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How to Draw a Rosary Tattoo

Rosary beads can make for a beautiful tattoo design.
Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

A rosary is a collection of prayer beads strung into the shape of a necklace, though it is most commonly wrapped several times around a person's wrist. The beads are two sizes: large and small, each representing a different prayer. Rosary tattoos are most popular among followers of the Catholic faith, though artistic license can afford you the opportunity to turn the traditional rosary into a symbol of any faith. In addition to the design of the tattoo, also determine the size and placement before you start drawing.

Things You'll Need:

  • Measuring Tape
  • Black Marker
  • Tattoo Stencil Pencil
  • Pencil
  • Lighting Desk Or Well-Lit Drawing Table
  • Blank White Paper
  • Tattoo Stencil Paper (Tracing Paper)
  • Masking Tape

Measure the area of your skin that is to be tattooed using your measuring tape and allot yourself enough paper to draw the design.

Draw a relatively straight line with a pencil on blank white paper the measured length of the desired tattoo. The line should not be perfectly straight, so it will seem to hang down in some areas when tattooed, mimicking the appearance of a real rosary.

Begin at the left side of the line and draw a large bead followed by 10 small beads, followed by another large bead followed by 10 more small beads, followed by a large bead and finally 10 more small beads. After this group of beads, draw a pendant in any form you desire -- but it should be larger than the large beads. After the pendant, draw 10 small beads followed by a large one and 10 small beads. It will look lopsided on paper, but when you match the ends together for the stencil it will form the perfect rosary loop.

Draw a cross or faith symbol of your choosing on another sheet of paper with a small line leading up from it. On this line, draw a large bead closest to the faith symbol followed by three small beads and another large bead. This line will be connected to the pendant of your rosary loop when applying the stencil to your skin.

Outline your pencil drawings with a black marker once they are completed to your desired specifications, and erase away the pencil lines once you've finished.

Tape a piece of tracing paper over each marker drawing and tape the corners together in order to keep the pages from sliding apart.

Place the two taped pages over a lighting table or well-lit drawing desk, stencil paper up, to ensure the lines show through.

Trace the image onto the stencil paper with a tattoo stencil pencil and remove the tape once you are finished.


If you want a flat rosary that doesn't wrap around your wrist, draw either a circle or uneven wavy circle, depending on how realistic you want the rosary tattoo to be, and still draw the same amount of beads with a small line dropping down from the pendant with beads and any religious figure of your choosing. Follow all the same steps of tracing and preparation listed above once you've completed your sketch.


  • It can be an arduous and painstaking procedure to ensure each bead is the right size and shape, but take as much time as you need to develop the stencil, since the tattoo will last forever.
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