15 Small & Simple Butterfly Tattoo Ideas

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Butterfly tattoos are renowned for their beauty and are trendy right now, but they have a timeless quality too. Everyone loves these beautiful creatures and they do make great tattoos. A simple butterfly tattoo can look best when it is kept delicate. Black and white or coloured butterfly tattoo designs can both work well. Here you will discover 15 Small & Simple Butterfly Tattoo Ideas for inspiration.

Whether you want a tiny, simple line drawing, or a vibrant colourful butterfly tattoo with its wings closed on a detailed flower. Their natural beauty can make a perfect butterfly tattoo design for everyone!

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How To Choose The Right Butterfly Tattoo Design

Whether this is your first time getting a tattoo or something new that you would like added to existing tattoos, choosing the right tattoo design is vital. Choose wisely, you will be living with it forever, so you don’t want to make mistakes.

Choosing the right tattoo can be tricky, but I have scoured our archives for 15 small butterfly tattoo ideas that could be the next big thing in your life. The wings are the most striking factor but don’t forget the butterflies fascinating body. After you have looked down the page do an online search to see what you can find. Make sure you read on to avoid some of the mistakes people make when choosing a tattoo though.

Butterflies have different meanings in different cultures all around the world. Some people view them as symbols of freedom, purity, rebirth, transformation or even death. Others cultures see them as an omen foretelling good luck or misfortune depending on how they fly. Some people even believe butterflies carry messages back and forth between humans and the spirit world and cause life changing transformation. So your butterfly tattoo can mean many things.

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Things To Remember When Choosing A Butterfly Tattoo

Collect Butterfly Tattoo Ideas

Here you will find some beautiful butterfly tattoo ideas I have accumulated over the years. I suggest you do the same before making any final decisions on your design. Don’t worry, you’ll find plenty of options in this article and others pictures you find.

It’s a good idea to start with as many examples of good butterfly tattoos as you can. It will be easier to go through them afterwards to work out which tattoo is best suited to you.

It can feel overwhelming trying to decide on just one tattoo. But with a little research you’ll find the butterfly you like best. Fill up a journal or scrapbook with pictures of contrasting styles of tattoos and different butterfly pictures. Compare them side-by-side.

You might like the beauty of a tiny, simple butterfly line drawing or a colourful, detailed tattoo of a Monarch butterfly sat on a flower. There is no decision that is right for everyone. Choose the butterfly tattoo design that best suits you. This beautiful blue butterfly below is one of my favourites.

colourful simple butterfly tattoos on flower butterfly tattoos wings

Ask Yourself The Question ‘What Does My Dream Butterfly Tattoo Look Like?’

Narrow down your choices gradually. Try to get a clearer idea of what you really want in terms of size, colour or style of wings and body. Some butterfly tattoos may jump out at you immediately. If they do, put them on one side. It might be your final choice, but it shouldn’t stop you from searching for more pictures of butterflies and butterfly tattoos. You might find a different tattoo that suits you better or a picture that gives you inspiration in a different way.

Keep looking until you are left with a design that gives you everything you want. If that doesn’t happen, choose several different images you like to show to the tattoo artist. You might have a picture of a simple butterfly with open wings that is the right size and colour, but you want it tattooed in a different style. A good artist will be able to combine the designs to draw up the butterfly tattoo that you want.

Perhaps you want a simple, minimalist butterfly tattoo. Maybe a complex detailed tattoo of a Peacock butterfly with its wings open, sat on a flower. Think about the style of the butterfly design as well as the image itself. It may be that you find the perfect butterfly, but want it tattooed in a different way that suits you better.

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Choosing The Right Place For Your Butterfly Tattoo

For many people their tattoos are something that makes them different. Some want them on show and will choose a position on their body that isn’t covered by clothes as often. For other people, having their tattoos visible may not be as important. These people may be more concerned with being able to cover the tattoo when needed and like the transformation of revealing them. If the tattoo is done on the rear of the shoulder it is easier to cover than if it is on the front nearer your neck.

A good tattoo artist will happily work with you to make sure the tattoo you get is right for you. As well as choosing a butterfly tattoo design you need to consider where you want the tattoo and its colour, especially its wings. Not all butterfly tattoos will fit in the place you might want your tattoo. The shape of the butterfly should complement the shape of the area the tattoo is to be done. Remember it is for life.

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Don’t Make Rash Decisions

Time spent making sure it is the right butterfly tattoo for you, in the exact place you want it, can save years of regret.

Remember, there is no such thing as the right place or the right tattoo that will fit everyone. A small simple butterfly tattoo might look perfect on the outside of your ankle, but it might look wrong on your upper arm or chest. A larger detailed butterfly tattoo might work much better on your chest or shoulder.

Tattoos are a very personal thing. Too many people regret making a rash decision they made getting the wrong tattoo. I cannot stress enough how important it is to make sure you are making the right decision when choosing the final design and placement for your butterfly tattoo.

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Never Get A Butterfly Tattoo When You Are Drunk

Alcohol thins the blood, so will cause more bleeding. This effectively dilutes the pigment in the ink. The colours will never be as bright. The tattoo can look washed out and old very quickly if there is too much alcohol in your bloodstream when it is done.

Getting a tattoo is an important decision, so don’t do it when you are drunk. A professional tattooist will generally refuse to do any tattoo if you arrive at the studio smelling of alcohol. Drunken decisions will often result in regret.

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Find The Right Tattoo Artist

A professional tattoo artist will happily show you examples of their work and examples of butterfly tattoo designs they have on file to help you make the right choices. Any questions you have can be answered and they will guide you through the whole process.

Finding the right tattooist can be difficult, but today tattoos have become more acceptable and there is much more choice when it comes to tattoo studios.

Find an artist who specialises in the style of tattoo you want. Asking someone who specialises in watercolour tattoos to do a complex ‘Black and Grey’ design, or a traditional tattooist to do a watercolour butterfly tattoo, you are less likely to get the best results. If you want a Black and Grey tattoo, find an artist who specialises in Black and Grey. They will always give you the best outcome.

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If You Aren’t Happy, Walk Away

If the tattooist doesn’t want to help or give advice about your butterfly tattoo, walk away and find someone who will make the time for you. There is no shortage of tattoo artists out there who will be happy to talk about your ideas. Some may be more experienced than others, so it’s worth doing your research before committing to an artist.

Good tattooists will have a loyal social media following (Note, I stress the word loyal more than large) and although they are likely to be biased, they may be able to help with some of your questions.

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Think About How Time Will Affect Your Butterfly Tattoo

The tattoo itself can change a lot over time. However good the tattoo artist is, even when a tattoo is done perfectly, over time, lines will spread and colours will fade.

Fine line details look great when a tattoo is first done, but their use should be balanced against the knowledge that the lines of all tattoos will spread over time to some extent.

What was a beautiful, detailed fine line butterfly tattoo, can become less defined. As the lines spread, it will look less sharp and the gaps between the lines will become less distinct. Light colours will fade faster than dark ones but all colours fade.

Some areas of the body shed and replace skin much faster than others too. If your butterfly tattoo is done on the hands or elbows for example, it is likely to fade much faster.

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Imagine What Your Butterfly Tattoo Will Look Like After 10 Years

I have seen many butterfly tattoos that were originally very detailed fine line design,s end up just looking like a splodge of ink. As the lines of the tattoo spread over time they will gradually fill any gaps between the lines. Because of this the tattoo can loose definition and sometimes looks like a blob of colour has been spilt. This can be particularly bad if a poorly trained tattooist goes in a little too far with the needles as I describe below.

Imagine what your butterfly tattoo will look like drawn with a blunt pencil instead of a sharp one. This is what it is likely to end up looking like after 5 or 10 years. In the tattoo below, the light areas of the wings look great, but as the gaps in colour are small over time they will get smaller and smaller. At some point in the future it will likely just end up looking like a vague grey butterfly shape.

tiny blue butterfly tattoos add butterfly tattoo

The Effect Of Going Too Deep!

The aim of the tattooist is to get the ink for your butterfly tattoo into a layer of skin called the dermis. This is the 2nd layer of skin down of your skin. It sits underneath the outer layer of skin which is called the epidermis. This is the outer waterproof layer of skin that you see.

The ink should be placed below this outer layer to trap the colour so it lasts longer. If the tattooist doesn’t go in far enough, although the colour may initially look vivid, it will fade very quickly, but that is not the worst problem.

Below the dermis, is a layer of subcutaneous fat. If the tattooist goes too deep and the ink enters this layer, the pigments in the tattoo ink will gradually dissolve in the fat. This will make the colour spread much further and faster. Any detail in your design will be lost very quickly.

It can also be difficult to cover tattoos like this. They leave scar tissue from excess damage to the outer layer of skin and the depth of the dermis is often thinner where skin is damaged by scars, so it holds less ink.

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Take Your Time When Making Decisions

Don’t rush to make a decision about your tattoo. Remember, you will be living with it for the rest of your life so take your time! Make sure that this is the right butterfly tattoo for you and not just something that someone else liked it on Instagram.

Scroll down for more beautiful butterfly tattoo ideas or follow this link to see some delicate flower tattoo ideas too

Browse our selection of other Tattoo Ideas And Inspiration.

There are  feather tattoo ideas as well as some fantastic mandala sleeve tattoo designs for women.

And dont forget our other Art related tutorials, ideas, and inspiration take a look to see more.

A final warning. Tattoos are addictive. What starts as a simple butterfly tattoo can spread quickly as you add more tattoos covering more of your body. Your life can be changed forever.

Don’t forget to add us to your bookmarks and check back to see what other new ideas you might find.

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butterfly tattoos


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