Sunflower and Butterfly Tattoos

Sunflower and Butterfly Tattoos featured image
Published on May 27, 2022

Featured image credit: Pinterest

Sunflowers are universally associated with joy and abundance. In the Xhosa language spoken by Nelson Mandela, the word for sunflowers is jonga ilanga, which means, Look at the sun.

This is because sunflowers are heliotropic, which means they turn their “heads” to follow the sun as it moves. Sunflowers symbolize devotion, making them good markers for new relationships.

Butterflies also represent happiness, hope, and new beginnings, which makes butterflies and sunflowers perfect companions for Sunflower and Butterfly Tattoos.

Sunflowers and Butterfly Tattoo Meanings

Butterflies are seen as symbols of new life, new beginnings, and rebirth. When butterflies are paired up with sunflowers, they are said to represent a commitment to happiness, joy, and nature and even bring good luck.

Like many floral tattoos, butterfly and sunflower combinations allude to femininity, serenity, and innocence.

Best Sunflowers and Butterfly Tattoo Styles

Because butterflies are so uniquely colorful, sunflower and butterfly tattoos are often rendered in various colors, but there are many styles to choose from, including:

Traditional and Neo-Traditional Sunflower Tattoo

Traditional tattoos go back to the early days of tattooing, using bold lines and colors. Neo-Traditional tattoos take their inspiration from the old school tattoo styles but use nontraditional colors and finer lines.

Watercolor Art Style Tattoo

Butterfly tattoos are a favorite among women, as are watercolor designs. Watercolor tattoos have a delicate and feminine feel, with minimal or no outline, so that the colors flow over the skin like a watercolor painting.

Realistic Sunflower Tattoo

Realistic tattoos are exactly what they sound like - they look like their real-life counterparts.

Realist tattoos can be either black and grey or monochrome or full-color, but you need a really skilled artist to execute a realistic sunflower design well as this is a more advanced tattoo technique. 

Geometric Sunflower Tattoo

Geometric tattoos use lines and shapes to form elaborate patterns, making them extremely versatile and modern.

Best Designs For Sunflower and Butterfly Tattoos

Modern tattoo artists have really run with the butterfly motif. Whether you want something bold, large and daring, or small and delicate, you can easily find a sunflower tattoo that meets your unique needs

Dual Butterflies

Butterflies have two perfectly symmetrical wings, which is why many people opt for symmetrical or asymmetrical sunflower and butterfly tattoos on their legs or arms. 

Half-flower design

Half-flower butterfly tattoo design

This cute trend combines half of a colorful butterfly and half a flower or floral arrangement for a striking modern twist on the traditional motif. (Credit: Top Trends Guide )

Tiny Sunflower Tattoo

Tiny Sunflower Tattoo

Butterflies are beautifully delicate, which is why a tiny tattoo of a sunflower losing its petals, presided over by a pink butterfly, makes for a gorgeous design. (Credit: Wild Tattoo Art )


Traditional sunflower tattoo

A traditional tattoo uses bold colors and lines to create a much more masculine design that’s a little more moth than butterfly. (Credit: Wild Tattoo Art )


Realistic sunflower tattoo ideas

This hyper-realistic advanced tattoo technique makes it look as though the monarch butterfly has landed on a real vibrant yellow sunflower (Credit: Top Trends Guide )


line sunflower tattoo

Simple lines can have a big, bold impact on your sunflower and butterfly tattoo, and it can be filled out to cover up other designs with ease. (Credit: Next Luxury) .

Sunflower Head

Sunflower Head tattoo ideas

This tattoo trend adds an abstract twist to the sunflower and butterfly tattoo design by emphasizing the link between the person and the flower. Sunflowers represent longevity, so this is a great good luck charm. (Credit: Next Luxury )

With Text and Imagery

sunflower tattoo With Text and Imagery

In this sweet back tattoo design, a motto makes up the stem of the sunflower and butterfly design. (Credit: Top Trends Guide )

What Are the Best Places to Get a Sunflower and Butterfly Tattoo

Butterflies can be placed nearly anywhere on your body because of their unique shape, but there are some spots that work better than others, including:

The Forearm Sunflower Tattoo

Forearm Sunflower Tattoo

Wear your love for sunflowers and butterflies on your sleeve using the optimal space and the natural curve from your wrist to your bicep. (Credit: The Trendspotter) .

The Shoulder Sunflower Tattoo

Shoulder Sunflower Tattoo

You can use the front, back or top of the shoulder for a stable tattoo that can form the basis of a future sleeve if you’re so inclined! (Credit: Top Trends Guide )

The Back Sunflower Tattoo

Back Sunflower Tattoo

Your back gives you a huge amount of space and freedom to scale your sunflower and butterfly tattoo design. (Credit: Wild Tattoo Art) .

The Upper Thigh Sunflower Tattoo

Upper Thigh Sunflower Tattoo

There’s a lot of space on your thigh to work with if you want something big and bold (that you’d like to cover up every now and again!) (Credit: Wild Tattoo Art )

Full Sleeve Sunflower Tattoo

Full Sleeve Sunflower Tattoo

(Credit: Next Luxury )

Sunflowers and butterflies are a great place to start if you want an eventual sleeve. You can keep adding bees, flowers, leaves and wildlife to your arm over time. 

Bear in mind that a sleeve tattoo stretches over time, so discuss with your artist as you might want to add extra floral details later on.

Where to Buy

Choosing a tattoo artist is one of the biggest decisions you have to make…and the consequences of picking the wrong one can be dire.

Don’t worry, we can recommend a number of excellent tattoo parlors and artists to help make your vision a reality here!

Other Tattoo Ideas

If sunflowers and butterflies aren’t quite your thing, check out a few of our other pages for more butterfly-based inspiration:


Sunflowers and butterflies represent good things in life: joy, happiness, and renewal. If you are considering a sunflower and butterfly, chances are you are commemorating a new chapter in your life - a good one.

Chloe Hynes-Nguyen
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