Published on May 10, 2023

Butterflies have been admired throughout history for their ability to transform from their initial caterpillar state, intricate and beautiful patterns, and their grace as they dance through the skies. 

Many different cultures have many different interpretations of the butterfly, from change and transformation to comfort and hope, even to believing that Butterflies are souls of the dead waiting to pass through Purgatory.

In this article, we will be checking out some of the most stylish and elegant Butterfly Tattoos we could find and hope that you will find the inspiration you’re looking for for your next tattooing adventure.

What Is The Symbolism Of A Butterfly Tattoo

Butterfly Tattoos have a lot of symbolism depending on what the wearer wants them to depict. They can range from:

  • Transformation and change

  • Freedom and new beginnings

  • Beauty and grace

  • Resilience and hope

  • The soul and spirituality

  • Love and relationships

  • Femininity and fertility

  • Freedom and individuality

Best Butterfly Tattoo Styles

There are plenty of gorgeous Butterfly Tattoos to choose from, but not every tattoo is suitable for everyone.

Your tattoo artist takes certain factors into consideration, such as any existing tattoos you may already have, where you want them positioned, different skin tones, and, of course, their own skill level. 

They'll help you create a beautiful butterfly that matches your skin, style, and positioning so that your tattoo creates long-lasting visual interest. Styles you may want to consider include:

1. Watercolor Tattoos

Watercolor Tattoos

Photo credit: Pinterest

Watercolor tattoos use multiple colors and minimal lines. They tend to fade faster than the traditional style, but fluid colors can turn simple shapes into truly impactful tattoos. This Butterfly Tattoo is absolutely gorgeous. The colors are subtly yet striking, and the seamless blending of each color is masterfully done. The addition of the watercolor blotches is a nice touch, too. But a Watercolor Butterfly Tattoo, doesnt need to have a variety of colors, you can go for single colors such as a Yellow Butterfly Tattoo, Pink Butterfly Tattoo, Purple Butterfly Tattoo, or any Colorful Butterfly Tattoo you like.

2. Traditional Butterfly Tattoos

Traditional Butterfly Tattoos

Photo credit: Glaminati

A Traditional Butterfly Tattoo uses the old-school style of hard lines and bright ink colors to create a unique butterfly tattoo that captures a vintage feel without seeming dated. This tattoo is no different. Its deep black lines really make it pop and it has a lot of great detail on the wing patterns. 

3. Realistic Butterfly Tattoos

Realistic Butterfly Tattoos

Photo credit: Outsons

A realistic Butterfly Tattoo makes it seem as though an absolutely stunning Butterfly landed on your body to rest its wings. This classic design style is harder to achieve than you think, as it takes a delicate hand to master the style. The detail on this tattoo is mesmerizing. The addition of the shadow underneath the bottom of the Butterfly makes it look like it’s really about to land on the woman’s shoulder.

Best Designs For A Butterfly Tattoo

1. Crystal Butterfly Tattoo

Crystal Butterfly Tattoo

Photo credit: @tattoohuynhle

This Crystal Butterfly Tattoo is absolutely breathtaking. It symbolizes hope, beauty, and new beginnings, and making your butterfly out of crystal truly emphasizes its beauty and fragility. Crystal's dynamic color range allows you to have a variety of colors as the light passes through it, which can really give your tattoo a realistic feel.

2. Tiny Butterfly Tattoo

Tiny Butterfly Tattoo

Photo credit: Tatteco

A Tiny Butterfly Tattoo is a charming way to embrace the profound symbolism of transformation, freedom, and beauty in a subtle, elegant manner. It allows for personal expression and significance to be carried gracefully and discreetly, making it a perfect choice for those seeking meaningful yet minimalist body art. While this Butterfly Tattoo is incredibly tiny, it still shows just how much detail Tattoo artists can fit into such a small area on your body.

3. Monarch Butterfly Tattoo Ideas

Monarch Butterfly Tattoo Ideas

Photo credit: Soxy

The Monarch butterfly is renowned for its annual migration, which involves traveling thousands of miles from North America to central Mexico and back. This incredible journey symbolizes resilience, endurance, and the ability to navigate and survive against all odds. This realistic Monarch Butterly Tattoo is really great. It has such an amazing amount of detail it looks like the real thing landed on this woman’s shoulder.

4. Floral Butterfly Tattoo

Floral Butterfly Tattoo

Photo credit: Pinterest

If you’re looking to embody two pieces of symbolism at once, then a Butter Flower tattoo is the way to go. We’ve already mentioned the types of things Butterflies symbolize, and adding in a flower, which Butterflies are obviously attracted to and deepens your ink’s meaning and significance. Take, for example, this Sunflower and Butterfly Tattoo, Sunflowers are associated with adoration, loyalty, and longevity with their meaning coming from their namesake, The Sun itself. But if the Sunflower isn’t your style, you can choose any flower you desire, including a Lily and Butterfly tattoo, which represents purity, rebirth, and new beginnings, which couldn’t be more similar to the Butterfly. 

5. Butterfly Wings Tattoo

Butterfly Wings Tattoo

Photo credit: Etsy

The outline of the Butterfly Wings Tattoo is both delicate and feminine. The intricate patterns are incredibly eye-catching, and they can boast vibrant colors if you so choose. Depending on where you choose to place the wings can make it look like the wings themselves are taking flight, or they can look like a doorway into your soul. 

6. White Butterfly Tattoo

White Butterfly Tattoo

Photo credit: Girl Shares Tips

There’s nothing as subtle as a white ink tattoo. White ink lends an ethereal and mystical tone to the humble butterfly tattoo. You can also use the white color to your advantage and make your butterfly out of something like silk, which all butterfly larvae can make. Considering white is often associated with peace and purity, the White Butterfly Tattoo is perfect for embodying these themes. 

7. Butterfree Tattoo

Butterfree Tattoo

Photo credit: @theartsyalien

 Pokemon, of course, has a variety of Butterflies and Moths to choose from but none can beat the Gen 1 starlet and Ash’s sixth-ever Pokemon (back when he was still Caterpie). And what better Butterfree Tattoo to get to symbolize love and romance than Butterfree with his mate, the Pink Butterfree. This Butterfree Tattoo is super cute, with its love hearts and sparkles and the ribbon on Ash’s Butterfree lets you know exactly who he once belonged too. I still have tears in my eyes thinking about Ash and Butterfree’s goodbye

8. Simpsons Butterfly Tattoo

Simpsons Butterfly Tatto

Photo credit: Pinterest

I doubt you were expecting this to make an appearance, but after all, nobody ever suspects the Butterfly. The Simpsons is a show that is 3 and a half decades old with over 750 episodes to its name. So you’ll be forgiven if you can't remember what episode Barts Butterfly was in. Season 6 Episode 22, named ‘Round Springfield,’ is an episode where Bart is hospitalized because he ate a piece of jagged metal in his Krusty-O's, and Lisa's old jazz musician mentor, Bleeding Gums Murphy dies suddenly. While trying to console Lisa on the death of her mentor, Bart tells her that he believes that after you die, you will be reborn as whatever you want. When Lisa asks what he’d want to come back as, he menacingly states, “A Butterfly” why?, “Because nobody ever suspects the Butterfly” 

9. Tribal Butterfly Tattoo

Tribal Butterfly Tattoo

Photo credit: CSF Hungary

Tribal Tattoos are beloved for their bold, black lines and patterns that are usually symmetrical and geometric in design. And this Tribal Butterfly Tattoo is no different. It’s drawn in the bold, sweeping lines characteristic of tribal art with wings that are symmetrically designed and has intricate patterns that mimic the natural segmentation and textures found in real butterfly wings. The seamless transition from pink to blue is also expertly done. The tattoo embodies a sense of freedom and transformation, attributes commonly associated with butterflies, while also drawing on the power and mystique of tribal art traditions.

What Are The Best Places To Get A Simple Butterfly Tattoo

Butterflies look good no matter where you put them on your body, and you can have a lot of fun with the designs. But if you’re wondering exactly where you should get one, let's take a look for some inspiration:

1. Butterfly Wrist Tattoo

Butterfly Wrist Tattoo

Photo credit: Tattoo Artist Finder

Starting off simple, getting a butterfly wrist tattoo is a fantastic way to celebrate transformation and mark your own personal growth. It symbolizes the beauty of evolving through life's stages. Its delicate design can serve as a daily reminder of resilience and change, perfectly placed on the wrist where it can be easily seen and admired.

2. Having A Butterfly Tattoo On Upper Arm 

Butterfly Tattoo On Upper Arm

Photo credit: Itakeyou

A butterfly tattoo on the upper arm embodies freedom and the spirit of adventure, making it an ideal symbol for those who cherish independence and the journey of life. Its bold placement allows for more intricate designs, turning the body into a canvas of personal expression and artistry.

3. Behind The Ear Butterfly Tattoo

Behind The Ear Butterfly Tatto

Photo credit: @musetattoostudio

Another popular trend among modern women is behind-the-ear tattoos! Just like Ariana Grande’s tiny bee, this butterfly is a hidden tribute.

A butterfly tattoo tucked discreetly behind the ear serves as an intimate symbol of transformation, whispering tales of personal metamorphosis and quiet strength. This subtle yet profound placement allows the wearer to share their story on their own terms, blending elegance with a touch of mystery.

4. Butterfly Hand Tattoo

Butterfly Hand Tattoo

Photo credit: neartattoos

Butterfly hand tattoos stand as a bold declaration of change and personal freedom right at one's fingertips. This visible placement symbolizes the wearer's interaction with the world around them, embodying the beauty and impermanence of life's moments as they flutter by.

5. Butterfly Back Tattoo

Butterfly Back Tattoo

Photo credit: Bored Panda

A butterfly tattoo sprawling across the back is a grand canvas for showcasing transformation, resilience, and freedom on a grand scale. This expansive placement allows for detailed and intricate designs, creating a breathtaking and deeply personal masterpiece that is both private and revealing.

6. Butterfly Tattoo On Thigh

Butterfly Tattoo On Thigh

Photo credit: Facebook

Butterfly thigh tattoos blend sensuality with personal symbolism, embodying the grace and strength of one's journey. This placement offers a private yet expansive area for artful expressions, allowing for larger, more intricate designs that celebrate beauty, transformation, and the intimate stories woven into our lives.

7. Butterfly Foot Tattoo

Butterfly Foot Tattoo

Photo credit: Tattoo for a week

Butterfly tattoos on the foot symbolize the delicate yet purposeful steps one takes through life, each flutter a step towards change and new beginnings. This placement connects the wearer to the earth with each step, grounding their journey in the beauty of transformation and the natural world.


There’s a proverb that compares happiness to a butterfly. If you chase it, it will fly away. if you turn your attention to other things, it will settle on your shoulder.

So there are our recommendations for Simple butterfly tattoos. Butterfly tattoos are a wonderful way of marking a new era of happiness and contentment in your life.

Whichever butterfly tattoo you choose or where you choose to get it, you can be guaranteed that it will be a deeply personal emblem of your journey, a symbol of transformation that reflects your own unique story and resilience.

Paul Mulligan
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