Getting a tattoo generally isn’t something you want to experience remorse over. After all, unlike eating a bad burrito or stubbing your toe, the aftereffects aren’t going to go away any time soon. Yes, barring any painful removal procedures or costly cover-ups, you’re basically stuck with your ink forever – so it’s probably a good idea to make sure you get it spot-on the first time. But from ill-advised forehead tattoos to more misspellings than we care to count, these 40 people definitely didn’t do it right the first time round.
40. Marilyn Monroe fail
We’re big fans of “What if?” scenarios. For example, what if Marilyn Monroe starred in the classic ’80s B-movie The Toxic Avenger? We reckon it would probably look a little something like this. Yeah, actually, we regret ever asking.
39. Never lose hoop
Words to live by; if you’re a world-class basketball player, anyway. Or maybe a professional hula-hooper? Either way, all it takes to keep going is a little self-belief. Or should that be youself-belief?
38. Bizarre compass
We’ve got news for this woman: a compass shouldn’t read “news.” Let’s just hope nobody ever has to rely on her back for navigation. Otherwise, like her, they may find their lives are heading in the wrong direction.
37. Like looking in a mirror
If tattoos are a work of art, this one probably belongs in a museum. For instance, we reckon it would fit in perfectly at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Because frankly, we’re finding it hard to believe anyone would really be happy with this monstrosity.
Pikachu used drawing! It wasn’t very effective. Yeah, someone needs to get this poor Pokémon some Metamucil – stat. After all, he’s clearly pretty constipated, which is an… “unusual” choice for a tattoo. And by “unusual,” we mean “absolutely horrific.”
35. Bald eagle
As John F. Kennedy once wrote, the American bald eagle “symbolizes the strength and freedom of America.” And there’s probably no better way to express that freedom than tattooing the bird to your forehead, right?
34. Family portrait
Have you ever wondered what your kids might look like after getting involved in a horrendous accident? Say, a freak fire, or a near-fatal car crash? We’re guessing the answer is “no.” Unless you’re this person, of course.
33. ‘S’ tattoo
Minors are prohibited from getting tattoos across most of the United States. But that clearly didn’t stop this guy, who presumably got this ink in third grade – the last time any of us drew this mysteriously cool “S.”
32. Familey matters
Okay, we know the low-hanging fruit here is that atrocious spelling of “family.” But the entire concept of this tattoo has thrown us for a loop. How are these rules (not just words), and why are they inscribed on what is presumably a tombstone? Someone – anyone – help us understand.
31. Hail to the chief
Ever heard of “proportions?” Then you’re doing better than whoever inked this eyesore. And if you think the arm is rough – and it undoubtedly is – then just wait until your eyes focus on the rest of it.
30. Horn head
Stick with us here: we should probably be grateful this guy exists. After all, even on our worst days, we can all be glad we haven’t messed things up this catastrophically. And in a way, that almost makes us feel sorry for him.
29. Wrongfully convicted
We totally believe you, dude. And we’re sure any jury would agree: there’s no better proof of innocence than a pair of eyebrow tattoos. We just can’t wait to see what happens when the hair grows back in.
28. Freakish face
You’ve got to admire this guy’s commitment to his tattoo, even if it does remind us of Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. You know, if the Dark Lord was a bit hairier and constantly screaming into the void.
27. Wise words
In this guy’s defense, maybe he just really likes turkey sandwiches. We imagine that’s what he tells everyone who translates his tattoo, anyway, just to save face.
26. Terrifying tiger
Is this what Survivor meant when they sang about the “Eye of the Tiger?” Because this ungodly beast is definitely “watching us all.” Except, of course, for the guy who actually sports this abomination on his back. Lucky him.
25. Galactic error
Believe it or not, this smorgasbord of color is meant to be a “galaxy.” And who knows: somewhere out there, in the vastness of space, there might just be a galaxy that looks like this. Not that it makes any difference to the tattoo…
24. Mom’s favorite
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. And if you still mess up, well, it’s probably not meant to be. At this point, we’d be seriously considering just getting it lasered off.
23. Darth Vader
Choose life. Choose a cheap tattoo gun on Amazon. Choose doing your own tattoo – forgetting you can’t draw. Choose Star Wars. Choose Darth Vader, then choose to ignore any and all reference material. Choose life with this “art” on your body forever. Or, you know… don’t.
22. Lifin’ the dream
To be fair, nobody’s going to spend their last day on Earth worrying about being grammatically correct. But hey, they got the right spelling of “your,” so points for that.
21. ‘It’s supposed to be who?!’
What do you get when you cross Frankenstein’s monster with Chucky? If you answered “literally the world’s worst tattoo,” then you, dear reader, are wholeheartedly correct.
20. A bad fit
These puzzle pieces almost fit together, which – let’s be honest – is probably even worse than them being totally different shapes. After all, now you can tell that the tattooed person really tried to come up with two complementary pieces but didn’t quite get it right. Unless there’s some symbolism to the parts never being able to meet, of course…
19. Ice cream on your face
We’re unlikely to have been the first ones to have told her this, but that tattoo is just not cool. Writing “Brrr” on it somehow doesn’t make it any better, either. And quite why there’s lightning shooting out of the ice cream is beyond us. Of course, all of this is secondary to the fact that the ink is on her face – meaning everyone can now see that she’s prone to bad decisions.
18. The scariest mom
In this moment, we are all that poor, terrified baby staring up at its mother for the first time only to be met with this monstrosity of a tattoo. And while the child can’t yet grasp the concept of its own motor functions, even it seemingly knows that this ink was a mistake. Somehow, though, the new mom is still smiling through it all.
17. Brenda’s number one fan
Brenda, Brenda, wherefore art thou Brenda? Well, we don’t know the answer to that question, but we do know where she is: all over this guy’s back, as it turns out. Who knows – maybe he’s just a massive fan of fonts and wanted a way to show them all off using the same letters. Either that, or this is the most over-the-top declaration of love we’ve ever seen.
Look, we’re not going to argue with anyone’s passion for their favorite artists. But surely there are better places to get a tattoo of Drake’s name – literally anywhere else that isn’t your own forehead, for instance. Still, we guess you can just grow out bangs if you feel like covering it up.
15. No regrets
Well, we can think of one regret this person might have. They’ll have to think very carefully about it, though, because it’s quite subtle. But yes, if you look very, very closely, you’ll realize that “regrets” is actually spelled incorrectly. And now the writing is on their arm for all to see until they get a pricey cover-up.
14. My first tiger
Was this tiger based on a drawing by this guy’s very young child? We sure hope so, because that’s really the only way to justify this otherwise startling work of, um, “art.” And even if it is, did he really need to plaster it so prominently across his torso?
13. This powerless person
If knowledge is power, then whoever got this tattoo must be the weakest human being alive. In fact, they’re probably due some sort of Guinness World Record for the unbelievable ratio between their age, mass and power. They’ll probably have to share that accolade, however, with whichever artist agreed to go along with this tattoo.
12. Rock and roll
Ah, Jon Bovi, that iconic band behind such hits as “Livin’ Life on a Prayer” and “You’ve Have Give Love a Bad Name.” And even without taking the wrong name and horrendous grammar error into account – which, let’s face it, is not easy – the handwriting here looks like it was based on a drunken scrawl. Which, to be fair, would explain a lot.
11. The almighty verdict
As the Bible says, “Fudge not, that ye be not fudged.” Or, at least, that’s what this person’s copy of the Bible must say. Okay, so they were probably going for “judge,” but if that’s the case, they should really have thought a little more about their font choice. Maybe they could have asked the Brenda guy?
10. Little green mistakes
Sometimes you have to ask yourself whether people realize tattoos are permanent. After all, if they did, they’d probably put a little more effort into making sure that their ink was free of spelling errors. Then again, there are at least two people involved in making a tattoo happen, so this could just as easily be the artist’s fault.
9. Demon baby
We’re pretty sure that this doting parent will now be carrying those baby pictures around with them for the rest of their lives, just to assure anyone who sees their tattoo that they didn’t in fact produce the demonic offspring emblazoned on their skin. Thankfully, the infant in the photos is way more adorable, though possibly questioning its parent’s life choices.
8. Giant lizard
We have so many questions, and they mostly start with the word “why.” Why is this woman holding a giant lizard? Why is she asking it to hold her closer, when clearly she’s the one doing the holding? And, most pressingly, why does this person have this tattoo at all? Color us completely confused.
7. Lightning head
Harry Potter has nothing on this guy. Perhaps he was struck by lightning and chose to commemorate coming out of it alive; perhaps he just thought the image looked cool. Whatever his reasoning, though, he could have made the bolt a little thinner and straighter, as from a distance you could easily mistake it for a cartoon Christmas tree.
6. The little tattoo of horrors
We’re sure this tattoo was supposed to act as a super-sweet tribute to, say, this person’s daughter. Unfortunately, however, it’s made the child look more like a character from a low-budget horror movie. Really, when you’re getting something etched permanently onto your body, it’s probably worth paying a little bit extra for a better artist.
5. Grammar abomination
Honestly, we really hope it does get better. Indeed, maybe there’s a tattoo on their other arm with no spelling errors, reading, “See? Told you.” And while that may be the worst joke of all time, conveyed through what is arguably the worst medium to do so, it’s the only thing that might go some way to saving this catastrophe.
4. Permanent proposal
Can you imagine if she said no? This person would have an everlasting reminder of the failed proposal tattooed into their skin. And even if she said yes, they’d still have to live with that spelling error for the rest of their life. Unless, you know, the aim is asking Nina to help them be a little more jovial.
3. The wrong name
Did you really mean Hollie, though? Somehow, we doubt you knew who Hollie was when you got Megan tattooed on to your arm. And doubling down with the next person seems like an even bigger mistake. After all, there’s only so much room on that arm for subsequent additions… Let’s just say, Hollie better be a keeper. And have a good sense of humor.
2. Demotivational thinking
Okay, got it: always give up. It’s a pretty weird mantra to live by, we have to say, let alone to get tattooed into your skin. But the heart clearly wants what the heart wants – and, in this case, that means a super-strange double negative.
1. Fast food receipt
Look, we’re just going to say it: nobody has ever had a McDonald’s so good that they needed to get the receipt tattooed onto their arm. Not even a meal from a three Michelin-starred chef could inspire most people to do something like this. Somebody clearly thought otherwise, however – or, rather, they just didn’t think at all.