175+ Realistic Looking 3D Tattoos Sure to Stun You

3-D tattoos have a very unique style, this has contributed to the level of popularity they have gained in the last few years. The tattoo artist employs a lot of creativity to put forward the illusion that some object is on your skin when it isn’t.

A lot of factors are employed by the artist to create these effects. Some of these factors are shading, highlights, and the addition of shadows to both the skin and object. These tattoos appear so real and they have become really popular among actors, music artists, and even wrestlers.

There are so many 3-D tattoos to choose from but finding the one you like or fits your skin tone might be quite difficult. We understand this so we have brought you some really cool designs. You can work with your tattoo artist to help tweak one of them for your next body art.

What do 3-D Tattoos mean?

Just the same way regular 2-dimensional tattoos bear meanings, 3-D tattoos come with their own meanings as well. Usually, these tattoos depict the same meanings as their 2-dimensional counterparts. The only difference lies in how the tattoos look.

While it is obvious that 2-D tattoos are just images, tattoos drawn in 3-D create an illusion that they are real due to the life-like effect. When you see one, you might be a bit confused as to whether the image is real or just an illusion.

The idea behind these tattoos is to give the viewer the illusion that the images are sitting on the skin rather than just ink-to-skin. Some artists have successfully been able to create the illusion of muscles or part of the skeleton showing from the skin. A glance at this kind of tattoo would make the viewer a bit scared at first look but shower accolades on the artist afterward.

Tattoos that reveal the inner part of the body like muscles, machines, or robots show off the inner strength of the individual. Sometimes, they could mean a person is coming to terms with their true personality that has been hidden for ages.

To create these tattoos, the wearer must explain the kind of message that should be passed. The artist then interprets this message using an image given by the wearer or based on his own creativity. In the end, the initial message meets the creativity of the artist to produce an amazing 3-D tattoo.

Best 3-D tattoo design ideas


Brick-guarded mind

This man is protecting his mind with this illusion of a brick wall. The wall seems to fill the gap where his mind had been previously breached.

Skeleton hand

The tattoo creates an illusion that the skin on the hand is torn and the skeleton of the hand is exposed. It could be scary so be sure about this before getting it done,

The guitar

The wearer of this tattoo is obviously a music lover. The head of the guitar seems to have torn the skin and is popping out in the most adorable manner.

DNA strand tattoo

This tattoo is great for a lover of science and genetics. The tattoo shows an enlarged DNA strand. It looks so realistic except for the fact that a DNA strand is not really grey and black.

Peaches and cream

A very romantic tattoo, the beautiful peach flower on top and a creamy cupcake below. The full-sleeve tattoo is so detailed, it looks like a banquet was set on his hand.

Heart on fire tattoo

The illustration of a heart in this tattoo sits at the middle of the chest and is set on fire. A first glance at this tattoo could send one into a frenzy because the fire is so real. However, it is a great way to show that you are passionate about someone or something.

Pretty lady tattoo

Another full-sleeve tattoo showing the face of a woman, rather, the eye, nose, and lips of a woman. He must be passionate about this woman to have her face covering his whole arm.

Also See: 255+ Best Tribal Tattoo Ideas For Men [2019 with Meanings]

Four eyes tattoo

Looking at this tattoo for the first time, you may just think this cute Asian lady has four eyes. It is only after a closer look that you know that she had a pair of eyes inked below her eyes. This tattoo speaks of wisdom and intelligence, it could also depict focus in a specific direction.

Snapped fiber tattoo

All the strands of muscle in this tattoo are connected except one. The rest seem to be really stretched at the center. The wearer must be going through some really strenuous period.

Machine foot tattoo

This tattoo creates the illusion that the skin on the foot is tearing open and rather than a skeleton, the foot is made of machine parts. Wondering if he is a cyborg?

Ten Commandments tattoo

He must really be a religious fellow to have all the commandments inscribed in Hebrew on his back. Along with this are a cross and several other elements. You should try this tattoo out if you take Christianity or Judaism really seriously.

Compass tattoo

Compasses speak of direction or love for geography. This one could mean both and could be perfect to show off how much you love geography.

Money in the trunk

Are you a ride or die, fellow? Then this tattoo is a great idea for you. The car is on the move and the trunk is halfway open with a lot of money flying out.

Take a picture

Are you a photographer or you just love to take pictures? You should totally get this tattoo that shows a very cool camera drawn on the outer part of the lower arm. The black and grey colors make it look so real and classy.

Winged 3-D tattoo

Wing tattoos speak of protection and angelic guidance. The tattoo in this image fills the whole back. The tattoo is so adorable and really attractive. You could show this one off at a beach party or at the pool.

Ladybird tattoo

Already ladybirds are very cute when you now have one drawn in 3-d on your skin, you’re definitely going to attract lots of attention. Look at how well it blends into this lady’s skin.

Compass and rose tattoo

While a compass speaks of direction, a rose depicts love. This implies that the love this man shares with his boo is one that has a definite direction. It shows that he is committed to building his relationship.

Black rose tattoo

Roses are so adorable and so is this tattoo. The color makes it look classy, especially with the shading on the background.

Bee tattoo

Even though a lot of people don’t know it, without bees on the earth, we probably wouldn’t last a day on the earth. These very little insects are very important to our existence and this person shows her love the bee.

Tiger head full back tattoo

This is one of those back tattoos that looks so beautiful. The tiger is a very fierce animal and this tattoo shows the wearer has a fierce personality. If you consider yourself a predator, then you should definitely have this done on your back.

Open blocks tattoo

The blocks which have come apart seem to have been protecting a dark sky that lies behind.

3-D universe tattoo

The skin of the chest looks like it is made of blocks which have opened up to show off a beautiful depiction of the universe. It is a whole new world of possibilities, don’t you just love it?

Rose on shoulder tattoo

The rose is popping off the shoulder at the back. It is a very cool tattoo for a woman. It is classy and adorable.

Peeping eyes tattoo

The ribcage seems to have caved in to a dark hollow and the huge eyes are peeping from the darkness. It is definitely a very spooky tattoo, so if you love spooky, you’d love this one.


All-seeing eye tattoo

This eye is so realistic, one would think the eye was popping out of the upper arm of this man. Anyways, it looks quite amazing and will catch your attention anytime.

Elephant tattoo

Elephants are very intelligent animals and this person has one that looks so real covering the back. The person is definitely showing off how intelligent he considers himself.

Magnifying glass tattoo

This magnifying glass is placed over a cross. Together, they form one of the most inspiring tattoos on this list.

Other 3D Tattoo Design Ideas

Popular 3-D tattoo designs

There are a million tattoo designs out there that you can choose from to adorn your skin. One of the most challenging facts about getting a tattoo is making a choice on what tattoo design to go with. If you have gotten a tattoo before, then you understand this fact.

The advice to help you in this circumstance is to have a message in mind to pass and consider where you want to place the tattoo. This way, you can reduce the number of tattoos to choose from.

For example, you could get a lion, which is very popular by the way, to show the world how courageous you are. A lion tattoo also signifies personal pride. A skull, another popular tattoo, stands for the celebration of the dead.

Lace tattoos are used by ladies to show off their femininity and people wear iron man tattoos to express their love for superheroes. The idea behind these tattoos is to create the illusion that the tattoos are interlaced with the skin and not placed on it.

Here are the most popular designs:

Black lace ribbon

These tattoos, in reality, are 2-D in nature. However, the artist draws them to create an illusion of 3-D on the human body. As stated above, these tattoos are mostly worn by women and they speak about femininity.

Broken heart

This design idea is very common and is mostly drawn in bright colors. The end result of this mixture of bright colors is always amazing and incredible. Usually, the skin of the wearer is made to resemble the texture of a paper. Following this, the heart is drawn to look like it is popping out while a few texts accompany the heart.

Newspaper tearing

This is still one of the most innovative tattoo designs ever. The writing on the skin looks alive, just like those on an actual newspaper. Most artists create the illusion that the skin is a newspaper that is tearing apart. It always looks really beautiful.

Skin tear tattoo

This tattoo is very similar to the newspaper tearing tattoo. The internal organs and muscles are drawn in 3-D on the skin. To add a twist to this already amazing design, the artist adds a zipper opening. This way, it looks like the wear is zipping down his skin to show the internal organs.

Chinese scroll tattoo

This is another way the artist can create the illusion that the skin is peeling off. A Chinese scroll is inked on the body this time with the illusion that the skin is tearing open to reveal the scroll. To add some spice, you can a name, one of your best words, or a motivational sentence that keeps you going. The best colors for this tattoo are black and grey, even though some people prefer to add a few other colors.

Placement of 3-D tattoos

Asides picking your tattoo design and the artist to inscribe the art on your body, the next most important aspect of getting tattoos is their placement. The placement plays a huge role in determining how the tattoos are perceived by others.

Generally, the best position to place a tattoo is dependent on the size of the tattoo. Tattoos that are big in size are better placed on large spaces such as the back, belly, chest, ribs, thighs, legs, and shoulder. Smaller tattoos, on the other hand, are delicate and thus look better on smaller areas of the body. They are placed on the fingers, wrists, spine, behind the ears, and ankles.

The main idea behind tattoo placement is putting it in a location that makes it attractive to the viewer. Placing the tattoo properly will make it attractive while passing your message at first glance. Nobody has the time to look your tattoo over and over, except a close friend or family member. You want everyone who sees your tattoo to be touched by your true emotions.

Placing 3-D tattoos is a bit different from placing regular tattoos because they have more depth and look way too real to be placed just anywhere. Though they look beautiful and attractive on any part of the body, it is still important that you place them rightly.

3-D tattoo preparation tips

Getting ready for your tattoo is key to enjoying the process and having a perfect tattoo after the process. Even if you have had a tattoo done before, you still need to take the necessary steps to get yourself ready. In this section of this post, we will discuss a few tips you should follow to help you get ready for your tattoo.

We cannot paint a fake picture that the process will not be painful, it will be. The level of pain you’ll feel will be determined by your pain threshold, the placement, the design, and how well you are prepared. One of the things to help your body get prepared for a tattoo is drinking lots of water before your appointment.

Hydration is important both before the process and after the process is done. This is why you should take lots of water the day before. Make sure you stick to water and not alcohol. Alcohol gets your blood thinner so you’ll be bleeding a lot during the process.

Asides being hydrated, you should make use of a good moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated as well. When it is about a week or two before your session, begin to use the moisturizer twice a day, morning and evening after a bath. You should stay from the lotion once it is a few hours to your appointment. The lotion is not too good for the tattoo machine and you don’t want any complications.

You should also consider exfoliating your skin a day or two before your session. It will help to keep the skin from irritation. Don’t go for your appointment hungry, you need all the glucose you can get before the process to keep you strong.

How painful is the process of getting a 3-D tattoo?

We have already told you about the fact that you’ll feel pain, whether you like it or not, it is completely inevitable. There is a little twist to this and that is the fact some locations on the body making you feel more pain than others.

The simple trick to getting a tattoo done while reducing the pain considerably is placement. It is advised that you do not place a tattoo on a part of your body where you are ticklish or feel pain normally. If you do otherwise, you are bound to feel a lot of pain.

It is not difficult to see why the process would be painful. The artist will usually employ the use of a machine that drives the ink into the skin. This machine works like a sewing machine, with the needle piercing through the skin between 80 and 150 times per minute.

Imagining the pain that will be felt makes some people stay away from tattoos or prefer getting small tattoos. 3-D tattoos are generally more painful than regular tattoos because a lot of detail and creativity is involved.

Cost of 3-D tattoos

The price of your tattoo is one of the things you should consider before you set out to get yours. Without considering this, you might be surprised at the tattoo studio. You might end up going for a tattoo that is lesser than what you imagined. A simple reason why many people are not happy with the tattoos they have today.

There are so many factors that drive the price of a tattoo. One of such is the design and detail added. The more complex the design and the more detail added, the higher the price of your tattoo will be. This is because your artist will be spending a lot of time working on the tattoo as opposed to something way simpler.

The skill and experience of your artist will also determine the price of the tattoo to a large extent. If your artist is well-recognized and very experienced, he will be charging more than a rookie artist. There are some artists that charge per hour while others charge per design. Figure out who your artist is and be sure his charges are within your budget.

Finally, if you plan to get the tattoo in a rural area, it should be far cheaper than one you’d get in an urban area. Make sure you consider all of these and carry out proper research to prepare your budget before setting out to get your tattoo.

Maintenance tips for 3-D tattoos

Just in case you didn’t know or weren’t sure, tattoos fade after a period of time, especially when you don’t care for them as you should. There are several ways to keep your tattoo shiny like a new one even though you’ve had it for a while.

When the tattoo is still fresh, ensure you keep your hands clean before you touch it. This helps to keep the tattoo free from infection. Also, ensure that you don’t itch the surface of the tattoo no matter how tempted you are.

Any time you have to go out in the sun, keep the tattoo covered or use quality sunscreen to shield it from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Always clean the surface of your tattoo with a good antibacterial soap to keep from bacterial infections.

3-D tattoo design wrapup

No one can deny the fact that 3-D tattoos are not just beautiful, they are the height of creativity in tattoo art. if you are considering getting a tattoo, you should get one of these. Share what you feel about these tattoos with us in the comments section.

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