We all know that filler tattoos usually need to serve a purpose. They’re used to fill gaps, distract, and draw the eye away from imperfections. Don’t shy away from classics to cover small defects or fading.
Leaves, flowers, scrolling, or lettering in small doses can go a long way in covering up those little mistakes.
But sometimes, your filler ink is even more important than the main piece. They don’t have to be bland or go unnoticed. Fillers can serve to enhance the choice ink you already have, make it pop on your skin, or make it blend easier into other pieces.
If you have a bold, dark tattoo, such as the outlines of stars or a cross, choose a filler in a smoother, lighter grey. It will make the dark ink look a little less harsh against the natural color of your skin, but it will also ensure the main piece is seen first. Contrast is a bold move for fillers, too. It doesn’t just have to be about softening the space.
If you’ve just gotten a sleeve of bright artwork, such as flowers or animals, you may feel the need to balance it out with something a little darker. A shark, spider, or skull won’t damage the ink you’ve already got. It will only serve as a contrast to show people your personality.
1. Skull Tattoo Fillers
Skulls are a common theme in tattoo work: there is something fundamentally appealing about permanently inking your body with such a powerful symbol of our limited time on earth. These bad-ass designs are popular thanks to the wide variety of styles and approaches that can be applied, and this is true of filler work as well. Skulls are also a great way to add a bit of conceptual contrast to otherwise delicate work and they can help to create a more interesting overall composition.
2. American Traditional Filler
It’s tough to beat the original, and in the world of Western tattoos this title goes to American traditional work. The tattoos that arose from this style are perfectly suited for filler work. American traditional flash art is made up of self-contained designs that work equally well as standalone pieces or as elements in larger designs. The small stars and dots that are also favored as fillers in this style are a great way to cover blank skin and create a more cohesive sleeve or body suit by tying disparate designs together.
3. Black Line Fill Tattoos
While color ink can help make for some stunning work, when it comes to filler, black line work is a great choice. This style of tattoo is perfect for filler work—especially when used with vibrant color tattoos—because black line designs can cover empty skin and increase contrast at the same time. The variety of styles and concepts that can be created with this method also increases the appeal of black line tattoo work.
4. Axe Fill Ink
For some people, an axe is the perfect choice for a tattoo. These versatile tools are a great way to express a love of the outdoors, camping and the importance of self-reliance. They also look really cool. When it comes to filler work axes are also a great choice. There are a number of axes to choose from: pick-axes, hatchets and battle-axes all have different symbolic associations. Axes are also a great choice for filler work thanks to their unique shape: they can fit perfectly into the long, thin blank spaces that many highly tattooed people end up with.
5. Horror Themed Fill Tattoos
Some people are afraid of the dark, while other folks embrace it. For those with a macabre sensibility, horror inspired designs are a no brainer, and this goes for filler work as well. This is a great tradition to draw from thanks to the wealth of material that has been created as a way to frighten people. From the classics of Dracula and the Wolf Man all the way to the modern slasher films, there is a creepy design to suit all tastes, and sneaking these tattoos in as filler is a great option.
6. Black and Gray Filler Tattoos
Like a good whiskey or a classic sports car, there is just something fundamentally sophisticated about black and gray tattoos. The black lines and smooth gray shading allow talented artists to create an endless variety of concepts and designs using this approach and utilizing black and gray ink for filler work is just another use for these excellent tattoos. This style is also great for this purpose—especially with color designs—because of the way it can create contrast while highlighting details in existing work.
7. Tooth and Nail fill
To fight tooth and nail is an old idiom that highlights the ferocious nature of how some people tackle obstacles set in their way. Incorporating these elements into tattoos can be a subtle way to express the wearer’s wild and fierce nature and at the same time create appealing tattoos. The small size and the different styles that can be applied to these elements make them perfect for filler work.
8. Neo Traditional Filler Tattoos
Neo-traditional tattoo work is a style that grew out of American traditional tattoos and borrows many elements and concepts from this original tattoo style, while taking a less stringent approach. American traditional work is governed by rules limiting the color palette and the use of bold lines for the outline of the piece, while neo-traditional gives the artist a bit more freedom when it comes to colors and designs. This style is great for filler work thanks to the wider variety of concepts that can be utilized as well as the varied and vibrant colors that can be applied.
9. Weapon Tattoo Fill
Humans are warlike animals and there are few images that illicit such powerful responses than the seemingly endless variety of weapons we use to kill each other. From switchblades and swords to the unmistakable AK-47, there is a weapon for every occasion, and thanks to this diversity these tools of destruction make for great tattoos. No matter what the size and shape of the blank skin that someone is trying to cover up, there is sure to be some sort of weapon that will fill the gap.
10. Unique Fill Tattoos
At their core, tattoos are a way for the wearer to express themselves. Tattoos are interesting in the way that the act of permanently marking your body with ink is deeply personal, but at the same time these images are often on display for the whole world to see. Because of the element of personal expression at the heart of the discipline unique designs are the pinnacle of tattooing. This is true when it comes to filer work as well; no one wants to see the same ink on someone else, no matter how big or small.
Filler Tattoo FAQ’s
What are flash tattoos?
Flash tattoos are the pre-existing designs that are hand painted and adorn the walls of tattoo shops as a way to give customers ideas for new tattoos. These pieces can also be applied as is, with many classic American traditional flash sheets becoming quintessential tattoo designs.
Enjoy these filler tattoo ideas but are looking for more options? Check out the links below for more killer small ink inspiration: