Individuals have been getting tattoos of dagger designs for years upon years, and they still remain fashionable to this day. But, what does a dagger represent? What style suits this weapon the best, when it comes to getting your own piece of ink done?
In this article, we will be looking at the facts about dagger tattoos, and have even included a list of our favorite designs of all time
The Positive Implications Of A Dagger
The symbol of the dagger have been known to represent bravery and loyalty, two qualities that most people aspire to have. A dagger may be used to protect those you love.
A dagger also holds connotations of sacrifice. Maybe you want to prove to the world that you are a generous person who would go to any length for your loved ones, or, perhaps, to get what you want.
The Negative Implications Of A Dagger
Additionally, daggers can also symbolize danger and fear. They can be used to warn others not to cross you, as you are not a soul to be messed with.
Murder and revenge are also terms that come to mind when thinking about the dagger. In context of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the dagger is used to symbolize the first murder that Macbeth commits, when he kills Duncan.
Imagery Commonly Paired With A Dagger Tattoo
You could get a tattoo of a dagger on its own, or you could pair it with some suitable imagery to really make the piece shine.
Here are some examples of imagery that are commonly paired with dagger tattoos.
One of the most commonly paired images used alongside a dagger tattoo is a heart, whether it be a realistic representation of the human heart, or the cartoon heart shape.
A dagger stabbing a heart is a popular design, often used to represent an unrequited love, betrayal, or heartbreak caused by a friend or a past lover.
Religious architecture often features hearts and daggers, and sacred heart tattoos are frequently paired with daggers.
Skulls are another popular image to use with a dagger in tattoos. When used together, they can portray a powerful message.
Death is often associated with skull tattoos and imagery, and daggers that emphasize a skull in a tattoo may add to the connotation. If the dagger pierces the skull, the tattoo may represent bravery or survival.
Flowers And/Or Vines
It is not uncommon to see a piece of ink accompanied by some scattered flowers, or a vine wrapping around the image.
While flowers and other forms of plant life are typically used to fill in blank spaces around a tattoo, they can also hold symbolic meanings of their own. Flowers represent new life, as well as beauty.
Roses are a popular flower to use in tattoos, especially alongside daggers.
Since there are so many different animals that can be used to emphasize a piece of ink, this is a broad statement to make.
A dagger striking through the animal’s head, or being surrounded by the animal, is a classic tattoo design.
Snakes and dragons look great wrapped around a dagger design, draping themselves around the image. Courage, success, or overcoming demons or hurdles in life are all key themes in these tattoos.
Things To Think About Before Getting A Dagger Tattoo
The Placement Of The Tattoo
One of the most important things you can think about before booking a new piece of ink is where you want it placed on your body.
There are so many options when getting a dagger tattoo, including:
What do these four areas have in common?
Well, they all have adequate surface area to accommodate a long, thin tattoo design, such as a dagger. The image can be placed alone without leaving a lot of blank space around the tattoo, causing it to appear isolated.
If you want your dagger tattooed on a different part of your body – one with more space surrounding it – you may want to consider acquiring some complementary pieces to go around it.
The Size Of The Tattoo
In addition to the previous point, the overall size of your tattoo will be something you should think about. In fact, the piece’s size may influence where you wish to put it.
A smaller image of a dagger would look great on a wrist, ankle, or even as a standalone piece on a forearm or shin. You could even consider getting a particularly small tattoo to fit on your hand, neck, or behind your ear.
Larger images would look great placed on a forearm or a shin, as these are both longer parts of the body. Sternum and back dagger tattoos are also popular, due to their spacious areas, giving your tattoo artist more room to work with.
The Style Of The Tattoo
It is easy enough to decide that you want a dagger tattoo, but what do you want the dagger to look like? Do you want it in black and gray, or would you like to add some color? Perhaps you would like the whole piece to be in color.
The style of the artwork is, arguably, the most important aspect to consider. There are so many to choose from, such as black work, dot work, surrealism, minimalistic, geometric, and more.
Traditional Vs. Modern: Which Is Better?
As we briefly discussed in the previous section, there are many, many styles of ink to pick from.
If you already have tattoos, you may want to get your newest piece to match the style of the others. If this is your first tattoo, you will have a blank slate to work with. Or, maybe you want to mix-and-match the styles for a fun, quirky appearance!
There are two main types of tattoos: traditional and modern/non-traditional.
What Is The Difference Between Traditional And Modern Tattoos?
When a person thinks about traditional-styled tattoos, they conjure up images of old-school sailors sporting images of anchors, sails, and banners on their biceps. Or, perhaps you may think about those heart-shaped tattoos with ‘Mom’ scribbled inside.
These designs have been used since the 1700s, when sailors would get tattoos of religious imagery to protect them from the ‘angry powers’ of the sea.
Norman Collins – perhaps better known as Sailor Jerry – became a household name during WWII when he began tattooing soldiers waiting to get shipped from Honolulu, Hawaii.
Even over half a century after his death, Sailor Jerry’s designs are still current. They are simple, cartoon-like designs with only some use of color, and they typically include text in banners.
Back then, there wasn’t much choice when it came to getting a tattoo design. Nowadays, however, non-traditional designs have gained popularity throughout the world: these include more realistic images with more intricate details.
If you’re a fan of vividly colored tattoos, you should know that, nowadays, traditional colors tend to be just as colorful as non-traditional designs.
Traditional tattoos tend to use more black work, while parts of the tattoo will be left blank, using the color of your skin to blend into the design.
You don’t have to want an anchor or a ship design to get a traditional tattoo: these days, you can get any design you like in this style. It is a fun, bold style that’ll attract the attention of others, sticking by the old-school designs of the past.
While traditional styles utilize flat colors, nontraditional characteristics use bolder outlines, smoother color transitions, and darker shading.
There is probably more room for experimentation with modern tattoos, as they do not tend to stick with one type of style.
You could get a watercolor-styled tattoo with an array of beautiful colors, or a simple line design to create a small, intricate image. If you want more realistic detail involved, you should probably go with a nontraditional design.
17 Killer Dagger Tattoo Designs
Here are some amazing dagger tattoo designs to get you motivated to create your own piece of ink.
1. Dagger Through A Rose
We have no doubt that this person went through a lot of suffering to complete this piece, but it was well worth it.
The image of the dagger piercing the rose is incredibly detailed, and the contrast between the black, white, red, and green ink is breathtaking.
2. A Lady’s Face In A Dagger’s Reflection
The blade of this modern artwork is loaded with intricate, realistic detail, displaying a reflection of a lady’s face.
The handle’s simple form contrasts with the blade’s intricate detailing, creating an overall stunning image.
3. Dagger Through A Heart (Fine Line)
Here’s a nice example of a simple line design that proves you don’t need vivid colors or shading to make a beautiful piece of ink.
The blood drops look like jewels falling from the blade, and the realistic outline of a human heart lends authenticity to the tattoo.
4. Dagger Through A Heart (Traditional)
This traditional design incorporates two of the popular pieces of imagery that look great with a dagger tattoo: a heart, and some text placed in a banner.
While the tattoo is mostly black and gray, the use of crimson ink for the blood, along with the image of the gleaming eye on the handle, give it an ominous vibe. We love it!
5. Dagger Wrapped In Chains
This traditional tattoo is one of our favorites. The broken chain wrapped around the dagger gives it a bold attitude, and looks fantastic placed on the back of this guy’s head.
The simplistic coloring, shading, and use of detail perfectly demonstrates the traditional, old-school style that Sailor Jerry would have used if he was still around today.
6. Dagger Through A Panther’s Head
This is the first design on the list to feature an animal being struck in the head, but be assured, it will not be the last.
This is a great traditional-styled tattoo, from the precision of the panther’s fur and facial features to the minimum use of vivid colors for the handle, eyes, and blood.
7. Crossed Daggers
Even without the simple line images of the crescent moon above, and the star beneath, these crisscrossed daggers are so interesting to look at.
The six individual daggers are purposely placed to create the outline of a heart, which leaves the meaning open for so many interpretations. Perhaps it represents the pain of love, or having a cold heart.
8. Dagger Wrapped In Vines
This is a lovely, elegant design that could work well for both men and women. We get a Lord of the Rings or The Witcher impression from the contrast of nature and war/weapons.
While this is another black and gray tattoo, the lack of color works incredibly well for this piece. This is another one of our favorites in this list.
9. Dagger With Eyes In Reflection
This design is an excellent example of how two tattoos can have the same content, yet appear extremely different owing to their differing styles.
The lady’s reflection in the blade is very similar to the design of the second entry on this list, but in this piece, there is no color (other than black), and the details are more abstract and dream-like.
10. Skull With A Dagger And Rose
Black work (the use of black ink to produce thick outlines and solid black regions contrasted by purposeful negative space) is currently a prevalent aesthetic amongst tattooed individuals.
There is so much detail in this piece, and the excessive use of black pigment compliments it perfectly, creating a shadowy effect.
11. Celtic Dagger Wrapped In Text
Celtic crosses and emblems are amongst some of the most popular tattoo designs of all time, and have been for centuries.
This individual has placed – we assume – their family name in a banner, wrapped around this dagger. The font used, along with the Celtic symbols, create a fantastic image.
12. Hand Holding A Dagger With A Butterfly
There are so many interesting details in this design, and we love it! The design of this tattoo is truly dreamy, from the pink ribbons at the top down to the blue sky picture via the mirror/window.
So many interpretations can be made through the imagery used in this design, but one thing is for certain: this is a beautiful, vividly colored tattoo.
13. Scream-Inspired Dagger
What’s your favorite scary movie?
This spooky design appears to be a simple dagger at first glance, but look closer at the blade, and you will notice the reflection of Ghostface, the villain – or, rather, villains – from the Scream franchise.
14. Dagger With Abstract Eye
They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder… well, we say that beauty is in the ‘eye’ of this stunning ink design!
Notice the elaborate design on the handle alone, as well as the markings around the eye. Inside the blade, the dot work creates a gorgeous gradient using black and white ink.
15. Dagger Through A Skull, Wrapped In A Snake
The amount of intricate detail that went into this piece of realism ink must have taken hours upon hours to perfect, but the end result was clearly worth it.
We particularly love that the snake is not only draping around the skull, but he appears to be slithering through the skull itself. So creative!
16. Dagger Through The Head Of A Wolf And An Owl
Can’t decide on one animal to use in your dagger tattoo design? Well, why settle for just one? This tattoo features a wolf and an owl, with the dagger striking through the two creatures.
The color scheme here creates a powerful, dark aura, using the blues, grays, whites, and oranges for a naturalistic feel. This design is wild (no pun intended).
17. Dagger Through A Heart With Flowers
Finally, here is a truly stunning example of a traditional-inspired piece of ink. The vivid colors along with the fine, black lines create a beautiful contrast.
The dagger is striking through a heart once more, but this time it is in the shape of a cartoon heart in black. The dagger’s clean cut looks fantastic.
Dagger Tattoo Designs: Final Thoughts
Those were our top 17 picks for dagger tattoo designs. Hopefully, these images, along with our advice at the start of the article, will help you decide on a unique, stunning design of your very own.
We hope you enjoyed this article, and found it helpful.
Good luck, and happy inking!