75 Dazzling Stained Glass Tattoo Ideas – Nothing Less Than a Work of Art

Stained glass artwork has been around for more than a thousand years. The original method involved using glass that had been colored by adding chemicals and compounds and lead to create picture windows.

When sunlight came through the windows it would light up the pieces of glass forming the design.

In the middle ages, this colored glass technique was used mainly in sacred places such as churches, mosques and temples and the work usually depicted religious and historical scenes and figures or involved intricate patterns.

Sometimes the designs were also used to immortalize prominent people such as kings and saints.

Biblical stories were depicted in stained glass with a specific purpose. As most of the poor couldn’t read they were able to understand the events of the Bible through these windows.

With the advent of Gothic architecture, stained glass started to be used in non-religious settings and was used to decorate castles, theaters, banks, city halls and even private homes. Eventually, the art form started to be used to make three-dimensional pieces as well such as lamps.


Designs of The Staines Glass Technic

Today this art form is still widely appreciated and sought after, so sought after that people are getting tattoos, which are designed to look like stained glass.

These tattoos often include images of religious figures (particularly Christianity) as well as nature and art nouveau scenes. You could choose any subject for your stained glass tattoo, based on your own tastes and the look you are trying to achieve.

These are a few common themes seen in these types of tattoos.

Religious iconography

Religious themes are regularly seen in stained glass tattoos. This is probably due to the origins of stained glass. Crosses, portraits of Jesus and the Virgin Mary and doves are all commonly used as subjects.

These are usually indicative of the person’s beliefs and their commitment to their chosen religion.

Animals and Insects

Nature inspired tattoos have always been popular and now for those who want a unique tattoo there is this type of design.

People commonly choose birds such as owls and hummingbirds, wolves, lions, seahorses, butterflies and dragonflies for their tattoos and even mythical creatures such as the phoenix and dragon. Most of these images are chosen due to the bright colors which can be used to create them.

The animal or insect which is selected may also have a specific meaning, such as freedom (butterfly), spirituality (dragonfly) and power (dragon and lion).


Colorful flowers (particularly roses) are regularly chosen for use in these tattoos. Again this may be due to their bright hues or the flowers may have special meaning to the client. Red roses are viewed as a symbol of love and romance. Other flowers that work well are the iris and gardenia.


Skulls and sometimes even whole skeletons can make striking colored glass tattoos. This is a more unusual subject, far removed from the original religious theme, which is certain to attract attention. Often the artist will use vivid shades of blues, oranges, and reds to make these pieces pop.

Disney inspired

It may sound strange but Disney characters often appear in this style of tattoo. These are chosen mostly by women and include The Ice Queen, Snow White, Ariel and especially Beauty and the Beast.

People who choose these characters may identify with them or have fond memories of the children’s stories.


Some stained glass tattoos do not have a picture and rather they are designed to look like an authentic colored glass window usually complete with a frame.


Often stained glass style tattoos will be “framed” in the same ornate shapes as real windows. Apart from being the perfect complement for this technique they also have a meaning. A window may be used to symbolize transformation, clarity, and new possibilities.

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Meanings of The Tattoo

Depending on the subject used this type of tattoo can have vastly different interpretations, although most people who chose this style have a deeper appreciation of art or religion.

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Use of Color

Experts have suggested that different colors used in the glass windows of Christian churches had individual meaning.

Those who choose Christian or biblical subjects for their tattoos may choose their ink colors based on these:

  • Red – Blood, suffering, and sacrifice
  • Yellow – Can be used negatively to depict treachery or positively to represent power and glory
  • Green – Faith and immortality
  • Blue – Hope and heaven. Also associated with the Virgin Mary
  • Purple – Suffering and endurance
  • Brown – Spiritual death
  • Rainbow – Unity

In stained glass tattoos, the “lead” is inked with a thick solid outline much like those seen in old school tattoos.

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Placement Ideas

While this style can make for brilliant small and medium tattoos the bigger they are the better they look.

Clients may choose smaller designs for the hands, feet, and abdomen while others may choose a large design across the back, on the upper arm, or the thigh.

This style of tattoo can make absolutely remarkable and unique full back or upper chest tattoos.

In Short…

For art loving, tattoo fans the stained glass tattoo is a must, whether for a small or large design.

You can choose almost any subject for this style, however, you must ensure that you find an artist who is skilled in this specific style of tattoo.

Ask to view an artist’s portfolio, and previous examples of work before committing to a tattoo.

This style of tattoo is also well suited to those who wish to celebrate and portray their Christian beliefs due to the church association and original use. Beautiful biblical images look luminous and holy when inked in the stained glass style.

Due to their unique appearance, these tattoos are timeless and are not likely to decline in popularity. A stained glass tattoo is a perfect way to combine different ideas and images with the beauty of the colored glass art.

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