Butterfly Tattoo

Butterfly Tattoo Meanings: Not Just A Beautiful Tattoo

Butterfly Tattoo Meanings

The butterfly is known for its brightly colored wings; but is there more to these tattoos than just being pretty?

In Eastern cultures, butterflies symbolize joy.

There’s no doubt that when anyone sees a butterfly, it brings them joy because of its beauty and rarity.

In Aztec culture, the butterfly symbolized the souls of past warriors.

In other words, for the Aztecs, the butterfly’s meaning was a remembrance of those who have passed and their eternal souls.

Here’s a look at the symbolism behind butterfly tattoos:

  • Transformation, Change and Personal Growth

One of the most poignant symbolic meanings associated with butterfly tattoos is transformation and change.

The metamorphosis of a butterfly, from a humble caterpillar to a stunning winged beauty, mirrors personal growth and evolution.

For many, getting a butterfly tattoo signifies a profound transformation or positive change in their lives, akin to the butterfly’s remarkable journey.

  • Freedom and Independence

Butterflies are renowned for their graceful flight, representing a sense of freedom and independence.

The ability to soar through the skies effortlessly embodies the idea of breaking free from life’s constraints, rules, or limitations.

A butterfly tattoo can serve as a reminder of the liberation that comes with self-expression and embracing one’s individuality.

  • Beauty and Aesthetics

The vibrant and colorful wings of butterflies make them a symbol of beauty and aesthetics.

For those who opt for butterfly tattoos, this choice may reflect an appreciation for the exquisite and the visually striking.

Such tattoos can serve as an embodiment of a love for all things beautiful and captivating in the world.

  • Resilience

Though delicate, butterflies exhibit remarkable resilience.

They endure harsh weather conditions, predators, and other challenges to complete their life cycle.

For some, a butterfly tattoo symbolizes their own strength and resilience in the face of adversity.

It’s a reminder that even the most fragile beings can withstand life’s trials and emerge stronger.

  • Spirituality and Soul’s Journey

Butterflies hold significant spiritual symbolism in many cultures.

Some view them as messengers or symbols of the soul’s journey.

A butterfly tattoo can represent a connection to one’s spirituality or a belief in the cyclical nature of life and rebirth.

  • Femininity and Elegance

Butterfly tattoos are often chosen by women, and they are closely associated with femininity, grace, and elegance.

The delicate and intricate designs of butterflies beautifully complement the curves and contours of the female body, making them a popular choice for women looking to express their unique femininity.

  • Love and Joy

In many societies, butterflies are synonymous with love and joy.

These cheerful creatures are often linked to feelings of happiness and love.

Some individuals choose butterfly tattoos to celebrate their own love stories or to commemorate the memory of a loved one who has passed away.

  • Nature and the Environment

For those with a deep appreciation for the natural world, butterfly tattoos are a way to express their love for nature and the environment.

These tattoos may symbolize a profound connection with the earth and its delicate ecosystems, encouraging environmental awareness and conservation.

The Meanings of Butterfly Tattoo Colors

Colors create meaning based on age-old beliefs as well as new ones.

The butterfly tattoo can come in any color under the sun and each color has a unique meaning.

When the symbolism of color and the butterfly are combined, a new meaning is formed.

Let’s check out what symbolism these butterflies create:

  • Blue Butterfly Tattoo Meaning

The blue butterfly tattoo is one of the most common tattoo styles, and it’s no wonder because it’s basically a good luck charm.

Blue butterflies are known to bring good luck as well as absolute bliss.

This is probably because in most regions of the world, it is rare to see one.

But when you come across a blue butterfly, whatever pattern they may have, they are a sight to behold.

Blue Butterfly Tattoo

Their colorful azure or turquoise wings represent an innocent and carefree spirit that many people love to show off when they see them in the wild, and to have a blue butterfly tattoo on you means that you are a carefree and gentle spirit that enjoys adventure and creativity.

Blue butterfly tattoos are a popular choice for their visually stunning appearance and the meaning behind them.

Because it’s one of the first butterflies to show in spring, the blue butterfly tattoo symbolizes new beginnings.

Blue butterfly tattoos can represent hope and happiness, while also representing positive life changes.

In Japan, people believe that seeing a blue butterfly in the spring predicts they’ll have a healthy and prosperous year.

Blue butterfly tattoos are emblematic of a free spirit that can’t be caged — they’re a symbol of freedom and the child-like wonder that accompanies it.

  • Black Butterfly Tattoo Meaning

Black butterflies are packed full of symbolism.

Often done as a tribal or Celtic tattoo, black butterfly tattoos can represent the temporality of life.

A black butterfly can also symbolize something bad about to happen.

However, it’s not all bad!

Black butterfly tattoos can also represent dealing with the concept of aging.

They can be meaningful tattoos for someone who wants to remember that, age and loss are a part of life and we are all stronger for it.

  • Purple Butterfly Tattoo Meaning

If you want to show your support for someone with an unnoticeable health problem, you may want to get a purple butterfly tattoo.

Often representing fibromyalgia, the purple butterfly tattoo is a symbol for any issue that someone wouldn’t know you had at first glance.

Purple Butterfly Tattoo

Used in institutions to show resiliency, the purple butterfly tattoo means strength to push through difficulties.

On the other hand, purple is a color that brings with it a sense of elegance and grace, associated with nobility and royalty.

With rich colors and beautifully intricate patterns, purple butterfly tattoos can be especially meaningful for those who seek higher consciousness or an elevated spiritual connection.

Purple butterflies are considered to be among the elite of butterflies and can represent grace, beauty, and divine connection.

A purple butterfly tattoo might represent your appreciation for the finer things or an elegant and personal connection to the divine.

  • White Butterfly Tattoo Meaning

White often means purity, as it does in this case.

However, it usually refers to the purity of Jesus Christ and is often a Christian tattoo.

It refers to the purity that was renewed with his resurrection.

  • Yellow Butterfly Tattoo Meaning

The yellow butterfly tattoo reflects more of the Chinese ideology around butterflies: it means happiness and joy.

Although these yellow butterflies mean happiness, there are also beliefs among the Scottish and the Irish that seeing a yellow butterfly land on someone’s vault means they are at peace and that their soul has moved on to a better place.

Yellow Butterfly Tattoo

Therefore, a yellow butterfly tattoo could bring you joy.

A yellow butterfly is a great way to connect to your inner self that’s both playful and sincere.

With a yellow butterfly tattoo, you can demonstrate your innocence and your love for peace, a happy and gentle tattoo that connects you to others.

  • Red Butterfly Tattoo Meaning

If you are thinking of getting a red butterfly tattoo, you have a lot of meanings to take into consideration.

Red butterflies are either considered a good omen or a symbol of blue funk.

Some Native American tribes believe that seeing a red butterfly can mean great luck is coming your way.

The red butterfly tattoo can also mean love and passion.

In Scotland, they are believed to be witches in disguise!

Whether your red butterfly represents good or evil, a red butterfly tattoo is a striking combination of ink and color that allows your butterfly to show off its wings and patterns in lush and rich tones.

  • Pink Butterfly Tattoo Meaning

Pink butterfly tattoos symbolize love and compassion.

This is definitely the most feminine version of the butterfly tattoo, and can also be one of the most beautiful.

If you chose this tattoo you are likely looking to add a wholesome kind of love to your life.

Pink Butterfly Tattoo

A pink butterfly tattoo is often associated with femininity and its connotations.

It can symbolize the youthful joy and excitement of a new relationship.

A pink butterfly tattoo might represent the youthful, joyous, and gentle spirit of youth and women, or it could represent the exciting renewal of life and new beginnings through a butterfly’s transformation.

This lighthearted tattoo is as beautiful as it is meaningful, so if you’re searching for a symbol that will bring good vibes to your life, look no further than this gorgeous little piece.

  • Rainbow Butterfly Tattoos

Butterfly tattoos are popular symbols of transformation, rebirth, and renewal.

The kaleidoscopic rainbow coloring of these tattoos could represent a celebration of the vibrancy of life, especially new life.

Rainbow Butterfly Tattoo

Rainbows are also a popular symbol of the LGBTQ+ movement, so for someone who has just come out, these rainbow butterfly tattoos might be a great way to symbolize your confidence in beginning your new life with your identity.

Different Butterfly Tattoo Designs and Their Meanings

Not only does it matter what type of butterfly you choose, but what you pair with it.

Each tattoo design below shows a different symbolism associated with that design.

  • Monarch Butterfly Tattoo Meaning

Monarch butterflies are defined by their beauty; a feminine tattoo, the monarch butterfly tattoo elicits the loveliness of women and their attraction and charm.

A common tattoo style, it also has a profound meaning.

Many believe that butterflies are angels visiting from heaven.

Seeing a monarch butterfly could mean an angel is visiting you from a celestial realm to give you support and protection.

A monarch butterfly tattoo might be the perfect symbol of confidence and power moving forward!

  • Blue Morpho Butterfly Tattoo Meaning

The blue morpho butterfly is found mostly in South America, Mexico, and Central America.

Its wings are in a pattern that refracts light to become blue— it doesn’t contain any blue pigment at all!

Since we already know that blue butterfly tattoos mean good luck and happiness, what happens when you get a blue morpho butterfly tattoo?

Blue Morpho Butterfly Tattoo

There is a duality to the blue morpho: it can mean good luck is coming to you or it can symbolize bad spirits.

Choose your meaning wisely and you will have an undoubtedly meaningful tattoo.

  • Semicolon Butterfly Tattoo Meaning

Semicolon tattoos have become popular as the conversation around mindfulness continues to take place across the world.

The meaning behind a semicolon tattoo is the continuation of a sentence that could have ended but continued to tell a story.

Semicolon Butterfly Tattoo

Therefore, a semicolon emphasized the butterfly tattoo meaning that losing someone you love isn’t the end but is only the beginning of his or her soul’s adventure.

A semicolon butterfly tattoo is the perfect symbol of new life, of choosing to continue despite challenges and celebrating a new beginning in the face of the past.

  • Tribal Butterfly Tattoo Meaning

Tribal tattoos often take a tattoo meaning to their roots.

The base of beauty, and life, in general, is changing.

Tribal butterfly tattoos symbolize that change as life moves forward.

Tribal Butterfly

A life-changing event in your life can be represented by a tribal butterfly tattoo.

A tribal butterfly tattoo represents the rich history and heritage of your culture while preserving the continual pattern of renewal and new life and stories.

  • Celtic Butterfly Tattoo Meaning

The ancient Celtic meaning of the butterfly is metamorphosis.

Metamorphosis symbolizes the change in being: the caterpillar literally transforms into a new body during metamorphosis.

Celtic Butterfly Tattoo

Therefore, the Celtic butterfly tattoo is about changing into a new type of person.

People with Celtic heritage or ancestry will already be familiar with the significance of the eternal Celtic knots and ropes that symbolize longevity and eternity.

Much like Celtic knots tattoos, butterflies are known to be symbols of long life and health, so combining the two means you have twice the long life and health on your skin!

  • Aztec Butterfly Tattoos

The Aztecs had an incredibly sophisticated civilization with a lot of rich imagery.

Generally, Aztec tattoos are a homage to the fascinating deities Aztecs worshipped.

In the Aztec belief system, butterflies are associated with the impermanence of life and the afterlife.

There is a goddess known as Itzpapalotl, which translates to “Obsidian Butterfly” or “Clawed Butterfly.”

Aztec Butterfly Tattoo

The Aztec butterfly tattoo is sometimes associated with rejuvenation through sacrifice.

Itzpapalotl is one of the Tzitzimime, a group of female deities who watch over women in labor.

In this context, a butterfly tattoo would symbolize the birth/end cycle and perhaps hope after a loss.

  • Skull with Butterfly Tattoo Meaning

The skull and butterfly tattoo is one of those designs where the pairing of two polar opposite elements may seem like an unusual choice, but in fact, carries a very profound meaning behind it.

Skull tattoos represent ephemerality among other related meanings.

However, when added as the face of a butterfly, it can represent the fate of one’s temporality.

Butterflies, being insects, don’t live long.

Skull with Butterfly Tattoo

The butterfly skull tattoo is a common tattoo style and a perfect way to describe life as a fleeting journey.

Skull tattoos typically signify death and sorrow, while butterfly tattoos contradict the latter with new life and hope for the future.

Together they symbolize light from darkness and hope from suffering.

A skull butterfly tattoo is commonly used as a memorial design to represent a loved one that has moved on from this life.

Skull with Butterfly Tattoo

An appealing mixture of good and evil, right and wrong, life and mortality — a half-butterfly, half skull tattoo design is a perfect choice for those who are in the midst of such an internal falling out.

They’re a popular tattoo choice for people who believe in the yin-yang concept.

A half butterfly and half skull tattoo is also a symbol of transition between two periods of time.

It represents the end of an era and a welcoming of a new one.

Typically, the skull side of the tattoo represents the past, and the butterfly side represents what is to come.

Half butterfly and half skull tattoo designs beautifully represent the ongoing battle between right and wrong, life and death, or the closing of one chapter and the opening of another.

Regardless of what the skull butterfly tattoo symbolizes for you, there are a plethora of unique designs to choose from.

The skull and butterfly tattoo is a perfect way to describe life as a fleeting journey; it will end, but it’s still worth living.

  • Flower and Butterfly Tattoos

A butterfly with a flower tattoo is a great way to show off your personality, especially when it comes to femininity and beauty.

Floral butterfly tattoos symbolize serenity, and innocence, and, sometimes these tattoos allude to one’s love for nature.

Flowers and Butterfly Tattoo

Depending on the type of flower tattoo you choose, it may have a deeper meaning.

A flower tattoo with a butterfly tattoo is a great way to honor your love for nature and to also represent the beauty of growth and transformation.

  • Rose & Butterfly Tattoo Meaning

The rose tattoo and butterfly tattoo are popular designs among women because they both symbolize femininity.

They both represent beauty, attraction, and love.

  • Half Butterfly, Half Flower Tattoo Meaning

When the flower and butterfly are combined, an absolutely gorgeous tattoo can be created.

Half Butterfly Half Flower Tattoo

Not only does this tattoo symbolize beauty, but also it shows that you are one with nature.

  • Infinity Butterfly Tattoo Meaning

The infinity sign can be said to symbolize the soul’s immortality and change in life.

Added to the butterfly, this tattoo symbolizes metamorphosis into a new being or way of life.

The infinity sign is such a common tattoo because its message is so simple yet powerful.

Therefore, by adding the butterfly, some depth in meaning is added to the simplicity of the infinity tattoo symbol.

When combined with the infinity symbol, the butterfly tattoo becomes a symbol of permanent love, life, and happiness that last beyond time, making it a great tattoo to represent eternal life and love.

Butterfly Tattoo Styles

There are tons of different butterfly tattoo styles, ranging from realistic to watercolor tattoos, Neo-traditional tattoos to Celtic tattoo styles.

Minimalist Butterfly Tattoos

Some of our favorite butterfly tattoo styles are the simplest, such as tiny minimalist or simple geometric designs.

To make your minimalist butterfly tattoo really look the part, make sure you base its design on the wing patterns of an actual species of butterfly.

Minimalist Butterfly Tattoo

Minimalist butterfly tattoos can be a good starting point if it’s your first time being tattooed, and there are also options for veterans such as ankle tattoos or sternum tattoos.

Minimalist black and grey tattoos of the insect can give your tattoo a subtler look and can make the tips of its wings seem more pronounced.

While some choose to get large butterfly tattoos across their shoulder blades or sternum, tiny minimalist butterfly tattoos are more common as they mirror the insect’s true size.

Minimalist Butterfly Tattoo

Minimalist tattoo styles tend to be especially popular with smaller tattoos as there’s less room for intricate details on the wings.

These are a good option for your first tattoo as a precursor to bigger and more complex tattoo designs.

A red butterfly tattoo is also a common choice for a simple tattoo.

Minimalist Red Butterfly Tattoo

Butterflies lend themselves well to minimalist geometric tattoos due to the number of connected lines on their wings.

A minimalist geometric design can give your tattoo a modern look through simple outlines and shapes.

Some other popular tattoo choices include surrounding a butterfly with geometric tattoo patterns or going for a half-realistic, half-geometric tattoo design.

Minimalist Geometric Butterfly Tattoo

Minimalist butterflies are tattoo motifs that work well just about anywhere on your body.

Wherever you choose to get your simple butterfly tattoo done, we know it will look great.

If you decide to go for a colorful minimalist butterfly tattoo, consider how well the colors will work with your skin tone.

Lighter pigments, such as light blues and whites, don’t show up very well on darker skin tones, whereas darker colors like crimson red and royal blue work best.

If you have light or medium tanned skin, you might want to go for the orange monarch butterfly tattoo or a bright blue butterfly like the blue morpho.

Minimalist Butterfly Tattoo

An interesting take on a minimalist butterfly tattoo is to include several different species of butterfly in your tattoo, drawing attention to their contrasting patterns.

Your wrist is a good place to start when considering a minimalist butterfly tattoo, as they tend to be smaller than a lot of other animal-themed tattoo designs and fit nicely in the space due to their symmetrical shape.

The great thing about a wrist tattoo is that you’ll always be able to admire your design, while still being able to cover it up in certain situations like a job interview.

Minimalist Blue Butterfly Tattoo

The symmetry and bold patterns of a butterfly’s wings make it a popular choice for sternum tattoos, particularly among women, where the tattoo is generally applied just under your breasts and often accompanied by embellishments such as leaves and flower tattoos or geometric lines.

While less common, simple butterfly sternum tattoos also look great on men, where they are normally applied in the center of the chest across the breastbone.

Minimalist Butterfly Tattoo

The foot is another area that’s a good choice for a small and simple tattoo, with common themes including butterflies in flight or a butterfly in a landed pose with its wings folded up.

Also, if you’re considering an ankle tattoo, it’s worth noting that this is one of the most painful areas of the body to get done as there’s very little else between the needle and bone.

Black & Grey Butterfly Tattoos

A black and grey butterfly tattoo can be a beautiful work of art.

It shows the ornate shape of a butterfly without being too busy.

Black and grey tattoos are done by diluting black inks to various degrees.

They are then applied as washes of color.

Black and Grey Butterfly Tattoo

Shading and dimension are achieved with gradients between the darkest and lightest shades.

In a black and grey tattoo piece, your skin is used for negative space, so it’s a simple and clean tattoo design.

Black and white tattoos follow a similar guideline but with a mix of black and white inks.

In these tattoos, negative space may be filled with white ink.

Black and Grey Butterfly Tattoo

Depending on the look you’re going for, both can be stunning tattoos.

It is more common to find a tattoo artist who works with black and grey, but most will be able to do either.

You may choose to get an ornate butterfly, such as the monarch, in black and grey or white shades.

Watercolor Butterfly Tattoos

Because butterflies are such a classic tattoo design, you may be searching for some new ideas.

You don’t want your butterfly tattoo to look just like everyone else’s, right?

Watercolor Butterfly Tattoo

If you’re into color, watercolor tattoos are a gorgeous way to breathe new life into an old idea.

In a watercolor tattoo, the artist uses varying washes and shades to mimic the texture of a painting.

These tattoos are often without outlines.

Or, they have outlines cleverly hidden beneath colorful splashes.

When they first arrived on the scene, watercolor tattoos were considered a fad.

Many tattoo artists believed that they wouldn’t age well.

Watercolor Butterfly Tattoo

But, since the trend’s emergence in 2010, we’ve been able to watch many watercolor tattoos age beautifully.

Many watercolor tattoo artists prefer to work with organic subject matter.

This may include plants, flowers, insects, and animals.

The whole point of a watercolor tattoo is to look organic and artistic.

Butterflies are a great muse for watercolor tattoos.

They are whimsical and delicate with striking designs on their wings.

Watercolor Butterfly Tattoo

They are constantly moving, landing on flowers, and gliding from place to place.

Watercolor tattoos can bring an interesting subject matter to life.

Your watercolor tattoo artist can create the feeling and movement of a butterfly.

Watercolor butterfly tattoos have a dreamy, ethereal look to them.

They’re perfectly suited to messages of hope, or for celebrating someone’s life.

Or, just for the simple pleasure of having something beautiful on your skin!

American Traditional Butterfly Tattoos

American traditional butterfly tattoos are a great symbol of reconnecting with old traditions while still adding new life and creativity to your ink!

American Traditional tattoos are a unique style.

American traditional tattoos came onto the scene as popular, colorful tattoo styles and designs that feature bold colors and thick black outlines that help tattoos stand out distinctly and express a traditional and recognizable pattern of illustration.

Also known as Old School, this tattoo style uses bold and highly saturated ink colors.

American Traditional Butterfly Tattoo

This particular type of tattoo rose to popularity during the Second World War.

Though not one of the most popular American traditional tattoo designs, this tattoo’s meaning is overcoming something great.

For many, Old School butterfly tattoos represent hope and renewal.

It represents how an event changed who you are today.

Traditional butterfly tattoos can also be dark.

Some see the creatures as a symbol of mortality.

An old sailor’s superstition believed seeing a butterfly before embarking meant death at sea.

This Old School tattoo design represents individuals as always ready to face their demise.

American traditional butterfly tattoos are versions of the butterfly that are simplified, and sometimes tell a story through images in their wings.

Realistic Butterfly Tattoos

Is there a specific butterfly image you just can’t get out of your head?

Do you want a tattoo that feels less “tattoo-ish” and more like the real thing?

A realistic, or portrait-style butterfly tattoo may be the right choice.

Realistic tattoos can be done in black and grey or color.

They combine multiple shades to create a final image with authentic, photo-realistic quality.

Realistic Butterfly Tattoo

Many people like this option for butterfly tattoos because they have a soft drop shadow.

This gives the illusion that a butterfly has landed on your skin.

Alternatively, you may decide to create a landscape tattoo design for your butterfly.

Realistic tattoo styles work wonderfully for nature scenes.

Two things you should consider before getting a realistic butterfly tattoo:

  • They take longer

If this is your first tattoo, you may want to get something smaller to get yourself started.

Realistic tattoos require several needle techniques.

Realistic Butterfly Tattoo

Your tattoo artist will be working on your piece for a while.

They may have to go over the same area a few times, which can be unpleasant.

Depending on the size of your tattoo, you may need to schedule several sessions.

  • You’ll need more space

Creating a realistic tattoo means representing every single detail.

Your artist will need some space to play.

Trying to cram an intricate tattoo into a tight space will end badly.

It will age poorly and it may not read well to the eye.

For everything to look as gorgeous as you want it to look, you’ll need to give into a larger piece.

Dot-work Butterfly Tattoos

Dot-work tattoos are incredibly detailed and delicate tattoo designs that involve using a tattoo machine to apply thousands of concentrated ink dots in order to generate a single, elegant tattoo image.

Dot-work Butterfly Tattoo

Butterflies are a beautiful symbol of longevity, so a dot work tattoo might be a symbol of patience, longevity, and care, especially since dot work tattoos take so long to complete!

Geometric Butterfly Tattoos

Over the past few years, you’ve likely noticed the rise in the popularity of geometric tattoos.

Geometric tattoos are usually either one bold shape, or a small shape repeated several times.

This has opened the tattoo world up to some creative possibilities.

Geometric Butterfly Tattoo

Some people use these geometric shapes as a “frame” for a more ornate tattoo piece.

The resulting aesthetic is striking.

It is a modern idea, but timeless in its simple sophistication.

Graphic Butterfly Tattoos

Graphic butterfly tattoos combine mathematical precision and creative genius to produce a beautifully symmetrical and shaded design.

Graphic Butterfly Tattoo

Graphic tattoo designs usually feature incredible detailing and black and grey ink, so when combined with the delicate and symmetrical nature of butterflies they make a great attribute to geometric and mathematical beauty!

As beautiful and precise as butterflies are in nature, they can also make beautiful pieces of abstract tattoo art.

An abstract butterfly tattoo represents the impermanent nature of life, as no matter how detailed or designed things are they always break down or become different in some way.

Abstract Butterfly Tattoo

An abstract butterfly tattoo is a perfect way to celebrate creativity and abstract art!

Single-needle Butterfly Tattoos

Like tiny tattoos, single-needle tattoos are popular with the visually Instagram-oriented crowd.

They’re usually on the larger, more sprawling side than tiny tattoos.

But they’re so delicate and subtle, that even the most passionate tattoo nay-sayers may give you a pass.

Single-needle tattoos have the delicate charm of a butterfly, so the two are a natural match.

Single needle butterfly tattoo

Single-needle tattoos are a highly technical technique.

Most tattoo needles have a few heads bunched together to create different effects.

When you’re only dealing with one thin needle, things can get kind of shaky.

For your single-needle butterfly tattoo, you’ll want to search for the perfect tattoo artist.

Single Needle Butterfly Tattoo

The lines in a single-needle tattoo are so fine, meaning mistakes will show up easily.

The final look is less like a tattoo and more like something you’d see in a sketchbook.

When you find the right tattoo artist, your butterfly tattoo is going to look amazing with this technique.

Neo-traditional Butterfly Tattoos

Neo-traditional tattoos improve on the American traditional tattooing styles of old by using thinner organs and more vibrant colors and shading to create a modernized version of the classic old looks.

Neo-traditional Butterfly Tattoo

Neo-traditional butterfly tattoos will typically feature finer lines and less thick outlining and shading in order to keep in line with modern tattooing trends and ideas.

3D Butterfly Tattoos

3D butterfly tattoos are so popular with some people because of their hyper-real effect that makes it look as though they’ve landed on a person’s skin.

The carefully tattooed shadows underneath the butterfly add a dimension of reality to the insect that makes it look completely alive on your skin, making these a popular and incredibly original tattoo design that many love.

3D Butterfly Tattoos on Shoulder

While many tattoo designs are popular for a short time, butterfly tattoos have stayed relevant for years.

From small-size patterns to large and colorful tattoo designs, butterfly tattoos can be found in almost every size and color imaginable.

One of the most popular butterfly tattoo styles is the hyper-realistic style with a 3D effect – it looks like the butterflies are about to fly off your skin!

Often confused with realistic tattoos, the 3D tattoos use dark shadows and highlights which create a stark contrast, providing the illusion of 3D.

In 3D butterfly tattoos, the black ink is applied to the areas that need to be shaded, which is underneath the wings of the butterfly, while the white ink is used for highlighting the wings.

Tiny 3D Butterfly Tattoo

This creates a spectacular effect when done correctly.

The colors of butterfly tattoos vary according to taste and preference, as well as other factors such as the color of the skin that they’re being placed on.

Some commonly used 3D butterfly tattoo colors include blue, red, and pink.

Stick-and-poke Butterfly Tattoos

Stick and poke tattoos are beautiful modern minimalist tattoo designs that incorporate gentle shading and delicate lines to create a simple and streamlined look with stunning graphic symbolism.

Handpoked Butterfly Tattoo

A stick-and-poke tattoo could be a representation of the simple beauty and charm of butterflies as well as the innate beauty that comes with these delicate insects.

Etching Butterfly Tattoos

An etching tattoo, also called a woodcut, features heavy outlines and interior shading that makes the tattoo stand out largely because of detailed outlining and carving-style motifs in the tattoo layout.

Etching Butterfly Tattoo

An etching butterfly tattoo is particularly impressive because the outlining and careful interior work help the patterns and natural designs of the butterfly wings stand out against your skin, making it a tattoo masterpiece in the eyes of many!

Ornamental Butterfly Tattoos

You may choose to pair your butterfly tattoo with an ornamental tattoo motif.

Or to adorn your butterfly’s wings with ornamental tattoo patterns.

Ornamental butterfly tattoos can be wispy and delicate, or bold and striking.

Ornamental Butterfly Tattoo

They’re something you and your tattoo artist can have a lot of fun with.

In many faith systems, sacred geometry is the cornerstone of their imagery.

This is best illustrated with the mandala from Eastern traditions.

Mandala Butterfly Tattoo

If a butterfly is a meaningful symbol to you- surround it with shapes and patterns to amplify its natural beauty.

The idea behind sacred geometry is that every shape vibrates at a certain frequency.

Each shape has its purpose within the system.

But if you are outside the culture, there are ways to personalize the tattoo design.

Butterfly Tattoo Placement

Have you decided on the perfect butterfly tattoo style?

Now all that’s left is to determine where you’d like this butterfly tattoo to go!

Whether on your shoulder, limb, or leg, butterfly tattoos make great personal reminders of life and strength wherever you decorate them.

  • Butterfly Tattoos on Wrist

Wrist tattoos are great places to have delicate and personal butterflies tattooed as a daily reminder of your own strength and happiness.

Plus, the wrist is a great place to get your first tattoo: it’s easily hidden, very versatile, and will always make you feel just a little bit special.

Butterfly Tattoo on the Wrist

Whether you want a simple and ornate tattoo or a large and intricately detailed one, the wrist is a great place to get one of your first tattoos.

Wrist tattoos are small enough to be subtle and personal, but they still have an unparalleled wow factor.

  • Side Butterfly Tattoos

The rib cage is a beautiful location for larger or more intricately detailed tattoos.

Butterflies make perfect sense as a rib cage tattoo because of their connection to life, and the rib cage is close to the heart, making this the perfect symbol of life and transformation that stays very close to your heart!

  • Butterfly Tattoos behind the Ear

Butterfly tattoos are some of the most fun tattoos to get because of the tiny and intricate detailing that allows them to be designed or placed anywhere.

Butterfly Tattoo Behind the Ear

Tuck any type of butterfly tattoo behind your ear for a personal and little reminder of your own life and power!

  • Butterfly Tattoo on Foot

Butterflies on the feet are a popular tattoo trend because the foot presents a flat and even surface that can be easily hidden but also shown off depending on what type of tattoo style you prefer.

A butterfly tattoo on your foot connects you to rebirth and hard work, something definitely connected to your journey throughout life!

Butterfly Tattoo on the Foot

The foot offers the perfect canvas for a butterfly tattoo with intricate details and vibrant color.

When placed on the foot, a butterfly tattoo can represent rebirth and transformation—and it’s no wonder, as foot tattoos symbolize the individual who must walk on his\her own through life.

Though the foot isn’t a particularly large surface, it is flat and smooth, making it easy to display tattoos.

  • Butterfly Tattoo on Lower-back

For people who want an intimate and personal piece of tattoo art, the lower back is a great place to locate your tattoo!

Butterfly Tattoo on the Lower-back

Easily hidden and with plenty of space to work with, you can design any kind of tattoo artwork here and place the perfect butterfly tattoo for a vibrant display of happiness and life.

  • Butterfly Ankle Tattoo

Butterfly tattoos tucked near your ankle are a great way to keep delicate and gentle butterflies near you at all times.

Butterfly Tattoo on Ankle

An ankle butterfly tattoo is easy to hide with pants or tights, so if you have a job that’s tattoo-free, you can still have your favorite artwork on you without having to expose it 24/7.

  • Butterfly Hand Tattoos

Butterfly tattoos are the perfect piece of art to be tattooed on your hand providing a space for both interconnected butterfly tattoos and colorful styles that can wind up the limb if you want a more intricate and complete tattoo design.

Butterfly Tattoo on the Hand

Whether you’re looking for a simple butterfly tattoo or a more detailed one, the hand is a great location to consider!

This location offers a comfortable balance between placement and size, allowing you to get either a small butterfly tattoo or a larger one that covers your arm.

Whether you’re looking for a black and grey butterfly tattoo or a more multi-colored tattoo design, the hand is a great place to make sure that everyone sees it.

  • Butterfly Tattoos on Back

If you want your butterfly to travel or fly just as it would in real life, getting a butterfly tattoo on your back is a perfect choice.

Butterfly Tattoo on Back

With plenty of space for your favorite tattoo designs or to create a flight pattern unique to your butterfly, you can fill your back with all kinds of butterfly art and create the perfect display space for your new favorite ink!

  • Butterfly Tattoos on Collarbone

Collarbone tattoos are usually associated with delicate and personal tattoo designs and images that symbolize simple lines and clean, elegant designs.

Butterfly Tattoo on Collarbone

Butterfly tattoos meet all of those requirements, providing the perfect delicate and personal tattoo touch that adds a little bit of life and character to your collarbone!

  • Butterfly Tattoos on Throat

For people who aren’t afraid of making a statement, butterfly tattoos on the throat are definitely the way to go.

Butterfly Tattoo on Throat

The throat provides the perfect silhouette and shape to house the clean lines and designs of outstretched butterfly wings, making this a great canvas for your butterfly tattoo!

Tiny Butterfly Tattoos (1″-1,5″)

With the mainstream influx of tattoos and the popularity of Instagram, tiny tattoos are the latest thing.

They’re an easy commitment that’s good for your social feed.

Tiny Butterfly Tattoo

Many people are opting for several tiny tattoos rather than one big one.

Tiny tattoos work best on shapes that are easy to identify, like hearts, flowers, and lightning bolts.

Tiny tattoos are well suited to the butterfly because they’re delicate creatures.

Tiny Butterfly Tattoo

You can create the feeling of a butterfly with a simple outline, and everyone will know what it is.

Some tattoo artists will not apply tiny tattoos and advise their clients against them.

Tiny Butterfly Tattoo

As with any tattoo, there are pros and cons to a tiny butterfly tattoo.

Pros of Tiny Butterfly Tattoos

  • Tiny tattoos are easy to cover up. If there are people in your life who would object to your little butterfly friend, you can cover it with make-up, clothing, or even a band-aid.
  • Tiny tattoos are easy to tattoo over and re-work. It will also come off easily if you’ve decided you want your tattoo removed. If you know you want some ink, but aren’t sure if you’re in it for the long haul, they’re a good choice. If you’ve got a full sleeve it’s going to be much more smarting and expensive to switch things up later on.
  • They’re just so cute! Tiny tattoos have a delicate aesthetic appeal unparalleled in the world of ink.

Cons of Tiny Butterfly Tattoos

  • Tiny tattoos can blur and fade over time, and they sometimes end up looking like a blob. If you want your butterfly tattoo to last forever, it’s better to invest your time and your skin into something larger.
  • They’re often placed in vulnerable areas, like fingers and wrists. If you use your hands a lot, your tattoo will age poorly.
  • They have a bit of a “sticker book” look, which can be a pro or a con. Some people like tattoos to flow well with the body, believing it’s all part of the design aesthetic. If you’re OK with your tattoos looking a bit random, they can be a really sweet option. But if you’re a traditionalist, you’ll probably want to stay away.

Summing Up

The butterfly tattoo is a common tattoo idea for many not only because of its aesthetic beauty but also because of what it symbolizes.

However, butterflies are usually designed as tattoos in order to show the happy aspects of their meanings: joy, vitality, new beginnings, and good luck.

When deciding upon a butterfly tattoo, pick what’s most meaningful to you that you want to show to the world and remind yourself of every day.


What do butterfly tattoo colors mean?

White: purification and new beginnings.
Black: something that has come to an end; a shadowy past.
Red: in Scotland, a red butterfly is thought to be a witch in disguise; some people see this as a magical omen, others interpret it as evil.
Brown: a transition, sometimes unexpected.
Yellow: happiness, optimism, and abundance.
Blue: a carefree attitude about life.
Purple: divinity and enlightenment.

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