by Tori Jones
Hourglass Tattoo

Greetings, I’m Tori, your resident ink-master and tattoo aficionado. Grab a cup of your favorite brew, nestle into a cozy corner, and let’s delve into the sands of time—quite literally. Today, we’re exploring the rich tapestry of symbolism, design, and history swirling within the curvaceous lines of an hourglass tattoo.

An hourglass, isn’t just some glorified egg timer we’re talking about here. From the murky annals of ancient Egypt to the refined courts of the Victorian era, this iconic symbol has been a fascinating element of human culture. Etched onto flesh, it’s a potent storyteller, a mystical bridge between two realms, life and death, a visceral reminder of our ephemeral existence.

Hourglass Tattoo
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In this post, we’ll be journeying through the annals of time, sifting the sands of the past to reveal the core essence of this eternal emblem. We’ll unearth its roots steeped in history, dive into the deep pool of symbolism, and let our creative juices flow into the broad spectrum of design possibilities. Prepare to take a mesmerizing voyage through the artistry of time encapsulated in the alluring silhouette of an hourglass tattoo.

Whether you’re a seasoned tattoo connoisseur or a curious newcomer to the inked community, rest assured this is no dry historical lecture. You’ll leave with more than just an appreciation for this classic motif—you’ll gain a treasure trove of ideas and inspiration for your next piece. Let’s get this time machine in motion, shall we? Onwards to the sands of wisdom and creativity!

What Does An Hourglass Tattoo Mean?

Living a Balanced Life

On a somber note, the hourglass tattoo can underscore our mortal existence. It can stand as a stark reminder of the fleeting resources we consume or symbolize a day of reckoning for some. But let’s turn the table on its head; it’s not all gloom and doom. The hourglass also symbolizes balance. If you’re familiar with the yin/yang concept, you’d know about the importance of harmony between extremes. Just think about the symmetry of the hourglass’s twin globes and how it carefully cradles the sands of time within its delicate curves. It embodies perfect balance and harmony.

A Tranquil Image

Hourglass Tattoo
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In today’s fast-paced digital era, the serene trickle of sand through an hourglass can be a soothing balm to our anxious minds. I’ve found that focusing on this silent sand flow helps with relaxation and meditation. And it’s not just me; I’ve met many individuals who carry an hourglass tattoo as a gentle nudge to themselves to slow down and breathe.

In essence, the hourglass tattoo can signify various things:

  1. Eternal love
  2. Commemorating a lost loved one
  3. Acceptance of life’s inevitable end
  4. Acknowledgement of environmental concerns
  5. Pursuit of balance in life
  6. A reminder to pause and refocus
  7. The swift passage of time

Hourglass Tattoo Designs

The hourglass is indeed a fascinating symbol with profound meaning, but let’s not forget its aesthetic charm. The captivating shape, the limitless design possibilities it offers – these are all parts of its enduring appeal.

Infinity Hourglass Tattoos

Infinity Hourglass Tattoos
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Ah, the enigma of infinity, how it’s sparked countless debates! Some relate the hourglass shape to the lemniscate (the infinity symbol), which I find quite compelling. Although an hourglass on its side appears static, there’s an argument that in this state, time is suspended, hinting at eternity. An hourglass tattoo imbued with the infinity symbol could signify enduring love or memorialize a cherished person.

Life and Death Hourglass Tattoos

Life and Death Hourglass Tattoos
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An hourglass tattoo beautifully embodies the cyclic nature of life and death. It reminds us that death, like the constant flow of sand in an hourglass, is inevitable. It can be a symbol of acceptance, a way of acknowledging mortality while celebrating life.

Tree of Life Hourglass Tattoos

Tree of Life Hourglass Tattoo
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One design I find truly enchanting is the fusion of the hourglass with the tree of life. This unique blend can represent a deep connection with nature or symbolize the urgency to preserve our environment.

Floral Hourglass Tattoos

Floral Hourglass Tattoo
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Pairing the hourglass with floral elements creates a breathtaking design, with each flower adding a layer of personal meaning. There’s something about the fleeting beauty of flowers and the relentless flow of time that hits home, isn’t it?

Hourglass & Beachscape Tattoos

Beach lovers, this one’s for you! Imagine capturing your favorite beach memory within an hourglass tattoo – a serene reminder of leisure and tranquillity.

Galaxy Hourglass Tattoos

Galaxy Hourglass Tattoos
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And how about a touch of the cosmos? A galaxy-themed hourglass tattoo could be a nod to the infinite mysteries of the universe or a tribute to scientific discovery.

Broken Hourglass Tattoos

Broken Hourglass Tattoos
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Ever felt constrained by societal norms around time and age? A broken hourglass tattoo can be a powerful statement of rebellion and boundless potential.

Hand Holding Hourglass Tattoo

I remember when I was in my late teens, starting my tattoo journey, I came across an image that I found deeply intriguing. It was an hourglass held in a hand, almost divine, which looked like it was crafted from the cosmos itself. This otherworldly vision stuck with me and I was fascinated to understand its depth.

Hourglass tattoos held by human or skeletal hands have a profound spiritual aura. They could symbolize life as a divine gift, yet they also remind us of our mortal limitations. From my conversations with folks who carry these tattoos, the meanings vary and can include:

  1. Celebrating life as a divine gift
  2. A pledge to live life fully, wasting no moments
  3. A morbid reminder that death is always close
  4. Faith in a higher power, guiding our lives

Clock & Hourglass Tattoos

Clock & Hourglass Tattoo
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Here’s a combination that I absolutely adore! Pairing an hourglass with a clock tattoo deepens the time-centric symbolism. In my experience, those who choose this design have a strong consciousness of time slipping away, and want to seize every passing moment.

Skull Talk: Life, Death, and Hourglasses

Skull and hourglass tattoos are a fascinating blend of two popular traditional tattoo themes. These tattoos often symbolize death, loss, and overcoming life’s challenges. With an hourglass, the focus is our relationship with time and the reminder that our clock is ticking. The individuals I’ve met who chose this design have either had a close encounter with death or want a daily reminder to live each day as if it’s their last.

Grim Reaper Hourglass Tattoos: The Dark Reminder

Grim Reaper Hourglass Tattoos
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Now let’s venture into a darker symbol – the Grim Reaper and hourglass tattoo. These intense tattoos echo the fleeting nature of our time in the universe and the uncertainty of what comes after. Whether you’re a person of faith or not, this tattoo can be a powerful representation of the fear of death and the need to conquer that fear.

Memento Mori Hourglass Tattoos: Remember Mortality

“Memento Mori” is a Latin phrase meaning “remember that you have to die.” When blended with the hourglass, it becomes a potent reminder of our mortality.

Winged Hourglass Tattoos: Time Flies!

Winged Hourglass Tattoos
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Who doesn’t love the freedom that wings symbolize? Combine that with an hourglass, and you’ve got a powerful emblem that declares independence from the constraints of time. I’ve found people who have this tattoo generally don’t feel held back by time, embodying the saying “time flies so fast.”

Eye Hourglass Tattoos: A Vision of Time

Eye tattoos can signify unique perceptions of life or even prophecies. When you pair this with an hourglass, it hints at time and future. But remember, this doesn’t mean you’re claiming to be a fortune-teller. More often, it signifies a hopeful and positive outlook towards the future.

Heart Hourglass Tattoos: Time Heals All Wounds

Heart Hourglass Tattoos
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Heartbreaks are an integral part of life, and as they say, time heals all wounds. The heart and hourglass tattoo can signify your journey through love’s highs and lows, and the infinite nature of love itself.

Hourglass and Compass Tattoos: Time’s Journey

Blending the hourglass and compass tattoos creates a meaningful piece signifying time and direction. Just like the compass served as a good luck charm for sailors, this tattoo can symbolize the journey of life, the time spent, and the direction taken.

Owl Hourglass Tattoos: Wisdom Over Time

Owl Hourglass Tattoos
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What a fascinating combo! The owl symbolizes wisdom, and paired with the hourglass, it can signify the understanding that time brings wisdom. A profound reminder, isn’t it?

Raven Hourglass Tattoos: Time’s Mystery

The raven hourglass tattoo adds a touch of mystery. Ravens are known for both their dark and positive symbolism. Combined with the hourglass, it signifies the transformative power of time and its elusive nature.

Sun & Moon Hourglass Tattoos: Time’s Dual Nature

Sun & Moon Hourglass Tattoos
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Like yin and yang, sun and moon tattoos symbolize opposing forces. Paired with an hourglass, it signifies how time and the universe are full of dualities. This could be an interesting choice for those wanting to express their spirituality or celebrate life’s mysteries.

Nautical Hourglass Tattoos: Time at Sea

Nautical Hourglass Tattoos
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For those who’ve spent time at sea, a nautical hourglass tattoo could be a nostalgic reminder. It’s a symbol of gratitude for both the times spent at sea and the safe return home.

Hourglass Tattoo Styles

Just like the hourglass itself, these tattoos are rich in history and can tell a story. From black and grey tattoos, reminiscent of times past, to New School and Sketchy hourglass tattoos that are vibrant and innovative, the possibilities are endless. Dot-work hourglass tattoos offer a radical, indie approach, while the American Traditional style often mixes with symbols such as a crying eye or a starlit sky for a unique perspective.

So, there you have it, my friends! Whether you’re nostalgic about the past or looking forward to the future, there’s an hourglass tattoo design waiting for you. Take your time to find the perfect one that tells your story!

What Other Designs Can Be Combined With An Hourglass Tattoo?

An hourglass tattoo design can be combined with various other symbols to represent a diverse array of themes, sentiments, and personal philosophies. Here are some additional combinations you might find intriguing:

  1. Rose Hourglass Tattoos: A rose can symbolize love, passion, or beauty, and when combined with an hourglass, it could represent the transient nature of these experiences, emphasizing that all beautiful things must come to an end.
  2. Tree Hourglass Tattoos: A tree typically symbolizes growth, strength, and the cycle of life. An hourglass and tree tattoo could represent one’s personal growth over time or the concept of “time heals all wounds”.
  3. Snake Hourglass Tattoos: A snake can represent transformation, rebirth, or danger. Paired with an hourglass, it could symbolize constant change over time or the dangerous allure of time slipping away.
  4. Dragon Hourglass Tattoos: A dragon can symbolize power, wisdom, or magic. An hourglass-dragon tattoo might represent how time fuels personal power or wisdom.
  5. Phoenix Hourglass Tattoos: The phoenix is a symbol of rebirth, resurrection, and eternal life. When combined with an hourglass, it could convey a powerful message about overcoming hardships over time and rising anew.
  6. Butterfly Hourglass Tattoos: Butterflies typically symbolize transformation, hope, and life. A butterfly and hourglass tattoo could represent the beauty of transformation over time.
  7. Feather Hourglass Tattoos: A feather can represent freedom, truth, or spiritual insight. Paired with an hourglass, it might symbolize the enlightening journey through time.
  8. Anchor Hourglass Tattoos: An anchor is often seen as a symbol of stability and a strong foundation. When combined with an hourglass, this tattoo could symbolize how time can provide stability and grounding in life.

Remember, your tattoo should represent what’s personally meaningful for you. Don’t be afraid to get creative and combine symbols in a way that truly reflects your journey and experiences!


As we’ve ventured through this journey of time, symbolism, and personal expressions, it’s clear that the hourglass tattoo offers a wealth of rich, diverse, and deeply personal meanings. Selecting the perfect design is just the first step – remember, placement is crucial. Consider how visible you want your tattoo to be, and how it’ll fit with your lifestyle or profession. Costs can vary widely, from $100 to several hundred dollars, depending on the size, intricacy, and the artist’s reputation. Be prepared to budget accordingly for a high-quality result.

Bear in mind, though, any tattoo comes with potential risks, like allergic reactions or infections. It’s crucial to choose a reputable tattoo studio that adheres to the highest hygiene standards. And, of course, the healing process requires patience and proper care to prevent any unwanted side effects.

Ultimately, whether you’re grappling with life’s fleeting moments or celebrating wisdom that comes with age, an hourglass tattoo can be a stunning and meaningful way to wear your journey on your skin. Remember, tattoos are more than just ink; they’re the storylines of our lives, a visual diary etched in pigment. Choose wisely, care thoroughly, and wear your hourglass with pride. It’s time to make your mark, my fellow chrononauts!

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