How Much Does a Butterfly Tattoo Cost?

Last Updated on January 27, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Butterfly tattoos are a popular choice for their beauty and symbolic meaning. If you’re considering getting a butterfly tattoo, one of the first things you’ll want to know is how much it will cost.

The price can vary quite a bit based on factors like size, design complexity, color, and artist skill. This article will break down the major factors that influence the cost of a butterfly tattoo so you can budget and set realistic expectations.

How Much Does a Butterfly Tattoo Cost?

The average cost of a butterfly tattoo ranges from $50 to $200, with small simple designs trending toward the lower end and large, custom, colored butterflies reaching the higher end of the range. However, this is just a rough estimate. The exact price depends on your specific tattoo design and choices.

According to InkHappened.com, a standard 5-inch tattoo can cost between $150 and $600, depending on the country and the level of the tattoo artist. In the US, the cost can range from $80/hour to $300/hour.

PsychodelicButterfly.org offers a $50.00 minimum on all tattoo designs, but the pricing is not explicitly mentioned for butterfly tattoos.

Factors Affecting the Cost of a Butterfly Tattoo

Several key factors determine how much you’ll pay for your new butterfly tattoo. These include:

Size of the Tattoo

Tattoo pricing is largely based on size. The bigger the tattoo, the more time and work is involved, which translates to a higher cost. A small butterfly design (2-3 inches) could cost $50 to $150.

A larger, more detailed butterfly tattoo (5-6 inches) may run $200 to $500. Full back pieces can cost upwards of $1000.

Color vs. Black Ink

Black ink tattoos are simpler and faster. Adding multiple colors like purple, blue, yellow, orange, etc. requires more time and specialized work, increasing the price by $50 to $100 per color. A basic black ink butterfly is cheaper than a vibrant, colorful one.

Design Complexity and Detailing

A basic butterfly outline is quicker to do than a complex, realistic, 3d butterfly tattoo with symmetrical designs and exact coloring. Complex designs with a lot of detail, shading, and color work take more time and artistic skill, driving up the price.

You might also like our articles about the cost of an angel wings tattoo, an inner lip tattoo, or a finger tattoo.

Tattoo Artist Skill and Experience

Highly skilled artists with years of experience can charge more for their work. Going to a famous tattoo artist or one with specialized butterfly expertise costs $200 to $500 per hour (or more!). Less experienced artists offer lower rates but may sacrifice quality.

Tattoo Placement on the Body

Delicate areas like the wrists, hands, fingers, feet, and back of the knees are more sensitive. Tattooing these areas takes extra care and time, sometimes boosting the price. Easily hidden spots like the back, arms, or thighs are simpler.

Hourly Rates vs. Flat Fees

Tattoo costs are calculated in two main ways:

  • An hourly rate (usually $50 to $200 per hour) with the final price determined by the time required.
  • flat fee based on the exact tattoo size and design. Simple tattoos may cost $50 to $250.

For large, custom tattoos, an hourly rate helps cover the time invested in the design process and session. Simple butterfly designs often use a flat fee. Discuss pricing upfront so there are no surprises.

Aftercare Costs

After getting your new ink, you’ll need to properly care for it while healing. This involves purchasing aftercare products like antibiotic ointment, moisturizer, and bandages.

Budget $40 to $60 for these expenses. Your artist can recommend supplies. Proper aftercare is key for avoiding infection and preserving your tattoo.

Consultation and Custom Design Costs

For custom butterfly tattoo designs, most artists offer consultations to discuss ideas and sketch concepts. This can cost $50 to $150.

Once you approve the art, the artist finalizes the design, increasing the overall cost. If you want the artist’s original art without changes, this saves time and money.

Choosing the Right Tattoo Artist

To get quality results, it pays to research artists and read reviews about their butterfly work. Schedule consultations to evaluate portfolios.

An experienced tattooer with a steady hand delivers sharper line work and vivid coloring. Don’t automatically choose the cheapest option—quality is worth the price.

How Size and Complexity Affect Cost

As a general guideline:

  • Small, simple black ink butterfly (2-3 in.) – $50 to $250
  • Medium, some color and detailing (3-5 in.) – $150 to $300
  • Large, colorful, custom design (5-6 in.) – $300 to $500
  • Full back piece with landscapes/scenery – $1000+

The more complex the art and vibrancy of colors, the more you’ll pay. Remember, you get what you pay for – a bigger investment means better quality and longevity.

Placement Matters

Multiple Butterfly TattoosPlacement pricing examples:

  • Wrist/hand – Add $50+
  • Behind ear – Add $30+
  • Sternum/ribs – Add $75+
  • Thigh/calf – No charge increase

Talk to your artist about the body area you’re considering and how it may impact the price. They can advise you on the best spots for your design.


From small and simple to large and lavish, butterfly tattoos come in many shapes, sizes, and prices. With an understanding of the factors that influence the cost, you can budget wisely and get an amazing tattoo you’ll love for years. Focus on quality over cost, do your research, and don’t be afraid to invest in custom art for a one-of-a-kind butterfly!

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is a 1 hour tattoo?

Most tattoo artists charge an hourly rate between $50 to $200 per hour. This means a 1 hour tattoo session will cost $50 to $200 on average, depending on the artist’s experience, demand, and location. Simple designs might take 1 hour or less. Large, detailed tattoos may take multiple sessions of 1 hour or longer. When getting priced by the hour, the total cost will depend on the time required and agreed-upon hourly rate. Be sure to get an estimate of the hours needed so you know the full pricing upfront.

How much is a 3 inch tattoo?

A small 3 inch tattoo will typically cost $60 to $250. Exact pricing depends on factors like the complexity of the design, amount of detail, special colors, and placement on the body.

A basic 3-inch tattoo in black ink with minimal detailing by a less experienced artist might cost around $60. A highly detailed 3-inch tattoo with vibrant colors by a top artist could cost up to $250.

The more complex the art and the more renowned the artist, the more you can expect to pay even for a small 3 inch tattoo. Discuss your specific design to get an accurate quote.

What kind of tattoo can you get for $300?

At around $300, you can get small to medium-sized simpler designs, usually measuring 2-4 inches. For example, a 2 inch single black ink butterfly, rose, or infinity symbol tattoo would cost about $300.

Or you may be able to get a 3-4 inch tattoo with some color and moderate detailing, like a red heart with a name in script or a colorful peony flower.

Add-ons like special placements or complex artwork will increase the price, so stick to more basic designs. For $300 plan a tattoo that requires 1-3 hours of work. This gives you lots of artistic options while remaining within a $300 budget.

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