15 Handwritten Memorial Tattoo Ideas and Inspiration


When loved ones pass away, there are many different ways you can pay tribute to their memory. Memorial tattoos are a thoughtful and creative way to honor someone no longer with you. There are many different types of memorial tattoos to consider. 

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Some are portrait tattoos, which depict an image of the deceased; others incorporate the dates of your loved one’s birth and death. On the contrary, some tattoos simply pay homage to something personal to the dead. For example, a reference to their military service or a song lyric that reminds you of them. But one of the most meaningful and personal memorial tattoos is probably a handwriting tattoo.  

What Is a Handwriting Memorial Tattoo?

A handwriting tattoo is very much akin to its name. It’s a tattoo done in the style of someone’s handwriting. It’s not uncommon to incorporate text and lettering in tattoos, but instead of using an established font or script-style writing, handwriting tattoos recreate the one-of-a-kind writing style of your loved one. 

Just like fingerprints, handwriting is unique to everybody. Handwriting is a personal artifact with profound meaning and connection to the person who creates it, making it ideal for a memorial tattoo.   

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How Do Tattoo Artists Copy a Deceased Loved One’s Handwriting?

By virtue of their profession, tattoo artists are incredibly versatile and creative. Many tattoo artists work in multiple styles. They also must translate various influences into art that can be applied to the body.  

If you want to get a memorial handwriting tattoo, you'll need to provide your tattoo artist with a sample of your loved one's handwriting. Ideally, you'd bring the actual piece of writing you'd like to get tattooed. However, if you don't have that, bring in several examples of handwriting with a variety of letters. This variety will give the artist ample reference material to work with to piece something together.  

Every tattoo artist has a unique artistic process. Generally speaking, though, they'll scan or copy the handwriting samples so that they can piece together a message if necessary. Then, they'll use a thermal fax machine to prepare a stencil. Once you've approved the design and settled on the size and placement, the tattoo artist can transfer the image onto your skin from the stencil. Finally, they can ink over the stencil image.

Handwritten Memorial Tattoo Ideas to Honor a Parent or Grandparent

People from older generations often value handwritten communication, so it’s not unusual for people to have a collection of written correspondence from their parents or grandparents on hand. In effect, if there’s any handwriting we’re familiar with besides our own, it likely belongs to our parents or grandparents. Here, we share some examples of the kinds of messages you might use in a handwriting tattoo in loving memory of your elders.  

1. Love, [name]

Many people sign their letters with a brief sign-off, like this:

  • Love, Mom
  • Love, Dad
  • Love, Grandma
  • Love, Grandpa

This salutation makes for a sweet and simple tattoo that can be easily recreated. 

2. “I’ll love you forever.”

There’s a famous children’s book by the author Robert Munsch, called Love You Forever. It is well-known for the following lullaby that the mother sings to her child throughout his life:

“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
My baby you’ll be.”

Referencing this line is a beautiful way to pay tribute to a mother or other parental figure. 

3. “Love without end.”

This brief quote refers to a song lyric by George Strait. In full, it goes:

“Daddies don’t just love their children 
Every now and then
It’s a love without end.”

This line would be lovely in the handwriting of a late father. 

Handwritten Memorial Tattoo Ideas to Honor a Sibling

There is something extraordinary and unique about the bond between siblings. No one truly understands your lived experiences like a sibling does, especially if you were raised closely together. A handwriting tattoo, perhaps in the form of a memorial wrist tattoo, is a beautiful way to pay tribute to this one-of-a-kind relationship.

4. “From dawn until dusk.”

This brief phrase is a reference to a longer quote by author Susan Scarf Merrell. It goes:

“Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk.”

While the full quote might be too long to apply in the form of a handwriting tattoo, this more oblique reference is perfectly apropos for a tribute to a sibling. 

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5. “Sweet is the voice of a sister in the season of sorrow.”

This quote by former UK Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli is very fitting for a memorial tattoo for a sister who has passed away. 

6. “Because brothers don’t let each other wander in the dark alone.”

This quote from author Jolene Perry is a powerful tribute to a brother who always stood by you. Even if your brother has passed away, you can carry him with you on your skin. 

Handwritten Memorial Tattoo Ideas to Honor a Partner or Spouse

Many couples exchange heartfelt love letters. If you and your late spouse had that kind of relationship, you’d have no shortage of sweet quotes to incorporate into a handwriting tattoo. But even if your handwriting samples are more practical, like grocery lists or paperwork, you’ll be able to translate them into a meaningful message. 

7. “Forever connected by the red string of fate.”

According to an ancient Chinese myth, two people destined to fall in love are connected by an invisible red thread. No matter how far apart the two lovers are, the thread never tangles or breaks. This quote, tattooed in your late partner’s writing, shows that even death cannot break your bond. Have your tattoo artist use red ink for the lettering for extra visual and emotional impact.  

8. “All that you are is all that you’ll ever need.”

Quoting a lyric from a significant song in your relationship is a great way to pay homage to a late spouse. This Ed Sheeran line is a perfect example. 

9. “Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.”

This quote from The Princess Bride is ideal for a memorial tattoo for a romantic partner. 

Handwritten Memorial Tattoo Ideas to Honor a Child

Handwriting tattoos aren’t always an option when paying tribute to your child. If you lose a child at an early age, you may not have examples of their handwriting yet. In cases like that, a memorial tattoo featuring a quote might be a better tribute. But if you do have examples of your child’s handwriting, preserving it in the form of a tattoo is a beautiful and long-lasting tribute that you can keep close to your heart. 

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10. Replicated drawing

If your child was so young that you don’t have examples of words they have written, you still likely have an excellent example of their handwriting in the form of artwork. Bring some of your favorite drawings that your child made to see how your tattoo artist may be able to adapt them into a special design.

11. “You’ve loved me since I was born, but I’ve loved you my whole life.”

This unknown quote is meant to illustrate how all-encompassing a parent’s presence is in their child’s life. It is especially poignant in the context of a memorial tattoo. 

12. “Just keep swimming.”

Children’s movies are often the source of poignant quotes that remind us of our children. This beloved quote from Finding Nemo is an excellent example of an inspirational and empowering quote, but still distinctly childlike. 

Handwritten Memorial Tattoo Ideas to Honor a Friend

When you’re young, you may express your friendship by exchanging tokens like a best friend necklace. When you’re older, you and your best friend may show your bond by getting matching tattoos. And if you lose a friend too soon, you may pay homage to them with a memorial tattoo, so you can continue to hold them near and dear.

13. “True friends will leave footprints on your heart.” 

This abbreviated quote from Eleanor Roosevelt speaks to the lasting impact our friends can have on us long after they’re gone. 

14. “Life was meant for good friends and great adventures.”

This unattributed quote is a perfect tribute for someone you shared many good times and momentous occasions with. 

15. “I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”

This bittersweet quote by Helen Keller has a poignancy that perfectly suits it for a memorial tattoo.  

Honoring Deceased Loved Ones With Memorial Handwriting Tattoos

Getting a tattoo is a beautiful way to memorialize a special relationship with a lost loved one. When a loved one dies, their absence is often tangibly felt. Paying tribute to the dead in meaningful ways helps keep their memory alive and enables you to feel closer to them. Incorporating the deceased’s handwriting into a memorial tattoo makes the final result that much more special and unique. 

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