If you saw a talking white rabbit, would you follow it? If so, you might be a fan of the well-loved children’s classic, Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
Alice chose to follow the white rabbit, and what ensued was an adventure like no other. From swimming in her own tears, getting advice from a hookah-smoking caterpillar, and attending the Mad Hatter’s tea party, to playing croquet with a queen who has a penchant for cutting off people’s heads, Alice’s escapades were varied and have inspired generations for years.
This book has never been out of print, and has been adapted into plays, movies, and even body art. Alice In Wonderland tattoos is a genre all on its own.
When it comes to Alice In Wonderland tattoo designs, there really are so many routes, so it often comes down to which scene inspires you the most.
Here are some popular choices:
“We’re All Mad Here”
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad.”
This is part of the conversation Alice had with the mischievous, grinning cat of Wonderland. In the Disney movie of the 1950s, he would appear and disappear, sometimes leaving behind just his grin.
The quote, “We’re all mad here” is a popular choice when it comes to Alice In Wonderland tattoos, and can represent the tattooee’s nonconformity to society’s standards of what is deemed to be “normal” or “sane”.
As Tattoo SEO says,
“One of the main reasons why people like to get the We’re All Mad Here tattoo is to show that they like that they are weird or crazy in their own way. It’s a great way to show that you have a lively personality or that you enjoy odd conversations.”
It is thought that the Cheshire Cat acted as an almost spirit guide for Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, because even though he proclaims himself to be not all there mentally, he delivers some sage wisdom to the confused and lost Alice.
For example, Alice asks the Cheshire Cat whether he can help her find her way. He then responds by saying that it all depends on where she wants to go. Alice doesn’t know, to which the cat says, “Then it really doesn’t matter which way you go.”
How are you supposed to choose a direction when you don’t know where you’re going? This message has stood the test of time, and is still something to ponder when feeling lost in life.
The Cheshire Cat’s Grin
This cat is one of the most referenced and remembered characters of Alice In Wonderland, mainly due to his metaphorical, thought-provoking eloquence, but also because of his attention-grabbing physical characteristic: His mischievous grin.
The slightly unsettling grin of a self-diagnosed “mad” cat can reference a love for this literary character, a symbol of a guiding force through Wonderland, as well as mischief and mystery.
“The Cheshire cat…most often represents an inquisitive nature, a desire to seek the truth and a touch of mischief. This tattoo can [also] represent a whimsical nature, a love for the extraordinary or a wanderlust personality,”Tattoos With Meaning
This tattoo can be in the form of a disembodied smile (as he was fond of turning invisible and leaving behind just his grin) or you could turn his famous quote “We’re all mad here” into the shape of a wide grin.
An Alice Portrait
Of course, a tattoo of the main character of the story is an amazing choice for this tattoo theme.
“Curiouser and curiouser!” This was exclaimed by Alice in response to the strange world in which she found herself. One of the main themes of the fairytale is the curiosity of Alice – she wanted to follow the white rabbit, eat the cake, and drink the potion. A tattoo of Alice can symbolize a child-like curiosity.
Alice also goes through a lot of growing up during her time in Wonderland,
“When entering Wonderland, Alice encounters a way of living and reasoning that is quite different from her own. A Duchess who is determined to find a moral in everything. Trials that seem to be very unjust. But during the journey through Wonderland, Alice learns to understand the adult world somewhat more. In fact, she is growing up,”Alice In Wonderland
She learns to cope with the crazy, and then rises above it when she comes to realize that the Queen of Heart’s guards are just playing cards that can easily be pushed over.
A tattoo of Alice can represent growing up and transcending limitations by seeing them for what they really are – often easily overcomable.
The Mad Hatter
The phrase, “As mad as a hatter” was already a well known saying when Carroll wrote Alice In Wonderland, and might’ve been the inspiration for the Mad Hatter character.
Mad hatter disease is an affliction caused by mercury poisoning, and in the Victorian Age (when Carroll wrote the book) hat makers used mercury in their craft.
“Over time, the hatters inhaled mercury vapors. Many developed symptoms of chronic mercury poisoning, including psychosis, excitability, and tremors. These symptoms became so common in hatters that the phrase ‘mad as a hatter’ was born,”Healthline
In the story, Alice happens upon a tea party thrown by the Mad Hatter, the Dormouse, and the March Hare. And this is a never ending festivity.
The Mad Hatter explains to Alice that time is forever halted at 6pm for him as a punishment for escaping decapitation from the Queen of Hearts, who wanted to punish him for “murdering time” when he attempted to sing for her.
He drives Alice away eventually with his nonsensical riddles and poetry.
A tattoo of the Mad Hatter can reference the purgatory the character experiences in the story, and the lesson that you may escape a crazy queen, but you can never escape time.
For a Mad Hatter tattoo, you could go the minimalistic tattoo route with just the top hat, or you could get a more intricate sleeve tattoo incorporating the whole tea party scene complete with tea cups.
The more recent movie adaptation of the story has inspired a flurry of Mad Hatter portrait tattoos featuring Johnny Depp’s face.
The story of Alice In Wonderland represents childhood and the innocence and curiosity of adolescence. As such, a tattoo of this fantasy tale can pay tribute to a well-loved classic and can serve as a reminder to give your inner child space to explore.