butterfly tattoo designs

60 Best Butterfly Tattoos – Meanings, Ideas and Designs

Butterfly tattoos are one of the favorite motifs for women. Poets and writers have always been inspired by the butterfly’s beauty and strong symbolism. And for all the good reasons, the butterfly symbol is one of the most requested designs of all time.

Butterfly tattoo ideas

Best spots on the body

Butterfly tattoos do not need a lot of space. They are ideal for the foot, ankles, bosoms, shoulders, neck or the bottom of the back. There are, of course, no definitive rule for it. You can place this motif anywhere you like and it will still make its home.

Why are they so popular?

No other tattoo design is as popular as the butterfly. The butterfly is easy to draw and it adapts well to many colors, including monochromatic shades like black and white. It can be represented by different styles on the skin, from a simplistic 2D to a complex 3D. The butterfly also hosts one of the most diverse species in the ecosystem, offering a nearly limitless choice of tattoo designs. Furthermore, its sharp symmetry and vivid colors make it a design well sought after.

This flexible tattoo can be portrayed in various ways, and made to have a distinct coup d’oeil viewed from different angles or stages – in flight, from above, below or coming out of its chrysalis. There is also the choice between outstretched or closed wings. Additionally, it can be mixed with tribal motifs or abstract patterns based on personal preference. However, the most common design remains that of hyper-realism – in either flamboyant colors or a light gray tone.

The only caveat is that the design is so popular that it is hard to find one from a catalog that is unique and original. At the discretion of the tattoo artist, and upon request, the patterns on the wings and colors can be artfully varied, rendering it subtly unique.

Despite a few minor setbacks, its beauty, gracefulness and symbolism still make it a very popular choice among women.

The significance of butterfly tattoos

The butterfly has a lot of positive symbolism attached to it. This is one insect that can reinvent itself and become something totally different.


One of the main symbolism of the butterfly is that of metamorphosis.

The chrysalis corresponds to a transformative experience. It can mean a need to change when it is in the form of a chrysalis, or an actual change when represented in its true form. For example, people who suffered from heartbreaks are known to use the butterfly to show a transformative state, where they simply moved on.

Beauty and Grace

The butterfly motif is also associated with a symbolism of beauty and grace, very representative of the female gender.

Happiness and Eternal Love

In Asia, the butterfly is the symbol of happiness and eternal love.

Spiritual Elevation

For the Tibetans, the butterfly symbolizes a higher state of being.


Like the butterfly that moves from flower to flower, unconstrained, it also represents a sense of freedom.


The fragility of the butterfly, with its thin wings and frail looks, also symbolizes the fragility of humans in general. Just like the butterfly is at the mercy of nature, so are humans.


In a deeper, wider and more philosophical sense, the butterfly can denote that nothing is permanent and everything changes in the Universe. That life is short and must be lived in the moment while it lasts – carpe diem!

Attractive Butterfly Adorns Man’s Hand


A huge butterfly covers the entire back of the hand with its admirable form. The intricate details in this tattoo is defined by the antenna, insect’s body from the thorax to abdomen, to the fore and hind wings that display exquisite beauty.

Moth Tattoo Sprawled on Guy’s Chest


This moth tattoo rules this guy’s chest with its widespread wings imbued with remarkable allure. Artistic skills are prominent from the tiniest details of the veins, outline and complex patterns, to the right hues and tones of its grey and black colors.

Giant Butterfly Stomach Tattoo


Another tattoo addition Harry Styles has shown the world is this elegant butterfly clinging onto his torso. The wings are gracefully curved around the borders, filled with lines and shades to elicit texture, then decorated with big and small dots throughout the pattern.

Brown-Black Butterfly Side-Hand Tattoo


One of the fanciest butterfly tattoo ideas that illustrates the insect’s half features laden on each side of the hand, drawn in impressive symmetry then splashed in brown and red tones. The butterflies are destined to be brought together when the hands clasp, to ultimately become one as they perfectly match.

A Dazzling Work of Art on Man’s Chest


Danny Fox flaunts what could be the most artistic and creative butterfly tattoo ideas with a huge form of the creature profoundly resting on his broad chest. It appears utterly beautiful with simplistic forewings and patterned hindwings complementing each side, and lined with dotted wings along the brim.

Black Monarch Butterfly on Forearm


The arm looks so sexy with a majestic element of nature touching and adorning the skin. The monarch butterfly appears sleek and finished with cool gray/black color effects. It’s so life-like that it might just come to life and flap its wings up to an astounding 120x per minute!

Upper Arm Realistic Butterfly


This image portrays just how drastic the transformation is from a caterpillar to butterfly. It’s evident that the sensory hair-lined antenna has extended long from its head, and the wings have grown with exquisite, vibrant patterns from its body with such awe-inspiring grace.

Elephant Breath Three-Butterfly Tattoo


Among the greatest butterfly tattoos idea is this colorful picture of the cutely drawn insects breathed fresh right from an elephant’s trunk. Three butterflies flying about exhibit various patterns and shades ranging from orange, green, yellow, and black blended into perfection.

Hollow Skull-Winged Butterflies


Butterflies are thought to signify life and death, which is eminent in this back tattoo that lingers at the top right shoulder. Their wings are infused with hollow skull patterns, the bigger creature with widespread wings while the smaller flies amidst strings of butterfly shadows.

Sexiest Upper Back 3D Lace Tattoo


A 3D inked form that may be the most gorgeous of all butterfly tattoos! The uniquely outlined antenna rests atop a body surrounded by tremendous wings. Glamorous wings bestowed with webbed or lace embellishments, soft, flowy curves, and ridges that anyone will long to touch.

Huge Life-Death Butterfly Hovers Over Chest


The massive wings of this butterfly are brimming with life and beauty, clinging on to chest hair that fascinatingly forms the insect’s body. On the other hand, inevitable death is shown by the hollow skull with gritted teeth. The cycle endlessly goes on, but this ink is bound to last forever.

Woman-Butterfly Artistic Tattoo


A breathtaking butterfly tattoo idea that almost resembles a painting. A woman’s face is at the center rather than the butterfly’s body, embellished by flowers around her hair that extend to finely detailed wings with naked woman displaying lovely art.

Skull Butterfly Back-Hand Tattoo


This tattoo design rightfully represents how things constantly evolve and changes, with a death skull’s head printed across a butterfly’s buoyant outline filled with life. Hollow eyes and nose, and gritted teeth are carried by its wings that stretch across the back of the hand.

Butterfly Tattoo with Vibrant Colors


One of the coolest tattoos ideas one can think of that features a butterfly of vibrant colors resting on the forearm. Black dots, thin and bold lines, stripes and curves, dark and light shades, and bright red accents distinguish the beauteous insect from the rest.

Butterfly Skull Forearm Tattoo


Skulls may be thought of as morbid for signifying death, but not in any way when it is carved within a butterfly’s wondrous and lively form. It’s a matter of achieving the right balance of dark and light, white and black, life and death, as seen in this butterfly tattoo that looks perfect on the forearm.

Two Colorful Attractive Butterflies


The leg part of the body holds two eye-catchy 3D and realistic butterfly drawings that pop up from the dark shadows in the backdrop. The richness of its color, the combinations of lines, curves, shapes, dots and varied patterns make them quite noticeable and very pleasing to look at.

Beautiful Butterfly 3D Tattoo


This 3D butterfly tattoo design with a life-like form and glowing colors make it an absolute must-have! It gives the impression that the amazing insect has just landed from its flight or maybe getting ready to flutter about while it gracefully rests on the left forearm, waiting for the right moment in time.

Cool Butterfly Hand-Palm Tattoo


A minimalistic design that is simple yet captivating, and belongs to the few truly unique butterfly tattoos idea. Only the borders, inner linear patterns and curvatures are inked, giving off a transparent image of perplexing beauty like no other. Each half is placed on each hand to completely connect as one when set face-palm.

Butterfly Heart Tattoo


A highly elaborate form of butterfly tattoos featuring a heart detailed enough to show the ventricles and arteries, but manages to keep the form of the insect intact. You can see the antenna dangling on top, while the wings are fully spread on either side with tons of veins, fine lines, and tiny dots.

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