from, your body can take on different meanings as well. This tattoo design is one of the most popular for men wishing to have a rib tattoo. 

14. Bird Rib Tattoo

Getting a rib tattoo might be cool and appealing, but it hurts a lot while you are getting inked. The rib area should always be reserved for truly meaningful designs. Bird tattoos so deserve this spot because they represent courage and freedom. These designs are excellent for people who like to travel. Likewise, depending on the species of birds you choose, the meanings can also be different.  You can have an eagle to symbolize courage and the owl for all things mystic.   

15. Angel Rib Tattoo 

Angels are believed to be heavenly messengers from God. They are associated with goodness and righteousness. They represent balance between heaven and earth. There are various archangels too and they can change the symbolism of your tattoo. They may also represent wrath or vengeance. This tattoo design is ideal for the religious and those inspired by what they represent. Have this tattoo design placed on your ribs for a detailed rendering. 

16. Rose Rib Tattoo

Another fantastic option for a rib tattoo design for men is the Rose. This flower symbolizes many things including love, life and beginnings. It is also associated with beauty and pain. It is used as a reminder to be wary of trusting others. The colors of the bloom may also carry various meanings. For red, it means passion, while black colored rose may mean death or loss. Rose rib tattoos are incredibly versatile, you can add other elements like skulls, words or butterflies.   

17. Small Flower Rib Tattoo

For a simple, rather minimalistic design, a small flower rib tattoo is a great option. Small blooms are very versatile and meaningful. There are many species to choose from, each one has their own unique representation. Violets are associated with innocence, while the lotus represents enlightenment. Floral tattoos can be done in big or small designs, whichever size you choose, it will always be a meaningful and visually unique piece.

18. Roman Numerals Tattoo

Each person has a special number that they never want to forget. It can be a date of birthday or anniversary. Men can celebrate this date uniquely using the Roman Numeral rib tattoo design. This numeric system is not very common, thus it is quite interesting to see it inked. Some people use this tattoo design to commemorate a passing of a loved one or a birth of a child. You can have it etched alone or accompanied by other elements like flowers or clocks. Add this tattoo design close to your heart for a more meaningful body art. 

19. Cross Tattoo

Cross tattoos are popular amongst religious and spiritual individuals. It is one way of honoring their faith and in showing their love of Jesus Christ for humankind. The cross also represents everlasting love, a guide to the right path and the desire to stay good. Different people have different interpretations of the cross and how it is designed. Make it a memorial piece and have it inked on your rib. You can also add your favorite Bible verse or a name of your loved one. 

20. Bible Verse Tattoo

Another design that honors Christian faith is a Bible verse tattoo. This tattoo design is perfect for people who wish  to express the importance of their religion, or what they believe in. Choose your favorite verse or the most meaningful for you. It will be a great reminder for the most important things in your life. Bible verses tattoo are ideally placed on the rib close to the heart for a more personal and special touch. 

21. Quote Rib Tattoo

When it comes to tattoo designs for the rib area, quote tattoo is one of the most popular choices. Words and written texts look great in this placement. The area is big enough for sentences and you can put in a lot of versatility into it. It can be words of someone popular, a poem, a handwritten note or lyrics from your favorite song. You may also have it close to your heart for a more meaningful body art. 

22. Shooting Star Rib Tattoo

Almost everyone believed that wishing on shooting stars will make your dreams come true, thus they became symbols of dreams and wishes. They make popular tattoo designs that both men and women love. When etched on the skin, it represents your dreamer in you. It means that you are a person who will chase after the best things in life. Shooting star tattoos can be arranged nicely alone or in groups of various sizes. They can have other decorations such as lines, stars for an intricate and detailed rib tattoo design. Choose your colors and elements to get your meaning across with your unique body art. 

23. Tribal Rib Body Art

Tribal tattoos are another popular choice for rib tattoo design for mean. Those who choose to wear these designs would like to showcase his culture, history or aspiration. These tattoos are associated with ancestral stories, culture and as a rite of passage. Tribal tattoos can range in design depending on the place of its origin. There are designs from Polynesian Islands, Philippines and South America which may denote protection, pride, strength, power and culture. You can have it etched in the rib area for an exquisite detailing of the segments. These tattoos are often done in plain black and white colors. 

24. Neo Traditional Rib Tattoo

There are many creative and experimental designs that you may also want to consider for your next rib tattoo. Neo traditional mixes the old school style tattoo with vivid colors and shadings. You can have any imaginable elements, from stormtroopers with native American headdress or a powerful eagle clasping its human canvas. These designs require careful detailing and they would look exceptional when placed in a spot with enough space. If you are in for an amazing neo traditional body art, get it done on your rib area.   

25. Asian-Inspired Rib Tattoo

Asian-style tattoos, including those from Indonesia, Vietnam, China, and Japan are distinctive in their design and execution. Although the basic design is different from Western-style body art, Asian styles are also different from one another. Indonesian and Southeast Asian style tattoos make heavy use of their local religions, while Japanese style use bold colors and heavy, intricate designs. These Asian-inspired rib tattoos can use up all the available space on your ribs or both your sides.


How painful are rib tattoos?

The rib area, including the sides and the rib cage is considered as the second most painful for tattoos. It is one place that you cannot force to stop moving. Every time you breath, the rib cage moves. While having a tattoo, you may feel more pain because the rib cage and the skin above it moves every time you take a breath.

What images are best for rib tattoos?

Some of the best images for rib tattoos include religious icons like the Virgin Mary, praying hands, crosses, and angels. Japanese-style tattoos also lend well to the ribs because these tattoos take up a lot of space.