Cogs and Ink: 28 Cool Steampunk Tattoo Designs that Wow

Many think steampunk is a fad that will flare up and burn itself out quickly, as most fads do. If steampunk fans’ willingness to permanently ink themselves with steampunk themed tattoos is any indication, the appeal of steampunk will be lasting a lot longer than expected. From the simplest clockwork and gears, to complex depictions of Victorian era mecha, steampunk tattoos run the gamut from pretty decorations to mobile masterpieces. Here are 9 of the most intricate and gorgeous examples of steampunk style body art:

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The melding of technology with nature is a common theme in steampunk, as the dream of Victorian technology is to create a cleanly powered utopia much different from the sooty, chugging urban areas of the time. There is no better way to display the melding of nature and machine than by displaying a gorgeous steampunk octopus, or the more symbolic lightbulb and skull pictured above. Another popular design is the mechanical arm, where one can become part machine, at least, visually.

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Some people like to make themselves resemble machines in a more visually arresting manner, via the appearance of torn skin mistakenly revealing the clockwork components within. The realism of these depictions can be stunningly three dimensional in appearance. These tattoos aren’t for the faint of heart, as they tend to upset the squeamish viewer, and require countless hours under the needle.

(Images via bodyartmaster,

Clocks are a major symbol of the steampunk genre because of their intricate, scientific nature, and the fact that they manage to overcome their fragility by managing to work hour after hour, day after day. The endless variety of clock designs and their classy appearance allow one to express their aesthetic without shocking the casual observer.

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As the foundation piece for the steampunk aesthetic, cogs and gears are present in nearly every steampunk tattoo. Some individuals would rather stick with the core of steampunk by creating complicated scenes filled entirely with intricate machine parts. These are the purists.