10 Simple ‘RIP’ or Memorial Tattoo Ideas for Dad

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Those lucky enough to have strong fathers or father figure know that a dad can be a teacher, provider, friend, supporter, coach, teammate, and so much more. A father’s death is a painful experience.

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One way to cope with the pain is to memorialize your father or celebrate his life in a lasting way. If you’re not sure what to do in memory of someone that important, though, you may want to consider what other people do to pay tribute to lost loved ones.

For example, many tattoo enthusiasts often get “remembering Dad” tattoos after their fathers pass away. Are you thinking about doing the same thing?

Consider the following ideas. These “remembering Dad” tattoo examples will help you determine which type of design is ideal for your tastes and goals.

If you're interested in other unique ways to honor a loved one, you can consider a custom urn from a store like Foreverence or even have a memorial diamond made from ashes with a company like Eterneva.

Small Remembrance Tattoo Ideas for Dad

A “remembering Dad” tattoo doesn’t need to be particularly large or noticeable. You might prefer something smaller for a number of reasons. Maybe this is your first tattoo and you’re not comfortable with a design that will cover a big area of your body.

Regardless of your reasons, if you think a small tattoo is best, consider these ideas.

1. Heart balloon

Designs featuring hearts often make popular “remembering Dad” tattoos. However, while a basic heart design is perfectly appropriate, you might want your tattoo to tell a story about your feelings in images.

You could also look for an illustration of a child letting go of a heart-shaped balloon as it floats away. You could create text next to the heart, such as “Rest in Peace, Dad.”

2. Half heart

Here’s another design you may consider if you and a sibling (or another loved one) both want to get a “remembering Dad” tattoo. You might get one half of the tattoo in a flat spot, such as on the right side of your right arm when your palm is facing up. Your sibling can get the other half in the same spot but on the left side of her left arm. When you bring the two together, the heart comes together, like a mirror image.

You can also include text outside the heart that results in a complete message when the two halves of the tattoo appear beside each other. The result is a touching reminder that both you and your sibling can support one another as you mourn a lost father.

3. Symbol of dad’s job 

Fathers can play many different roles in the lives of their children. Provider is almost always one of the most important roles — many fathers work very hard to earn enough to take care of their families.

Some children choose to acknowledge the sacrifices their deceased fathers made by getting small tattoos of images that symbolize their fathers’ occupations. “Rest in peace” quotes or similar messages may accompany these images to make it clear a tattoo memorializes a lost father.

For example, if your dad was an auto mechanic, you might get a tattoo of a wrench. If he was a firefighter, you could get a tattoo of a firefighter’s helmet.

4. ‘Dad’ with feather

Simple designs are sometimes the best designs. For instance, some remembrance tattoos feature small images of feathers that appear to be drifting on the wind, with the name of a lost loved one beside them. These gentle tattoos symbolize the idea that someone who has passed on has actually just drifted away elsewhere, just like a feather in a breeze.

Tip: You can add his birthday or another special date to this tattoo. Read our article on how to say "happy birthday in heaven, Dad" for more ideas.

Medium or Large Remembrance Tattoo Ideas for Dad

The right “remembering Dad” tattoo for one person isn’t always right for someone else. This is a personal choice. Consider one of these larger-sized ideas instead: 

5. Dad’s face 

A tattoo of someone’s face (or your family member’s entire body in a triumphant pose) is one of the most common memorial tattoo designs. These can be small, but to achieve the necessary detail, they usually work better when they’re somewhat large. 

This type of tattoo will keep your father’s image with you. That said, if this is the type of design you settle on, you’ll need to find an artist skilled enough to pull it off. Look into a few options first before choosing the right artist for you.

6. Illustration of happy memories

Another tattoo design you might consider if you can find an artist with the necessary skill is an illustration of a happy memory you have of your father.

This doesn’t need to be a literal depiction of that memory, complete with figures that closely resemble you and your father. It can instead be an illustration that evokes the feeling of that memory.

For instance, if you and your dad used to go fishing together, the tattoo can be the silhouette of a man fishing over a lake. If you went camping often, it might be an illustration of tents at a campground.

7. Large angel wings shoulder tattoo

This is a common memorial tattoo design that’s large enough to take up a shoulder. Although the specifics of the design can vary depending on your personal preference, in general, it consists of angel wings on either side of your shoulder, with text between them.

For example, the text may read “In Loving Memory, Dad,” along with the date of your father’s death. This type of design also frequently includes an alternating pattern of dark and light lines behind the text and wings, suggesting the light of heaven. 

Including the date of your father’s death will also ensure you always remember Dad on his death anniversary

Dad Remembrance Tattoo Sayings or Quotes 

A quote that sums up your feelings is another perfect idea for a “remembering Dad” tattoo. Here are some quotes you might consider:

8. “My father gave me my dreams. Thanks to him, I could see a future.”

One of the best ways to honor a father who’s passed on is to live a life that celebrates and highlights the gifts he provided when he was still with you. That’s why you might want to use this Liza Minnelli quote when planning remembering Dad tattoos. A tattoo of these words serves as a permanent reminder that your dad would want you to pursue your dreams.

9. “My father always used to say that when you die, if you've got five real friends, then you've had a great life.”

You might want to modify this Lee Iacocca quote somewhat to make it fit your tattoo design idea, but it’s one worth keeping in mind if you can find four other people who were close friends or loved ones of your father who’d be willing to get the same tattoo. 

Sometimes multiple people will all get the same tattoo to symbolize a bond, common belief, or shared experience. Five people getting the same tattoo in honor of your father would symbolize the way he touched others in his life.

Of course, if you do decide to ask others to get this tattoo with you, it’s best to ask those who you believe won’t feel you’re pressuring them to go along with the idea. A tattoo is a major commitment. You don’t want to put a friend or relative in an awkward spot by asking if they might not feel comfortable doing so.

10. “To her, the name of father was another name for love.”

This quote, from American author Fanny Fern, is an ideal quote for a remembering Dad tattoo because of its length.

It sums up the way a daughter may feel about a father’s love in just a few short words. It’s short enough to serve as a practical tattoo on virtually any area of the body, without sacrificing any emotional content.

Remembering Dad Tattoos: Keeping Dad With You for Life

Getting the perfect tattoo is an option you may want to keep in mind if you’re looking for creative ways to honor someone like your dad. These are simply a few ideas to consider if you do choose to get a tattoo.

If you're looking for more ways to remember dad, read our guide on how to honor your deceased on his birthday and how to make a memorable tribute to dad.

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