Misadventures In Ink: 40+ Embarrassing Tattoo Ideas That Made Our Skin Crawl

By Peace L March 7, 2023

Getting a tattoo is a big deal. This is mainly because you will have it for the rest of your life. Well, unless you decide to pay and go through even more pain to remove it! Seeing as these are all basic facts, you would assume people go to all lengths to get the perfect one.

But alas, our faith in humanity was broken by this lot who failed to double-check the ink placement, spelling, and other essentials while getting their tattoos. The physical process might be painful temporarily, but the emotional hurt from getting a bad one is permanent.

A cringy tattoo, especially in a conspicuous place like the neck, face, or fingers, is a source of unwanted comments, gazes, and, even worse, unsolicited advice! It could ruin your street cred for the rest of your life. So, if you’re thinking of getting one, here are 45 botched tattoos you should not include on your list.

Almost Had Us

The first photo on our list shows a very well-done tattoo of a pen behind a man’s ear. The artistry and creativity of the artist make it look real from afar and even at close range. But what was the point of getting it? 

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

Having such a well-done tattoo of a pen that no one can use is a bit confusing and can be disappointing. Imagine being in desperate need of a pen and then spotting this guy with one hanging from his ear and going to borrow it, only to find out it’s not real!

Dad’s, Angel?

So many questions went through our minds the first time we saw this. Why would anybody want to tattoo ‘dad’s angel’ with a ring on themselves? Aside from being very cringe, the tattoo itself wasn’t even done well by the artist.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

Also, let’s talk about the spelling mistake. Neither the tattoo artist nor the client could get the spelling of angel right. We know good artists can be a bit pricey, but do some research and find one with positive reviews or, at the very least, can spell.

Always Check The Spelling And Use Punctuation marks

When getting a tattoo, it is essential to check the spelling of the words, so you don’t end up with a typo inked permanently on your skin like the person in this image. Nothing ruins a tattoo that was meant to be intimidating more than a spelling mistake.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

We don’t know if he doesn’t know the correct spelling of ‘you’re’ or just decided to go with ‘your’ because of space. Either way, instead of being intimidating, his tattoo will most likely make him the laughingstock among his friends.

No, This Is Not A Marker

Once in a while, we get bored and start drawing temporary tattoos on ourselves. No matter how often we’ve been told it can cause damage, when that boredom hits, we go for it. The best part is that they always fade. The tattoo in this image, however, is not a temporary one.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

It looks like the cross-section of a tree! Though we’re pretty sure it was meant to look like a spiderweb, it looks nothing like one. That’s why we’re wondering why anyone would allow an amateur tattoo artist to put them through the torture of getting a child’s drawing inked on their skin permanently.

Tattoo Or Makeup

We all love to go out for parties and raves, especially during the summer. It is not weird to see people with makeup motifs, drawings, and other quirky gems on their faces at these parties. What’s funny, though, is seeing someone with butterfly tattoos on their face.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

It must have taken a lot of bravery to not just get multiple face tattoos but to also have them so close to her eyes. While we might not appreciate this particular tattoo (we never thought we’d see the day when butterflies made us cringe), the owner looks happy with their decision!

Real Junk Food

Even though eating healthy has rightfully become a popular lifestyle choice, many of us still enjoy the taste of junk from commercial food chains. While loving fast food is not bad, some people take their love for it too far.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

This horribly tattooed piece of an underclothed Ronald McDonald is an excellent example of that. We don’t know if the decision to get this tattoo resulted from a drunken challenge or a bet, but it’s sure to be a conversation at parties!

This Is Real Too

We have heard people say that what you believe in becomes your reality. The person that got this tattoo might be among those people. They probably wanted to share this opinion using a tattoo, but unfortunately, they didn’t pay attention to the spelling. 

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

Instead of ‘belief,’ the tattoo artist misplaced the letters and wrote ‘belife.’ Hopefully, this person learned that belief not only becomes reality but also that bad tattoos are real and permanent. We doubt they will ever get another one, thanks to this blunder.

You Get What You Pay For

The value of art is priceless, especially for popular pieces, and tattoos are not excluded. While the price of art might not be budget-friendly, you should not rush to make random amateur commissions. Tattoos, especially, should not be skimped on. Your body is the canvass.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

If you’re considering getting one, but the price is out of your budget, it’s better to save up than get a cheaper one because if it backfires, you can’t take it back. The person in this image is an excellent example of why you shouldn’t ‘shop the sales’ when it comes to tattoos.

Its Her Life

We have seen cases where someone missed an apostrophe or where one was placed in the wrong place, but this is the first time we have seen someone use too many. Frankly, we are not sure which one is better.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

The poor grammar just makes the scrawny font used for the tattoo look even more childish than it should have. To top all these flaws, he even messed up Bon Jovi’s name by calling him Jon Bovi! To us, that was the worst mistake of all.

Jesus Take The Wheel

One of the most common causes of botched tattoos is poor spelling. You might think that nobody would miss the spelling of their popular religious leader, especially since they use it often, but the owner of this tattoo will prove you wrong.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

Judging by how simple it is to spell the name Jesus we are curious as to how and why the tattoo artist and the client didn’t get this right. This is why it is always important to not just approve the stencil without checking for mistakes.

Ruined Portrait

We feel so bad for the kid whose face was tattooed on this person in such poor quality. Tattoos like this make us wonder why no law has been made against this. If you love someone enough to get a tattoo of them, you should at least get a good artist to do it.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

We can’t imagine this person explaining to the kid that the ugly tattoo is supposed to be them. That’s going to be rough. A form of childhood trauma we had never even thought of before. The best thing they can do is suffer through the removal process, wouldn’t you agree?

Is This Punishment?

While getting a face tattoo is already a tricky decision to make, getting the tattoo of another person on your face is a whole other level of weirdness. We wonder what prompted this person to get a tattoo of a child on their face.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

We can only imagine the reaction of the child growing up to see their face tattooed on another person’s face. The tattoo seems more like a punishment than anything, really. The only question is who is being punished here. Is it the kid or the person who got the tattoo?

From Pettle To Petel

We are always happy when people acknowledge their mistakes and try to rectify them, especially when it’s something as important and permanent like a tattoo. However, making the same mistake twice is extremely disappointing, and it’s what made us lose hope in this artist.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

Not only did they butcher the petal tattoo by making it look so lame, but he also misspelled the word ‘petals.’ Twice! If only the artist wasn’t incompetent and illiterate, then this tattoo might have come out as pretty as it was envisioned at the start.


The fact that this person is admitting that they’ve made bad decisions makes us wonder if they consider this tattoo one of those bad decisions or maybe even the biggest one yet! Getting such a tattoo on his back makes us wonder what his other bad decisions are.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

Why didn’t they just learn from their previous bad decisions and resolve to think before acting? This makes us wonder if it was a punishment for an earlier mistake or if he truly considers it a beautiful piece of art.

The All-Seeing Eyes

While modern art is interesting to look at in exhibitions and museums, the pieces themselves are usually not a great inspiration for tattoos. This strange modern art-looking eye tattoo on a person’s back makes us wonder if they got inspired by a piece of art. 

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

The worst part about it is that the client probably did not realize what had been drawn until it was too late. His only consolation is that the tattoo can be covered with a shirt. Unfortunately, for them, going to the beach or pool is a no-no for the foreseeable future.

A Twist on Cat Eye Makeup

We aren’t sure if this is a permanent tattoo, but for this person’s sake, we hope it’s not. When people talk about cat eyes, they generally mean wearing eyeliner and extending a winged tip. Not two sleeping cats for eyebrows!

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

If you are going to get a tattoo on your eyebrow, it is better to go to a professional tattoo artist instead of a random one. Imagine going through that pain just to end up with a hideous blunder like this for the rest of your life.

Nobodies Perfect

Once again, we have come across another beautiful tattoo ruined by a typographical error. While we know that nobody is perfect, it does not excuse the carelessness of not spell-checking this tattoo before it was drawn below the collarbone of this lady.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

While we admire her humility in accepting that she’s not perfect, it would have been better to internalize the lesson than to have this disgraceful tattoo for the rest of her life. Hopefully, she has enough turtlenecks to cover it up!

Sneakers For Dummies

When it comes to dumbness, we have seen people exhibit different levels. But the person in this next photo took it to amazing lengths. One look at this tattoo will have you amazed at the linework and shading that makes it look so realistic.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

The inspiration behind the tattoo, however, is one of the most ridiculous things, not just to cross a person’s mind but to actually be executed. We hope the converse company knows that they have wild, enthusiastic fans like this person.

Another Level Of Obsession

Even if our wallets cannot handle the price of some of them, high-end fashion and luxury items always draw our attention. From the latest Gucci loafers to Louis Vuitton’s extensive array of accessories, we all wish we could own our favorite items from these brands.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

However, even though we get the fascination with LV, we wouldn’t go as far as to get a tattoo like this. It takes a different level of obsession to get an entire sleeve tattoo of the label on your arm. If he’d saved up his money instead, he could have afforded one of their shirts!


One of the most common questions about tattoos is how they will look as time goes by, especially since the skin becomes thinner. This becomes an even more significant concern when the tattoo is on the face because while most tattoos can be covered up with clothes, this one is harder to conceal

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

The person in his image did not just get any full-face tattoo. Oh no. He was inspired by something that’s a phobia for many people. When it comes to looking scary, his tattoo definitely ranks among the top. Hopefully, their partner doesn’t have arachnophobia!

Two For One

This is another case of carelessness that makes us question how both the tattoo artist and the client could butcher the grammar in this simple statement. At least check a dictionary or use Google if you are not sure. Your body will thank you!

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

There is absolutely no shame in double-checking. It’s bad enough that the tattoo artist clearly does not know the basic of grammar, but the person who got this inked permanently to their skin trusted the artist without checking the stencil. We hope you’re taking notes.

Worst Lip Tattoo Ever

Getting a sexy lipstick mark on a hidden part of your body might be cute, but having it tattooed on your neck is definitely a bad idea. Aside from the choice of location being all wrong, the work of the artist is also not something to be proud of.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

Maybe the idea was to get a perfect copy of someone’s lipstick mark or a freehand drawing by the tattoo artist. Unfortunately, the end result was not something to be proud of. While getting the tattoo might have hurt, it probably didn’t hurt as much as having to live with it for life.

The Mythical Compass

Although many of us live in the city, we still love to go out and explore nature. Hiking and camping are among the popular activities we partake in to enjoy the outdoors. That said, in order not to get lost during trips like these, having a compass comes in handy.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

Maybe that is why this person decided to get one tattooed on themselves. Or perhaps they just wanted a nice-looking tattoo. Either way, they got neither of those. The compass does not just look lame but is also labeled incorrectly. Getting this was clearly a step in the wrong direction!

Wrong Tattoo

Imagine the look on this guy’s face when he realized that his tattoo did not say what he intended. In this article, we have come across many grammatical and spelling mistakes on tattoos, which is sad. It really doesn’t take much effort to check a dictionary.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

It’s actually ironic that this person definitely regrets not realizing the missing ‘t’ in his tattoo quicker. If it was a smaller one, it might not have been too difficult to cover up, but alas, they wanted a big, bold tattoo across their arm.

Wife Of Chucky

This is one of the scariest tattoos that you will see in this article. From a distance, you might wonder which cartoon character that is, but the closer you get, and the longer you look, the more the weirdness of the tattoo jumps at you!

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

Due to the artist’s poor skills, this person’s sweet gesture of having their loved one tattooed on them was ruined epically. The shading added to bring out the details of the face just deformed it more, making it look like a character from a horror film.

How To Not Make Good Decisions

While the quote below might be inspirational, the execution makes the whole thing seem like a joke. After all, no one will take a person that didn’t bother to get their very permanent tattoo spell checked before it got drawn seriously.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

The artist did not just misspell the word decision, but they also put a comma where none was needed. The only thing this tattoo has in the right direction is the font style used. Sadly, even that was not enough to save this tattoo.

A Real Clown

The next one is the perfect tattoo for this person, at least. We say that because it takes a dedicated clown to decide to get clown makeup tattooed on their face. This guy didn’t think too much about why other clowns used makeup.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

The photo also shows how the tattoo looked as he aged, and we can’t help but feel a tinge of regret on his behalf. We would advise you not to get a face tattoo if you’re not in the tattoo business. But if you are set on getting one, at least wait till you’re older.

Such A Waste

Getting a regular tattoo already hurts and requires keen attention, so it doesn’t get infected. So, we’re certain that getting this large back tattoo must not only have hurt a lot and taken a lot of time but also cost a lot of money. 

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

This is why choosing a good tattoo artist is the biggest decision you have to make when getting one. This monstrosity was so poorly drawn that we couldn’t tell if it was supposed to be a wolf or a dog. But, at least the tattoo is out of sight most times.

Four Floating Heads

We cannot emphasize enough about how important it is to always use a professional tattoo artist when getting your loved ones tattooed on your skin. While it might cost a little bit more, it is better than having your people look like other people!

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

The faces of these kids look so scary with their dark eyes and badly shaped heads! The tattoos are so poorly done that we’re sure it was definitely not worth the pain or the money. This person should have just stuck to names instead of faces,

Very Nice Cover Up

This next tattoo is probably the result of poor spelling or a bad cover-up job. It’s the reason why it’s never a good idea to get the name of your partner tattooed on your skin. Getting one in such a terrible font makes it so much worse.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

Aside from the fact that the neck is not a good place for tattoos like these, it must have hurt when they got the word ‘Abby’ tattooed the first time. We’re guessing that things didn’t work out with Abby, so this guy decided to remedy the situation. Too bad the second time was even worse.

His Mom The ‘Angle’

The tattoo in the image below is what happens when your love for your mom clashes with your passion for geometry. All jokes aside, though, this is another case of spelling gone wrong. We’re pretty sure this guy wanted to have ‘my mom is my angel’ tattooed on his body.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

Sadly for them, they got ‘my mom is my angle’ instead. Unless it was an inside joke or something, this person sat through the pain of a tattoo to get a geometry joke instead. Hopefully, he can cover up the tattoo with another one or get it lasered off.

KitKat Man

So far, we have seen people obsessed with fast food and others obsessed with luxury brand designers. Now it is time for someone obsessed with KitKat. Judging by all this, we are not convinced that humans can get obsessed with almost anything.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

Instead of hiding his obsession with KitKats, this guy decided to have a KitKat bar tattooed in full color on his head for everyone to see. Hopefully, his hair can still grow long enough to cover the tattoo with time.

Now No One Will Forget Her Name

There is a joke/superstition about how, when you get your partner’s name tattooed on yourself, you will soon break up. When this eventually happens, you will have to date someone with the same name to keep the tattoo valid or get a cover-up.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

We don’t think the guy in the image above heard this joke because, whoa, a tattoo that large is going to be hard to cover up after a breakup. If it were simply one tattoo of her name, it would have been better than having it written in different fonts all over his back.

Is That Lord Munster?

We don’t know if this person got inspired by “Professor Quirrell” and “Voldemort” from Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone because, for some reason, he decided to get a face tattooed on the back of his head. And not just any face either but of the famous actor Eddie Munster

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

That face and hairline are almost instantly recognizable. Although this tattoo owner will never really be able to see the tattoo as it is behind his head, at least his friends and family will get a good kick out of it.

Epic Passport Fail

As the years go by, we see different quirky tattoo trends come and go. We have seen bizarre ideas like tattooing your left hand on your left hand or ruler lines on your finger. That said, this person, like most other people in this article, took things a bit too far.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

We can understand being afraid of losing your passport but having it tattooed on your back is not a good idea. Now every time Mr. Ashton is topless, his entire government information is available to the public. That’s not just dumb but dangerous as well.

You Only Live Once

This tattoo is one of the funniest ones on this list. It was supposed to say you only live once, using the acronym YOLO. It’s not uncommon to see people mistake ‘life’ for ‘live,’ but to get that mistake permanently inked must suck

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

Instead of a nice, carefree tattoo that would encourage people to live their best lives, this person got an embarrassing tattoo thanks to a small mistake. At least the font choice wasn’t too bad. Hopefully, they only made a mistake like this once.

The Pain Of A Writer 

The number of typographical errors that we have come across while looking through these tattoos makes us wonder if spelling has gotten trickier. Unless this person was a writer trying to make witty jokes about writing for profit, this next tattoo is just so wrong.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

Usually, the saying is ‘no pain, no gain,’ which is likely what this person wanted to have tattooed on his arm. Hopefully, thanks to the pain of this tattoo, they learned to always confirm at least check a dictionary before getting a word tattooed.

Spend More To Get More

At this point, we really shouldn’t have to mention that the best tattoos tend to be more expensive. Regardless of the price, though, it is way better to wait and save than opt for cheaper alternatives that will not just be ugly but hurt just as much as a good one would.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

If you don’t want to have a tattoo of undead “Mufasa” like the second frame in this photo, it is better to save up and invest more money in your tattoos since they will probably stay with you till you die. Learn from this person.

Goofy Finger Tattoo

Unless you’re going to a professional tattoo artist to get it done, it is better to stay away from finger tattoos. Most of them don’t last as they tend to fade when the ink bleeds. Aside from that, they are more painful.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

Most finger tattoo ideas are usually inspired by funny things, which means they are prone to losing meaning with time. The tattoo in the image above is an excellent example. It was inspired by characters from a cartoon series by Adult Swim. 

The Death Of Metal

All because of the misplacement of a letter, what could have been a really nice tattoo became a piece of comedy. Aside from messing up the placement of the word ‘black’ and substituting the position with ‘sabbath,’ making it read ‘Sabbath black,’ the tattoo artist also misspelled sabbath as ‘sabbaht.’

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

This failure at replicating the iconic logo of the popular band is just sad. It would have looked better if the word black had been moved up a bit. It might even have been unnoticeable from afar. But with such an obvious mistake, all the flaws are on full display.

The Pirate Footballer

When it comes to poorly drawn tattoos, this might just take the lead. It looks like a pirate captain preparing to start a game of football. We don’t even know what universe that might take place in, as the crossover is so implausible.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

Aside from the weird idea, the tattoo itself looks pretty ugly too. The form and proportions are off, and the shading just ruins it instead of making it look more realistic. This artist ruined both pirates and football for whoever got the tattoo.

Armchair Pun

Of all the quirky tattoos on this list, this is probably the most tolerable. Even though the idea was really childish, at least there are no obvious mistakes in it. This is why it is best to wait a few years before deciding on your first tattoo.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

It might have been a funny pun like a footstool, but that looks more like a chair than a stool. Either way, it’s not a good idea to have a boring joke tattooed on your body permanently. No amount of temporary popularity is worth the pain and cost.

Too Cool For School

Ignorance is bliss, as they say. That’s the only excuse we can accept from this person. We don’t know why they thought they were too cool for school since we think they should have really considered staying at least long enough to know how to spell the word ‘school.’

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

Aside from the obvious spelling error and the poor skills of the tattoo artist, we are curious as to why someone old enough to get a tattoo would opt for this silly choice. Hopefully, it wasn’t tattooed on a minor cause that would make it even worse.

Buddha or Mr. Bean?

This is most definitely the worst tattoo on this list. Hopefully, it was done with a marker because it looks like a mix of “Mr. Bean” and Buddha. If it isn’t, we’d just like to know why this person allowed the artist to get this far before stopping them.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

Unless this was a self-drawn tattoo, it would have been hard not to notice that it wouldn’t turn out well. With the poor quality of the reference image, it’s no surprise that the tattoo came out looking like something completely different.

Behold The Onion Armpit

We don’t know what led this person to not just get an excruciating armpit tattoo but one inspired by an onion. Unless she was trying to make a joke out of a stinking armpit situation, we can’t understand why she would settle for this tattoo.

Source: courtesy of @tattoo_fails / Instagram

Instead of sitting through the pain of getting this, she could have just gotten botox injections into her sweat glands to reduce sweating and thereby reduce the body odor if that was the problem. Good thing she seems satisfied with her tattoo.