Tattoo Ideas: Wings (angels, butterflies, fairies)

Updated on June 15, 2011

Written by: Jaclyn Popola

Butterflies represent freedom, fantasy, and flight; change and transformation. A caterpillar surrounds himself in a self-made cocoon only to emerge as a beautiful butterfly free to fly wherever his heart takes him. Archangels are our ultimate protectors, watching over us from heaven. Some may become earthbound every now and again to guard and guide us along our individual paths, others are loved ones that have passed on but gaze down at us from above or visit us in dreams to let us know we are not now, and will never be, alone. Fairies (also spelled faeries) are mythological wee folk (or supernatural beings, depending on who you ask) with magical powers who live in the woods and hide from our desperately seeking eyes. They are ethereal creatures, representing romance and enchantment.

It is no wonder that so many people wish to have winged creatures tattooed on their skin. An angel to protect, a butterfly to set you free. Often the meaning behind the images we choose for tattoos goes far beyond, and way deeper than, their simple face value. Butterflies have always been popular selections, especially among women, and especially as a first tattoo. They are small and simple, and easy to find a place for. There has been no shortage of fairy tattoos, either. You can walk into any tattoo parlor in America and see dozens of images of fairies lined up on the poster walls, waiting to be transformed from paper to skin. But the past ten years or so has seen the development of a trend never before experienced: the desire for human beings to get tattoos of the wings by themselves, affixed onto the back where real wings would sprout had we the power to make it happen. Angel wings and butterfly wings are undeniably the most popular selections, but fairy wings make their appearances as well, along with a slew of intricate, abstract designs that can only be described as wings but cannot in any way be classified.

Images Courtesy of

Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        Marysol 6 years ago

        I want to get my little brothers names on my back any ideas?

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        158tracy 6 years ago

        i love the 1st one its really sexy love girl hope too see it on mine someday

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        britney 6 years ago

        omg lex get over it!! i copyed another persons tatt, i copyed bridgets from big brother.. just added xoxo on it. everyone does it, who gives a shit. so many people have the same tatts, grow up

      • profile image

        lex 7 years ago

        you want to copy someone's tattoo are you kidding me? honestly learn to design your own tattoo

        to the girl who has this you must have copied it from me or stole it from the artist who designed this tattoo how original NOT!!!

      • profile image

        Austin Anderson and Riley Alvord 8 years ago

        we really love the pubic hair coming in, it just completes the tattoo :)

      • profile image

        Megan 8 years ago

        I'm in love with the butterfly silhouette one.

        See, like, I really want to design my own tatt, but I want it to be big, unique and flowing. I want it to look like it flows from one area of my body to the other. And I want it to represent freedom, independence, and creativity. This may not be the forum for this type of thing, but can anybody give me any advice?

      • profile image

        aBbyRuTh 9 years ago

        i LovE It SoO mUcH.. iTs sOo AriSt...

      • profile image

        Lizzi 9 years ago

        Hi guys!

        I LOVE the full back design its beautiful and so is the Standard fairy, great design I must use that!!

        I am pretty into the whole butterfly tattoo's and their meaning to me. Basically Im after my 2nd tattoo, I already butterflies around my ankle but I love the silhouette butterflies and was thinking of having that style starting from left shoulder across and down the middle of my back, is that too OTT with Butterflies?

      • profile image

        Tinkerbell 9 years ago

        These tatoos are great... I'm wanting to get one for my 20th b-day. But I'm looking for maybe a fairy sittin' on a mushroom and some type of flowers on each side with vines to go across the lower part of my back @ my pantsline.... If anybody seen any pics similar... I would like 2 see.

      • profile image

        serg 9 years ago

        can anyone find me a pic of a more masculine tattoo with angel wings and some sort of sheild

      • profile image

        grace 9 years ago

        i love the first one, but if she gains any weight...

      • starrkissed profile image

        starrkissed 9 years ago from Arizona

        some of these are just gorgeous!

      • profile image

        deedee 9 years ago

        love the tats having my 50th birthday in sept and wanna get one !!!!

      • profile image

        jeanie 10 years ago

        all these tattoos are beautiful and unique. im looking for ideas of my unfinshed back piece. these are inspirations for me to get it done.

      • profile image

        Sib 10 years ago

        Wow i love the full back piece and the cartoon butterfly! Gorgeous. And this is a great page!! :)

      • profile image

        BlackAngel 10 years ago

        Standard Fairy is amazing where can i buy/get the design to have it? its the only faerie tattoo ive fallen head over heels with. ??

      • profile image

        Nicola 10 years ago

        whoever asked for moths?? do not do it!!! They are most disgusting ugly creatures!

        Love all the designs, they're all gorgeous. Love the huge wings on the back and the fairy, in fact, love them all!

      • trakker14 profile image

        trakker14 10 years ago from franklin

        how absolutely you have any Luna Moths?

      • profile image

        non0n 10 years ago

        i agree with you guys, all designs are great... well done.

      • profile image

        Hadlee 10 years ago

        I love all the designs. Great page! Made for some awesome ideas, thanks! I especially like the huge gray/colored montage of butterflies and flowers on the back...really cool.

      • profile image

        markion 10 years ago from London

        I like 'Monarch butterfly wings' i think it would make anyone sit and take notice!

      • taylorblue profile image

        taylorblue 10 years ago from Canada

        I really like this one too!

      • becauseilive profile image

        becauseilive 10 years ago from N.J.

        Aww thank you so much! That means a lot to me, I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yeah, I have always been so frustrated by the lack of REAL tattoo images on the web, so I've loved putting these different hubs together. I signed up on your friend list, too, btw. Thanks again!

      • GreatTattoosNow profile image

        GreatTattoosNow 10 years ago from San Jose

        WOW! I love your Wings Tattoo hub page. You have a ton of great pictures here way to go that is how a tattoo hub page should be built! I just signed up on your friend list. This is an awesome tattoo page.


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