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20 Thumb Tattoo Designs That'll Make You Want More Ink

A few key considerations come to mind when thinking about a new tattoo, and chief among them is where to place it. If you’re looking for something small, you could always go with a cute thumb tattoo. They may not be the most common within the world of hand tattoos, but artist Jaz Paulino of High Hopes Tattoo in New York City says that the element of surprise works for some body art.

“This placement feels more unique compared to where you'd typically get finger tattoos,” Paulino tells Bustle. “I find thumb tattoos to be so unexpected, yet they have the potential to leave a really big impact depending on the design.” And the design options for thumb ink are plenty: you could go with dot work, fine linework, geometric designs, portraits, you name it.

Since these tats feature more micro-sized designs, Paulino recommends scouting a tattoo artist who specializes in hand and finger tattoos. She also notes that thumb tattoos — and any hand tattoo, really — are more likely to experience fading. It’s exposed to sunlight more regularly, and, as she explains, “We use our hands for literally everything, and that has a lot to do with the healing process.”

To better your chances of winding up with the eye-catching design you sat for and making sure it lasts, remember to follow your artist’s aftercare instructions. Those could vary by design or even climate, but, as general rules of thumb (ahem), you want to avoid swimming, baths, and direct sunlight, and to keep your new ink properly moisturized.

Now, the fun part: Scroll ahead for 20 thumb tattoo ideas that are sure to inspire your next ink.

Consider an ombre snake tattoo like this one that slithers along your finger.

Flower tattoos are a classic design, and this simple yet dreamy one extends from the thumb all the way up to the wrist.

Plants are also always popular in the tattoo world. These simple sprigs fit perfectly on a thumb placement.

This treble clef design is perfect for music lovers and obsessive concertgoers.

You could also go bold with this something like this vivid multicolored flower.

Here, thumb tattoos on both hands tell the story of the sun and the moon, done in fine linework.

In Buddhist culture, unalome symbols like the one seen here represent a journey toward freedom of mental clarity and enlightenment.

Channel the cosmos with thumb ink like this that showcases the moon, stars, and planets.

Go fancy with dainty thumb adornments like this art deco design.

Nostalgic ’90s-style butterfly tattoos are especially hot right now, and this tiny shaded one is super adorable on the thumb.

For the fashion designer, a pair of fabric scissors like these would feel perfectly apt.

This sharp hollow heart and dots are totally sweet and easy if you’re going the outline tat route.

These adorable star sunglasses conjure all the vibes of Sir Elton John.

For a bolder take on a thumb tattoo, go for a piece like this dramatic dagger artwork.

This queen of hearts thumb tat done in red ink is subtle yet statement-making.

Here’s another tat done in red ink: a quirky Wi-Fi symbol.

This cross — representing “life” — is one of the most recognizable of the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.

For this outdoorsy person, this graphic scene of trees and a half-moon makes for a cute piece of body art.

Keep it simple and dreamy with a couple of twinkling stars, like the ones seen here.

Rose tattoos are having a moment amid the Y2K era resurgence, so consider a detailed one like this for your next hand tat.