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22 Elegant Butterfly Tattoo Design & Ideas For Men and Women

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The butterfly is the epitome of natural beauty. It reminds us of how a storm eventually moves away and gives way to sunshine. In line with that universal truth, butterfly tattoos are a wonderful symbol representing the transformations in life. Butterfly tattoos also represent faith, freedom, and constant involvement in our lives. Each butterfly inspires us to remain positive and hopeful through thick and thin. They remind us that the most trying times are temporary phases of life. These winged beauties result from a wonderous, natural transformation— from caterpillar to butterfly. 

I’m sure each trending butterfly tattoo in this article will inspire both men and women to get one. But rest assured, if you fall in love with one or more of these tattoo designs, you’ll be able to discover more from the artist. To assist you, the artist/source beneath each design lets you find out their work directly.

Butterfly Tattoo Designs

Ready to be beauty-struck and immensely inspired? Here are some of the most elegant butterfly tattoos doing the rounds on the internet:

#1. Watercolor Technique Butterfly Tattoo

Watercolor Technique Butterfly Tattoo
Source: @resurrectionink via Instagram

Behind the ear is a challenging placement both in terms of tattooing there and feeling pain during the needling process. But as you can see, the outcome makes it well worth the wearer’s pain, cost, and time. The two butterflies are not too large, yet they perfectly fly around the upper neck.

#2. Behind the Ear Butterflies Tattoo

Behind the Ear Butterflies Tattoo
Source: @steveohtattoo via Instagram

While two butterflies (see the previous image) flying together symbolizes Behind the ear is a challenging placement both in terms of tattooing there and feeling pain during the needling process. But as you can see, the outcome makes it well worth the wearer’s pain, cost, and time. The two butterflies are not too large, yet they perfectly fly around the upper neck.

#3. Rib Placement Butterflies Tattoo

Rib Placement Butterflies Tattoo
Source: @steveohtattoo via Instagram

While two butterflies (see the previous image) flying together symbolizes undying love, three butterflies have special significance. More than two butterflies symbolize long life.

#4. Hand Tattoo of Butterfly

Hand Tattoo of Butterfly
Source: @thebellrosetattoo via Instagram

Another painful spot to tattoo is the hand. The reason is the thin skin and dense bone of the hands. However, like all things that require patience, pain, and other sacrifices, this one, too, leads to a great outcome. The above hand tattoo showcases a beautiful black butterfly.

#5. Butterfly and Flowers Tattoo

Butterfly and Flowers Tattoo
Source: @hawktattoodelhi via Instagram

The above ankle region tattoo features a beautiful blue, pink, and black butterfly landed on a bunch of pretty, pink flowers. Butterflies are known to fly above flowers, just as young people do with their social lives. So, this intricate tattoo represents freedom, life, and happiness.

#6. Butterfly Tattoo on Chest Center

Butterfly tattoo on Chest Center
Source: @schade.tattoos via Instagram

The center of the upper chest is a popular location for a large butterfly tattoo. The above piece in black and white has intricate detail and is bold and beautiful. Another advantage of such designs is hiding them is easy as you can cover them with clothing.

#7. Colorful Butterfly and Flowers Tattoo on Calf

Colorful Butterfly and Flowers Tattoo on Calf
Source: @thetruthtattoosmn via Instagram

Butterfly tattoos are as popular among men as they are with women. The above piece looks impressive in the calf region. The large pink flowers provide the perfect backdrop as the butterflies hang around them. The largest butterfly, the yellow and black, is the focal point, while the two green-shaded ones are the balancing act in the overall image.

#8. Thigh Butterfly Tattoo

Thigh Butterfly Tattoo
Source: @tattoogorska via Instagram

An excellent part about butterfly tattoos is that they can be placed in most body locations. For example, the above thigh piece looks astonishing in its oni butterfly avatar. It’s a classic example of how butterflies don’t have to be inked in too many colors to look vibrant.

#9. Tiny Butterflies Near Collar Bone

Tiny Butterflies Near Collar Bone
Source: @wyldishbambino via Instagram

Tiny butterflies are exquisite. For example, in the tattoo above, two tiny butterflies represent undying love. It’s a gorgeous tattoo for a woman to wear anywhere around her upper chest area.

#10. Tribal Butterfly Tattoo

Tribal Butterfly Tattoo
Source: @jvckbarrow via Instagram

For more minor variations of the butterfly design, anywhere along the wrist circumference is a great location. For example, the above tribal-style tattoo in black and white sits perfectly along that region.

#11. Upper Abdomen Butterfly Tattoo

Upper Abdomen Butterfly Tattoo
Source: @ptaszekipiorko via Instagram

A relatively large-sized butterfly tattoo can look excellent centered anywhere along the front side of your body. In the above case, the butterfly is inked bang centered at the upper abdomen, and it looks terrific!

#12. Musical Notes & Butterfly Tattoo

Musical Notes & Butterfly Tattoo
Source: @lovebloodinktattoos via Instagram

Nature and music go hand in hand. When we think of butterflies, flowers, and the like, subconsciously, a fine-tune plays in our heads. We imagine that tune while the beautiful, colorful butterflies fly around their flowery hang about. The above tattoo captures that emotion fabulously.

#13. Butterfly Tattoo on Upper Arm

Butterfly Tattoo on Upper Arm
Source: @dyllan.tattoos via Instagram

Whether you’re a man or woman, if you’ve got a large upper arm, the above style of butterfly composition would suit you. An incredible amount of coloring, multiple elements at play, and modern touches make the tattoo astonishingly great.

#14. Beautiful Patterned Butterfly Tattoo on Chest

Beautiful Patterned Butterfly Tattoo on Chest
Source: @d_rechnoy via Instagram

Here’s another beautiful, large butterfly tattoo sitting immaculately on the man’s chest center. Incredible details, color contrasts, and other effects make this tattoo stand out from the rest. If you’re looking for a unique piece, go for this one, hands down!

#15. Spinal Butterfly Tattoo

Spinal Butterfly Tattoo
Source: @phillygtattoos via Instagram

The above spine area tattoo proves that butterflies, when aligned vertically, can look out of this world. If you pay close attention, each butterfly is different. The artist has made this unique piece a pleasurable scene for sore eyes, whether it’s the wingspan or the individual detailing.

#16. Rose and Butterfly Tattoo

Rose and Butterfly Tattoo
Source: @malavida.tattoo via Instagram

As you may have realized by now, the forearm is another prevalent butterfly tattoo placement. The location you choose largely depends on how visible you want your tattoo to be. The rose represents love, the butterfly—transformation and freedom, among other things. Any other reason needed to get one on your forearm soon?

#17. Sexy Butterfly Heart Tattoo on Navel

Sexy Butterfly Heart Tattoo on Navel
Source: @softfury via Instagram

The artist has made a sexy, feminine tattoo around the woman’s navel, using a couple of butterflies as elements. These types of tattoo designs make tattoos a tool to bring out one’s true personality.

#18. Butterfly and Lettering Tattoo

Butterfly and Lettering Tattoo
Source: @tattoosbyadamhill via Instagram

The butterfly design can be added to beautify a tattoo of a name, quote, or phrase tattoo. The above side forearm tattoo is the perfect example. The artist has accomplished that task using just black ink, and I must say the job is well done!

#19. Simple Butterfly Tattoo

Simple Butterfly Tattoo
Source: @seoul.poke via Instagram

Using simple hand-poked outlining, you can get beautiful butterfly tattoo designs in any color. A subtle color such as dull pink is a great choice.

#20. Butterfly Puzzle Tattoo

Butterfly Puzzle Tattoo
Source: @nicktattoostudio via Instagram

It’s always fun to do a tattoo that requires two hands or two feet to join together to form the complete image. For example, each hand side above has half of the butterfly’s appearance. When you join them together and show your friends, they’ll be amazed and smile with happiness. Most popularly, these halves are done for couples instead of both hands of the same individual to represent their love and togetherness.

#21. Pretty Rainbow Style Butterfly Tattoo

Pretty Rainbow Style Butterfly Tattoo
Source: @tanotattoo via Instagram

If you want your butterfly tattoo to be unrealistic yet incredibly pretty and feminine, the above style should inspire you. You can spot every color of the rainbow in the watercolor technique in the above forearm piece.

#22. 3D Butterflies Tattoo on Ribs

3D Butterflies Tattoo on Ribs
Source: @malavida.tattoo via Instagram

Finally, to end this list of beautiful tattoos, you can see beautiful butterflies. They look so realistic; onlookers will feel they’re about to fly away. The technique is 3-dimensional tattooing. The colors are incredibly vivid and pretty as well.

The Cultural Symbolism of Butterfly Tattoos

  • Chinese Butterfly:

If you want your butterfly tattoo associated with immense beauty, feminity, and grace, go for a Chinese-style butterfly tattoo.

  • Indian Butterfly:

Butterflies best represent the beauty of a woman and nature in countries like India.

  • Japanese Butterfly:

The Japanese-style butterfly tattoos are symbolic of that culture’s marriages, anniversaries, etc.

  • Irish Butterfly:

Celtic, Irish butterfly tattoo designs are representative of the human soul.

Conclusion

Did you know, almost 100,000 species of butterflies exist? Imagine googling many of them and getting confused about the color scheme, pattern, or size to choose for your next tattoo! I hope the above butterfly tattoos, which the world is raving about online, helped you get inspired for your next pick. Butterfly tattoos aren’t just great in beauty, but they’re positive symbols no matter which culture they’re associated with.

About Author

Jonathan Corby "Jonny" is a guy who is passionate about Tattooing and successfully running a Tattoo Studio in NY. Through my journey as a Tattoo Artist I have made unforgettable memories. This irrational poetry and sense of freedom of art on skin has given a blissfull experience to my life. Each Tattoo has a story behind it; Lets share one!

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