Star Tattoos: Symbolism and Styles

A star tattoo may be a common choice for many people, but don’t think that this makes it a dull one. Far from it! The sheer variety of star tattoos available is spectacular. Many people choose a simple and understated single star.

Others have a constellation of stars. The superstar singer Rihanna has chosen this option. Her famous star tattoo has little stars flowing down the back of her neck.

Rihanna’s stars are two tattoos. New York artist Bang Bang joined the existing stars on her neck to a carpet of stars winding their way down her back. It’s an impressive design that illustrates the versatility of stars. Easy to add to, or work into existing designs, it’s no wonder that stars are as popular as they are for men and women.

Types of Star Tattoos

Nautical Stars

A nautical star is a popular choice. It is reminiscent of times when sailors crossed seven seas without navigational tools. Back then they only had the sun, moon and stars to guide them. A ship’s course would be set by the North Star or Southern Cross Star. No wonder sailors chose a nautical star tattoo to symbolize their safe passage back home to friends and family. 

In these days of GPS, the nautical star does not hold the same significance. It’s still a popular tattoo choice. It looks good and represents guidance and protection through the journey of life. It also is suggestive of the courage to chart one’s course through life. 

The design of the nautical star can vary. The most simple is the five-pointed star in dark and light shades. It is also seen as an eight-pointed star incorporating all directions of the compass. Colors range from black, black and red or any other contrasting color on a watercolor background.

Winged Star

A star with wings is less common. It can mean the wearer has lost a loved one when they were far away from home. To serve as a reminder of a loved one, the tattoo is often worn either over the heart or on the wrist.

Related Post: Reach For the Sky with a Wings Tattoo

Moon and Stars

A crescent moon with a sprinkling of stars is a sweet tattoo, sometimes chosen to represent constellations of loved ones. Ariana Grande has this tattoo on the back of her left hand. Her crescent moon has a face and a few stars scattered on the moon’s ‘cheek’. The moon faces a further sprinkling of small stars. 

Star Wars actor Carrie Fisher had a moon and stars design tattooed on her ankle. After Carrie’s sad death, her daughter Billie Lourd paid tribute to her mother with a similar design inked on her ankle. The design features a moon, six stars and a planet. Dr Woo, a celebrity tattoo artist, inked Lourd on the day that would have been her mother’s 61st birthday.

Related Post: Moon Tattoos: Different Phases & Symbolism


The night sky is home to 88 constellations, all with names, some better known than others. The 12 signs of the zodiac are all constellations. These make an obvious choice for those people with an interest in horoscopes and star signs.

If you aren’t a follower of your fortune in the stars, there are still some wonderfully named constellations that make striking tattoos. Think Cassiopeia, Orion and Pegasus.

The range of shapes and varying sizes of constellation tattoos means that they look good on any part of the body. Constellation tattoos look very effective in color. Solange Knowles is one celebrity who has indulged in a constellation tattoo which is located under her right upper arm.

Related Post: Astrology Tattoo Ideas

Shooting Stars

It’s considered lucky if you see a shooting star in real-life. A tattooed version might represent the attraction of good fortune to the wearer. Seeing a shooting star represent the opportunity to make a wish. Rihanna’s trail of shooting stars is probably one of the best-known celebrity tattoos. Perhaps it has delivered her luck in her brilliant career!

Patriotic Stars

The American flag is well-known for its stars and stripes. Whilst it is unusual to see the whole flag as a tattoo with all 50 stars, there are many representations of stars and stripes available.

These tattoos look very effective, eye-catching and make an interesting choice of design for wearers with an American connection. The back and shoulders appear to be a popular place for this design. 

Pentacle or Pentagram Stars

The Pentacle or Pentagram star is another 5 point star, sometimes encircled. The circle stands for protection and the eternal circle of life and nature. This star has strong links to Wiccan culture.

The 5 points of the pentacle symbolizes air, water, fire, earth and the spirit. If you are planning on getting this tattoo, make sure you get the design pointing up. If it is the wrong way up, the pentacle takes on a different meaning.

Related Post: Popular Pagan and Wiccan Tattoos

Other Types of Stars

Stars come in all shapes and sizes, from four-point stars and all numbers upwards to eleven and beyond. Whilst the five-point star is popular, there is also the six-pointed star or hexagram and the nine-point star which is also called an enneagram.

The number of points chosen for the star tattoo may signify a number meaningful to the wearer.

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12 Star Tattoo Examples

A lot of star tattoos are small to medium-sized, but they can also work well as large tattoos. This option has appealed to some male stars!

  • Rock musician Tommy Lee has a pair of matching red and black tattoos, one on the back of each hand.
  • Rapper Lil Wayne has a large red star, outlined in black on his throat.
  • The fashion designer Marc Jacobs has taken star tattoos to another level. He has a selection of large red and green block-colored five-point stars tattooed on and around his shoulder. He also sports a large darker colored one on the back of his right shoulder.
  • Musician Seth Binzer, aka Shifty Shellshock, is perhaps the biggest star tattoo fan. His neck has a large nautical star with wings and smaller falling stars around his throat. His shoulders feature large five-pointers, as do his hands. His body is an amazing canvas. A close look reveals even more stars. He has one on his left rib cage within a tribal motif and even more woven through a full sleeve on his left arm.

Even if you don’t want to go as full-on with your star body art as Shellshock, there is no doubt that star tattoos make a stellar choice for anyone.

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