Dandelion tattoos have been incredibly popular in recent years. Atmospheric designs showing their seeds blowing away in the wind are especially popular.
If you’re considering getting one yourself, look no further. In this article, we’ll explore the meaning behind various dandelion tattoos, as well as sharing the best dandelion tattoo ideas.
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What are dandelions?
Let’s start with the basics. Dandelions are bright yellow flowers, so common that most gardeners consider them a weed.
Their name comes from French, meaning ‘lion’s tooth’ – so named after the shape of the long, narrow, pointy petals.
After several days in full bloom, dandelions change their form and turn into white ‘puffballs’. This is a way for the plant to disperse its seeds.
The wind easily picks up the white fluff and carries it in every direction.
Meaning of dandelion tattoos
Because dandelions are technically a weed – so, an unwanted plant that’s not being actively cultivated – they were never really given as a gift.
As such, there hasn’t been much opportunity for specific symbolism to develop.
Unlike standard ‘gift’ flowers, such as lilies or roses, dandelions never received a meaning in Victorian flower symbolism – which is the source of most of today’s flower meanings.
Still, there are several common symbolic meanings to these flowers in tattoo art, albeit not as well-known as with most other flowers.
The dandelion tattoo meaning will depend primarily on the form of the flower – blooming or blowing.
Blooming dandelion tattoo
When dandelions are in bloom, they typically symbolize happiness and joy. This is most likely due to their color – you’ll find that most yellow flowers, whether they’re roses, daisies, or indeed dandelions, represent either joy or friendship.
Blooming dandelion tattoos can also symbolize overcoming difficulties, surviving a challenging time, or the process of healing. Perhaps this meaning comes from the fact that these flowers are highly resilient and spread very easily, surviving very well on their own.
Blowing dandelion tattoo
This is a far more common way for dandelions to appear in tattoos. After all, this mechanism of turning into a puffball is what makes them unique.
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We’re all familiar with the image of dandelion seeds being carried off by the wind, and many of us have childhood memories of blowing dandelions.
The significance of this image in tattoo art is often highly personal and not immediately obvious. However, there are a few common meanings.
One is that of granting wishes and bringing luck. It comes from the old superstition – if you make a wish while blowing a dandelion, it’ll come true. A common version of this belief is that you have to blow all the seeds in one breath.
Another, closely related meaning is that of love – especially unrequited love. Again, this comes from a superstition. According to folklore, if you can blow all the seeds off a dandelion with one breath while thinking about the person you love, they will love you back.
The design can also be symbolic of mindfulness. This is because the temporary nature of the blooming dandelion flowers, and the fragility of the puffballs they turn into. It can serve as a reminder to live in the moment, focus on the present, and appreciate the here and now.
Many people associate dandelions with childhood. That’s usually thanks to having personal memories of blowing at the fluffy seeds as a kid. Blowing dandelion tattoos are sometimes a reminder to stay hopeful, curious, and keep dreaming.
Lastly, there is a belief that when you blow dandelion seeds, they will carry your thoughts and dreams to your loved ones. This makes the design a common choice for remembrance tattoos, representing the idea of maintaining a spiritual connection with lost loved ones.
Design ideas for dandelion tattoos
For such a simple flower – at both stages of its appearance – there is a surprising variety in the tattoo designs that it inspires. Below are some of the most popular ideas for incorporating dandelions into tattoos.
Watercolor dandelion tattoo
If you’re looking for colorful dandelion tattoo designs, watercolor may well be the way to go.
Watercolor tattoos, as the name implies, mimic the look of watercolor paintings. Rather than being contained within strict outlines, the splashes of color are more vibrant and fluid. This makes for more contemporary, delicate tattoos.
Dandelions, especially blowing ones, work perfectly for this style. The feel of watercolor tattoos is light and gentle, just like dandelion seeds in the air.
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Black outlines are often added to watercolor tattoos to add some definition. In the case of dandelion designs, a common choice is to outline the seeds and the stem in black, and add splashes of color in the background.
Blowing dandelion with birds
A popular and modern variation on the theme of a blowing dandelion, in this design, ss the seeds are blown away, they gradually turn into miniature birds.
Often, this design choice means creativity, imagination, and identifies the wearer as a dreamer. This goes back to the idea that dandelion seeds represent hopes and dreams – if they turn into birds, they can reach farther and achieve more.
As for the birds themselves, swallows are a popular option for this design. Swallows typically symbolize hope, happiness, love, and freedom, so in terms of meaning, they fit in really well with the rest of the design.
Dandelion tattoo with a quote
For many people, blowing dandelions make for a highly evocative image. It may remind them of their childhood, a lost love, dreams they had once or still hold dear, or loved ones that are beyond their reach. As a symbol of hope, they can also stand for the future and overcoming difficulties.
Because these images and ideas are so emotionally charged, it’s not uncommon to add meaningful quotations to dandelion tattoos.
Whether it’s a single word or a whole sentence, the addition of writing clarifies the personal meaning that the tattoo holds for you. It can help you express yourself and be a reminder of important values or moments.
As far as the aesthetics of the writing, light fonts are usually the way to go. Gentle calligraphy in italics or fonts in the handwritten style are both popular choices.
As we’ve already seen, the image of a blowing dandelion is usually light and delicate – so it makes sense to choose a matching font. A heavy, gothic-style font, for instance, would be too distracting, clashing with the image of the gentle flying seeds.
Small dandelion tattoos
Because blowing dandelions are immediately recognizable and quite simple in structure, there’s no need for including lots of detail in tattoo designs. Therefore, dandelions are suitable for small, simple tattoos.
A simple dandelion tattoo can include nothing more than a thin, black outline. Depending on whether you want the seeds to be blowing away, it’s possible to fit this design on a very small area of the skin.
For ultimate simplicity, consider getting a tattoo of just a single dandelion seed. It will still hold the same meaning and significance, but it will be much less obvious. Unlike a full dandelion, a single seed will fit even on the smallest of spaces, such as your finger or your ear.
Large dandelion tattoos
On the other end of the scale, we have the larger, bolder designs.
Dandelions don’t lend themselves easily to very large tattoo designs. The flowers are small in nature, so they will usually look odd when scaled to ten times their size, for example.
It’s hard to incorporate a blowing dandelion into a large, illustration-style design, such as a sleeve or a full back tattoo. You’d need other elements to fill out the space, and since dandelion seeds are so thin and delicate, they will likely be lost.
The best way to render a large blowing dandelion tattoo is to spread out the seeds over a bigger surface area.
For instance, consider an upper back tattoo, with the dandelion on the back of one shoulder, and the seeds spreading in a pattern all the way across to the other shoulder.
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The forearm is another common placement for larger dandelion tattoos, with the bulk of the design at the widest part (near the elbow) and the seeds appearing here and there along the length of the arm, reaching the wrist.
Wrist dandelion tattoos
Lately, a dandelion design spread over two tattoos on the wrists has become a popular trend.
Essentially, it’s a single image that has been split into two tattoos. It usually involves a full blowing dandelion tattoo on one wrist, and just a few dandelion seeds on the other.
Interestingly, this idea works on multiple levels. When you put your wrists together, the two tattoos form a whole. But separately, they also look great and make perfect sense.
If someone sees only the wrist with the seeds, for instance, they will still understand what the tattoo represents.
This idea works just as well on the forearms or the calves.
Dandelions make for light, delicate, and incredibly meaningful tattoos. Few of us can look at an image of a blowing dandelion and not be reminded of a memory, a person, or a mood.
Whatever a dandelion tattoo might mean to you personally, hopefully, you now have some great ideas for your own design. For more inspiration, check out the gallery below.