Cloud Tattoo Designs & Their Meaning

The first association that most of us have with clouds is the heavens above. You often see them used in religious paintings for this reason. Celestial scenes and planetary images include dreamy clouds, as well.

Cloud tattoos are often quite beautiful, with a majestic feel to them. While you can choose to use clouds alone, many often design cloud tattoos to include other things such as mountains, thunderstorms or birds, to name a few.

Find out more about the meanings behind these artworks and placement ideas before you ink yourself permanently.

Cloud Tattoos: Meanings 

Not every cloud tattoo is created equal, but there are a few stand-out themes that these designs commonly carry:

  • Representation of gods or spiritual beliefs
  • Transition and transformation
  • Other meanings

Representation of Gods or Spiritual Beliefs

In ancient Greek mythology, Mount Olympus was the abode of Greek goddesses and gods. It’s also Greece’s tallest mountain and a popular tourist destination. You’ll find clouds used in depictions of these scenes, possibly with nymphs on top.

Biblical theology uses clouds to represent the glory and presence of god or angels. Maybe you’ve seen the infamous usage of a chariot rolling through the sky?

Transition and Transformation

The clouds symbolize transition and transformation in cultures across the world. In Buddhist teachings, they allude to our ever-changing state as humans or the impermanence of our materialistic lives.

Imagine the way that clouds pass over throughout the day or are continually shifting from moment to moment.

In addition to this, clouds may also symbolize luck, happiness and good fortune. We often give thanks to the skies above when something goes right.

Other Meanings

Clouds are full of mystery and secrets. Light clouds can represent pleasant and cheerful times ahead, whereas stormy, dark ones may suggest a looming threat or emotional difficulty in life.

For some people, clouds can be a symbol of an epiphany or revelation. 

Of course, they also share much of their symbolism with air and water. Water signifies purity and clarity of thought, while air symbolizes the mind, creativity, communication and emotion.

Popular Cloud Tattoo Designs

Some of the most popular cloud tattoo designs are obvious choices. Others might surprise you and offer a spin that you didn’t think of before.

Angel and Cloud Tattoo

This is an excellent option if you’d like to express your faith or spirituality. Maybe you’re looking for a reminder that someone is watching over you, a loved one that passed on, for example.

Angels might come in simple or abstract forms. Others use cherub-style designs in this scenario.

Swirls and Cloud Tattoo

A swirl and cloud tattoo design signifies how open you are to people and ideas. People often ink these designs in bright, hypnotic colors for this reason.

They have a “hippy”, feel-good sense to them and carry a peaceful representation.

After the Storm Cloud Tattoo

This tattoo design falls in line with the old “calm after the storm” concept. Regardless of what comes your way, it’s a reminder that better days could be ahead.

These clouds are usually light in design and easy on the eye, as opposed to the storm clouds that carry a dark, ominous meaning.

Airplane Cloud Tattoo

It’s a perfect tattoo for travel enthusiasts who love to explore new places and surroundings. The symbology is obvious here and provides a literal take on a scene most of us know well.

Think about the emotion provoked by traveling through the clouds or that feeling that your feet are off the ground.

Rainbow Cloud Tattoo

The design often boasts a wide variety of colors ranging from blue and violet to red, orange and green.

It could be a detailed rainbow above or behind the clouds. However, some take a more abstract approach by incorporating swaths of color in their own way.

Cloud With Cross Tattoo

This design offers you another way of representing your faith if you’re of a Christian background. It serves as a reminder of Jesus and promotes a heavenly feel.

The typical image is often bright and light, even though the added symbology of the cross is loaded and with a heavy burden.

Mushroom Cloud Tattoo

Mushroom clouds are deadly yet beautiful. They’re a symbol of destruction, disaster, and human-made catastrophe. This design might remind you of the atomic bombs dropped in Japan by the United States during World War II.

You can use mushroom clouds to signify an important event or time in your life that you’re leaving behind, such as an addiction or an abusive relationship.

Dagger and Eye Cloud Tattoo

This tattoo design will show the strength and power of the individual bearing the tattoo. 

For some people, a dagger is a symbol of independence, courage, sacrifice and protection. It can also represent a sense of authority, betrayal or accomplishment. The inclusion of the eye alludes to one’s relation to others.

The common illustration here shows clouds in the backdrop of the dagger and eye design.

Lightning With Black Clouds Tattoo

Fascination and mystery come up with this one. There’s an ominous sensation that something is on the horizon and it’s not going to be an easy battle.

If you’re passionate about thunderstorms or have passed through turbulent times, this design may be suitable for you.

Sun and Cloud Tattoo

The sun and cloud combination is another popular tattoo design that’s relatable for many people. It, of course, provokes a sense of positivity or happiness, for the person with it or those that observe the tattoo.

You can also create a design with sun rays shining through the clouds, instead of fully depicting the sun itself.

Cloud and Star Tattoo

Stars may represent growth and or be a symbol of guidance along your path.

Some people may use a cloud and star tattoo as a personal tribute to deceased loved ones, as well. In this case, you could choose a constellation theme by connecting the stars together with names or birth dates.

Others may choose this design to be a more cheerful representation of their love of nature or the skies, in particular.

Clouds and Ascending Dove Tattoo

A dove is a universal symbol of positivity, tranquility and love. Many associate this beautiful bird with religious contexts, as well. 

It can also represent the beginning of an individual’s quest to pursue their dreams.

The picture usually contains a cloudy background with a dove in the forefront.

Common Color Combinations

The simplest cloud tattoos are often constructed with a black outline, but that’s only the beginning. You’ll find a variety of colors incorporated into these designs from blues to white and gray.

While some prefer using a grayscale, others go for a vibrant color scheme. This is especially the case with designs such as the swirl and cloud or rainbow.

With the sun and cloud design, for example, you can boost the contrast by using a shining, golden sun up against a darkly-colored sky.

The mushroom cloud often comes with your quintessential mushroom shape, either in black and white or with the speckled effect.

We recommend using these examples as a starting place because your color combinations are entirely up to you. You’re free to let your imagination run wild. Just because these common combos exist, doesn’t mean you have to follow the same path.

Common Placements

The placement of a cloud tattoo largely depends on the size of the tattoo. It wouldn’t make much sense to place a detailed scene on the inner side of your wrist, for example.

Large, intricate pieces should be displayed prominently on your thigh, hip, shoulder or back. Small, simple cloudscapes would look nice on the forearm or near the ankle.

You’ll want to find a balance between location and design to ensure your tattoo will fit nicely in its place.

If you want to take it a step further, imagine the symbology behind the placement, as well. Maybe you’d like to pay homage to a loved one by placing it near your heart. Or if you’ve overcome a physical ailment or injury, you could ink yourself in that location, too. The clouds are the limit.