8 questions about a rib tattoo and 20 free designs for you


More and more often clients come to me who are interested in getting a tattoo on the ribs – it is easy to hide it under clothes or display it on the beach in summer. The location seems perfect, but does it have any downsides?

saxophone tattoo on ribs for man
Tattoo on ribs made by me

What answers you will find in this article about a rib tattoo?

  • Should I get my first tattoo on my ribs?
  • What is the meaning of a tattoo on the ribs?
  • Does the tattoo on the ribs hurt?
  • How much does a tattoo on the ribs cost?
  • Does the tattoo on the ribs stretch?
  • How long does it take to heal a tattoo on the ribs?
  • How to care for a rib tattoo?
  • How to dress when getting a tattoo on the ribs?

If you are looking for inspiration before your rib tattoo, check out my portfolio – you can find my works and projects here – on Instagram.

Should I get my first tattoo on my ribs?

As the ribs are considered one of the more painful places to have a tattoo, most tattooers will advise against getting your first tattoo there because you won’t know what to expect. Sometimes, people have to stop the tattooing session since the pain is too unbearable and end up with an unfinished design.

fish tattoo on ribs for woman
Tattoo on ribs made by me

What is the meaning of a tattoo on the ribs?

As with most places on your body, it’s the design that matters, not the location. When deciding on a particular design, think carefully as it will be a lifetime choice.

The design does not always have to matter, I often make tattoos that customers like – flower designs, birds, etc., but there are also people for whom symbolism matters. It can be the name of a loved one, an inscription that means something to you, or, for example, your zodiac sign.

flowers tattoo on ribs for woman
Tattoo on ribs made by me

Does the tattoo on the ribs hurt?

As always with pain, it is a very individual matter, but most of my clients agree that the tattoo on the ribs hurts more than on other parts of the body.

The pain is reportedly comparable to an ankle and neck tattoo due to the proximity of the bones.

However, I also had people on the table who did not complain too much about pain while tattooing on the ribs, so this is a very individual matter – you know your pain threshold best, so think about whether such a place will suit you, there are locations where it hurts for sure less 🙂

Tattoo pain chart for women according to healthline.com
pain chart for man tattoo on the ribs
Tattoo pain chart for men according to healthline.com

How much does a tattoo on the ribs cost?

Each tattoo artist will answer this question – it depends. Most often on the size, and thus the time needed to complete it. The average price for a bigger design, depending on your location will vary, but expect to pay $500 to $700. Tattoos on ribs take longer than most tattoos because this is a delicate area with irregular shaping that requires more expertise.

When calculating the price of making a tattoo, tattooers have to take into account that even with a small design, certain activities while preparing the body and the design itself are independent of its size.

design butterfly tattoo on ribs
Medium sized design for tattoo on ribs

Does the tattoo on the ribs stretch?

This question is often asked by women who are planning a pregnancy – the skin in this place stretches much less than on the abdomen, so the tattoo on the ribs will not stretch too much.

They are definitely not permanent changes either, the design should return to the correct size and proportion over time, along with the reversal of changes that will occur in the body during pregnancy.

How long does it take to heal a tattoo on the ribs?

It is assumed that a tattoo in this area should fully heal within 3-4 weeks, because it is difficult to prevent contact with clothing on the ribs.

Healing a tattoo on the ribs is an individual matter to some extent, depending on the size and the way you care for it, but I think you can safely take up to 4 weeks and be aware that you have to take good care of it in the meantime.

How to care for a rib tattoo?

Caring for a tattoo on the ribs does not differ significantly from other parts of the body, while dressing, we must take care that the outfit does not rub too much against the freshly made tattoo.

The general guidelines for healing care can be summarized in several points:

  • remove the foil (we wear it for the first 3-4 days),
  • lightly wash the tattoo with warm water and soap,
  • gently dry the design with a disposable towel and let it breathe for a while,
  • smear the tattoo with ointment and reseal with foil if necessary.

How to dress when getting a tattoo on the ribs?

This is a frequent question, especially asked by women – for sure in something that you will feel comfortable in – some women prefer to tattoo in the bra, but more feel better wearing a light blouse, which they roll up while tattooing.

Remember that it should be something you won’t feel sorry for if it gets stained with ink.

Female tattoo on the ribs

How is it different from male designs? I know from experience that ladies more often ask about smaller designs, plant or animal, sometimes inscriptions, but not as large as the gentlemen – here I often ask about motifs covering the entire side.

If you liked any of my rib designs, take a look at my portfolio for more free tattoo ideas.

Some of my favourite designs, tattoo books and aftercare products, selected for you

working on tattoo at my studio
Working at the studio on one of my projects

Thank you for reading my article, I hope that you have found it helpful. If you would have trouble finding ideas for your tattoo, wonder what is meaning of design that you have found or what to buy for aftercare, to make sure that your tattoo will be healing quickly and easily, here are some of my favorite products in one place, hope that this will also help.

Deasign and tattoo ideas

For some ideas you can have a look at those 3 books with hundreds of designs that I use with my Clients, they are available on Amazon for Kindle or in classic, paper version (links below):

Tattoo meaning

If you would like to read more about the meaning of different tattoo styles and designs before you will decide what you would like to have, I can recommend a book that was really useful for me when I was starting my tattoo adventure – it’s “Conscious Ink: The Hidden Meaning of Tattoos” by Lisa Barretta (through the link you can find it on Amazon for around $10).

Tattoo aftercare

The skin at the tattoo site often dries out. To prevent it and speed up healing for my Clients, I usually recommend one of those tattoo aftercare balms (you can find them on Amazon):

Looking for more info about tattoos? I might have them covered!

I have written almost 100 articles about tattooing – with details about each body part, problems that you might have with your tattoo, designs, styles, aftercare, and much more.

Have a look at the search option and see if you can find what you need here.

other posts from  InkArtByKate
Some of my other articles, check them and see if you could find what you are looking for!

Free designs for tattoo on ribs or men and women

Here you will find 20 drawings made by me that can fit well as idea for a rib tattoo 🙂

tiger tattoo on ribs design
wild rose tattoo on ribs design
tree and moon tattoo on ribs design
roses tattoo on ribs design roses
lotus flower tattoo on ribs design
owl tattoo on ribs design
howling wolf tattoo on ribs design
girls face tattoo on ribs design
flower tattoo on ribs design
flower for woman tattoo on ribs design
fish tattoo on ribs design
feather tattoo on ribs design
dancing lady tattoo on ribs design
crane bird tattoo on ribs design
butterfly for woman tattoo on ribs design
bee tattoo on ribs design
abstract woman tattoo on ribs design
abstract two snakes tattoo on ribs design
snake for man tattoo on ribs design abstract
abstract faces tattoo on ribs design

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