50+ Butterfly Tattoo Designs for the Soulful You

By Jason Hamilton / September 15, 2018
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Butterfly tattoo designs have been a staple of artistic tattoo designs for over decades now. With the numerous symbolism they possess and their sheer beauty, it is no wonder why this tattoo design has slowly gained traction in the body art industry and tattoo loving community. This tattoo design was once considered as a feminine tattoo design but now has transcended also as a masculine design? How? Why? Join us as we discover why men and women are being drawn into butterfly tattoo designs.

In this article, we will be sharing with you our rich gallery of butterfly tattoo designs for both men and women. We will also discuss here a brief background on this tattoo and the various designs you can do with it.


Butterfly Tattoo History

Since the dawn of feminine tattoos in the modern age, butterfly tattoo designs has been one of the mainstay designs for women and for a time, the only design available for them. Butterflies are often associated with femininity and beauty which is why they were first used on women as a tattoo design. As time goes by, however, more and more designs became available for women and some distanced themselves with the stereotype tattooed women with a butterfly tattoo. This, in turn, allowed more men to use the design without being judged. With men and their own interpretations of a butterfly, more and more men used the design and thus the butterfly tattoo became a unisexual design.


Butterfly Tattoo Meaning

Butterflies have been often associated with women and beauty. Its soft delicate features are always likened to that of a delicate beautiful young woman. As time goes by, however, men caught on and made their own interpretation of the design. Here are the various meanings of butterfly tattoos according to men and women.

A butterfly tattoo’s meaning could be “beauty”

We think this is pretty much self-explanatory but to further deepen on this one, ancient civilizations’ standards of beauty have something in common, symmetry. If something or someone is symmetric in appearance, it is considered beautiful and since the butterfly is a symmetrical creature with dazzling colors, it is considered by many as the “epitome of beauty.” thus its association with beauty.


An alluring 3D butterfly design beautifully crafted on a shoulder.

A butterfly tattoo could also mean “delicate”

The butterfly is a delicate creature with a soft body and wings that can easily break, it is no wonder why butterfly tattoo designs can also be interpreted as this one.


These 3 butterflies chasing each other makes the tattoo more elegant.


A butterfly tattoo symbolizes “metamorphosis”

It is common knowledge that a butterfly is not a butterfly from the very start. It went from an egg to a caterpillar and to a cocoon before becoming the beauty that we appreciate today. This process symbolizes the hardships one must go through before becoming the beautiful success that they are. (Author’s side note: This is the most common meaning of butterflies for men.)


This bluish butterfly tattoo makes it more vibrant to any wearer of it.

A butterfly tattoo is a symbol of “coming out”

This is just a small minority in the tattoo community and the people who are getting butterfly tattoo designs and we figure that it is too mean for us to leave this one out. For quite some time now, a minority of members from the LGBT+ community has made tattoos as a way to proclaim who they truly are. Butterfly tattoos have helped a lot of LGBT to come out of their closets without saying a word and just let the tattoo speak for itself. Since the proverbs “blossom like a flower” and “fly like a butterfly” are now being attached to gay people coming out, it only seems fitting for them to use the butterfly tattoo as a silent statement of what their true identity is.


A nice 3D butterfly design blends perfectly with the freckles on a back.


 A forearm with a beautiful violet tribal-inspired tattoo.

 A cutesy and small tattoo that is too cute to see!


This little butterfly may save some space but it emphasizes the legs!

Various Butterfly Tattoo Designs

Since the butterfly tattoo had already captured the attention of the world over, more and more designs are sprucing up from every corner of the world to further expand the butterfly tattoo market. From the traditional butterfly tattoo design to the more complex watercolor butterfly tattoo, there can be a butterfly tattoo design for everyone’s taste.

Here are just a few butterfly tattoo designs we collected just for you:

Closed-Winged tattoo

A closed-winged tattoo is the least common tattoo used but it is still quite popular and cool to wear on. Unlike the open-winged, closed-winged has fewer designs and it’s a nice option if you want to small tattoo of it. In this design, the wings are slightly off which makes it more interesting. In this design, you’ll only see one of the wings, more likely about taking its full flight form.

An artistically made closed wing butterfly tattoo on the side.

An intricately designed tribal closed wing butterfly tattoo on the leg.


A small closed wing butterfly tattoo on the ankle.

A wonderfully made watercolor tattoo of a closed wing butterfly with a semi colon as its body.


Butterfly eye Tattoos

A butterfly eye tattoo is an exotic type of design because of its uniqueness. This design is inspired by nature because it can be found in real life butterfly wings! Imagine that the wings have a set of eyes. If you think that this is odd, look no further than the Peacock Butterfly and the album covers usually used by Galantis. They could provide you with the best example. This style may not be fetched but its unique.

A colorful butterfly eye tattoo on the back.

A large and intricately made colorful watercolor butterfly eye tattoo on the back.


A highly detailed blue closed wing butterfly eye tattoo on the upper right back portion of the body.


Tribal Butterfly Tattoo

Another popular option is the tribal butterfly tattoo. I Typically, tribal tattoos are less colored than a traditional tattoo to accentuate the tribal tattoo design elements. The tribal butterfly tattoo works on various sizes, shapes, and designs. The more intricate the pattern, the more you should consider a larger area of your skin. A smaller sized tribal butterfly tattoo is also an option but it may lose some details because of the size but the outcome will still be solid.

Celtic Butterfly Tattoo

A Celtric butterfly tattoo is one of the non-traditional butterfly tattoo designs out there. Nevertheless, its uniqueness is what sets it apart from the bunch. This tattoo design makes use of the traditional Celtic knot tattoo we know to make a form of a butterfly. The Celtic knot can also just accentuate a traditional butterfly tattoo.

A small but highly detailed Celtic knot tattoo in the form of a butterfly.

Celtic Butterfly Tattoo

Butterfly Tattoos for Men

Now, despite the overly feministic views of the human race in regards to butterflies, men can still rock a butterfly tattoo if they desire. Here in Tat’s N’ Rings, we advocate for men and women to go out of the box of their gender’s tattoo designs and explore other designs that can be considered as a tattoo design of the opposite sex. This view is also being shared with almost everyone in the body art industry and more specifically, the tattoo community. To prove our point on this, here are some butterfly tattoo designs rocking the male skin.

A large traditional butterfly tattoo with two halves of a skull as detail.


A painful but wonderful head tattoo of a neotraditional butterfly.

An artistically made shoulder and chest tattoo of two butterflies around a twig of flowers and leaves.

A beautifully designed butterfly tattoo on the arms.

Butterfly Tattoo Arm


A wonderfully crafted hand tattoo of a butterfly.

Butterfly Tattoo Hand

A large neotraditional butterfly tattoo on the upper sleeves area of the arm.

Butterfly Tattoo Sleeve


A large butterfly tattoo on the chest with geometric patterns on its wings as additional detail.


Butterfly Tattoo for Women

Since butterflies have been a staple of modern tattoo designs for women, it is no wonder why a lot of butterfly tattoos are specifically made for women. These kinds of butterfly tattoos are designed to accentuate the body and skin of the female wearer of the tattoo. Moreover, it adds flair to any female fashion trends nowadays. Aside from these reasons, the symbolism behind the butterfly tattoo can be vast with different women having the same tattoo but with a different meaning.

Here are some butterfly tattoo designs for women that we have gathered on the internet:

A colorful vibrant neotraditional butterfly tattoo on the chest.

A fairly large pink butterfly tattoo in the back.

Pink Butterfly Tattoo

A colorful forearm tattoo of a butterfly in neotraditional tattoo style.

An intricately designed and vibrantly colored three dimensional tattoo on the chest of a butterfly with cherry blossoms on the left wing and sunset on the right wing.

A large and colorful realistic sleeves tattoo of a Monarch Butterfly and a blue butterfly on a branch of a cherry blossom tree.

An artistic but yet simple butterfly tattoo inked on the wrist with additional curved lines to accentuate the design.

Butterfly tattoo

An intricately designed bohemian style upper back tattoo of a butterfly with geometric tattoo design elements added for embellishment.

A colorful and very vibrant back tattoo of a pink butterfly and purple flowers.

Body Placements for Butterfly Tattoo Designs

Since this tattoo design was originally made for women, the most suitable body parts for this tattoo design (or in our opinion, the most common) are those where women mostly place their tattoos. But since butterfly tattoos are now also gaining traction in the male tattoo community, more and more places are now being seen as the perfect location for your butterfly tattoo. Its versatility is its asset which is why more and more people are now drawn to have a butterfly tattoo be inked on their skin.

Here are some body placements where in our opinion is the most suitable locations for your future butterfly tattoo.


Wrist tattoos can be quite painful because of the thinness of the skin on this part of the arm but if place more importance on aesthetic value than pain levels, this would be the perfect body placement for your butterfly tattoo especially if it is a small but intricate design. Not only it would be visible to the public eye, it will also accentuate your wrist and your fashion choices. If you want to hide it where instance demands it, you can easily hide your tattoo behind a wristwatch or a wristband depending on your taste.

Here are some butterfly tattoos we saw on the internet that was inked on the wrist:

A small butterfly tattoo on the wrist.

A simple yet artistically crafted blue butterfly tattoo on the wrist with additional curve lines to accentuate the design.

A fairly large wrist tattoo of an orange Monarch Butterfly with its wings fully extended.

A very colorful and vibrant neotraditional tattoo on the wrist of a butterfly with Aztec-like detailing.

A medium size wrist tattoo of a beautiful butterfly.

Butterfly Tattoo Wrist 4


The forearm placement for butterfly tattoos is undoubtedly the most famous in the bunch especially for newcomers in the tattoo community and for newbie tattoo enthusiasts. With the least pain levels in any body placement, it has been the go-to tattoo placement for incoming tattoo wearers.

Butterfly designs are also very suitable for forearm tattoos. The forearm offers a large skin area aside from the low level of pain. Since butterfly tattoos can be quite intricate and large, this is one of the best tattoo body placement for such a design.

Here are some butterfly tattoos on the forearm that we gathered on the internet.

An intricately designed butterfly tattoo on the forearm with chandelier-like embellishment on the bottom.

A forearm watercolor tattoo of four names surrounded by numerous blue and purple butterflies.

A colorful forearm tattoo of a blue butterfly on a branch of cherry blossoms.

A large forearm tattoo of various butterfly species.

Butterfly Tattoo Forearm

A beautifully crafted butterfly tattoo on the forearm where the right half is slowly disintegrating.

Butterfly Tattoo Forearm 3


The sleeves area is also one of the most famous body placement for any tattoos which is why it is also in this list. Sleeve tattoos offers a larger area than the forearm since it can encompass the forearm and the upper arm. Pain levels are generally moderate in this area since it is a mix of a low pain level area (forearm) and a slightly high pain level area (upper arm). Nonetheless, We think with a large and intricate butterfly tattoo design, you can definitely rock this tattoo.

Here are some butterfly designs inked on the sleeves that might interest you.

A very intricate design of a three-quarter sleeve tattoo of a butterfly, flower, and a locket.

A very colorful and vibrant watercolor sleeve tattoo of butterflies on the upper arm.

A full sleeve tattoo of three butterflies in a field of roses.

A colorful and artistically made full sleeve tattoo of various butterfly species and flowers.

Butterfly Tattoo Sleeves 4

A very intricate black ink full sleeve tattoo of butterflies and flowers.

Butterfly Tattoo Sleeves 5


Chest tattoos are one of the most painful body placements out there because of the thin skin and its proximity to bones and cartilages. Despite the excruciatingly high pain level, however, the aesthetic value of this body placement greatly outweighs the pain you will experience if you will pursue to have this tattoo. Plus, full-winged butterfly tattoos consume a large skin area for it to work and the chest offers a large skin area. It is a match made in heaven! And might we also add that

Here are some butterfly tattoo designs perfect for your new chest tattoo.

A artistically designed and intricately detailed butterfly tattoo on the left pectorals of the chest.

Butterfly Tattoo Chest 1

A large colorful butterfly tattoo inked on the chest.

A large and vibrant neotraditional butterfly tattoo on the chest.

Butterfly Tattoo Chest 3

A colorful and vibrant sternum tattoo of a green butterfly.

Butterfly Tattoo Chest 5

A realistic three-dimensional tattoo of a blue butterfly on the left pectoral of the chest.

Butterfly Tattoo Chest 4


Back tattoos are the epitome of body tattoos. They offer the largest skin area and the skin is thick in most parts which makes it a very suitable place for a very intricate and large design. Aside from large workable area and thick skin, Back tattoos can easily be concealed if need be which also makes it as a famous tattoo placement for people who wants to have tattoos but needs to conceal it.

Here are some back tattoos that featurethe beautiful form of a butterfly that might interest you in getting one.

A beautiful watercolor tattoo of a blue butterfly with pink accents inked on the upper left portion of the back.

A large colorful and beautifully designed tattoo of butterflies and flowers smack dab in the middle of the back.

A butterfly tattoo with a tiger’s face on the upper left portion of the back.

A beautiful and highly detailed butterfly and flower tattoo on the middle of the back.

An intricate and artistic butterfly tattoo on the lower back portion of the body.

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About the author

Jason Hamilton

Jason has been an avid fan of tattoos for over 13 years now. He is currently 35 years old, and he got his first tattoo at the age of 22. Since then, he has added over 20 tattoos to his collection. He is also into writing, which is why he decided to celebrate both of his passion and hobby through tats ‘n’ rings. Jason dreams of having his very own tattoo parlor soon. Jason would be very happy to answer any questions about tattoos that you may have! Leave a comment below and he’ll answer it for you right away!

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