Sugar skulls are a very popular tattoo to get these days for both boys and girls, however a lot of people don’t realise that they have a lot deeper meaning than just a pretty design. Sugar skulls are actually part of Mexican culture, and traditionally are made on the day of the dead (November 1 & 2) where they will be then decorated and placed on loved ones headstones. This gesture is not only meant to recognize loved ones that have died but also to bring their spirit back on the day of the dead. With this is mind, they have become a popular and often symbolic tattoo for people to get these days to remember family members or friends that may have passed away. All in all, a sugar skull is a popular image in the Mexican culture. It gave an inspiration to face painting, sweets, household items, and jewelry, such as a sugar skull ring or a bracelet, all bearing this symbol. Without further ado, lets take a look at 40 of our favourite ones.
Batman sugar skull
This is a really fun and unique batman tattoo design with a Mexican twist on it. Why would you get a tattoo like this? Because Batman, that is why.
Traditional skull design
Here is a great sketch of a more traditional skull with antique jewellery items and a rose.
Sugar skull tattoos are particularly popular amongst women because of how pretty they can look. Also because they often contain more feminine designs such as diamonds, love hearts and roses.
Black ink skull
A more common approach to sugar skulls on men is to get them in only black ink. The one above is a great example of how nice shading can sometimes be all you need.
Sugar skull vine
Whilst some might think this tattoo is a little bit creepy, you cannot deny that it is very well done and the colors jump right out at you.
A common thing to include on sugar skull tattoos is diamond eyes. Geometric shapes like this can really work well the skull patterns.
We love the deep red roses on either side of this sugar skull that contrast nicely to the lighter colors used in skull.
Because sugar skulls can often symbolize a friend or family member you may have lost, it is quite common for people to get them tattooed on their chest, close to their heart.
Roses and skull
If you’re stuck for ideas but really want a colorful tattoo, then there is none more colorful and beautiful then a well done sugar skull tattoo.
Many people will get 2 skulls tattooed so that they can be more symmetrical like the above example.
Here is an example of a more side on sugar skull, with this angle you can really notice the eyes popping out!
This tattoo is absolutely gorgeous. The kind of design that you could stare at for hours and hours.
Here is a nice close up of a skull where you can see just how intricate the detail can be. This one has a hood around it and some very fine spider web details.
Day of the dead
Why stop at just a day of the dead tattoo? Day of the dead festival is a great way to show off your face painting skills.
Here is a more modern and political twist on the sugar skull design.
Skulls on skulls on skulls. This tattoo was definitely done by a professional. The shading is next level. Also it was common place to put roses on the headstones of the deceased along with the decorated sugar skulls.
Day of the dead face painting can look really beautiful, and better yet make a really pretty tattoo design.
Here is another beautiful example of a blank ink skull with roses that runs up the neck and looks stunning.
Bird skull piece
Sometimes all you need is one color and when working with roses – that color should definitely be red!
Placement is everything with tattoos, make sure you pick the perfect spot for your design to fit.
The great thing about getting a skull tattoo like the one above is that once you get sick of it you can always color it in down the track and have a new tattoo to look at.
This one is really ineresting, and well slightly creepy! It looks like a faceless babushka doll but there is definitely some really intricate and beautifully done line work when you look closer.
Cross on skull
This is a great example of a traditional sugar skull. Note the spider web, cross, vines, diamonds, flowers on the eyes and upside down love heart nose area – all common elements of traditional Mexican sugar skull designs.
Another modern interpretation. We really love the use of pink ink on this one.
Epic sugar skull
Another design that draws you in and you end up getting lost in it – which is exactly what a great tattoo should do.
His and hers
We love these modern interpretations of the sugar skull tattoos. One on the back of each calf – his and hers.
It can be quite common for people to get 2 sugar skull tattoos, particularly if they have lost 2 people dear to them such as both parents.
Sugar skull face painting
Another great example of some day of the dead themed face and body painting. This could quite easily be turned in to a great looking tattoo.
This probably has a very symbolic meaning that is quite dear to the person and they have captured it beautifully in these artistically designed bride and groom sugar skull tattoos.
We love this design. There’s no clear outline like the other examples but with a lot of intricate patterns to make up the shape it looks really good.
Finger skull tattoos
These are extremely intricate for finger tattoo designs and must have been carried out with an extremely fine need and even steadier hand!
Rose skull piece
Another great example of how to work a rose in to the design.
Who said rose tattoos have to be red? There are no rules with tattoo art!
Whilst skulls generally don’t have moustaches, they definitely look pretty cool with a finely groomed moustache such as the example above.
Here is another look at an intricate skull design with no outline.
This is a great shoulder piece with very deep colors that work really well together. We particularly like the shell on the bottom of the skull.
Another great shot of a sugar skull tattoo design on someones thigh. If you look closely on this one you can see a date below it. This is often done with tattoos to signify a date that has a dear meaning to that person.
Weaving vines and leaves are common place on day of the dead skull designs.
This one has a huge range of colors and the result is just beautiful!
Greens and reds
It looks like a real emerald attached to this skull. The green leaves and red roses work really well on this design.
Of all the places to get day of the dead skulls tattooed, the forearm, chest and thigh are the most common areas – which generally means they’re a great bet should you want one yourself.
Dots on the skull
The attention to detail is really nice on the above skull, a lot of dot and line work and the deep black eyes really make the design pop.
We saved our favorite one for last. Whilst it may not be the most intricate or impressive we love its simplicity and color work.