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The Meaning of Butterfly Tattoos

Butterflies are a popular subject for tattoos among girls and women, either as a pretty skin decoration or as a symbol of a deeper meaning. Butterflies symbolize freedom, beauty and change, and are often chosen to represent a period of transformation in a woman’s life. Butterfly tattoos are often accompanied by other feminine tattoo designs such as flowers, birds and elegant patterns.

The Freedom of Butterfly Tattoos

Butterflies are flying insects that have highly decorative, colorful wings. Humans have dreamed of flying for centuries and have begun to associate the act of flight (represented by wings) with freedom. Butterflies are an attractive, patterned symbol of liberty and confidence, so butterflies are often chosen to represent a life event in which a person sets themselves free of an emotional burden, forgives another person, or allows the spirit of a deceased loved one to move on. Butterflies can be used with other symbols of femininity such as flowers, fish, birds and chalice-shapes. Using butterflies in a design adds a sense of lightness and delicate beauty to the tattoo.

A bright and colorful tie dye butterfly tattoo is a fun way for hippy girls to express their freedom

A rainbow color butterfly tattoo. The patterns on the wings look a bit like tie dye, a clothes dyeing technique that was popular with hippies during the 1960s. The meaning of this tie dye butterfly tattoo could be that the owner of the tattoo is a fun-loving person, who supports hippy ideals such as peace, love and liberty. [source]


The patterns on butterfly wings can be changed to incorporate text or other symbols, adding another dimension to the simple butterfly design. Some tattoo artists make the butterfly appear to be sitting on the skin by inking a shadow onto the skin under the wings. This makes it seem as though the wings are lifted and the butterfly is ready to fly away.

A butterfly tattoo with natural colors. Shadows make it seem as though the butterfly is sitting on the skin

The tattoo artist has created a 3D tattoo design by adding a shadow beneath the butterfly’s wings. This makes it appear as though the butterfly is sitting on the woman’s body, instead of being a flat, 2-Dimensional image. [source]

A hippy butterfly tattoo that has womens faces in the patterns on the wings

This butterfly tattoo design features a face in each wing. This could represent the tattoo owner’s view of herself, or it could be a symbol of the connection between herself and another woman, perhaps a sister or a friend. [source]


The Beauty of Butterfly Tattoos

Butterflies come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes. The basic design of a butterfly can be transformed to create an abstract representation of a butterfly, or the pattern son the wings can be changed to contain names, sayings, portraits or other symbols. Butterfly tattoo designs are usually made up of a collection of organic shapes and curves. These design elements reflect the gentle curves and lines of a woman’s body, making butterfly tattoos an elegant symbol of female beauty, sensuality and sexuality.

An abstract tattoo designs that uses curls and swirls to create the shape of the butterfly

This abstract butterfly tattoo isn’t easy to make out from a distance, but close inspection reveals a beautifully designed tattoo. The floral, curling lines add to the womanly appeal of this butterfly art work. [source]


Women have been decorating their bodies for centuries, whether with jewelry, clothing, cosmetics or tattoos. The more detailed a decoration is, the more women like it. Butterfly wings are usually highly detailed, which means that they are often a popular choice for body decoration and jewelry. A butterfly tattoo can be an attractive piece of art that accentuates a woman’s femininity; a delicate, eternal symbol of beauty. Butterflies represent spiritual and physical beauty, and seem to be forever perched between these two worlds. In many ways, butterflies are a symbol of a balance between spiritual and physical beauty, creating a bridge between the physical and spiritual worlds of femininity.

A feminine butterfly tattoo designs with girly colors and curls

This butterfly tattoo uses the girl’s body as the body of the butterfly to create the illusion that the girl has grown a pair of butterfly wings. Tattoos like these aren’t only attractive body art works, they also represent a lightness of heart, spiritual freedom and playfulness. [source]

A butterfly tattoo designs between the breasts is a symbol of a life change that the woman holds close to her heart

This butterfly tattoo sits in the woman’s cleavage, on her breast bone. Not only is it an attractive tattoo for girls, it has a deeper meaning because it is situated over the heart. This butterfly tattoo is a visual statement of the phrase “a change of heart.” [source]


Butterfly Tattoos Symbolize Change

Butterflies undergo an incredible process called metamorphosis, in which a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly. The caterpillar seals itself into a cocoon, also known as a chrysalis. Inside the cocoon, the caterpillar’s body changes until eventually the insect breaks free and emerges from the chrysalis as a butterfly. The metamorphosis process allows a creature that was once slow-moving and clumsy to become graceful and beautiful, endowed with the gift of flight. Change is often painful, and a transition period marks a time of struggle and strife in a person’s life. To embrace the change and celebrate the results of the change is a part of human development and is one of the first signs of adulthood.

butterfly music freedom expression song dance beauty feminine girl women body art

The tattoo designer has placed the butterfly in this tattoo on a musical score, combining the symbols of the two subjects to create a tattoo that celebrates the changeable nature of both butterflies and music.[source]


The process of metamorphosis has a deeper meaning for many people. Anyone who has experienced enormous change in their life can empathize with this process of transformation. Butterfly tattoo designs are often chosen as a symbol of change and transformation in a person’s life. Often, the life changing event leaves the person feeling light of heart, freed from guilt, blame or anger and a butterfly tattoo perfectly represents these emotions.

Graffiti Tattoo Banksy Girl Blowing Brains Out Red Butterflies Street Body Art Design

This tattoo design is based on a Banksy graffiti art work. This powerful design shows a girl shooting herself in the head. Instead of blood and gore, butterflies emerge from her skull. This image is a powerful symbol of change, and the pain one has to endure in order to enjoy reformation. [source]

butterfly cherry blossom tree tattoo feminine girls women beauty grace rebirth renewal change spring

Two butterflies perch on a cherry blossom branch in this tattoo design. Tattoos like these are perfect for girls and women who have experienced a life changing event, because both butterflies and cherry blossoms symbolize rebirth, renewal and change. [source]


The meaning of butterfly tattoos depends on the artistic design of the tattoo, traditional symbolism and what butterflies represent to the owner of the tattoo.

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