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Meaning of Butterfly Tattoos

Updated on June 3, 2013

Tattoos aren’t just for sailors and tough guys anymore. These days, tattoos are a fashion statement that people from all walks of life are making. People are getting and wearing tattoos in a huge array of patterns and colors and on many parts of the body. Young women are especially interested in tattoos. Tattoos highlight the beauty of the skin, the shapeliness of an arm or a shoulder, the sensuousness of the lower back. One of the most popular tattoo designs, especially for women, is the butterfly tattoo. Butterfly tattoos are graceful and charming and carry special importance for many women.

The Meaning of Butterfly Tattoos

When people are deciding on what tattoo they will get, they are usually looking for something that will have some personal meaning to them, a tattoo that will express their outlook on life and the way they think about and see themselves. Tattoos usually have a symbolic meaning for the people who wear them, and butterfly tattoos are no exception.

The butterfly has long been associated with transformation and with renewal or rebirth. The caterpillar spins its cocoon, sleeps away the long, cold winter, and in spring bursts forth newly made and transformed as a lovely butterfly. In Greek mythology, Psyche, goddess of the soul, was associated with the butterfly. The Greeks also believed that butterflies carried new souls from heaven whenever a child was born. Thus butterflies are thought of as spiritual creatures, as a symbol of the lovely weightlessness of the soul and its ability to continuously transform and make itself new.

Of course, butterflies are also associated with beauty, the beauty that bursts forth from the cocoon after the snows and ice of winter. Naturally then, the butterfly tattoo would be a favorite of women, suggesting femininity and grace. This is especially true when the butterfly tattoo is accompanied by a flower or a group of flowers. The butterfly lives its life drinking the nectar of the flower, sustaining itself through beauty.

Butterfly tattoos can find a comfortable spot on any part of the body.
Butterfly tattoos can find a comfortable spot on any part of the body.

Butterfly Tattoos for Any Part of the Body

The butterfly is a versatile tattoo because it can fit so nicely on any part of the body. Because a butterfly’s wings are known for their delicate suppleness, the design is well accommodated to the beautiful, natural curves of the human body. Whether to the arm or shoulder, the thigh, the small of the back, or somewhere yet more intimate, the butterfly will add grace and charm. Then, radiating from the central design of the butterfly itself, flowers of any shape and hue can flow outward to absolutely lovely effect.

Butterfly Tattoo Patterns

Depending on which part of the body you’d like to get your tattoo, there are, of course, many possible butterfly tattoo patterns and styles to choose from. Perhaps you want something small and discrete, to hide beneath the sleeve of your shirt, or perhaps you are someone with bold tastes who would like a butterfly tattoo that is large and striking, maybe centered between the wings of your shoulders. Whichever you get, you will want a butterfly tattoo that speaks directly about who you are, that expresses your unique personality.

Fortunately, there are many places you can look for tattoo designs, including butterflies. Many books and websites offer stencils that can be taken to the tattoo parlor to act as either a guide or inspiration for the tattoo artist. Many of these tattoo design websites offer these stencils for free.

One such website is This site offers a wealth of information and tips on choosing and getting tattoos, in addition to providing tattoo designs free of charge. The site has an entire page devoted to butterfly tattoos. Here you will find information about butterfly tattoos and a number of illustrations of this kind of tattoo.

Another website that charges a small fee for downloading tattoo designs is For about 12 to 17 dollars, you can purchase line art from Bullseye Tattoos that the tattoo artist can use to apply your tattoo. According to the website, having line art in hand when you visit the tattoo parlor will save time and money. This site has quite a few butterfly tattoo patterns to purchase. You might even find the pattern that Julia Roberts used for her butterfly tattoo!

Celebrities with Butterfly Tattoos

Did you know a number of celebrities have butterfly tattoos? They do, and here is just a small sample.

Julia Roberts has a butterfly tattoo on her lower back and so does Maria Carey. Drew Barrymore has a butterfly on her stomach. Britney spears got tattooed with a butterfly on her foot. Even country legend Dolly Pardon has a butterfly tattoo,on her chest.

As you can see, the butterfly tattoo is indeed the tattoo of choice for many women, famous and otherwise. With its association with spirit and beauty, it is a great choice for a first, or a second, or even a fifth tattoo.


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      Cideca B Mangal 5 years ago

      I love butterfly tattoos, it just expresses my personality with grace and charm. The history of a butterfly was very interesting, which made me took my butterfly tattoos surrounded with flowers that shows true beauty on my upper back.

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      valarie 5 years ago

      I love butterfly tattoos i have 4now and want more they are beautiful and the colors are great.

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      Brownsugar 6 years ago

      I'm thinking about getting a butterfly tattoo

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      katie 6 years ago

      i really like the meaning of the butterfly anw will concider having one they are beautiful

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      butterfly Tattoo 7 years ago from Dallas Texas

      I totally agree Butterfly tattoos are without doubt the most feminie and beautiful