Tattoo Removal

How to Choose a Butterfly Cover Up Tattoo

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Published: 09.27.2023
Updated: 07.11.2024

An iconic symbol of hope and transformation, butterflies are a common tattoo choice. With unlimited options for customization, a butterfly design is also ideal for cover-ups! Choose a style that suits your personality. 

Understanding Cover-Up Tattoos

A cover-up tattoo is a “do over” for old ink and bad decisions. Whether you have a tattoo you regret or an older piece that looks faded, opting for a cover-up tattoo is an excellent way to give your skin a fresh, new look. 


However, it is challenging to cover the original ink successfully. There are several factors that affect an artist’s ability to hide an unwanted design, including:

  • Size
  • Coloring
  • Tattoo type
  • Placement
  • Artist experience


Cover-up tattoos are difficult to execute. Artists use a new design to camouflage old ink. If you are considering a cover-up tattoo, start with a consultation with your preferred tattoo studio. Check artist portfolios and reviews to verify their experience with cover-up tattoos. 

In addition, this consultation is an opportunity to communicate your goals to the tattoo artist. They will share what to expect, how large the cover-up tattoo needs to be, and any limitations with color. The most difficult ink color to cover is black. As a result, it is unrealistic to expect a pink peony to hide a dark script. Enter your tattoo cover up consultation with an open mind and willingness to compromise on stylings for the best final result. 

Why Choose a Butterfly Design

Butterflies are representative of beauty, transformation, personal growth, and nature. As a result, this iconic tattoo subject matter is universally relevant to all! Pick this gorgeous insect as the star or as a complimenting component to other tattoos. However big or small your butterfly tattoo is, it will remain relevant in every stage of your life.


Butterfly designs are ideal for cover-up tattoos because of the versatility in colors, intricacy of wing detailing, and natural flowing shape. In addition, these insects look beautiful in every size in placement. So whether you need a finger tattoo cover up or a more extensive chest tattoo cover up, a butterfly design is the way to go!

Versatile Colors

A cover-up tattoo is successful when new colors overshadow and disguise old ink. This effect requires expert knowledge of color theory. Refer to your tattoo artist for recommendations on how to best camouflage your aged and faded tattoo. Luckily, butterflies come in every color! Whether you are advised to go for bold reds and greens or deep shades of blue and black, the final butterfly design will look gorgeous!

Intricate Wing Patterns

A butterfly’s beauty is in its uniqueness. No two butterfly wings are identical. Tattoo artists use intricate wing patterns to their advantage during a cover-up session. Dots, webs, lines, and swirls can be manipulated into a beautiful design that camouflages hard-to-cover-up ink like the script, geometric tattoos, and flowers. If you give your tattooist artistic freedom to create a one-of-a-kind butterfly design, your original tattoo will magically disappear!

Natural Butterfly Shape

The best subjects of cover-up tattoos feature multiple types of line work. Combining straight and curved lines of different thicknesses gives tattoo artists a better opportunity to disguise old ink. A butterfly naturally encompasses these elements, making it a perfect choice for your cover-up tattoo!

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Butterfly Cover-Up Tattoo

Bring your tattoo artist photos of the butterflies you love. These images will be an excellent starting point for your cover-up tattoo. The tattooist will use this inspiration and advise on the next steps to get the result you desire, including customization, colors, and removal.

Assess the Original Tattoo

The size, color, and placement of your original tattoo will influence the new butterfly tattoo design. As a rule, cover-up tattoos need to be significantly larger than your old ink. A larger canvas gives the tattooist more opportunities to add shading, linework details, and color variations to better camouflage the original piece. 

Research Butterfly Designs and Styles

In addition to color and wing shape, there are several ways to customize your butterfly tattoo. Start by researching different styles and aesthetics to decide how you want your new tattoo to look. Popular tattoo styles for butterflies are:

  • Realistic – Mimic the exact look of your favorite butterfly species.
  • Abstract – Get a whimsical take on a butterfly with swirls of colors, exaggerated proportions, and unusual perspectives
  • Tribal – Use dots, lines, and shapes to construct a unique butterfly drawing
  • Watercolor – Splash bright shades of pink, purple, and blues over a dark black outline to make your tattoo like like it is painted on


How do you decide which style of butterfly tattoo is right for you? Check out social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration. Or browse artist portfolios to see butterfly designs they have completed for comparison. Whatever style you decide, bring in plenty of photo references for your artist!

Consult with a Professional Tattoo Artist

Getting a tattoo is a big decision, and it’s natural to want a particular look. However, there are so many factors that affect a cover-up tattoo, including your original tattoo’s color, size, and placement. Before scheduling an appointment to get new ink, set up a time for a professional consultation. This meeting offers an opportunity for you to collaborate with the artist, understand any limitations, and finalize a butterfly tattoo design you are happy with.


Cover-up tattoos are a specialized skill. It is important to confirm your chosen artist has experience disguising old ink. This project isn’t ideal for new tattoo artists, so it’s best to reference portfolios and reviews before committing to a studio.

Customize the Design

Factors like size and color might be out of your control, but that doesn’t mean you can’t personalize a butterfly cover-up tattoo! Add details like initials, dates, and quotes to add a unique flair to this popular tattoo design. In addition, ask your tattoo artist to create a fun background to complement the butterfly cover-up tattoo idea. For example, a landscape of trees and flowers is an excellent way to add more color and depth to your tattoo. Or pick a blend of bright colors to build contrast and make the butterfly pop on your skin. Not sure which element to add? Consider personal touches like:

  • Birthstone colors
  • Favorite phrases
  • Inspirational quotes
  • Significant geographic coordinates
  • Memorialized dates

Consider Tattoo Removal

Did you know tattoo removal isn’t just for erasing ink? Scheduling a series of laser removal appointments before getting a cover-up tattoo can improve the results of your new ink! Professional laser removal services will effectively fade your original tattoo, providing a better canvas for your cover-up artist. In fact, your tattoo artist might recommend getting tattoo removal first. Brand new tattoos and black ink are challenging to cover up and benefit from fading treatments. In addition, large designs like a chest tattoo cover-up will be more successful when old pieces are removed first. Overall, this final step will give you more flexibility in color and design choices for your new butterfly tattoo. 

Partnering with Removery for Your Butterfly Cover-Up Tattoo Transformation

Are you ready to get rid of old ink with a brilliant butterfly cover-up tattoo design? Start with a call to Removery. Their experienced team of laser removal specialists will explain the best process to fade your original tattoo. A few sessions of laser treatments will make a significant difference in how your new tattoo turns out! Don’t sacrifice your new design because of the deep black ink you got a decade ago. You deserve a beautiful tattoo, and Removery is here to help you meet that goal!


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Dr Josh Weitz Dr. Josh Weitz Board Certified Physician

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