225 Cute Small Butterfly Tattoo Designs And Ideas

Small Butterfly Tattoo History

From 1861 to 1865, there were reports of tattooed soldiers fighting on both sides of the American Civil War. The first ever documented professional tattoo artist – The one who had built and operated a tattoo shop, and drew tattoos on members of the paying public – Was Sutherland MacDonald from the UK, back in the early 1880s. Even back then, tattooing was still to be both painful and expensive. And during the late 1880s, it had since become a status symbol among the rich, especially in European countries. In 1891, Samuel O’Reilly from New York invented the very first electric tattoo machine, which he based after Thomas Edison’s electric pen.

The very first appearance of tattoos on women during this time happened in the circus, back in the late 19th century as ‘tattooed ladies’, whose bodies were all covered with ink. The only exceptions were the hands, the faces, the necks, as well as other highly visible areas. To be able to draw in the crowd, some of the earliest tattooed ladies, such as Nora Hildebrandt and Betty Broadbent, told people tall tales about them being seemingly captured and taken hostage by Native Americans. They claimed that the tattoos on their bodies were a symbol of torture to them. But by the 1920s, the whole sideshow industry had died down and the final tattooed lady went out of business by the 1990s.

Even though tattooing slowly increased in popularity right after the invention of the electric tattoo machine, it wasn’t until the 1960s that its place in popular culture took a massive shift. This new form of tattooing renaissance began in the 1950s, and was highly influenced by artists such as Don Ed Hardy, Lyle Tuttle, Zeke Owens and Cliff Raven, among others. Then in the 1970s, a second generation of renowned artists, with most of them trained by the first generation, continued the tradition of making tattoos. These included Jack Rudy, Bob Roberts, and Jamie Summers.

Ever since the 1970s, tattoos have become a huge part of both Western and global fashion. Both men and women began sporting tattoos, and this extended to all economic classes, as well as age groups going from youth in their late teens to middle-aged folks. Popular blues singer Janis Joplin had tattoos on her body, both crafted by Tuttle in his San Francisco studio. This became a seminal moment in the eventual acceptance of tattoos as a form of art. A bigger interest in tattooing started gaining prominence during the same decade, all the way through the start of the 21st century. For a lot of young Americans out there, tattoos have since taken on a rather different meaning compared to the past generations. This is because the humble tattoo has gone through a hugely dramatic redefinition, and has changed as a sign of rebellion and negativity, to an artistic form of self-expression.

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Types Of Small Butterfly Tattoos

  • Black and white small butterfly tattoo – A small tattoo can utilize a gorgeous black and white motif. Placing this tattoo design on your inner wrists is the best in case you want an adorable peek-a-boo effect that is adorable and sensual at the same time. A mixture of wing designs and a great size for the tattoo can build twice the amount of interest for this tattoo design, and you can even get one to add to a budding collection of tattoos, and create certain moments in your life.
  • Flying butterfly tattoos – A lot of people who get butterfly tattoos will usually go for a static butterfly design. These are butterfly tattoo designs which have seemingly landed on the wearer’s skin and could stay there forever. Another great idea of a butterfly tattoo design is inking one caught sitting on the wearer’s skin.
  • Magnificent monarch butterfly tattoo – The famous monarch butterfly is a highly recognizable specie of butterfly, thanks to its contrasting orange and black wings. These wings can make an excellent tattoo design idea. A monarch butterfly is also known for its ability to find its way home, passing through dangerous routes towards their mating grounds in South America. This can further result in an even deeper meaning for a butterfly tattoo. It means that you have the ability to return home and stay strong even through facing the toughest tribulations and trials. The piece found on top of it includes a tasteful shadow and a lighter color border, and these can fade away into each other, resulting in a dreamy quality for the wings. Talk to your artist regarding the kind of feel that you want for a tattoo.
  • Butterfly and flower tattoo – A butterfly tattoo can look really lovely when paired up with some flowers. As mentioned, a butterfly symbolizes transformation and change. As most people would know, a butterfly doesn’t always start off as such. Thanks to this transformation and sudden change, plenty of college graduates end up getting butterfly tattoos after they have finished their education. A butterfly tattoo can symbolize a whole new beginning in the wearer’s own life, even though getting a large and visible tattoo is often considered a big no-no no in certain careers.
  • Neck-bow butterfly tattoo – The neck is one of the best spots to wear a butterfly tattoo. This tattoo design looks twice as amazing if you wear it together with a neck-bow, since the design will look very stylish and sophisticated. You can utilize these tattoos in different sizes and as a conceptually-designed tattoo as well.

Meaning Of A Small Butterfly Tattoo

Plenty of people who acquire butterfly tattoos don’t really care too much about the overall meaning. For a lot of people, a butterfly tattoo barely holds any meaning, and is only chosen as a design because it’s both beautiful and simple at the same time. For certain individuals, the symbolism that comes with the butterfly is very important. A butterfly represents transformation from being immature and rash, to a wise individual. It also symbolizes the path that a person ends up taking as they become older and more mature. A butterfly can represent diversity and beauty among many different cultures too.

Butterflies are a paradigm of natural beauty. They have always considered as a symbol of faith, freedom, and transformation. Tradition states that the butterfly legacy is always romantic love and femininity, which is the reason why they’re so popular.

A butterfly is a strong representation of a person’s life. A lot of cultures have associated the butterfly with a person’s soul. In Christianity, the butterfly is a symbol of resurrection. And across various cultures, people have seen the butterfly as a sign of change, endurance, life, and hope. There is very little doubt that the butterfly holds a special meaning for us humans.

Thanks to countless heartfelt stories from across the globe, we have heard of butterflies representing the soul of a loved one after they have passed away, or any kind of life struggle that a person goes through and ended up coming out of it as a much better and nicer person. These stories include cancer survivors and fighters, those who have struggled with mental issues or breakdowns, overcame a drug addiction, or heartbreak. A butterfly has also become a symbol of weddings, life, or any positive celebration, as well as a fruitful journey.

In places like Japan and the Western culture, a single butterfly tattoo stands for womanhood, while two of them represent marriage or marital bliss. In ancient cultures of South America and Mexico, they knew that a butterfly stood for the soul of the deceased, or a woman who died during childbirth. In general, the butterfly holds a lot of meanings in plenty of different cultures, but the change seems to come from a shared interpretation.

Butterfly Tattoo Placement

When you want to get a tattoo done, aim for the ‘meatier’ spots like the biceps or the thighs, since they don’t have too much pain involved. If this just so happens to be your first tattoo, these areas might be the best option. These two areas aren’t that painful compared to the rest of the body, because of the fat involved.

Forearms are also a great choice. But you may want to skip the inside part of your upper arm if you have a low threshold for pain, since it’s got too many nerve endings to make the experience feel comfortable.

You may also consider the shoulder or calves for a low or mid-range of pain. These two areas still have enough muscle to cushion the needle’s impact as they hit. And at the same time, there’s also enough bones compared to the biceps or triceps, and have more cushioning compared to other spots. The wrist also falls into the same category as these two, but there’s more pain involved here.

Don’t place your tattoo on a bony area to lessen the pain. These bony areas include the hands, the feet, the ribs, the knees, and the elbows. Unfortunately placing a tattoo in any part of the body can hurt, but if you get it done in one of the aforementioned areas, it’ll likely hurt twice as much. These spots hurt since there’s not much flesh in between the needle as well as the bone.

Talk to your tattoo artist regarding pain tolerance. They will surely know which places on the body will hurt more. If you have an especially low threshold for pain, ask your artist regarding the good spots to get a tattoo on. Make sure you listen to your tattoo artist. Obviously you already have an idea about where your tattoo will look the best on, but your artist can give you some advice and a bit of an adjustment as to where the placement looks much better.

A tattoo can draw a person’s attention to that particular part of the body, so pick a place where you wouldn’t mind people staring at. Listen to your artist in case they don’t approve with your planned tattoo placement! Even though you already made plans about where to put your tattoo on, along with the design, the artist always has sensible and valid reasons for you to consider, before you can alter your body’s look forever.

The tattoo craze is getting popular in so many places around the world. And nowadays, a lot of individuals feel more inclined towards acquiring a permanent piece of artwork on their body, and they can go to any extent in order to get a tattoo done. Acquiring a tattoo is something you need to consider. People need to make a concrete decision first before heading towards a tattoo shop and booking an appointment.

There are several spots on the body where you can get a tattoo done. Young girls and boys usually place them on the ankles, wrists, fingers, biceps, and neck.

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Butterfly Tattoo Preparation Tips

To ready yourself for a tattoo, be sure to drink as plenty of water as possible, especially on the day before the appointment. This is because skin that gets well-hydrated will accept the ink much easier, in comparison to dehydrated and dried up skin. You can also rub some moisturizer into your skin each day during the entire week, leading up to the day of your appointment so that your tattoo is in excellent condition afterward. And before you acquire a tattoo, eat a decent meal with plenty of protein, so you won’t feel faint and possibly pass out thanks to blood loss, exhaustion and pain during the appointment.

Do not drink any alcohol or take any form of pain medication at least a day before the session happens. This is because these two factors are blood thinners that can make your skin bleed twice as much during and after the session.

Never miss or forget your appointment on the day itself. Not only will you not be able to acquire that tattoo that you’ve always wanted, but your artist will also be empty-pocketed without any other client to work on for the number of hours you were first booked in for.

Be sure to double-check the time and date of your own appointment, and write everything down in a calendar or planner, if you use any of those two.

Also See: 155 Loveliest Mother Daughter Tattoos This Year

Do plenty of research on tattoo design. You have to be certain that you already know just exactly the type of design you want to get for yourself. Come up with as many personalized details as possible, so you can visualize what you want the final look of your tattoo to be, and make sure that it stays true to what you have planned in your head.

Don’t forget to provide your artist all of the important details for your tattoo design, if you haven’t done it already. This is important so they can complete the tattoo’s design to the right specifications that you will need. Give them any reference photos you found, if possible, together with the desired placement of your tattoo on the body, and the rough size that you want your tattoo to have.

Give all of these details to your artist as soon as you possibly can, so they’ll get enough time to draw the details and make your tattoo look as perfect when you arrive for the appointment.

Pretty much every professional tattoo shop out there will ask you to sign a waiver first before the session itself can start. Plenty of these waivers will ask you to state down all of your present and past medical conditions, which could possibly affect you during the entire tattooing process.

In case the artist feels like a certain medical condition may deem you unfit to get a tattoo, then they may also ask you to acquire a doctor’s note which says that you’re allowed to push through with the session or not.


Are Butterfly Tattoos Painful?

Never hesitate to ask for a break. Nearly every tattoo artist out there will tell you this before the session officially begins, but it’s still worth repeating: Ask your artist to give you a break in case the pain becomes too unbearable for you. A lot of them wouldn’t mind giving you a short breather, and would prefer you not to make your tattooing experience an overly painful one, especially if it’s your first. Don’t feel shy to take a two or three-minute break then return to the process after that.

Asking your artist for a break isn’t embarrassing. A lot of tattoo artists out there will work on a client with a huge tolerance for pain, and has pretty much felt it all in regards to painful reactions. Keep in mind that you’ll actually be paying for your tattoo, so you need to do what’s good for yourself!

If your artist allows it, try to take an over-the-counter pain relieving medicine (preferably one that doesn’t thin out your blood). Take this as a last resort if the pain becomes completely hard to bear. Try taking smaller doses a few minutes before the appointment starts. But do not take any pain medication which contains blood-thinning agents, or thins out your blood as a side effect. These medicines won’t particularly affect the tattooing process when taken in smaller doses, but they can result in your wound bleeding too much.

A great over-the-counter painkiller which doesn’t act as a blood thinner at the same time is paracetamol, or acetaminophen. However, other painkillers like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium do work like blood thinners.

Never dull the painful sensation by drinking alcohol before the session. Even though it could be downright tempting to show up drunk to a tattoo appointment – Especially if you end up treating it similarly as a social event – This isn’t exactly the best idea out there. Plenty of good and highly reputable tattoo parlors won’t agree to work with somebody under the influence of alcohol, or has recently taken drugs. And with good reason – A drunk or high client does have the tendency to be loud, unruly, and can make unwise choices when it comes to tattoo designs that they will most likely regret later on. Apart from that, alcohol, much like certain painkiller brands, also acts like a blood thinner, making your new tattoo draw out twice the amount of blood than what is normally expected.

Be sure to listen to your artist’s maintenance instructions. It’s quite normal for a brand new tattoo to feel a bit sore just a couple of days after it’s done. And right after the appointment is over, the artist will provide you with several detailed instructions on how to properly care for your new tattoo. You need to follow these instructions as carefully as possible, and the pain throughout the session will be short-lived. The proper steps that your artist will tell you to follow might vary depending on who makes your tattoo.

Frequently Asked Questions About Small Butterfly Tattoos

1.) How do I choose a design?

  • Traditionally, you may have already picked a preferred tattoo design from the ones posted on the walls of a tattoo shop, or from their big book of ideas and pre-drawn designs. You can call thse designs ‘Flash art’. This kind of tattooing job is actually rarely designed by the artist themselves, but instead you will buy them from a Flash Art supplier. But now, things have evolved – And even though there are still some artists out there who depend on Flash Art tattoos for the designs (mostly because some of them only have a limited amount of artistic ability), there is now a growing number of artists who are willing to create a customized design for your own specifications. This will obviously require a huge amount of artistic skills, so you have to pay a bit more for some bespoke work compared to getting a Flash tattoo design. However, at least you’ll still end up wearing an authentic piece, and not the same kind of tattoo that ten other folks will be wearing and flaunting. Apart from this, your artist can work together with you to create a tattoo that holds a personal value, contains more meaning, and won’t go out of favor with the public in a few years’ time. This will all add up to some better value soon enough.

2.) When should I get a tattoo done?

Getting a tattoo done is never a good idea if you’re inebriated or under the influence of an illegal substance. Plenty of professional tattoo shops do have rules regarding this: they will not grant a tattoo to anyone who is high, drunk, or both. Frankly, a tattoo when you’re either of those is a clearly stupid decision. One of the other reason why you should never get a tattoo is when you’re still unsure if you really want one. Wait until you’re already certain about your choice, but if you aren’t sure, then just don’t get one. A tattoo is never a good thing you can feel ambiguous about. Even though there are no specific medical considerations in regards to acquiring a tattoo, but you still have to use a lot of common sense. And in case you fall ill days before, or on the day of your session, then just wait until you’re feeling much better.

3.) Can I use topical anesthetic, numbing creams or painkillers before the session?

  • Not a lot of people ask this particular question. Yes, you can use numbing creams before your appointment begins, but only a handful of tattoo shops will recommend this, and there’s a good reason why. First off, you need to apply creams or anesthetics a couple of hours before you can sit down for the tattoo appointment. Some creams only last for thirty or forty minutes. And since tattooing is an art form that is not an exact science, this means that there could be times when you’ll end up waiting past the assigned appointment time, as your artist finishes up a design that took a while to complete. And as a result, this makes it hard to apply the cream at the correct time. And secondly, even if you are able to put on the cream at the right moment, the potential short working time of the cream makes its effect limiting to tiny tattoos.

How Much Does A Small Butterfly Tattoo Cost?

The price of your tattoo will vary, according to the design and size you chose. Naturally, a larger and more comprehensive design will only cost twice as much compared to a smaller tattoo. To give you a good idea for this, a small and simple tattoo design costs over seventy dollars. However, the price will vary, so the only sensible thing you can do here is to ask. Bring your chosen design or describe it to your artist (just be as detailed as possible) and plenty of shops can provide you with a price quote instantly.

Butterfly Tattoo Maintenance Tips

Even though there are plenty of artists out there who will ask you to leave on that bandage for at least an hour, there are still others who may ask you to keep it on for one whole day. Only your artist will know the amount of time that’s best for your tattoo, so make sure you listen to them carefully.

Make sure to wash that tattoo carefully and gently after you take off the wrap. Give it a thorough yet light rinse using lukewarm water and mild fragrance-free liquid soap to wash away the dried ink, blood, and plasma. Afterwards, pat the tattoo dry after cleaning it up. You can do this by utilizing a clean and dry paper towel. Remember: Pat gently. Do not rub.

The next step is to place a tiny amount of lotion onto the new tattoo. After rinsing it, make sure that the area has been completely air-dried before you rub on a thin layer of your selected moisturizer or aftercare lotion or product. The latter will nourish the tattoo area. so the full area.

Wash your tattoo daily. Keep using the same fragrance-free soap and lukewarm water combination to clean up that tattoo at least twice per day. Repeat the same steps until your tattoo has healed up. Keep in mind that your tattoo isn’t going to be fully safe from bacteria and germs until the scabs and skin have flaked off. At this point, you have to keep washing the tattoo – Usually for up to four weeks.

Refrain from pulling and picking on the scabs and flakes. Picking and prematurely peeling them off as your tattoo heals up can hasten the healing process, cause the ink to fade away faster, and worse, increase your chances of acquiring an infection. And as your tattoo heals up, be sure to stay away from two things: Sunlight and water. Do not expose your brand new tattoo in direct or intense sunlight. Never place any lotion on top of the area until it has completely healed up. Meanwhile, all huge bodies of water – And even pools – Can contain a good amount of nasty bacteria which can ruin the tattoo’s look, especially if you aren’t being careful. Please keep sticking to short showers until the skin has healed up. Don’t go swimming in beaches and pools or soak in hot tubs for a while.

Continue to watch out for your tattoo as it heals up. After the healing process is over, ensure that the tattoo is well-protected from the sunlight, so keep that area moisturized. Having healthy skin ensures that the tattoo itself looks amazing.

What are the things you should NOT do while your tattoo heals up? A lot – Especially during the first stage of healing. Do not pick on the scabs, as mentioned. This is an important step. After a couple of days, your tattoo will start scabbing. This is mostly light scabbing, but a couple of thicker ones can show up on certain areas, depending on the magnitude of tattoo work, and how heavy your artist’s hands were.

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