The butterfly is an enduring symbol of freedom and transformation. It’s no surprise therefore that it’s featured so commonly in tattoos. Butterfly tattoos are especially favored by women who are drawn to their beauty and femininity. Butterflies represent strength despite their delicate appearance, which contributes to their unique appeal. Few other creatures on earth undergo as transformative a process as the butterfly’s metamorphosis. They are a rare beauty among insects, most of which are primarily a nuisance to us.
Butterfly imagery may also carry religious significance for some. In Christianity, for example, butterflies symbolize resurrection, one of the most important themes of the religion’s doctrine. They are also an ideal representation of the soul with their unique ability to transform and take flight. People tend to gravitate toward symbols and imagery that reflect their own lives. Most of us aim to grow, mature, and transform throughout our lifespan; we are therefore drawn to the butterfly, who has accomplished physically what we desire spiritually.
When it comes to tattoo design, butterflies are a pretty ideal subject. They offer great inherent versatility in the use of patterns and colors and can appeal to minimalists and maximalists alike, providing flexibility in size, quantity, and amount of detail. Furthermore, they are a lasting symbol, rather than a fleeting trend. You’ll never have to worry about your butterfly tattoo going out of style. Nevertheless, if commitment is a concern, a semi-permanent tattoo is also an option.
Given the popularity of butterfly tattoos, there is no shortage of inspiration available. Below we have curated a sampling of 12 delicate tattoos that demonstrate how creative and beautiful these designs can be. Three of these designs are featured in our own temporary tattoo catalog--these are a great option if you want to wear the butterfly and embrace its symbolism without the long-term commitment.