7 Subtle Seashell Tattoo Ideas, So Your Love For The Beach Never Fades

You're never too old to collect seashells at the beach. They're like the jewels of the sea that never fail to surprise you with their unique shapes and beautiful colors. It's always sad to part with those beloved beach days at the end of the summer, but there's a way to keep them with you always. If you're thinking of getting some new ink, consider any of these small shell tattoo ideas. That way, it's guaranteed that you represent those mermaid vibes wherever you go.

Keep in mind, though, that it is summer. According to Authority Tattoo, you shouldn't go swimming or take a bath for at least three weeks after getting your new tattoo. You'll want to consult with a tattoo artist about the proper care techniques, and if it's best to wait until the fall for new ink. You want your shell tattoo to be in tip-top shape for when you finally decide to debut it, so educate yourself on the upkeep.

A shell tattoo is perfect for matching with your bestie who is also your favorite person to beach bum it with. Whatever you decide, a seashell is going to look beautiful just about anywhere you place it. I'm no seashell expert or anything, but if you get anything like these seven examples, you're doing something right.

An Abstract Scallop Shell
philtchang on Twitter

This scallop shell tattoo is a little more abstract than other designs you may see. According to, the symbol is most often associated with the Camino de Santiago trails, among other interpretations. The lines are representative of the various routes pilgrims would take to get to the tomb of Saint James in Santiago de Compostela.

The scallop shell may be your favorite find at the beach. Whenever you look down at this tattoo, it will be a sweet little reminder that you always have part of the ocean with you.

Ankle Art That Is Shore To Turn Heads
_kiera_rose_ on Twitter

The color and shading in this tattoo turns this shell into something that'll make people look twice and double-click on your IG debut post. That's the diverse thing about shells; they can stand alone as simple patterns, or can be beautifully detailed. It really just depends on your taste, and how long you are willing to sit down and get it done. Obviously, an intricate design like this is really worth the wait.

Bring On The Beach Vibes
darshelle_ on Twitter

You don't even necessarily need color for these seashells to pop. Your 'Gram pics are going to be super cute, and even when summer fades away, you can look down at your tattoo and remind yourself of those warm afternoons spend swimming in the waves. A seashell tattoo is your permanent piece of sand and sunshine. And during those cold months of the year, you definitely need that beachy pick-me-up.

Cuteness Is Above Sea Level
smolsabe on Twitter

Let's be real: You cannot overlook how adorable seashells are when they are shaded with any hue of pink. There's nothing wrong with getting color for a small tattoo. Make it your own, and have fun with it.

Make It So The Beach Is Always Within Earshot
sarahmannxo on Twitter

Your parents may have always told you to put your ear to a seashell so you could hear the ocean waves. It was like seashells always remained one with the water, even if they washed up onto the shore. With a subtle shell tattoo behind your ear, you're saying you couldn't forget the sound of crashing waves, even if you tried. It's one of your favorite soundtracks by Mother Nature.

Let The Jewels Of The Sea Be Your Muse
intimatchine on Twitter

Want to be unique? If you have a seashell that you got from the beach, see if you can get that drawn up by a tattoo artist. It'll have so much more significance if you feel like you chose your shell first-hand, straight from the source. It doesn't get any more special than that.

Mermaid Filter? Not Necessary
mikaylashianne on Twitter

I mean, you can't tell me this isn't the mark of a secret society of mermaids. (And, seriously though, where do I sign up?) It's simple, but stands out so much because of the placement. Snap an artsy pic in your favorite swimsuit or tank top.

Summer is here, but it won't stay forever. Get yourself a seashell tattoo, and your beach days won't ever really leave you.