Skip to content

Hourglass Tattoo: Meanings Designs and Ideas

by TattoosNear 15 Jul 2023

An hourglass tattoo is a timeless and captivating symbol that has been embraced by tattoo enthusiasts worldwide. Laden with profound meanings and rich symbolism, this design transcends aesthetic appeal and delves into deep philosophical concepts. At its core, an hourglass tattoo represents the inevitable passage of time, the transient nature of life, and the balance between opposing forces. Yet, the beauty of an hourglass tattoo lies in its flexibility, where each element and variation adds layers of personalization, allowing the bearer to express their unique relationship with time, life, and change. Whether it's a minimalist outline on the wrist or an intricate full-sleeve design, an hourglass tattoo is a personal reminder of life's transience and the significance of each fleeting moment.

Hourglass Tattoo Meaning

Hourglass Tattoo

Indeed, the hourglass is a potent symbol, and when used in tattoos, it carries a wealth of nuanced meanings. These can range from the universal understanding of time's passage to deeply personal interpretations. Here are some more specific meanings associated with hourglass tattoos:

  • Mortality and Life's Brevity: The hourglass is a potent symbol of life's brevity and the inevitability of mortality. As the sand slips from the top bulb to the bottom, it serves as a visual representation of life's fleeting moments. It's a reminder that our time here is finite, urging us to make the most of it.
  • Dualism and Balance: The hourglass's two bulbs, one emptying while the other fills, can signify the balance and dualism inherent in life. It can represent the equilibrium between opposing forces, like light and dark, joy and sorrow, life.
  • Change and Adaptability: Just as the sand in an hourglass flows steadily, life, too, is a constant flow of change. An hourglass tattoo can symbolize our capacity to adapt to these changes, to move with life's ebb and flow, and embrace the transient nature of our experiences.
  • Time's Dominion: No matter our status, wealth, or power, we're all subject to time's dominion. An hourglass tattoo can serve as a humbling reminder of this universal truth, reinforcing the idea that time is the one thing we can't control or possess.
  • Resilience and Endurance: An hourglass can symbolize resilience and endurance over time. Just as the hourglass keeps running, so must we keep going, standing the test of time.
  • Personal Growth Over Time: Many people associate the hourglass with their personal journey and transformation over time. This can be represented by the gradual movement of sand from one bulb to the other, indicating the progress and growth they've experienced in their life.
The beauty of tattoos lies in their ability to communicate complex and personal meanings in a visually engaging way. Remember, an hourglass tattoo's true meaning ultimately lies in the personal significance it holds for the one who bears it.

Broken Hourglass Tattoo

Think of tattoos as your personal story, inked on your skin. A broken hourglass tattoo says so much. It's like a personal statement saying, "I cherish every moment." This design reflects a sense of urgency and the courage to seize the day. It's a simple yet powerful symbol showing your zest for life.

Girly Hourglass Tattoo

A girly hourglass tattoo is perfect for ladies who like to mix a little charm with their style! Decorate your hourglass with flowers or delicate vines to add a feminine touch. To make it uniquely yours, you can also play with colors, from soft pinks to bold reds. 

Hourglass Tattoo Outline

If you're a fan of minimalism, an hourglass tattoo outline could be your ideal pick. This design captures the essence of an hourglass without any fuss. It's like a whisper of time on your skin. This simplistic approach creates a chic and understated look. 

Simple Hourglass Tattoo

Simplicity is often the ultimate sophistication; a simple hourglass tattoo proves this. It focuses on the basic shape of an hourglass without any extra frills. This tattoo can be small and subtle, perfect for first-timers or those who prefer discreet tattoos. 

Traditional Hourglass Tattoo

Are you a fan of vintage vibes? Then, a traditional hourglass tattoo might be the one for you! These tattoos embrace the old-school style with bold lines and classic imagery. Often, they feature a full-bodied hourglass, complete with sands of time, framed in a darker color palette.

Feminine Vintage Hourglass Tattoo

Consider a feminine vintage hourglass tattoo for a soft, vintage look with a feminine flair. This design marries the charm of the past with the beauty of womanhood. Think of an hourglass surrounded by soft roses in hues of blush and cream. This tattoo design is a nod to both timeless style and timeless grace.

Skull Hourglass Tattoo

A skull hourglass tattoo can be a great choice for those who enjoy a touch of edginess in their style. This design combines the symbolic elements of time and mortality, making it a striking and thought-provoking piece. It's a reminder of life's brevity and the value of each moment.

Forearm Hourglass Tattoo

If you're looking for an easily visible tattoo location, consider a forearm hourglass tattoo. The forearm is a popular spot for its level of comfort and versatility. It gives your hourglass design enough space to shine while allowing you to display or conceal it, depending on your outfit.

Small Hourglass Tattoo

Small but meaningful - that's the charm of a small hourglass tattoo. It can be a discrete reminder of time's importance, placed anywhere from your wrist to your ankle. Despite its size, it's a significant symbol that can carry a personal message close to your heart.

Hourglass Memento Mori Tattoo

"Memento Mori," a Latin phrase that means "Remember you must die," is a theme often used in hourglass tattoos. An hourglass memento mori tattoo reminds us of our mortality and the transient nature of life. This design, often enriched with symbols like skulls or wilting flowers, is meaningful and artistically engaging.

Hourglass Tattoo for Men

Hourglass tattoos are versatile and can be tailored to suit anyone's style. For men who prefer a more rugged or masculine aesthetic, consider designs with darker shades, bold lines, and elements like skulls, wings, or fire. The hourglass can be depicted as robust and sturdy, symbolizing strength and endurance over time.

Meaningful Hourglass Tattoo Drawing

A thoughtful hourglass tattoo drawing could be the answer for those searching for a design that's not just visually appealing but also laden with meaning. This design can weave in personally significant elements, like a specific date, a name, or other symbols that hold special meaning for you. Each detail can transform the tattoo into a personal narrative of your journey through time. 

Beautifully Broken Hourglass Tattoos for Females

A beautifully broken hourglass tattoo can be a powerful emblem for ladies who resonate with the concept of capturing beauty in brokenness. This design highlights both the fragility and strength in overcoming life's challenges. It can be adorned with bright colors, floral designs, or even pieces of the hourglass shattering into butterflies - a symbol of transformation and new beginnings.

Clock Hourglass Tattoo

Merging the concepts of a clock and an hourglass in a tattoo can create a visually captivating and meaningful design. The ticking clock and the shifting sands of the hourglass both symbolize the passage of time. This tattoo can serve as a reminder of the preciousness of each moment.

Hourglass Tattoo Sleeve

An hourglass tattoo sleeve can be a stunning choice for those who prefer larger, more detailed tattoos. This design offers ample space for intricate details and additional elements. You can weave a story around your hourglass, adding elements like roses, clocks, skulls, or even scenes from nature.

Minimalist Hourglass Tattoo

Minimalist designs are all about simplicity and elegance. A minimalist hourglass tattoo focuses on clean lines and the essential elements of the hourglass. It's a timeless, subtle, profound piece, perfect for those who prefer a low-key yet chic statement.

Realistic Hourglass Tattoo

A realistic hourglass tattoo could be the perfect fit for those who appreciate art that mirrors life. This design can create the illusion of a 3D hourglass using shading, depth, and attention to detail. It's a visual treat that showcases the talent of the tattoo artist while serving as a compelling symbol of time.

American Traditional Hourglass Tattoo

Drawing from the rich history of the American Traditional tattoo style, an hourglass tattoo in this design features bold lines, limited color palettes, and iconic imagery. The hourglass might be surrounded by roses, eagles, or nautical stars, adding a layer of symbolism and history to your tattoo.

Grim Reaper Hourglass Tattoo

Incorporating the figure of the Grim Reaper into an hourglass tattoo can add a darkly intriguing element. The Grim Reaper, traditionally associated with life and the hourglass, creates a potent reminder of life's brevity. It's a design choice that makes a bold and powerful statement.

Hourglass Hand Tattoo

For a highly visible and statement-making piece, consider an hourglass hand tattoo. The hand is an ideal canvas for showcasing this symbolic design. With each glance, it reminds you to value time and make every moment count.

Hourglass Time is Money Tattoo

For the hardworking go-getters, an hourglass 'time is money' tattoo might resonate well. This design often combines the image of an hourglass with symbols of wealth like coins, bills, or even a dollar sign. It's a visual representation of the saying "Time is money," and it serves as a reminder of the importance of time management in achieving success.

Hourglass with Wings Tattoo

An hourglass with wings tattoo adds a whimsical and ethereal touch to the traditional hourglass design. The wings can symbolize freedom, the fleeting nature of time, or the aspiration to soar high in life. It's a beautiful choice that merges the themes of time and freedom.

Geometric Hourglass Tattoo

A geometric hourglass tattoo is a great choice for those who appreciate modern design elements. This style uses shapes and lines to create a sleek, contemporary look. It's a fresh take on the traditional hourglass design, making it perfect for those who love to stand out.

Hourglass Chest Tattoo

If you're looking for a larger canvas, an hourglass chest tattoo provides plenty of space. This placement allows for detailed, expansive designs and can be covered or shown off according to your comfort. It makes your hourglass design a central piece of your tattoo collection.

Hourglass Tree Tattoo

An hourglass tree tattoo merges the symbolism of an hourglass and a tree. While the hourglass represents the passage of time, the tree stands for growth, strength, and life. This combination can represent the growth and changes we experience over time.

Owl Hourglass Tattoo

Combining an owl and an hourglass in a tattoo creates a deeply symbolic and visually stunning design. The owl, often associated with wisdom and an hourglass, represents the knowledge and insight gained over time. It's an elegant design for those seeking a meaningful, symbol-heavy tattoo.

Hourglass Neck Tattoo

If you're keen on a bold tattoo statement, an hourglass neck tattoo might be for you. This area provides a noticeable placement that showcases your hourglass design with prominence. As with any tattoo, ensure your design is one you're happy to display prominently.

Tree of Life Hourglass Tattoo Meaning

The blend of a Tree of Life and an hourglass in a tattoo creates a powerful symbol. The Tree of Life represents growth, strength, and the interconnectedness of life, while the hourglass symbolizes time. This combination can symbolize the journey of growth and change over time and the cyclical nature of life.

Compass and Hourglass Tattoo

A compass and hourglass tattoo merge the themes of direction and time. The compass represents guidance, finding one's way, while the hourglass stands for the transient nature of time. This tattoo might speak to those who see life as a journey guided by time.

Floral Hourglass Tattoo

A floral hourglass tattoo adds a touch of nature's beauty to the time symbol. It can represent the bloom and wither of life, reflecting the beauty and brevity of each moment. You can choose flowers that have specific meanings, making the tattoo more personalized and meaningful.

Hourglass and Rose Tattoo

An hourglass paired with a rose, often a symbol of love and beauty, can create a visually striking and symbolic tattoo. This design can convey the message of cherishing the beauty of the present moment and the importance of love over time.

Hourglass Finger Tattoo

An hourglass finger tattoo is a great choice if you're after a small, subtle design. Despite its size, this tattoo is a daily reminder to value each moment. Remember, finger tattoos might require more frequent touch-ups due to the high use of hands.

Hourglass Tattoo with Words

For an added layer of meaning, consider an hourglass tattoo with words. The words can be a personal mantra, a favorite quote, or anything that adds significance to the symbol of time. This design allows you to express your views on life and time uniquely and personally.

Infinity Hourglass Tattoo

An infinity hourglass tattoo combines the symbol of infinity (∞) with an hourglass. This design can represent the endless cycle of time or timelessness. It's a profound symbol that adds a philosophical depth to the visual charm of the hourglass.


An hourglass tattoo is a captivating symbol of time, balance, and personal growth. From minimalist to realistic to traditional styles, there's a design for everyone. This tattoo reminds us to cherish each moment and beautifully represents our life story. If you're thinking about getting an hourglass tattoo, we hope this guide has inspired you. Remember, your tattoo is more than just ink—it's a personal reflection of your journey through life. Enjoy this creative process and make your tattoo uniquely yours!

Fake temporary tattoos are an option if you're having trouble deciding. Temporary tattoos are a cheap, painless, and reversible way to decorate your body. They are popular for fun, fashion, and at theaters and movies, and they are ideal for trying out new looks.

Hourglass Tattoo FAQ

Q: What is the meaning behind an hourglass tattoo?

A: The primary symbolism of an hourglass tattoo is the passage of time. It can also represent life's transience, the balance between opposing forces, life's cycle from birth to end, and personal growth over time. However, the specific meaning can vary depending on the wearer's personal beliefs and experiences, as well as the additional elements incorporated in the design.

Q: Where is the best place to get an hourglass tattoo?

A: The placement of an hourglass tattoo largely depends on your personal preference and the size and complexity of the design. Smaller, simpler designs can work well on the wrist, forearm, ankle, or behind the ear. Larger, more intricate designs might be better suited for the back, chest, or as part of a sleeve.

Q: Does an hourglass tattoo hurt?

A: The pain level of getting a tattoo depends on several factors including your personal pain tolerance, the specific placement of the tattoo, and its size. Generally, areas with more muscle (like the upper arm) tend to be less painful than areas where the skin is close to the bone (like the foot or hand).

Q: Can an hourglass tattoo be covered up easily?

A: The ease of covering up an hourglass tattoo, or any tattoo, depends on the colors used, the size of the original tattoo, and the expertise of the tattoo artist. In general, darker colors and larger tattoos are harder to cover up. It's always best to consult with a professional tattoo artist about your options for a cover-up.

Q: How can I make my hourglass tattoo unique?

A: There are many ways to personalize your hourglass tattoo. You could add other elements such as flowers, trees, skulls, or quotes that hold personal meaning. The style of the tattoo can also make it unique - from realistic, to geometric, to traditional, the possibilities are endless. Discuss your ideas with your tattoo artist to create a design that truly represents you.

Q: How do I care for my new hourglass tattoo?

A: After getting your hourglass tattoo, proper aftercare is essential for healing and maintaining the vibrancy of the design. Your tattoo artist will provide aftercare instructions, which typically include keeping the tattoo clean, applying a specific type of lotion or ointment, avoiding sun exposure, and not submerging the tattoo in water for a certain period. Always follow the provided aftercare instructions carefully. 

Prev Post
Next Post
Someone recently bought a
[time] ago, from [location]

Thanks for subscribing!

This email has been registered!

Shop the look

Choose Options

Edit Option
Back In Stock Notification
this is just a warning
Shopping Cart
0 items