Above-the-Knee Tattoos: Ideas & Full Guide

Above-the-Knee Tattoos: Ideas & Full Guide

May 16, 2024 | Bridget Reed

Designing the perfect above-the-knee tattoo can be tricky. It’s a very uniquely shaped part of your body, and you need to make the most of it. If you’re stumped, we’ve got you covered. 

There are a surprising amount of designs that would look killer in that space and countless awesome concepts to play with. If you’re also considering what it might feel like to get an above-the-knee tattoo, we have a solution. 

Put the pain in the back of your mind for a moment, get excited about your idea, and learn how HUSH can help you make it happen.

Your Guide to Designing a Great Above-the-Knee Tattoo

Above-the-knee tattoos involve some interesting anatomy. Your knee moves and creates a very distinct shape within your leg. 

It’s better to work with what you’ve got than to work against it. Your tattoo is going to move every time your leg does, and you don’t want a design that will distort with motion. 

The key to a perfect above-the-knee tattoo is to avoid any design that will disrupt the natural symmetry of your knee or overlap onto your kneecap. The lower portion of your design needs to have a generous curve that fits your leg and moves gracefully while your leg is in motion. 

Flowers and Vines

Flowers, vines, and laurels are easy to arrange in an anatomically perfect shape right above your kneecap. The best part is that they can climb all the way up your thigh if you want to incorporate them into a larger thigh piece. 

They’ll serve as an excellent border between an upper leg tattoo and a lower leg tattoo or even separate a knee cap tattoo from your other pieces. 

Curved Cursive Script 

Above the knee is a great spot for a cursive script tattoo. You can use the rounded shape of your kneecap to delicately and gracefully shape the script, allowing it to flow with your body. This is a great spot for a single word or a short sentence, especially if you’d rather not (or already have) utilize your wrist or your neck real estate for a script tattoo. 

Celestial Tattoos

The area above your knee is already naturally crescent-moon-shaped. Why not make the most of it by designing a celestial-themed tattoo that utilizes the curvature of your knee as the moon itself? Stars, planets, and galaxies can branch out from the main area of your tattoo and travel all around your legs, adding to the universe piece by piece. 

Half Mandala Tattoos

Mandala tattoos boast plentiful opportunities for beautiful symmetry and intricate linework. Think of the beauty you could create by using your kneecap as negative space. 

Removing a semicircle from the bottom of a mandala allows you to utilize the curvature of your knee as the base for your tattoo. Sit a blooming lotus flower on top of your knee and embellish it with beautiful lines, shapes, dots, and patterns.

Butterfly or Moth Tattoos

Butterflies and moths with long, curved lower wrings can sit perfectly on top of your knee cap. The tails of a luna moth can elegantly cascade down either side of your knee while completely avoiding your knee itself. 

You can also use a butterfly to transition out of a nature-inspired thigh piece if you’d like to split art themes between your upper and lower leg. The size and shape of your knee will allow you to experiment with larger-scale concepts, allowing you to opt for a large photorealistic moth or butterfly if you want a captivating work of art. 

Honeycombs and Bees

Honeycomb tattoos are completely modular. They can be made to suit any shape or fill any space on your body. If you’ve been interested in a bee-themed tattoo, consider framing the area above your knee with a honeycomb. Add some honey, some bees, and some flowers for elegant touches.

If you’re more of a minimalist, simply utilize the honeycomb shape. You can go with thick or thin simple black lines. The nature of the tattoo will allow you to easily add more honeycomb shapes or blend it seamlessly into larger pieces in the surrounding area. It also helps you keep your options open for future ink opportunities. 

How Bad Do Knee Tattoos Hurt?

If you’re considering a knee tattoo, you’ve probably thought about what it must feel like. Any tattoos close to the bone kinda suck. The knee area is one of the most painful tattoo spots

There’s not a lot of padding between your skin and the bones surrounding your knee. Even though an above-the-knee tattoo doesn’t sit directly on your kneecap, it still won’t exactly be a gentle, easygoing experience.

We know you’re tough, but give yourself a break. HUSH tattoo numbing cream is here to take the pain away. 

Just slap a thick layer on the area where you’re getting your tattoo and wrap it up in some plastic wrap. Unwrap it and wipe away the excess in about an hour, and you’re good to go. The high “ouch” of your above-the-knee tattoo session will be turned down to a dull roar. You’re welcome.

To Sum It Up: Above the Knee is Perfect Tattoo Real Estate

Getting a great above-the-knee tattoo isn’t as challenging as you would think. As long as you’re mindful of shapes, symmetry, and placement, there’s a lot to be done around your kneecap. 

Don’t let the pain stop you from getting an above-the-knee tattoo you really want because we’re here to take the pain away. You can also use the HUSH tattoo aftercare kit to keep your above-the-knee tattoo comfortable and nourished while it heals. We’re here for you every step of the way. 


Knee Joint: Function & Anatomy | Cleveland Clinic

Phases of the Moon | Kopernik Observatory & Science Center

Exploring the Mandala | Asia Society

A-Z of butterflies | Butterfly Conservation

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