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The Paper Airplane Tattoo Meaning and 110 Tattoos to Take You to New Heights!

by Sherri Owens

A paper airplane tattoo can represent childhood, big dreams, freedom, new beginnings, travel, and much more.

Paper airplane tattoos are one of my favorite designs. This is because each of my clients have beautiful and moving reasons for why they have wanted to get this tattoo. So, throughout the years, I have learned from their stories.

In this post, I will explain each paper airplane tattoo meaning and show you some beautiful tattoos to go along with them. Let's get started!

What is the Meaning of a Paper Airplane?

Did you know that there are several meanings behind the humble paper airplane and paper airplane tattoo? Here is what the paper plane can mean, tattooed on your body:

The Paper Airplane and Childhood

One of the biggest association with the paper airplane is childhood. After all, how many hours did you spend learning how to make a paper plane, fly it, and figure out how to improve on the design?

Baby Doll with a Paper Airplane

Image by @fatfoxandmoon via Instagram

In a sense, paper planes could represent a simpler time when you were able to focus on things that truly mattered. When you weren't weighed by worries or thoughts of the future. You could truly enjoy the moment.

In this case, a paper airplane tattoo meaning is associated with simplicity and can be a reminder for you to still find joy in the small things in life.

The paper airplane tattoo can also be linked to reminding you of the big dreams that you used to think about when you were a kid. Just because you are all grown up doesn't mean you have to leave those behind. So, if you are looking to tap into your dreamer side, this is the ideal tattoo design for you.

The Japanese meanings of the paper plane tattoo include youth and whimsical ideas.

Paper Airplane Tattoo and Freedom

In Western countries, the paper plane and the paper airplane tattoo meaning is associated with freedom.

This has to do with the way the paper airplane takes flight. Once it is thrown up, most origami plane movements are guided by the wind. This means that the paper airplane moves in whichever way the wind blows.

Young Boy Launching Paper Airplane at Prospect Hill Tower

Image by @luminainfinite via Instagram

This represents a carefree attitude and an ability to just go with the flow. If you're someone who has this kind of personality or if you need to remind yourself to let loose, this is the perfect tattoo for you.

It can also be an excellent way to remind yourself that you have little control over your life. There is a good chance that your path will be decided by forces outside your control.

So, instead of worrying about the things that you can't predict or change, it is better to just sit back and wait for the adventure that the universe has planned for you.

Paper Airplane and Your Journey

In general, paper planes are associated with movement. So, a paper airplane tattoo meaning could be the journey of your life.

Or, more accurately, the paper airplane represents starting your journey. After all, you don't quite know where your plane will end up, but it will get to the right place in the end.

This kind of paper airplane tattoo meaning is great if you're feeling stuck in your life. It can be a push that you need to take a leap of faith and make a change in your life. This is something you may need to do even if you aren't sure how it will work out for you.

In this sense, a paper airplane tattoo meaning would be a new beginning.

Paper Airplanes and Letting Go

As you let go of the paper airplane, allowing it to fly, a paper airplane tattoo can represent letting go.

This could be in regard to a tough breakup, a traumatic past, or anything else you want to leave in the past. The paper airplane tattoo is a symbol of you moving forward, starting anew, and giving yourself permission to reach a new stage in life.

Such a tattoo could be just the push that you need to make these changes in your life.

Paper Airplanes and Travel

Sometimes, the meaning behind the paper airplane tattoo is actually quite straightforward - it has to do with traveling.

People use the paper airplane tattoo as an alternative to a regular airplane tattoo. This is because paper airplanes are a lot more whimsical and fun, and you can also tack on a special meaning of your own to it.

The Best Paper Airplane Tattoo Designs

Here are the gorgeous designs you should consider if you want to get a paper airplane tattoo:

Simple Paper Airplane Tattoos

If you prefer a simple plane tattoo design, you are certainly not alone. The traditional paper airplane tattoo is absolutely adorable.

You don't have to worry about describing what type of airplane design you want your tattoo artist to do as the setup is very minimalistic.

Best of all, with this simple design, you can keep the tattoo as small as you like.

Little Paper Plane Forearm Tattoo

Image by @coracannizzaro via Instagram

Simple Line Paper Plane Tattoo

Image by @honeybeetattoo_leo via Instagram

Tiny Rainbow Colored Paper Plane Tattoo

Image by @playground_tat2 via Instagram

Mini Paper Plane Tattoo on the Wrist

Image by @shamrocksocialclub via Instagram

Bold Line Paper Plane Tattoo

Image by @molebulle via Instagram

Small Black Line Paper Plane Tattoo

Image by @bigbeartattooca via Instagram

Tiny Paper Plane Tattoo on Hand

Image by @emiliyao via Instagram

Small Geometric Paper Plane Ankle Tattoo

Image by @pookypokes via Instagram

Small Paper Plane and Dotted Lines Tattoo Piece

Image by @vaniastattoo via Instagram

Mini Paper Plane Hand Tattoo

Image by @wittybutton_tattoo via Instagram

Dotted Lines with Paper Plane Tattoo

Image by @mischieftattoonyc via Instagram

Mini Paper Plane Hand Tattoo

Image by @illisit via Instagram

Minimalist Paper Plane Wrist Tattoo

Image by @sr.loki_studio via Instagram

Small Paper Plane Line Tattoo

Image by @scottytattoo84 via Instagram

Simple Paper Plane Shoulder Tattoo

Image by @bespoke_hi via Instagram

Flying Paper Plane Tattoo Design

Image by @wittybutton_tattoo via Instagram

Black and Grey Paper Plane Wrist Tattoo

Image by @pinktattoos via Instagram

Greyscale Paper Plane Tattoo with Curvy Dotted Lines

Image by @marianne.tattoo via Instagram

Simple Paper Plane Arm Tattoo

Image by @verabunker62 via Instagram

Airplane Tattoos with a Heart

Of course, if you want to add more elements to your paper plane tattoo, you absolutely can.

A great way to keep the paper airplane tattoo design minimalistic but add a special meaning to it is to add a little heart at the end. One meaning of this paper airplane tattoo is that you carry your love wherever you go.

Simple Paper Plane Tattoo with Rainbow Colored Heart

Image by @playground_tat2 via Instagram

Paper Plane and Black Heart Collarbone Tattoo

Image by @dariakryzhtattoo via Instagram

Greyscale Paper Plane with Heart Shaped Dotted Line Tattoo

Image by @k.uptontattoos via Instagram

Heart Shaped Finger Print and Paper Plane Forearm Tattoo

Image by @hktattoo_tina via Instagram

Black Line Paper Plane Tattoo with Heart Shaped Dotted Lines

Image by @goms_ink via Instagram

Paper Plane Ankle Tattoo Piece

Image by @cosmic_ego_ink via Instagram

Water Color Splash with Paper Plane Tattoo Piece

Image by @kazabiantattoo via Instagram

Matching Colorful Paper Plane Tattoo with Heart Shape

Image by @madujune_ via Instagram

Greyish Paper Plane with Heart Arm Tattoo

Image by @sondysonson via Instagram

Paper Plane and Heart Shaped Lines Forearm Tattoo

Image by @robordway via Instagram

Paper Plane and Organ Heart Tattoo Piece

Image by @macca_ipkiss via Instagram

Dotted Lines Heart with Paper Plane Tattoo

Image by @cooltattoopiercing via Instagram

Paper Plane with Lines Heart Rib Tattoo

Image by @run_nienke_run via Instagram

Blue Paper Plane with Red and Blue Hearts Tattoo

Image by @surprisetattoos via Instagram

Origami Plane and Heart Shaped Lines with Sparks Tattoo

Image by @sharlottesantattoo via Instagram

Flying Paper Plane with Dotted Heart Shaped Lines Tattoo Piece

Image by @corona_tattoo_piercing via Instagram

Paper Airplane Tattoos with a Smoke Trail

You know that with paper airplanes, there is no smoke trailing after it. However, when you get a paper airplane tattoo, you have a full creative license and can create whatever artwork you want.

As you will see with the following paper airplane tattoos, there are a lot of beautiful and colorful ways to represent this smoke trail.

Blue Shade Paper Plane Tattoo

Image by @becky_tattoo via Instagram

Black Scribble Style Paper Plane Back Tattoo

Image by @fuxprinzessin via Instagram

Greyscale Paper Plane with Smoke Forearm Tattoo

Image by @annatat_md via Instagram

Black Line Paper Plane and Colored Smoke Tattoo

Image by @femme_fatale_tattoos via Instagram

Paper Plane and Pink and Blue Water Colored Smoke Ankle Tattoo

Image by @remytatt via Instagram

Tiny Paper Plane and Floral Smoke Trail Forearm Tattoo

Image by @trecetattoopachuca via Instagram

Black Paper Plane with Water Color Splash Tattoo

Image by @neverenoughtattoo504 via Instagram

Grayish Paper Plane with Some Colour Splash Tattoo

Image by @tiranatattooing via Instagram

Small Paper Plane and Color Spots Collarbone Tattoo

Image by @cadocdharamshaktu via Instagram

Paper with Colored Smoke Forearm Tattoo

Image by @the_inkstress via Instagram

Blue Water Color Splash with Paper Plane Ankle Tattoo

Image by @rosajaratattoo via Instagram

Travel Related Paper Airplane Tattoos

The most common option for a travel related paper airplane tattoo is to get a paper airplane circling the globe. You can also have the paper airplane traveling across a map.

If you would like to get more creative, you can add other travel elements to your paper airplane tattoo.

Here are the tattoo designs that can inspire your own paper airplane tattoo:

Paper Plane and Globe Ball Arm Tattoo

Image by @idan_naftali_tattoos via Instagram

Earth Globe and Paper Plane Tattoo

Image by @stephen_doyle_tattoo via Instagram

Travel Bag, Globe and Paper Plane Tattoo Art

Image by @mariloutattoos via Instagram

Globe and Paper Plane Thigh Tattoo

Image by @arnaldolauer via Instagram

Globe, Paper Plane and Cherry Blossoms Tattoo

Image by @rachelledowns via Instagram

Tiny World and Paper Plane Outline Ankle Tattoo

Image by @sashaink via Instagram

Globe and Paper Plane Wrist Tattoo

Image by @pt78tattoo via Instagram

Postcards, Compass and Paper Plane Forearm Tattoo

Image by @akhil_patel_relic_tattoos via Instagram

Paper Plane Travel Tattoo Design

Image by @tattoosbyina via Instagram

Tiny Globe and Paper Plane Neck Tattoo

Image by @tattoosbyina via Instagram

Split Globe Ball with Flying Paper Plane Tattoo Design

Image by @josephbottreau via Instagram

Greyish Globe with Paper Plane Travel Tattoo

Image by @dd_tattoo_atelier via Instagram

Paper Plane Global Travel Tattoo Design

Image by @nadcil via Instagram

Earth, Cross, Red Heart with Travelling Paper Plane Chest Tattoo

Image by @bamboo_cai via Instagram

Paper Plane and Boat in Air Balloon Travel Tattoo Design

Image by @abuassad_tattoos_piercings and sneha_nag23 via Instagram

Polaroid Photo with Mountains and Paper Plane Forearm Tattoo

Image by @mashroomink via Instagram

Floral Earth with Paper Plane Forearm Tattoo

Image by @paaskool_ via Instagram

Colorful Earth and Cone with Paper Plane Tattoo

Image by @alfredo_chavarria via Instagram

Planet and Paper Plane Tattoo

Image by @tattooer_sz via Instagram

Dreamer Paper Airplane Tattoos

This is such a beautiful paper airplane tattoo concept - a paper airplane with its shadow being a real airplane. There are a couple of different meanings here.

This paper airplane tattoo may be a representation of you versus your future self. The paper airplane is your current station in life and the real airplane could be the goal you are working towards.

The other meaning behind this tattoo is how you should see yourself. Always see the potential in yourself and what you are capable of achieving in your life.

Bold Black Paper Plane and Real Plane Ear Tattoo

Image by @ahyxn.tattoo via Instagram

Small Paper Plane and Air Plane Hand Tattoo

Image by @richtatz via Instagram

World Map and Paper Plane with Air Plane Shadow Tattoo

Image by @rafa_tattoo2010 via Instagram

Grey Paper and Shadow Plane Forearm Tattoo

Image by @alexherndzstudio via Instagram

Black Air Plane and White Paper Plane Tattoo

Image by @smokeninktattoos via Instagram

Greyscale Paper and Real Plane Chest Tattoo

Image by @labastida.ttt via Instagram

Airplane and Paper Plane Tattoo Piece

Image by @realmhate via Instagram

Grey Shade Paper Plane and Air Plane Tattoo

Image by @thebigfatchef via Instagram

Black Air Plane and Grey Shade Paper Plane Tattoo

Image by @houseofblackartvia Instagram

Paper and Air Plane Forearm Tattoo

Image by @ellen.tattoo and thelifeloverclub via Instagram

Flying Paper Plane and Airplane Forearm Tattoo

Image by @inkbyvickie via Instagram

Black and Grey Paper and Airplane Tattoo

Image by @blackhousetattoo via Instagram

Bold Ink Paper and Real Plane Wrist Tattoo

Image by @ismailcan.ink via Instagram

Paper Plane and Shadow Airplane Back Tattoo

Image by @juanrai via Instagram

Grey Paper Plane and Airplane Tattoo

Image by @sachi_perera__ via Instagram

Red Paper Plane and Grey Air Plane Shadow Tattoo

Image by @smokeninktattoos via Instagram

Paper Plane and Airplane Foot Tattoo

Image by @pierozarattini via Instagram

Paper and Real Plane with Smoke Trail Chest Tattoo

Image by @tattooilluminati via Instagram

Among the Stars Paper Airplane Tattoos

With this tattoo, the paper airplane is featured among the stars. It could mean that you can achieve all your dreams, regardless of how helpless you may feel.

This kind of tattoo is also an excellent reminder to always dream big and aim high. Remember, even if you miss the moon you will still be among the stars.

Paper Plane with Sparks Arm Tattoo

Image by @inkstinct.co via Instagram

Earth and Starts with Paper Plane Tattoo

Image by @pt78tattoo via Instagram

Tiny Paper Plane with Moon and Star Arm Tattoo

Image by @nieun_tat2 via Instagram

Tattoo of a Astronaut on a Paper Plane Hunting Stars

Image by @by_vas via Instagram

Small Paper Plane with Moon and Star Leg Tattoo

Image by @u_oooops via Instagram

Space Theme Paper Plane Tattoo Piece

Image by @pt78tattoo via Instagram

Planet Theme Paper Plane Knee Wrap Tattoo Piece

Image by @hktattoo_tina via Instagram

Simple Dot Work Paper Plane with Stars Leg Tattoo

Image by @onedimpletattoo via Instagram

Paper Plane Planet Forearm Tattoo

Image by @airakay.ink via Instagram

Paper Plane Lettering Tattoo with Moon, Saturn and Star

Image by @hktattoo_tina via Instagram

Flying Paper Plane along with Earth and Stars Tattoo

Image by @waz.art via Instagram

Simple and Small Paper Plane with Sparks Back Tattoo

Image by @sweneychanie.tattoo via Instagram

Paper Plane Travelling around with Stars and Saturn Tattoo Piece

Image by @tattoomechu via Instagram

Paper Airplane Tattoos with Phrases

If you want to apply your own meaning to your paper airplane tattoo, the best way to do this is to include an important phrase along with your paper airplane tattoo.

This will ensure that you are always reminded of the important things in life.

Scriptures with a Paper Plane Chest Tattoo

Image by @tiranatattooing via Instagram

Paper Plane and Air Plane Tattoo with a Text

Image by @tintahanan_tattoo via Instagram

Lettering Tattoo with a Paper Plane and Airplane

Image by @timisoara.tattoo via Instagram

Paper and Real Plane Tattoo with a Text

Image by @tres.tattoo via Instagram

Paper Plane and Shadow Airplane Tattoo with a Quote

Image by @rui_tattooist via Instagram

Small Paper Plane and Lettering Tattoo

Image by @nung_nungtattoo.taipei via Instagram

Paper Plane Tattoo with a Quote

Image by @britinktattoos via Instagram

Paper Plane and Text Leg Tattoo

Image by @chloemickham via Instagram

Paper Plane Tattoo with a Quote and Tiny Coffee Cup

Image by @uhhhhtaco via Instagram

Text and Paper Plane Hand Tattoo

Image by @teomosti via Instagram

Tiny Paper Plane and Life Quote Collarbone Tattoo

Image by @nung_nungtattoo.taipei via Instagram

Quote with Blue Paper Plane with Smoke Trail Rib Tattoo

Image by @mariolepori_tattooartist via Instagram

Text with Paper Plane Wrist Tattoo

Image by @novytattoo_handmade_studio via Instagram

Large Quote and Small Paper Plane Tattoo

Image by @pilot.eliaa via Instagram

You may be surprised to learn just how many meanings there are to the paper airplane tattoo. Now that you're aware of how to depict them in your tattoo, it will be a lot easier to choose the right tattoo design for you.

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