125 American Flag Tattoo Designs With Emotional and Historical Weight


American flag tattoo designs are very popular in the United States. There’s no surprise here, since we are talking about the national flag of this country. Moreover, the representation of the American national flag makes a great tattoo. This is because there is no other design that expresses patriotism better than the flag itself.

Even so, you might not be thrilled about getting a simple tattoo of the flag. You don’t need to worry because it is almost never depicted as a single motif. In fact, it is often accompanied by an eagle or other meaningful elements.

As it follows, we will talk about the various meanings of the American flag and of the symbols that are represented together with it. Creativity plays an important part in this equation, so you need inspiration first! Finding or coming up with a design that expresses everything you think of is the most important aspect.

1. Tiny tattoo of the American flag placed on a woman’s back side

2. Tribute tattoo, this one is directly related to those who died in combat

3. The illusion of ripped flesh uncovers what’s truly inside; the American flag

4. Large, black and white design of the US flag done on a guy’s arm

5. Black and white arm tattoo comes with a powerful word: blessed

Basic Meanings of American Flag Tattoo Designs

The US flag with its stars and stripes is the main official symbol of America. The flag is a rectangular cloth with red and white on it, and a blue square with many white stars. In addition, every color of the American flag has its own meaning. More specifically, red symbolizes the shed of the founder’s blood, and white refers to the moral principles on which the United States was founded.

There is no doubt that almost everyone has seen American’s flag at least once. However, not every person who has seen it also know more about it, such as the number of the stars on it. In fact, this is an interesting aspect. After all, the US flag has changed many times throughout its history, and the number of stars on it hasn’t remained unchanged either. So, it’s imperative to know the exact number of stars of you are a patriot and you also want to get inked.

6. The Punisher skull means that justice is coming

7. The five corner star nicely decorated like the US flag

8. Realistic eagle inked on a man’s forearm together with the flag

9. Ripped skin reveals the flag as something that is carried on the inside

10. Impressive huge patriotic tattoo done with vibrant colors

A Flag With 50 Stars

So, to find out how many stars America’s flag actually has and what they symbolize, we have to briefly go back in time. The history of the American flag began from the day the United States was proclaimed an independent state – July 4, 1776. Until then, the country did not have its own official banner.

Therefore, on the first version of the American flag, instead of the current stars, the symbol of Great Britain was included. Called the “Continental Flag”, it was carried by North American revolutionaries under George Washington’s command in the next year an a half.

However, everyone understood that the new independent state needed its own unique symbol. Consequently, in June 1777, the Congress approved a new US official flag. On it, instead of the symbol of the United Kingdom, stars were depicted.

Throughout the history of the United States, the number of stars on the flag has been changed several times. In 1960, the last state that joined the US was Hawaii. After that event, there were 50 stars on the American flag, each representing a state.

11. The outline of a simple cross filled in with the right colors

12. Always remembered; Never forgotten

13. A tribute tattoo done in the name of a few people who lost their lives

14. In memory of.. tattoo depicts a dark silhouette of the person who died

15. Commemorative tattoo includes the flag and important dates

A Flag With 13 Stripes

If you look closely, you will notice that there are 13 stripes on the American flag. They have a meaning as well. More specifically, they refer to the number of the nation’s colonies. So, remember to never manipulate the appearance of the national flag in a way that it loses its meaning. This, however, doesn’t mean that you cannot get creative. On the contrary, you can focus on changing other aspects or adding more elements into your patriotic American flag tattoo designs.

Conversely, you will not get the American flag design on your skin, but a replica that doesn’t even follow its basic characteristics. And that is something that most people would not want. However, some people do this without even noticing. Or maybe they notice, but it’s too late after the ink gets into skin.

Also See: 160+ Unique Best Friend Tattoos to Mark a Special Connection

16. Incredibly realistic work done on a man’s forearm

17. Illustrative ink, presents a simple version of an eagle flying over the flag

18. American Traditional tattoo style features the flag and the eagle

19. Patriotism is something you feel, buried deep down under your skin

20. Powerful tattoo highlights itself through its complex meaning

Basic Symbolism for the American Flag

There are several symbolic meanings associated with the American flag, namely:

  • courage
  • freedom
  • force
  • independence
  • power
  • memory
  • resistance
  • unity
  • pride
  • love for America
  • hope
  • inspiration

21. Small US flag inked together with a strange code

22. Commemorative tattoo design, also includes the dead person’s name on a name tag

23. The rebel within a person surely appreciates the freedom offered by America

24. The number of stars inked on the flag is not correct

25. Patriotism overdose done with a tattoo and matching socks

American Flag Tattoo Designs – General Tendencies

When it comes to the design of an American flag tattoo, you can add other elements in order to enhance its meaning or make it look even more attractive. In this regard, you should know that one of the most common elements included in a tattoo of the American flag is the bald eagle.

Both the flag and the bald eagle represent America, so it can be easily added to your tattoo design. It also adds a lot of meaning to the flag when you add a bald eagle. Freedom, independence, strength and courage are the main meanings associated with the bald eagle. That’s why you’ll see the bald eagle icon in almost every part of America.

Another common symbol that appears together with the US flag is the Statue of Liberty. The connection between these two is obvious especially because nothing says America better than the Statue of Liberty. What we mean is that people easily associate the statue with America.

Native American elements are chosen by some Americans to include in their tattoos as well. In addition, you will notice emotional tattoo designs dedicated to those lost in battle.

26. Black and white flag ink looks like it’s made of leather or real skin

27. Various aircraft inked using the realism technique done on a background with the flag

28. Swordfish carries the American flag on its back

29. Foot tattoo consists of a butterfly colored with blue, red and white

30. Symbolic arm tattoo, it shows the flag surrounded by fire

The Eagle – A Synonym of the US Flag

With its majestic appearance, fascinating flight and acute sight, the eagle is an universal symbol; it represents the all-seeing god of heaven. It also represents courage, victory and power, thunder and storms. For ancient Greeks and Romans, it was the bearer of light for Zeus and represented the victorious Roman Empire on the Roman Legion flags.

In Christianity, the eagle symbolizes the omnipotence of God, the faith, the ascension of Christ and St. John. The Eagle shares symbolism with the Phoenix bird because, in Christian law, it renews itself every ten years flying in the sun and then in the sea, three times. In this way, it becomes a symbol of birth and of baptism.

According to Native American tradition, the wings of the eagle symbolize the sun’s rays. Moreover, it signifies the day, and is the mediator between men and gods. Being a king over birds, the eagle is also the emblem of royalty, an association developed by its status as the most popular herald. Associated with the seven capital sins and the four fundamental virtues, it has bivalent meanings symbolizing pride and justice.

Many states have adopted eagles as emblems, making them symbols of patriotism and sovereignty, including the United States, where it is the national symbol.

31. Classic tattoo design that features the most popular duo

32. Native American dream-catcher embellished with the flag’s elements

33. Black and white tattoo for men reads “In God we trust”

34. The effect of a moving or folded flag obtained on a guy’s arm

35. Emotional picture shows a tattooed father holding his baby

Statue of Liberty – Popular Symbol for American Flag Tattoo Designs

The Statue of Liberty stands for freedom, loyalty and justice. It is also often referred to as “a symbol of New York and the United States”, “a symbol of freedom and democracy”, “Lady Liberty”.

The statue was a gift of France, made in 1886, proposed by Edouard Laboulaye. Back then, it represented the victory of the Americans in the American Revolution and celebrated the abolition of slavery. Laboulaye hoped this gift will inspire his French compatriots to fight for democracy against Napoleon III.

One more interesting fact about this renowned symbol is that the shattered shackles at the feet of the statue represent the release of tyranny and oppression.

36. Hyper realism was used in order to ink such suggestive tattoo design

37. A not so accurate flag tattoo done by a less talented artist

38. A simple design like the flag needs details in order to look real

39. Ripped American flag tattoo designs hold a different meaning

40. Old school design tells the same story with a different image

Reasons to get One of the American Flag Tattoo Designs Inked

Most people choose these types of tattoos to show their sense of patriotism towards the country. Again, it’s a great way to show how you think about your own country. These types of tattoos are popular, especially in the United States Army and Navy. And that’s why they are so loved among Americans.

In general, the flag represents everything and everyone who is American. Americans say that the United States of America is the “land of freedom.” In the United States you can be what you want and you can live all your dreams there. So, one more reason to get it inked!

A tattoo of the American flag can also be seen as a memory in honor of those who fought to the death for the freedom of this country. Therefore, before thinking about your own design, you should look for some tattoo ideas of the American flag that we have compiled for all of you.

41. “Don’t tread on me” is an expression that refers to the Gadsden flag

42. Tattoo idea talks about how patriotism is found on the inside

43. A tattoo design related to the American Revolution

44. Huge side tattoo, it contains a painful message

45. Arm tattoo shows the American flag wrapped around it

Tattooing Styles Suited for Most American Flag Tattoo Designs

When we get to the design part, the tattoos of the American flag can be designed in different ways and that makes them even more interesting. A popular design is to present a waving American flag. This means that it is inked in such way that it looks like it is moving, like it’s blown by the wind.

Realism is also a tattooing style applied for flag designs. Often, realism is much needed, especially when the flag is combined with the image of an eagle or the Statue of Liberty. Moreover, it seems to be the preferred style of most tattooed individuals who chose this theme.

This article includes both flawless tattoos, as well as examples of what you might not want to get. However, some of the tattoos are done long time ago, so they aren’t even close to what modern designs look like.

46. American flag tattoo designs for women contain roses colored like the flag

47. Bio-mechanical design might refer to something other than America itself

48. Colored composition, this one features a skull, among others

49. Cracked skin effect and the Punisher’s portrait

50. Women are patriots too and express their patriotism with tattoos

Favorite Body Areas for US Flag Tattoos

No one can tell you where to get inked. However, you can notice a general tendency if you browse through these designs. More specifically, we are talking about people’s inclination to get inked on arms, forearms and back.

On one hand, it’s understandable why someone would like to get tattooed in a visible area. Since we are talking about patriotic tattoos, we should understand their purpose as statements.

On the other hand, if you want a detailed tattoo, then you will have to be willing to sacrifice a big part of that canvas. This is because tattoo artists need space in order to ink small details and make the tattoo look realistic.

Even so, you don’t have to follow anyone’s example in this regard. You can choose, together with the person who will ink you, any body part that you like. Of course, you should try to take the pain factor into consideration when doing so.

As a final advice, when searching for the best artist to ink you, also test his or her realism skills. That’s if you are opting for a realist tattoo. However, as you’ve already seen, this style is in trends for this topic.

51. Realistic ink, shows the Statue of Liberty on a background depicting the US flag

52. The Punisher’s portrait done in a very impressionable manner

53. Huge back tattoo talks about vengeance, life and death

54. Simple American flag tattoo that looks folded

55. Home is where the heart is

56. The number of stars is accurate, and the number of stripes as well

57. Emotional tattoo reads: “My life, Your Freedom”

58. Meaningful tattoo design shows the Statue of Liberty holding a gun up

59. Another face of the Statue of Liberty

60. The American flag used to cover a man’s shoulder and arm

Think Before You Get Inked

In conclusion, American flag tattoo designs aren’t something you can joke about or not take seriously. The symbolism and the emotional weight behind them is simply too heavy. So, in case you really want such tattoo, try to respect the integrity of the flag. In addition, choose a piece that will make you proud and serve this country right.

Even if you are not among those who have participated in combat, wars or who lost someone dear to you, you can still get an American flag tattoo. The important thing to keep in mind is to highlight America’s good features, not use its flag for something meaningless. In addition, don’t try to be cheap when it comes to picking an artist because this is not a common tattoo that can be inked by just anyone.


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