As the name suggests, fillers are used to fill in gaps or spaces in larger pieces or in between two or more tattoos. Finding the right tattoo filler ideas can be quite daunting since they have to match the tattoos around them and work well in a limited space.

Lucky for you we’ve got a few tattoo filler ideas to help you find the one that’s right for you!

Photo: Unsplash

Tattoo Filler Ideas

Ideally, fillers are going to be simple, on the smaller side, and limited on the details.

Small Filler Tattoos

Smaller tattoos with fewer details are easier to fit into whatever space your filler tattoo is meant to fit into. Additionally, they work well filling in gaps that otherwise leave your tattoo looking unfinished.

Gap Filler Tattoo Filler Ideas

Gap filler tattoos are often used to complete larger pieces, such as sleeves.

Some tattoos are designed to have negative space, but some just aren’t. And a lot of the time you might not even know you’re going to need filler tattoos till after your session.

In such cases, it helps to have a few space filler ideas saved for your next appointment.

Smoke Tattoo Filler

Smoke is another beautiful tattoo filler that’s versatile, airy and light. Adding a candle, joint or cigar into your design is one way to bring smoke into your tattoo, naturally.

Cloud Tattoo Filler

Clouds make another cool filler, working well due to their puffy yet subtle nature.

Tattoo Shading Fillers

Not all fillers are meant to remove gaps. Sometimes, the goal is to add depth and dimension to your tattoo.

The simplest way to accomplish this is with shading. It can create shadows and highlights while also adding artistic flair to your tattoo. A popular tattoo shading filler idea you can test out is dotwork or “stippling,” a style that can create wonderful works of art without overpowering the subject.

Man displays dotwork stippling filler tattoo idea
Dotwok filler tattoo idea (Source: Unsplash)

Tattoo Background Filler

Another type of filler is a background. Larger tattoos often feature background elements that add to the piece’s story and art. It can sometimes be hard to find the right background for your piece, however.

Here are a few background filler ideas to help complete your tattoo.

Brushstroke watercolor filler tattoo idea
Brushstroke watercolor filler tattoo idea (Source: Unsplash)

Colorful artistic paintbrush strokes have become extremely popular as a tattoo style. Referred to as watercolor or brushstroke tattoos, these gorgeous designs work wonders as background fillers.

If you feel like these might be too distracting as background filler tattoos, however, you can opt for the simpler classic blackout tattoo to fill in the gaps.

Blackout filler tattoo
Blackout filler tattoo idea for women (Source: Unsplash)

Tattoo Sleeve Filler Ideas

Sleeves are some of the most detailed and intricate tattoo pieces. They often combine various elements and styles. They tell a whole story.

And that’s precisely why it can be hard picking a filler to complete your sleeve. Here are a few ideas to help you along.

Men’s Sleeve Tattoo Filler Ideas

Nautical symbols more often than not are associated with tattoos for men, owing to the sailors who traveled the seas and returned with fresh ink to tell their tales for them.

Nautical filler tattoo ideas
Nautical filler tattoos (Source: Unsplash)

When trying to find sleeve gap filler ideas, try looking up simple nautical elements as these often tend to look great in a sleeve.

Of course, if that’s not to your taste, there’s still the option of a minimalist blackout!

Brushstroke blackout filler tattoo idea
Blackout tattoo fillers (Source: Unsplash)

Tattoo Sleeve Filler Ideas for Women

Tattoo fillers for women can be varied and diverse. Like men, women also tend to have a love for the classics. To that end, classic old-school American filler tattoos are quite popular.

Classic tattoo fillers
Old-school tattoo filler ideas (Source: Unsplash)

Outside of these, you could also look at floral or gem patterns as fillers for your sleeve.

Floral tattoo filler ideas
Floral tattoo fillers (Source: Unsplash)
Gem tattoo filler ideas
New school gem tattoo fillers (Source: Unsplash)

Traditional Tattoo Sleeve Filler

While most fillers tend to be small and easier to work with, traditional tattoo styles do not shy away from getting more intricate with their filler designs.

Particularly, traditional styles take great pains to craft intricate tattoo background fillers and use these as important storytelling elements.

Japanese Tattoo Filler Ideas

Irezumi designs are widely known as much for their foreground elements as for their backgrounds. Such attention to detail is present across several East Asian styles of tattooing and has over time become a trademark of the tattoo masters from these regions.

Traditional back tattoo
Traditional tattoo fillers (Source: Unsplash)

Thai Tattoo Fillers

Thai tattoos or “Sak Yant” are especially known for this. Local tattoo masters infuse their tattoos with specific prayers crafted for their clients, as per Buddhist tradition. This is often why those who receive tattoos in Thailand will sport a variety of text and animal tattoos, with each having very personal meanings.

Sak Yant traditional tattoo filler ideas
Sak Yant tattoo in progress (Source: ​https://unsplash.com/photos/2QUteZylylY ​)

Whether you opt for a traditional filler or a more modern style, these tattoo filler ideas are a great place to start your search!

Patchwork Tattoos

If you liked this piece, be sure to check out our Patchwork Tattoo Ideas for Men and Women!

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