Butterfly Tattoo, saved tattoo

20+ Butterfly Tattoo Design Ideas (Meaning and Inspirations)

Butterflies are elegant, fragile, curious, and full of grace. They are some of the most fascinating insects on Earth because they go through an intense transformation throughout their lifecycle. They start as a small and fragile caterpillar and spend a long time inside larvae before their majestic transformation.

Although butterfly lifespan is saddening short, it’s still a great idea for a tattoo with a lot of meanings.

Given the butterflies are dyed with beautiful colors, they are a great inspiration for tattoos. Additionally, their transformative journey in life is an inspiration for many struggling girls who overcame hardships.

They usually mark a change and transformation as their main trait, which is why a lot of girls, but also guys use it to mark their transition, change, and transformation too.

Below, we’ll talk about the most common meanings of the butterfly, which can also inspire you to focus your tattoo around a certain trait. Here’s what you need to know.

What Does The Butterfly Tattoo Mean?

There are a lot of meanings behind butterfly tattoos, let’s go through them together and find the suitable meaning of your butterfly tattoo.

Being flying insects, a lot of people envy butterflies because they can fly huge lengths. It’s one of the biggest dreams and fantasies to be able to fly and have wings, which is why a lot of people want butterfly tattoos.

Add gorgeous and majestic color patterns of most of the butterflies, and they can make one of the best body decorations.


As mentioned earlier, butterflies, once their transformation is complete, can fly with ease and feed off the flowers. Freedom is one of the traits that many envy and want to have. That’s why the butterfly tattoo is a great representation of freedom.

Butterfly Tattoo, saved tattoo, freedom
Image Source: Saved Tattoo

When you add colorful and vibrant patterns of most of the butterfly wings, you get a recipe for self-confidence and courage for breaking off the chains that were limiting your freedom. Perhaps, you were stuck in a relationship without a future or fighting for a toxic friendship that wasn’t meant to be.

Butterflies can also represent freedom for some people who migrate to other countries for a better and more successful future.

Finally, freedom can be represented in changing your job position or even getting a promotion that you’ve been working so hard for. The freedom can also be a representation of letting go and forgiving something that you’ve been dwelling and clinging on for a long time.


It’s no secret that butterflies can also be a sign of confidence. They carry their gorgeous and large wings with such pride and grace, and a lot of people wish they could feel that way.

Whether you opt for a small or large butterfly tattoo, you won’t make a mistake. In both cases, it’ll show your beautiful features and traits and allow you to carry them with confidence.


Remember when you see an old friend from school who grew up to be beautiful and elegant and say how puberty has been kind to them? A similar thing can apply to the butterflies. As you may know, the caterpillars go through a lengthy and struggling transformation to become butterflies, spending a long time as larvae.

Butterfly Tattoo, saved tattoo, beauty
Image Source: Saved Tattoo

That can mean that some things can take time, even beauty. The beauty symbolism of the butterfly tattoo doesn’t have to represent physical beauty, everyone is beautiful in their way. However, more than anything, it can represent the beauty from within.

The larger the butterfly, the bigger is your heart and the larger soul. Additionally, if you plant a lot of different patterns of the butterfly tattoo design, it can also be seen as a representation of the soul. Some people like to manifest the depth of their soul and emotions through the patterns on their butterfly tattoo.

Lastly, a lot of people like to make colorful butterfly tattoos, with a lot of vibrant and vivid textures, to highlight the vibrancy of their personality.

Change And Healing

A lot of the butterfly tattoo meanings stem directly from the tough transformations that caterpillars go through to become beautiful butterflies.

Throughout life, we all face different challenges that shape us and make us change in the process. That also leads to our ultimate transformation into braver, wiser, and overall more experienced people. Some situations may harder us, but some could also soften us.

A lot of people proudly make a butterfly tattoo to mark their changes and transformation. A lot of people need healing after they part ways with someone they wanted to spend their life friends, letting go of a toxic friend, or even healing from losing a loved one.

Tattooing a butterfly can also imprint a memory of an important person who is no longer close to you or in the living.

Butterfly Tattoo, saved tattoo, healing
Image Source: Saved Tattoo

Also, the butterfly is a great representation of a change that took a long time to realize. A lot of people use to tattoo it as a symbol of that everlasting change, like a memory or an encouragement to never give up.


Another important meaning of butterfly tattoos is love. When you’re tattooing a lot of butterflies together, that can mark friendship or family that you want to keep close to your heart at any time. According to the Chinese culture, tattooing two butterflies looking close as if they’re dancing together carries the symbolism of love and romantic interactions.

If you want to represent love with your butterfly tattoo make sure to make them colorful and make sure that there are more than one butterfly as love is supposed to highlight the closeness between two or more people.

Fortune And Good Luck

Although this belief is a little less popular than the others, butterflies are also the representation of fortune and good luck, as well as courage. To be precise, this symbolism is mostly associated with blue butterflies that are often tattooed on a wrist, back, shoulder, thighs, and chest.

Are There Different Types Of Butterfly Tattoos?

There are several types of butterfly tattoos that are popular among women who use them to mark their transformation. Let’s look into these types and see which ones are the ideal options for your tattoo.

Open Wings Butterfly

Open wings butterfly is the most popular option for your tattoo. It goes perfectly on any part of the body and is a great visual representation of the numerous patterns and designs in butterflies. They can be combined with a plethora of patterns and textures, as well as colors.

As mentioned earlier, open wings butterflies sit great everywhere, but if you want to put an accent on your wings and vibrancy of colors, it’d be best to place your butterfly tattoo on your back or even thigh.

A lot of open wing tattoos are placed on thighs. Women usually make one butterfly on each thigh.

Closed Wings Butterfly

You probably haven’t heard about this expression before, because a lot of people want to put a special emphasis on butterfly wings and colors. Nevertheless, the closed-wing butterfly design is still fairly popular and adds a lot of elegance and attraction to your body.

Butterfly Tattoo, saved tattoo, style
Image Source: Saved Tattoo

They are commonly found in smaller tattoos. However, it’s up to you where and how you’ll place your closed-wings butterfly design. It’s a great option to combine it with open wings butterflies, or other tattoo symbols if you’re looking to make a pattern.

While you can get your butterfly tattoo illustrated so that only one wing is shown, as if the butterfly is being illustrated from the profile, it sounds like a great idea to offset the wings so that both can be showcased. The closed-back design is ideal for those who want to highlight their mysteriousness, shyness, or fear of opening up to the world.

Butterfly Eyes

Butterfly eyes design is great for mysterious women who want to feel exotic yet empowered. But what is the butterfly eyes? It’s nothing different than any other butterfly tattoo. However, instead of the circles in their patterns, there are deep and vibrant human eyes.

Tribal butterflies

Tribal butterflies are usually combined with the patterns and symbolism from a certain culture, usually a tribal culture. However, what makes them different compared to the other butterfly designs is that they are less vibrant compared to other butterfly designs, and sometimes even highlighted with no colors at all and used with simple inking technique, even for the part with patterns.

Tribal tattoos can be made in any size and shape. Usually, the emphasis with tribal butterfly tattoos is to get as accurate and symmetric shape and pattern as possible, and not involve a lot of coloring. That’s why you may want to consider a larger tattoo that can go to your chest, or back, where it’s prominent and easy to see.

Abstract Designs

Abstract designs can mean anything. Abstract means a tattoo design that is combined with other patterns and symbols from real life. For example, an abstract tattoo of a butterfly can be a butterfly with other symbolism from nature inside the wings. That can involve the human body, forest, sea, sky, or even other animals or butterflies inside the wings.

Usually, a lot of designers and tattoo artists aim for a design that is symmetrical from both sides, so they may use abstract designs that can sit well at both wings.

Abstract tattoos can also be of any size and pattern. They can also go great on all parts of the body. Our advice, however, is to choose a design that will be prominent and easily visible. Let your tattoo tell your story with an abstract design.

Also Read: 40+ Wonderful Wings Tattoo Design Ideas 2023 (Meaning And Symbolize)

Best Butterfly Tattoo Designs

Based on the meanings and designs we highlighted above, let’s take a look at some butterfly designs you can take a look at.

Half Floral Butterfly

Butterfly Tattoo, saved tattoo, 1
Image Source: Instagram

Black and white butterfly designs can be as elegant and sophisticated as the vibrant and colorful butterflies, especially when the design is coupled with detailed and mesmerizing flowers. The tattoo can probably be made larger and could look great on the thighs or even back.

Twin Butterflies

Butterfly Tattoo, saved tattoo, 2
Image Source: Instagram

Another black and white design feature twin butterflies, innocently flying across and spreading the sparkly dust that allows them to spread their wings. This is a great tattoo for girls who aren’t too eager on tattoos or want to try out a smaller design. It’s also a great idea for mums who want to manifest the love for their little, free butterflies. The design can be altered so that there are more than just two butterflies.

Abstract Butterfly

Butterfly Tattoo, saved tattoo, 3
Image Source: Instagram

When we talked about abstract and symmetric butterfly designs, this is what we meant. This beautiful, pink, and violet entwined design looks like a fairy that has transformed into a butterfly. All girls will love it, it’s also a great idea for temporary tattoos.

Butterfly Statue

Butterfly Tattoo, saved tattoo, 4
Image Source: Instagram

Are you a fan of ancient history, or culture? This is a great tattoo for all artistic souls. It’s a great tattoo idea for people who want to add butterflies to their already-existing tattoos, but needed evidence that it’ll look good. This design is great, and it’ll add more life and freshness to your current tattoo designs. Butterflies go well-everywhere.

Chest Butterfly

Butterfly Tattoo, saved tattoo, 5
Image Source: Instagram

Who says that butterfly patterns are just for the girls? This guy rocks this butterfly tattoo on his chest perfectly. The tattoo design is gorgeous, sporting various patterns and shapes inside the wings. It could look great with some colors too. This design can be proudly worn by both guys and girls, who want to use a tattoo to channel their emotions and express the colors and depth of their heart and soul. It’s one of the most popular butterfly designs.

Neck Butterfly Tattoo

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Image Source: Instagram

Similar to the bees, butterflies also feed on the nectar of plants and flowers. This gorgeous flower design looks great with butterflies. Like you can see, some of them boast an open wing design, while one of them has a closed wing design. Still, the wings are spread enough so both of them can be seen. It’s a great idea for a neck tattoo, but we’re sure that it’d look just as catchy everywhere on the body.

Floral Chest Butterfly

Butterfly Tattoo, saved tattoo, 7
Image Source: Instagram

Earlier you’ve seen a black and white butterfly on the chest. This butterfly is both colored and floral. You don’t have to always use roses for your butterfly designs, you can also use other floral designs like hibiscus, peonies, and other designs. This particular tattoo is detailed, crisp, and of a stellar quality.

Blue Butterflies

Butterfly Tattoo, saved tattoo, 8
Image Source: Instagram

Blue is a beautiful color, especially when it’s sparkling like in this tattoo design. As mentioned earlier, blue is the color of good fortune, luck, and wealth. That said, if you want to flaunt more wealth and attract it into your life, you should try the blue butterfly tattoo out. The colors are vibrant and detailed, and this same design could look great on the chest, back, or legs. The shadows are also magnificently done.

Pink Butterflies

Butterfly Tattoo, saved tattoo, 9
Image Source: Instagram

This design is extremely similar to the aforementioned one, except that the color that these butterflies sport is pink. We like how it looks and it’s alluring, and going to catch some attention. The pink color in this tattoo represents innocence, alluring, love, and emotions. People who feel like they are in harmony, happily married, or happily in love could show their affection through this detailed and crisp tattoo.

Royal Blue Butterfly

Butterfly Tattoo, saved tattoo, 10
Image Source: Instagram

Although quite similar to the two designs above, the royal blue butterfly design is like its name suggests royal and glorious. While it can be used to show status, it can also show the state of your emotions or how you feel about an event in your life. This design is so deep and detailed that we definitely wouldn’t mind if we saw it in a larger size. Perhaps, it’d look even better on the back, and be a representation of your wings.

Human Butterfly

Butterfly Tattoo, saved tattoo, 11
Image Source: Instagram

We were searching for more abstract butterfly tattoo designs, and we found the one that perfectly depicts what we meant by the abstract. It also shows how butterfly prints can be combined with other tattoo prints and merged into one. This tattoo shows a woman with butterfly wings across where her eyes should be. There are a lot of ways to describe this design, but we’ll leave it to you. Do you like it?

Leg Butterfly

Butterfly Tattoo, saved tattoo, 12
Image Source: Instagram

This simple butterfly design looks mesmerizing, precise, symmetric, and detailed. While its position under the knee looks spot-on, you can also combine it with different sizes and positions that you could like. You could also enhance its looks by adding a few vibrant colors to make it highlighted.

Butterfly Sleeve Tattoo

Butterfly Tattoo, saved tattoo, 13
Image Source: Instagram

Sleeve tattoo designs can be elegant and feminine as far as it gets. This picture is no exception. Like we said earlier, you’re encouraged to combine butterflies with other elements from nature, especially the flowers, plants, mushrooms, and grass. This ink sleeve tattoo looks gorgeous and will inevitably take your breath away.

Hand Tattoo

Butterfly Tattoo, saved tattoo, 14
Image Source: Instagram

Looking for a small decoration for your wrist, hand, or finger? This is the simplest and most minimalistic ink butterfly tattoo design that we could find. It’s tiny like a button, and nonetheless gorgeous and stellar-looking. It could also look great on a wrist.

Side Butterfly

Butterfly Tattoo, saved tattoo, 15
Image Source: Instagram

If you’ve been looking for a side butterfly design, you should go with something that looks similar to this design. It looks minimalistic, blends with the skin of any type, and adds more to your beauty. If you’re looking for a larger tattoo, perhaps you should try with only one butterfly.

Skull Butterfly

Butterfly Tattoo, saved tattoo, 16
Image Source: Instagram

One final abstract design sees a skull imprinted inside the butterfly wings. This can be a creative design for those who follow the gothic culture and want to have a skull in their butterfly design. This option would also look great on your chest, back, and even thighs.

More Things To Know About Butterfly Tattoos

We researched and found more questions to answer about the butterfly tattoos. Make sure to check them out. Perhaps, answer to your question is hiding there.

Are Butterfly Tattoos Only For Girls?

Not. Butterfly tattoos, although often associated with girly designs, can be worn by both men and women. There’s no reason to stigmatize an insect as majestic and beautiful as a butterfly. If you’re not a fan of feminine butterfly designs, you can always get it as a black ink tattoo.

Are Butterfly Tattoos Painful?

Butterfly tattoos can be painful, just like every other tattoo. However, they are usually not a large work and can be completed in one session, unless you’re making a butterfly tattoo sleeve. Nevertheless, if you pick the right tattoo expert, the session shouldn’t be too painful.

Are Butterfly Tattoos Cliché?

Not at all. Although they are more popular among women, butterfly tattoos are the symbol of freedom, happiness, a carefree mind, and a happy spirit. They are also among popular choices for tattoos.

Are Butterfly Tattoos Expensive?

Butterfly tattoos are usually easier to make than other tattoos. With that in mind, they should be more affordable compared to other designs. In some studios, you may pay $50-$100 for a smaller butterfly design, while a larger butterfly tattoo can cost up to $200.

Why Are Butterfly Tattoos So Popular?

They are extremely popular among women who want to empower each other and make themselves feel needed and as they belong. The butterfly is the symbol of rebirth, transformation, and change. The butterfly’s lifecycle can best be compared to struggles and challenges that many face throughout their life. That makes them more popular than some other tattoo designs on the market.

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