Top 65 Best Lily Tattoo Ideas [2020 Inspiration Guide]

People have been getting flowers inked on their bodies for decades and more and more people are choosing to get lily tattoos thanks to their beauty and the significance they hold. The most common association with the white lily is that of purity and chastity. 

Growing popularity of interesting and colorful varieties such as the pink lily, tiger lily, stargazer lily, and purple lily mean that these lovely flowers holding rich symbolic meaning appeal to a broad cross section of tattoo lovers.  

The tattoo designs on display here use numerous styles and approaches but all utilize the lily flower to create unique floral tattoos. 

1. Abstract Tattoo Art

Abstract Lily Tattoo Beyondthefourhills
Source: @kbeyondthefourhills via Instagram
Abstract Lily Tattoo Daughterofmars.tattoos
Source: @daughterofmars.tattoos via Instagram
Abstract Lily Tattoo Harryjamestattoo
Source: @harryjamestattoo via Instagram
Abstract Lily Tattoo Kristina.mangani
Source: @kristina.mangani via Instagram
Abstract Lily Tattoo Ventura Ink
Source: @ventura_ink via Instagram

Not everyone wants a realistic tattoo of a rose or lotus flower. In fact, just as some of the most popular artists of our time used an abstract approach to their work many people choose to get tattoos that draw inspiration from the surreal. As these pieces demonstrate, a lily tattoo is the perfect choice for this abstract approach.  

One of the reasons that so many people choose abstract tattoo designs is because of the freedom they provide: do you want tiger lily tattoos in a sleeve complete with a snarling tiger? No problem. A realistic portrait with a lily or lotus flower bursting from the head? It can be done.  

Whether in color or black and gray, with a talented tattoo artist and creative tattoo design abstract lily tattoos are sure to turn heads.  

2. The Animal Themed Lily Tattoo Idea

Animal Themed Lily Tattoo Naleak Tattoo
Source: @naleak_tattoo via Instagram
Animal Themed Lily Tattoo Tattoosbynicki
Source: @tattoosbynicki via Instagram
Animal Themed Lily Tattoo Rensu Tattoo
Source: @rensu_tattoo via Instagram
Animal Themed Lily Tattoo Kayatatt
Source: @kayatatt via Instagram
Animal Themed Lily Tattoo Katbjorky
Source: @katbjorky via Instagram
Animal Themed Lily Tattoo Magictattoopozega
Source: @magictattoopozega via Instagram

People have been getting animal tattoos for centuries; in fact, some of the oldest tattoos ever recorded were of animals. The variety of animals and their associated symbolism make them great additions to any tattoo design, and lily tattoos are no exception. 

While many people may think of incorporating a butterfly or sparrow into a lily tattoo these pieces demonstrate that just because it is a floral tattoo doesn’t mean that it’s relegated to cute animals.  

Interestingly, several of these lily design tattoos feature snakes, creating a conceptual juxtaposition that brings to mind scenes from the Garden of Eden while the appeal of a black and gray lion wearing a crown of flowers is undeniable.  

3. The Beautiful Lily, Uniquely Placed

Back And Side Pieces Lily Tattoo Nerotattoostudio
Source: @nerotattoostudio via Instagram
Back And Side Pieces Lily Tattoo Daisyhestertattoo
Source: @daisyhestertattoo via Instagram
Back And Side Pieces Lily Tattoo Lucyfer Tat2
Source: @lucyfer_tat2 via Instagram
Back And Side Pieces Lily Tattoo Bamorganictattoo
Source: @bamorganictattoo via Instagram
Back And Side Pieces Lily Tattoo Karina.minitattoo.minsk
Source: @karina.minitattoo.minsk via Instagram
Back And Side Pieces Lily Tattoo Tattoosbynacho
Source: @tattoosbynacho via Instagram
Back And Side Pieces Lily Tattoo Katy.hayward.art
Source: @katy.hayward.art via Instagram
Back And Side Pieces Lily Tattoo Tattoosbyabbyrose
Source: @tattoosbyabbyrose via Instagram

There are several aspects that must be examined when considering a beautiful lily tattoo. The placement is a key factor in creating a successful piece of body art. This is another requirement of a good tattoo artist: understanding the lines of the body – for girl or boy – and how a tattoo design will lay on the skin. This brings us to these exceptional lily tattoos applied to the back and side of the torso.  

While not for the faint of heart—the spine and ribs are notoriously painful—the effect created when a floral tattoo uses these placements is excellent. This tattoo idea increasingly popular among women, demonstrating that a girl is just as tough as any guy when it comes to sitting in the chair and getting inked.

4. Black and Gray Lily Tattoo Art

Black And Gray Lily Tattoo Tattoosbymell
Source: @tattoosbymell via Instagram
Black And Gray Lily Tattoo Marie Reverie
Source: @marie_reverie via Instagram
Black And Gray Lily Tattoo Sivxstorm
Source: @sivxstorm via Instagram
Black And Gray Lily Tattoo Miersunkarma
Source: @miersunkarma via Instagram
Black And Gray Lily Tattoo Origami T.rex Tattoo
Source: @origami_t.rex_tattoo via Instagram
Black And Gray Lily Tattoo Evi.art
Source: @evi.art via Instagram
Black And Gray Lily Tattoo Tat2chelsea
Source: @tat2chelsea via Instagram
Source: @oliviaknappart(artist) via Instagram
Black And Gray Lily Tattoo Aliaskyetattoo
Source: @aliaskyetattoo via Instagram
Black And Gray Lily Tattoo Brittanyfrady
Source: @brittanyfrady via Instagram

While it remains a staple of the Chicano tattoo style, black and gray continues to gain broader popularity for the subdued elegance that is created by this monochromatic approach. 

More than any one style, a variety of tattoo designs and concepts can be applied in black and gray, providing tattoo artists a high level of creative freedom when producing bespoke tattoos with this approach. 

Characterized by precise line work and complex shading, these excellent designs demonstrate that a black and gray approach works surprisingly well when applied to lily tattoos.  Thanks to the talent of each tattoo artist, these exceptional women’s tattoo designs don’t suffer from lack of color. 

5. Color

Color Lily Tattoo Nuclearcheerios
Source: @nuclearcheerios via Instagram
Color Lily Tattoo Patmurdoughtattoos
Source: @patmurdoughtattoos via Instagram
Color Lily Tattoo Justintattooanart
Source: @justintattooanart via Instagram
Color Lily Tattoo Tuantrill
Source: @tuantrill via Instagram
Color Lily Tattoo Jasminekeatstattoo
Source: @jasminekeatstattoo via Instagram
Color Lily Tattoo Inline Ink
Source: @inline_ink via Instagram
Color Lily Tattoo Ilovebeefstew
Source: @ilovebeefstew via Instagram
Color Lily Tattoo Dvnmya
Source: @dvnmya via Instagram
Color Lily Tattoo Anton Schafer
Source: @anton_schafer_ via Instagram
Color Lily Tattoo Katancostello
Source: @katancostello via Instagram

As one would expect, many people choose to get a popular flower like the lily applied in bright colors, to great effect. This vibrant approach is especially useful for lily tattoos given the different symbolism associated with different color flowers. 

A white lily is associated with purity and innocence, which may perfectly suit the meaning behind on person’s lily tattoo, however a red lily tattoo that symbolizes passion may be more appropriate for someone else’s lily tattoo design.  

The variety of colors and species of lilies is one of the main reasons so many people choose this blossom for a flower tattoo. The diversity of these beautiful flowers means that there is a lily tattoo design out there for just about anyone and vibrant colors are a great way to complete these floral tattoos.  

6. Delicate Lily Design

Delicate Lily Tattoo Devontucker Tattoo
Source: @devontucker_tattoo via Instagram
Delicate Lily Tattoo Jello T
Source: @jello_t via Instagram
Delicate Lily Tattoo Huanglintattoo
Source: @huanglintattoo via Instagram
Delicate Lily Tattoo Up Tattooer
Source: @up_tattooer via Instagram
Delicate Lily Tattoo Christinaganea
Source: @christinaganea via Instagram
Delicate Lily Tattoo Lightgrays Tattoo
Source: @lightgrays_tattoo via Instagram
Delicate Lily Tattoo Sevenfoxestattoo
Source: @sevenfoxestattoo via Instagram
Delicate Lily Tattoo Jodieahnientattoo
Source: @jodieahnientattoo via Instagram
Delicate Lily Tattoo Fillettes
Source: @fillettes_ via Instagram

Not every tattoo artist lives and dies by the “bold will hold” creed. In fact, more and more artists are taking advantage of modern machines and techniques to create delicate floral tattoos that are reminiscent of pencil drawings and the lily is an increasingly popular flower for this approach to tattoo design. 

Often applied using a single needle, these delicate lily tattoos show how appealing a floral tattoo can be. While many of these pieces eschew color for a black and gray approach, subdued colors are also expertly utilized to create the effect of colorized photographs taking these delicate lily tattoos to the next level.  

Perfect for a woman with a love of flowers, this delicate approach allows a tattoo artist to show off their precision and attention to detail. 

7. Innovative Lily Tattooing

Innovative Lily Tattoo Tony Eighthelement
Source: @tony_eighthelement via Instagram
Innovative Lily Tattoo Meganrosetattoos
Source: @meganrosetattoos via Instagram
Innovative Lily Tattoo Sa.customink
Source: @sa.customink via Instagram
Innovative Lily Tattoo Humancanvaswalsall
Source: @humancanvaswalsall via Instagram
Source: @cxrpsertattoos via Instagram
Innovative Lily Tattoo Alena Lenom
Source: @alena_lenom via Instagram
Innovative Lily Tattoo Sarahpeters7art
Source: @sarahpeters7art via Instagram
Innovative Lily Tattoo Malimalia
Source: @malimalia via Instagram
Innovative Lily Tattoo Trickylake
Source: @trickylake via Instagram

Tattoo artists are constantly pushing the envelope within their medium, and not just in terms of technical skill: the concepts and creativity of modern tattoo design have also evolved a lot since the anchors and daggers of American traditional work where tattooing got its start in the West.  

The extent of this evolution is on full display in these innovative lily tattoos. Accurate recreations of Disney princesses, vibrant watercolor designs and meticulous stipple shading all demonstrate the diversity of modern tattoo design and with such a beautiful and meaningful flower as inspiration it is little surprise that a lily tattoo design can be so successful.  

8. Linework  Lily Ink

Linework Lily Tattoo Organic.black
Source: @organic.black via Instagram
Linework Lily Tattoo Iamcharlottelee
Source: @iamcharlottelee via Instagram
Linework Lily Tattoo Betaamundy
Source: @betaamundy via Instagram
Linework Lily Tattoo Hr Adamson
Source: @hr_adamson via Instagram
Linework Lily Tattoo Sophieelizabethtattoo
Source: @sophieelizabethtattoo via Instagram
Linework Lily Tattoo Carrruuuu
Source: @carrruuuu via Instagram

Without a doubt, the single most essential element in a successful tattoo is the line work. In fact, with strong lines and an interesting concept, a tattoo artist can create a successful tattoo design without the need for vibrant colors or complex shading. 

This approach has actually become a style all its own, and these unique lily tattoos demonstrate just how clean a flower tattoo can be when precise and consistent lines are used to complete the design.  

It’s also worth noting that just because a tattoo design skips color in favor of a more subdued approach doesn’t mean it is boring. Quite the contrary in fact, as these excellent lily tattoos exhibit interesting composition and expert placement to make up for their monochromatic approach.  

9. Neo Traditional lily tattoo

Neo Traditional Lily Tattoo Jtrip360
Source: @jtrip360 via Instagram
Neo Traditional Lily Tattoo Jesskerrdoodles
Source: @jesskerrdoodles via Instagram
Neo Traditional Lily Tattoo Anton Schafer
Source: @anton_schafer_ via Instagram
Neo Traditional Lily Tattoo Laszlohrozik
Source: @laszlohrozik via Instagram

Neo-traditional tattoos arose out of the American traditional school and while this newer style maintains bold line work and vibrant colors it takes a more relaxed stance on the rules regarding subject matter and palette commonly associated with American traditional tattoos. 

The lily tattoos in this gallery are great examples of what is possible when a talented tattoo artist utilizes design elements common in neo-traditional with such lovely flowers. A tiger lily sitting behind a Dia de los Muertos sugar skull, a pink lily held by a skeleton hand, and a tiger lily bursting from a skull all create an interesting juxtaposition that takes these lily tattoos to the next level.  

Lily Tattoos FAQs 

What do lily tattoos mean? 

The most common of the lily family, the white lily has a long tradition of spiritual associations. In ancient Greece the lily flower—the name comes from the Greek word “lerion”—was sacred, believed to have sprung from the milk of Hera, the queen of the Greek gods.  

Within the Christian tradition the white lily represents the Virgin Mary’s purity and this beautiful flower is said to signify Mary’s role as the Queen of the Angels.  

Within Western culture at large, the white lily represents purity, hence its ubiquitous presence at funerals: the white lily represents the deceased’s soul reaching a renewed state of innocence allowing them to enter heaven.  

The lily is also the 30th wedding anniversary flower which fits with the its other associations of devotion and humility.  

What do different species and colored lilies represent? 

When most people think of a lily flower the classic white lily is usually what comes to mind, however there are actually a wide variety of lily species that come in different colors and sport interesting patterns as well as having their own unique symbolism.  

Pink lilies are usually associated with love, compassion and femininity, while the yellow lily represents lighthearted happiness and friendship. An orange lily is often used to represent honor and confidence and purple lilies have the attributes of pride, dignity and admiration that are usually associated with this regal color.  

The different species of lily also come with their own symbolism. The tiger lily, with its unique spotted petals is usually associated with wealth, confidence and success, while the oriental lily—of which the stargazer is one variety—is associated with rebirth which makes them a common choice for weddings.  

Calla lilies also associated with rebirth, are regularly used in Easter services as well as for funerals, symbolizing the restored purity of the deceased and their rebirth in the next life.  

For all these reasons and more, for many people a lily tattoo is the perfect way to commemorate these powerful emotions. 

Did you enjoy these lily flower tattoo designs? Click on the links below for ink steeped in rich symbolic meaning: