What is the meaning of a moth tattoo?
From dark and creepy, to soft and delicate, moth tattoos are extremely popular in the tattoo world due to their representation. Moth tattoos symbolise transformation and metamorphosis, changing from who you once were to who you want to be.
Whether you are thinking of change or have already applied it to your life, a moth tattoo might be the thing to get to mark this time in your life!
Let’s take a look at 22 beautiful moth tattoo designs:
1. Green Moth
This is a gentle, clean Luna moth design. Luna moths are arguably the most beautiful of the moths, with their soft green and gold wings.
I especially like the addition of leaves around this tattoo. It really speaks to the natural element of the imagery. The tones in the greens and the gold are well chosen, and the placement of this tattoo is perfect!
2. Fern and Moth
The most common placement for moth tattoos is on the sternum and I can see why. It fits the flow of the body perfectly, and this artist chose to incorporate a symmetrical natural element of ferns, leaves, and moons.
I have a lot of respect for how clean this tattoo is – the sternum is a very difficult spot to tattoo as you not only have breathing to contend with, but also your client being in a lot of pain! The dot work shading is soft and delicate and the line work is perfect.
3. Color Realism Moth
This is a beautiful realistic moth. I like the absence of strong line work in the actual moth, juxtaposed with the solid black circle in the background. It reminds us of the nighttime element of moths.
I love the soft pink and brown colour palette, and the dynamic addition of the arrow. I especially like the falling flower petals! A beautiful and well-placed tattoo.
4. Black Work Moth
This is one of my favorite tattoos on the list by far! I love the heavy use of black and the bold outline around this tattoo. I appreciate the extra detail of the dot work shading in the wings and the soft antenna. The size and placement are perfect!
5. Jewelled Moth
This is such a flowing design for a moth! I especially like the addition of the jewels in the wings, the dark moon, and the sparkling stars around it. I love the gentle use of white ink as a highlight and the soft dot work shading. The fine lines are immaculate and the placement is beautiful.
6. Flame Moth
The first thing that stands out to me on this tattoo is the flames around the moth – it reminds me of the song Moth to a Flame. Flames usually symbolize life, death, and creativity, which works perfectly with the moth’s symbol of change.
I like the contrast between the blue in the wings and the bright red flames, and the beautiful white highlights. A dynamic and creative design!
7. Simple Moth
This is such a sweet and simple moth tattoo. I like that they chose to draw it with the wings closed, as this is something unique.
It almost looks like a little scientific drawing. The line work is clean, and the black is saturated very well, and the placement is beautiful!
8. Single Needle Moth
Single-needle tattoos are notoriously difficult to do, but this artist knows how to do them perfectly. I really love the tiny amount of detail captured in this tattoo. It almost looks like the moth is sitting on the client’s arm. The shading and line work is so delicate and fine – a real achievement.
9. Traditional Moth
American Traditional moth tattoos have to be some of my favorite traditional tattoos, and this artist shows you exactly why.
The artist played with the shapes in the wings so beautifully. I love this color palette so much that I have decided to do my next tattoo in the same colors! The eyes on the body of the moth and the fine fluffs on the antenna are such a nice touch.
10. Ornamental Moth
A beautiful, soft, and delicate tattoo. I especially like the placement that the artist chose, it really does look like a moth flying amongst the flowers. The attention to detail is incredible, with gentle floral patterning emerging from the inside of the wings. I enjoy the very subtle use of orange and blue in the wings.
11. Moth Trio
These tattoos remind me of a scientific sketch of moths, or of one of those preserved butterflies that people collect.
I especially enjoy the placement of this tattoo – it fits the calf perfectly going from the bigger one at the top to the smaller one at the bottom. The tattoos are beautifully executed, with clean line work and soft dark shading.
12. Colorful Moth Tattoo
This tattoo stood out to me because of its interesting composition. I love the stylized Paul Terry- inspired roses coming out from behind the moth, and the inky black spots around it. This really brings the tattoo forward and makes it look even brighter! I like the brown tones in the moth and the liberal use of white ink.
13. Watercolour Moth
I’m not the biggest fan of watercolor tattoos, but this one is the exception. I really like the delicate, fine details in the moth and the leaves, and the very subtle splashes of color. I like the extra detail of the moons on the wings and the chandelier-type beading hanging off of the wings. A gentle and feminine tattoo
14. Death Head Moth
The Death’s-head hawkmoth is a very common moth in tattoo imagery, but this artist did such a rad spin on it by incorporating the skull into the wings as well as the body.
I absolutely love the placement and size of this tattoo, it is so striking and bold. The line work is clean, and there is just the right amount of dark shading and open skin.
16. Moth Mandala
This is a really cool take on a mandala design, with just one moth flying away along the client’s collarbone.
I appreciate the more traditional approach to this tattoo, with bold lines and just the right amount of heavily saturated black. I like the stylized wings that almost look floral. A beautifully placed, clean tattoo
17. Black Moth Tattoo
This is a really interesting way to do a more masculine moth tattoo. I like how dark and creepy both of these tattoos are – it works really well for the placement and imagery.
The small details like the demon face and the spider webs are a really cool personalised touch. Even though the tattoos are so dark, there is just enough open skin and light shading to make them readable, and the line work is extremely clean. If you like this style of tattooing, check out our list of 21 Stunning Blackout Tattoos.
18. Small Moth Tattoo
I absolutely love this tattoo for its simplicity and overall cuteness. Even though it is such a small tattoo, it is perfectly executed. I love the clean, bold lines and the contrast between the bright yellow and the greenish grey. The fine line work is also STUNNING on this tattoo.
19. Atlas Moth Tattoo
The part I like most about this tattoo is that I had to do a double-take to see that it was a moth! I love that the artist chose to warp a coral snake around itself to make the shape of the moth’s wings.
The textures of the scales look like I could reach out and touch a scaly snake. I especially like the gentle use of white highlights in this tattoo and the perfect placement.
20. Illustrative Moth
This is an extremely unique take on a moth tattoo. The illusion of the doubled face morphing into the wing is very trippy. I especially like the soft whip shading and the various textures throughout this tattoo along with the solid black areas
21. Neo-Traditional Moth
I really am starting to have such an appreciation for Neo-Traditional tattooing and this is the perfect example of why!
The strong, bold color palette alongside the thick, expressive line work makes for a real statement, especially on the neck! I am instantly drawn to the flowing leaves and the beautiful shades of brown and grey in the moth.
22. Sketchy Moth
This is such an interesting and expressive style of tattooing. I like the addition of the fine lines and dots around the moth and caterpillar. I especially like the dark shading and the mag marks.
I love the clear expression of change in this tattoo, from caterpillar to cocoon, and finally to the moth breaking free. A very personal and unique tattoo. If you like tattoos inspired by nature, take a look at our list of 25 Wild and Wonderful Mushroom Tattoos.
BONUS: Lady Head Moth
I drew this design for a sticker, and a client loved it so much that he chose it for his first tattoo! I had a lot of fun playing with the double-headed lady as the body of the moth and ended up doing a matching one on the other arm using a double-headed skull. This symbolized life and death for my client perfectly!