Tulip Tattoo Designs and Meanings

Updated on March 14, 2020
Barnacle Bill profile image

I'm a big fan of all things tattoo and want to share my passion for the world of tattoo art.

The Meaning Behind Tulip Tattoos

Tulips have been wildly popular for centuries, with their gorgeous, vibrant colors offering an extraordinary display—both in home gardens and fields where they're grown—inspiring many people to have a tulip tattoo design inked on their body.

This amazing flower has been symbolic of prosperity and guilty pleasures in the past, as it was so desirable and in demand that it led to a depression in Holland about 40 years after it was introduced there in the latter part of the 16th century, as people would sell homes and lands or deplete their life savings in order to acquire the flowers, which they wrongly believed would continue to go up in price. When the bubble burst, people lost everything, which led to an economic depression.

Interestingly, the tulips of that time contracted mosaic, which led to some extremely beautiful blooms which appeared to look like what was called "flames" of fire on the petals of the flower, resulting in thousands of unique designs.

All of that led to a strong appreciation for the beauty of the tulip which continues on to this day, with festivals being held all over the world in honor of the beloved flower.

Tulip Budding Tattoo on Leg

Now let's take a look at some tulip tattoo designs to get an idea of what people are having inked on them and how tattoo artists are depicting the famous flower.

We'll start off with this simple design, showing a tulip about to open up fully. With the words "best friends" included as part of the image, it appears to be saying it represents a friendship that is growing and about to bloom even further.

Tulip budding leg tattoo
Tulip budding leg tattoo | Source

Tulip Tattoo on Side

The decision to design a tulip tattoo with more than one color on the bloom was a good one. I really like this tattoo, as the cream and pink colors blend together well to make a very compelling and beautiful bloom.

Including the pink in strategic areas not only makes it look great though but adds some depth and texture so the cream color doesn't get lost in the natural color of the skin.

big, colorful tulip tattoo on one side of the body
big, colorful tulip tattoo on one side of the body

Orange Tulip Rib Tattoo

Here we have another example of a tulip about to bud, although this one is portrayed as a little further along than the first tulip.

The bright orange bloom looks great, as does the yellow highlights accompanying it.

orange tulip tattoo on ribs
orange tulip tattoo on ribs | Source

Tribal Tulip Tattoo on Shoulder

When looking for tattoo designs that inspire, including tribal tattoos in that search, no matter what the subject matter, is always a good idea, as I've never found a theme that doesn't have some great-looking tribal interpretations, as you can see with the tulip below.

There is such extraordinary detail in this tattoo it's almost impossible to comment on because it would need to be broken down in small pieces in order to take proper note of the overall piece.

My favorite ancillary part of the flower design is the teardrop-looking elements at the bottom center of the tattoo. The scrolling right above the top of the tulip also looks fantastic, as does the subtle shading. Great tattoo.

tribal tulip tattoo on shoulder
tribal tulip tattoo on shoulder | Source

Red Tulip Tattoo on Foot

Technically I suppose, this hue isn't red, although it's hard to call it pink either. That really doesn't matter though, as it's a nice tattoo color showing nicely as it's nestled in the leaves, which helps define the shape of the tulip.

If you noticed, it was an interesting choice by the designer to have the leaves on the left of the tulip look completely different than the leaves on the right of it. That makes for an odd design. I would have preferred to have one or the other. I like the slender leaves on the right best.

reddish-pink tulip tattoo on feet
reddish-pink tulip tattoo on feet | Source

Group of Tulips on Back

I like the concept behind having a tattoo design of a group of tulips, but the use of purple and blue as part of the chosen colors probably takes a little away from it, as red and yellow would have made it stand out more.

Maybe the person with the tattoo has a reason for choosing those particular colors, so it's not a big deal if that's the case.

Even so, it's a good tattoo, although that stem on the left isn't true to reality, and looks a little odd in its trajectory; making it look like it's growing out of the leave. And as for that scrolling thing, I'm clueless as to what that is or means. At first, I thought it was a tape measure, but now I'm not sure.

group of colorful tulip tattoos on the back
group of colorful tulip tattoos on the back

Tulip Back Piece

The layered and textured look of this tulip is extraordinary in my opinion and is among my favorites. Shadowing on the flower is amazingly well done, providing a very nice look into the detail of the bloom.

It's not as tight as you would think in regard to a tulip, but those lazy, outside petals give it a unique look that is desirable among tattoo enthusiasts.

textured tulip tattoo on back
textured tulip tattoo on back | Source

Life Isn't a Tiptoe Through the Tulips

For those of you who are old enough to remember, or who are huge music fans, you may recognize the phrase above as a song sung by a strange fellow decades ago named Tiny Tim. The song was dubbed Tiptoe Through the Tulips, played to the accompaniment of a ukulele of all things. It was so bad it was good; at least to many of those hearing it at the time. I don't know if it's for your listening pleasure, but I had to include it below for a few laughs.

Okay, as to how it relates to the tattoo below, it's a spin on the words of the song, with the saying, "Life isn't a tiptoe through the tulips."

I really like this tattoo design, especially the way the falling petal goes with the message being sent. They work together very nicely. It was also wise to have the tattoo have darks and greys rather than color, as it reinforces what is trying to be portrayed.

an arm tattoo that says, "life isn't a tiptoe through tulips"
an arm tattoo that says, "life isn't a tiptoe through tulips" | Source

Tulip tattoos are a wonderful choice for those seeking a flower tattoo that is versatile and able to be designed in many colors. The unique shape of the bloom and its historical significance and current popularity make this a tattoo option that will never go out of favor for those deciding to have tulips inked on their body.

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