Butterflies are perhaps the most fascinating creatures on Earth. They are a true gift from Nature. They start out as one of those creepy crawlies but become one of the most beautiful creatures. Butterflies have short lifespans but their lifetime is filled with events that call out even to humans. This may be the reason why a butterfly tattoo is a rather popular choice among tattoo enthusiasts.
Butterfly tattoo designs are more popular among women. These creatures are traditionally connected to femininity and love. Nonetheless, they are also gaining attention towards the male statistics. If you want to find a good design for your next ink, read on.
The Life of a Butterfly
- 1 The Life of a Butterfly
- 2 Significance of Butterflies in Different Cultures
- 3 Butterfly Tattoo and its General Meaning
- 4 Butterfly Tattoo Variations and What Each One Means
- 5 Butterfly Tattoo Designs with Other Elements
- 6 Common Butterfly Tattoo Designs for your Personality
- 7 More Designs and What they Stand for
- 8 2D versus 3D Designs
- 9 Minimalist Butterfly Tattoo Designs
- 10 Placement Ideas
- 11 Finding a Tattoo Artist
Butterflies go through 4 stages in their life cycle. They go from egg, larva, pupa, and to an adult butterfly. Depending on which species of butterfly it is, their lifespan could be from one month to a whole year. It’s a rather short time but they go through their complete metamorphosis in that time.
After being hatched, they turn into what we know as caterpillars. These are butterfly larvae. They do not really stay for long on this stage. However, they do have to eat a whole lot until they have enough strength to turn into the third stage.
Butterfly eggs are born into the same leaves they eat when they grow into caterpillars. This is important as during their larva stage, they won’t be able to travel a long way.
Perhaps the most fascinating stage of a butterfly’s life is the third. This is when they reach their full length and weight as a caterpillar and cover themselves with a cocoon. This is known as the pupa or the chrysalis. From the outside, it may look like the caterpillar is simply resting. However inside, the creature is rapidly changing.
If the butterfly is ready and has changed, it will emerge from its cocoon. Seeing a butterfly emerge is pretty much one of the most amazing things you’ll see. From a creepy crawlie, they would turn into a beautiful creature, with wings as colorful and lovely as a work of art.
Significance of Butterflies in Different Cultures
These amazing creatures are rather popular symbolism in Christianity and in Greek mythology.
In Christianity, a butterfly could signify Christ’s resurrection and His ascension to heaven.
In Greek culture, the butterfly is known as psyche, after the Greek goddess of the Soul, Psyche. She is often depicted as having butterfly wings. According to Greek myth, Psyche was a human that fell madly in love with Eros, god of Love. She eventually married the god and became a goddess herself. That is why butterflies are often known as a symbol of both Love and Spirituality after the story.
Butterfly Tattoo and its General Meaning
Butterfly tattoos have different meanings. It really depends on what type of butterfly is depicted or even what color the butterfly is. Nonetheless, butterflies stand for beauty and love, as what was mentioned above. Apart from that, they also became a symbol or rebirth and transformation. This was adapted from their transformation as caterpillar to butterfly.
Generally, a butterfly tattoo could mean any of the following:
- Spirituality and the soul
- Resurrection and rebirth
- Connection with nature and natural elements
But not all butterfly tattoos say either any of these meanings. It could be different for one person to another. It could be that the wearer is just an avid fan of butterflies and love the way they look. Perhaps it is a dedication to their hobby or they know someone who collects butterflies and other insects.
In the end, the meaning could be entirely different or one of the general meanings depending on the wearer.
Butterfly Tattoo Variations and What Each One Means
Specific butterfly tattoos can represent a different trait or idea as a tattoo. Here are some of the most common butterfly tattoo variations and what each one represents:
- Tribal butterfly tattoo – Tribal tattoos have linked to native tribes around the world. The patterns and the designs of tribal butterfly tattoo meanings remain unclear. Nonetheless, they are often used to depict a connection to nature.
- Celtic butterfly tattoo – Just as with tribal tattoos, Celtic tattoos have strong ties to Celtic and Irish culture. A Celtic butterfly tattoo often means spirituality and a connection to nature. It is also be linked to Paganism.
- Gothic butterfly tattoo – Gothic designs are also prevalent in the tattoo industry. Butterfly tattoos are often colorful but this one is given dark undertones for a gothic touch. However, it might not have the best meaning as it could mean loss of innocence and freedom.
- Monarch butterfly – The monarch butterfly is perhaps one of the most popular butterfly species. It is also a common variation of butterfly tattoo tattoo. In Mexico, this tattoo serves as a representation of the coming back of the souls of their deceased loved ones. This is rather popular way of celebrating the Day of the Dead. If you move a dead monarch butterfly, it is considered as bad luck.
- Breast cancer butterfly tattoo – It is no surprise that butterflies are used as an icon for women’s health, especially since it is very popular among women. The pink ribbon represents breast cancer awareness. Many choose the breast cancer butterfly tattoo as a dedication for the people they know who suffer from this.
- Blue butterfly – This design is often a sign of good luck.
Butterfly Tattoo Designs with Other Elements
More complicated tattoo designs have more than just one element. You can create a butterfly tattoo but add a few more subjects to the design. Of course you can keep the main focus on the butterfly but adding a flower could add another meaning to the design.
The tattoo’s meaning will depend on what the added element represents. If you add a sunflower, it could mean happiness and joviality. That being said, your butterfly tattoo could now mean you are a person who loves being happy and giving happiness. Or perhaps you have transformed as a person and now you are happy.
Here are other designs of butterfly tattoo with another element:
- Dragonfly – You can either add the dragonfly or mix the two creatures together. Either way, the dragonfly is a representation of transformation and meditation. As a tattoo, both of this in one design means inner peace.
- Skulls – Skulls signifies a person’s mortality as well as past life. Adding it as a design on a butterfly’s wing can be a pretty dreary and dark sight. However, this actually has a positive meaning. It symbolizes growth and transformation after a tragic event. It can also embody a change in lifestyle such as turning away from alcohol and drugs.
- Tiger – Tigers are a symbol of power, strength, passion, and sexual prowess. Together with a butterfly, this tattoo design symbolizes the wearer’s inner strength. It shows that even a fragile creature, such as the butterfly, also have some dormant power.
- Fairies – Fairies are a lot like butterflies – they are both children of nature. Getting a tattoo with both of these elements in one could signify a deep bond in the natural world. Apart from that, it also represents femininity, rebirth, transformation, and freedom.
Common Butterfly Tattoo Designs for your Personality
Since butterfly tattoos have gone mainstream, there are now a whole lot of tattoo designs out there. From the unique and surreal tattoos to common designs, you can find one that will speak to you more.
For those who believe in good luck charms, a tattoo of both a butterfly and a dragon will work. You can combine these two elements into one design. In many cultures, both these creatures are deemed as bringer of good fortune. These elements also balances masculine and feminine qualities such as strength and beauty.
If you are a firm believer of God, you can have a tattoo of an angel and a butterfly. Just as with any other designs, you can combine these two designs or make them co-exist in one. As angels are known to be protectors, those who wear this tattoo are often deemed as people who protect someone. Usually, they are protectors of people who are innocent and emotionally fragile.
More Designs and What they Stand for
The best thing about butterfly tattoos is that they are versatile. You can pair them with almost anything and it would turn out great. Of course, you just need to have proper planning and some good imagination to think of how the elements will go together.
Apart from that, there are a variety of styles you can do for a more unique tattoo. Just as with the added elements, some styles have different meanings. Take for example the Japanese butterfly tattoo. This is often used by couples to commemorate their wedding and their anniversary.
Butterfly tattoos could also change their appearance and their meaning with the color you choose. Blue butterflies stand for good luck. White ones are known as a symbol of purity and salvation in Christian context. Yellow ones are for happiness. In Scotland, a yellow butterfly near a grave often indicates that the soul is in peace.
Butterflies are well-known for their wings. You can focus on the wings as with most design. Some even research a species of butterfly and try to copy its wings. Of course, you can create your own design.
2D versus 3D Designs
Tattoos nowadays could either be 2D or 3D . Tattoos are traditionally 2D designs but modern techniques have given way to 3-dimensional styles. This is through the right techniques such as shadowing and highlighting.
A butterfly tattoo is a great element for a 3D design. Artists can make it look like it just landed on your shoulders or your hand. Or perhaps it’s flying near you. With these designs though, you have to find a good tattoo artist. 3D tattoo designs are tough to do. Techniques should be precise in order to make the illusion of the tattoo being “alive.”
3D designs also require great attention to detail. Photo-realistic designs feature even the littlest details. If you are researching for a butterfly you want to ink on your skin, you have to find a good picture. Get one that makes it easier to see each detail.
2D style is the more versatile of the two. You can create almost any design and pay attention to the quality of the drawing rather than making it look real. 2D designs can give birth to almost any kind of tattoo styling; from minimalist to tribal designs.
Minimalist Butterfly Tattoo Designs
What could be the perfect tattoo style for people who like subtle tattoos? Minimalist tattoos are the answer. It can be as simple as a linework or as stunning as dot work. This tattoo style usually works with sparse color palettes and has more negative space.
There are several ways to make a minimalist butterfly body art design.
As said, one is the linework where the artist will just create an outline of the butterfly with a few designs. Maybe some more lines and a few dots. Others tend to create an outline and just fill it in with a black ink. For this design, many choose a swarm of butterflies flying away. An interesting design includes a dandelion with a swarm of butterflies flying from it.
Dot work is a bit tedious but it usually results in a stunning design. Basically, artists only create the entire tattoo with just dots. This includes the shadowing, detailing, and sometimes even the colors.
Using sparse color palettes and less details also make a minimalist tattoo. For a butterfly design, you don’t always have to use different shades of a color. Or you don’t really have to recreate every detail on their wings.
This is a great style for those who want smaller tattoos or even for first-timers.
Butterfly tattoos could be placed anywhere on your body. But there are a few factors you have to think about before choosing a place. Here are the following:
- Size – Smaller and average-sized tattoos would work best on areas with enough space. Smaller tattoos tend to get lost in vast spaces such as the back or the chest. Larger tattoos would work best on the back, as a full sleeve, and the chest.
- Design – Does your design work more on width or in length? If it’s a longer type of tattoo, the arms, forearms, legs, and thighs would be the perfect places. These areas give more emphasis to the design.
- Pain level – Your tattoo may have the right size and design for an inner bicep tattoo. But the question now is whether you can tolerate the pain it will bring. Sure, getting a tattoo is painful, no matter where you have it. However, some places are more painful than the others. For example, the inner biceps and inner elbows tend to be more painful than the sleeve area and the legs.
That being said, you can research the most painful areas and check which parts you think you can tolerate. Then based on what you have checked, you can now weigh the size and the design for the perfect placement.
Other people also have to think about their employment. While modern society is more open to tattoos nowadays – even workplaces, some still have stricter rules. Be sure that your place is alright with you having a tattoo. Or you might want to have it in a place where you can easily hide it with your clothes.
Finding a Tattoo Artist
How your tattoo will ultimately come out is pretty much based on who your tattoo artist is. There are many good artist out there but some of them are better in a specific style. If you want to have the best 3D style tattoo, you’d want to find an artist who has mastered the techniques.
The same goes if you want a tribal, Japanese, Celtic, or Gothic tattoos. The best way to do it is to look at the portfolio of your tattoo artist.
If you also know someone with a tattoo you like, you can ask them who their artist is. Referral is one way to ensure that the artist is good. You can see in person what one of their projects look like. You can also ask that person how their experience was.
Of course, your safety is a priority. You should not just go for any artist just because you like their style. They need to know the basics as well: a clean environment, clean equipment, and safe procedures.
That being said, a tattoo artist should always unpack a new set of clean and unused needles in front of you. This is to make sure they are not just reusing old needles which could cause various health conditions.
Apart from that, they should also use gloves at all times to avoid infection. Their environment should also be clean and clutter-free. If they have a sanitizing equipment at the salon, the better.