Grab your BFF and make some plans.
Sure, some people might say getting a matching tattoo with a friend or romantic partner could be risky given a potential falling out. But as long as you keep a few things in mind — and as long as you’re sure you’ll still like it even if you no longer like the person you got it with — it’s a great way to symbolize an important relationship.
First up: Before you head in to get your new bit of body art with someone, make sure you’ve checked out your desired tattooer. "Always do your research," says Ink’s Alysha Howard. "Every artist has a different skill set, so find the artist that you feel will make your idea real. I know how intense instant gratification can feel, but trust me, if you do it right the first time you’ll be happier long term."
Artist Huka of Royal Heritage Tattoo adds that you should also think of the tattoo as a standalone piece. She tells Bustle that matching symbols or illustrations, rather than names, are a good option if things change within your relationship. "This way you don’t need a cover-up," she says, "just a new reason to tell people why you got it … consider if you would still like the tattoo if you didn’t like the person you got it with anymore. The answer should be yes!"
Howard adds that it’s always best to make an appointment — particularly with matching pieces of art — to ensure you get who you want, what you want, and that the designs get done together. She says two artists can do simple pieces, like lettering, but if you want a specific tattooer’s style, that same person will need to work on both people.
If you need inspiration, Howard says designs inspired by travel, flowers, and dates are rising in popularity, and Huka is seeing a rise in minimalist pieces. If you’re looking for more ideas, here are 20 matching tattoos to consider.
Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner got matching ink marking the days they got their Game of Thrones roles.
Family-themed matching tattoos are another option, whether you’re married, siblings, parent and child, or any other familial relationship. Cousins Ireland Baldwin and Hailey Bieber have their formerly shared last name on their fingers.
Those who share a passion for a specific cause could consider getting body art inspired by it. Selena Gomez and some 13 Reasons Why cast members got semicolons as a way to show support for Project Semicolon, an organization that helps those dealing with depression and other mental health issues.
Huka says pinky promise tattoos are also popular matching symbols.
Those who have shared a pet could also get a tribute to their furry pal, just as Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner did when they got matching portraits of their dog Waldo’s face after he died.
Matching tattoos don’t always have to be exactly the same. Case in point: the cast of Pretty Little Liars. The actors got the first initial of their characters inked onto their index fingers as the series ended.
Huka also cited avocados, like these from Atticus Tattoo, as popular options. Food themes also happen to be common among celebrities: Miley Cyrus and ex Liam Hemsworth have matching vegemite ink, and Ashley Benson got her pommes frites tattoo done with a friend.
Howard says flowers, which are popular even in single designs, also pop up in matching tattoos. Celebrities like Vanessa Hudgens and Dakota Johnson have their own tiny floral designs.
Huka says other "matching" tattoos simply feature coordinating symbols. This king and queen symbol from a deck of cards is a popular example.
Arrows are another popular design option, and many people, like Selena Gomez and Julia Michaels, coordinate them to point toward each other. Nick and Joe Jonas have a similar design on the backs of their arms.
Hearts are universally common in the tattoo world. Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner have matching broken hearts.
Butterflies can represent a myriad of things, like rebirth or freedom, and those who choose this symbol for a tattoo can match their friend or family member and still assign personal meaning to the ink.
Those who share common religious beliefs or met through their religion could consider symbols of their faith for their matching pieces.
People who share a favorite film or TV show sometimes choose to get inked with a character or memorable line. Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner’s Toy Story–inspired "To Infinity and Beyond" tattoos are a great example.
Some animals — like butterflies — are classic tattoo options, but if you’re looking for something more personal you can go for a more out-of-the-box creature, like these velociraptors.
Howard says travel-themed tattoos are also popular. If you’ve taken a memorable vacation, consider ink like these that contain coordinates of a specific location.
Bookish tattoos, from quotes to illustrations of actual books, are a huge category in tattooing. Those who share a love for a certain series (like Harry Potter, as seen here) could opt for pieces inspired by their favorite reads.
Stars, already common, are an easy way to get a matching piece. Try classic star shape, or choose one with more line work, like the design seen here.
Like coordinated ink, "conjoined" pieces are another way to interpret matching tattoos. These hearts, reminiscent of the one Hailey Baldwin and Kendall Jenner share, are a great example of how to split a tattoo.
Have a shared favorite song or one with a particularly special meaning? Get inked with your favorite lyrics.
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