Free Art Online to Download and Print

Free Art Online- How to Print and Frame It


Free Art Online {How to Print and Frame It}


Did you guys know that there a tons of resources online for free art online that you can download, print and frame?  I’m not talking about the cute little printables-I’m talking beautiful, spectacular collections that could rival any store bought framed print when matted and framed. I have been amazed by what’s out there for us for free, just like these images that I downloaded and printed and framed {printing instructions at the end of the post}:


New York Public Library- Free Art Online

Source: Courtesy of the New York Public Library Digital Library


New York Public Library- Butterflies

Source: Courtesy of the New York Public Library Digital Library


One of the best places online to find these free and frame-worthy images are from the online New York Public Library Digital Library here.   NYPL Digital Library “provides free and open access to over 800,000 images digitized from the The New York Public Library’s vast collections, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints, photographs and more”.  Oh boy, I’m starting to get the printable shakes!

There are a couple important rules to using the images…  “Materials downloaded from the NYPL Websites may only be used for personal, educational, or research purposes.  They may not be used for commercial purposes”. Just looking through the gallery is really incredible and you will be so excited to see all of the framing possibilities. You do have to take the time to look through for just the right stuff but believe me, it’s worth the time!

One of the coolest things is that they have a huge collection of vintage menu images.  There are some wonderful very old Chinese and French restaurant menus found here that would be so fun framed in a grouping a kitchen:


Free Art Online


I also love all of the botanicals, old maps, architectural sketches and of course, their massive butterfly image collection found here.  Here is a screen shot from the butterfly collection that I used found here:



Pretty much anything that you are interested in, you will find it hidden in there, you just have to take some time and look through.

So the deal is, you can download and print a low-resolution image from NYPL but there are a couple of little tricks to make these images frame worthy and I will take you through step-by-step to get the maximum print look, it’s really pretty easy!

Step #1) Find your image and then click above the image where it says “resize” (Look for my blue arrow):


Free Art Online- How to Print & Frame It


Step 2) Once you hit resize, you will now have a larger image on your screen.  Right click on it and save it as a JPEG and name your image (it is still a lower resolution image).

Step 3) Open up the image file in your pictures program and load your printer with white card stock that is smooth (not linen or with the faint lines in it). They sell the smooth card stock at the craft store, you just have to look for it without the linen-y lines. I tried five different papers, including thick drawing paper and the smooth cardstock was still the best.

Step 4) I set up my printer to print my butterfly images 5 x 7 and checked the box fit to size or shrink to fit.  Anything bigger you will begin to see a little distortion.  You can try some sample runs on plain paper but I found that the 5 x 7 looked the best. (I did resize my image in Pic Monkey to 650 x 750 to square it up for the square look I wanted, you do not have to do this unless you want your image more square).

For optimum color results, you may want to go and pick up new ink cartridges to make sure that you are getting the best color possible.  If you have a newer cartridge, you should be just fine.

Step 5) Print your image on your card stock:


Free Art Online- How to Print and Frame It}


Step 6) Take your printed images to the craft/frame store and find a large frame mat that you like and find a frame.  I wanted to have my mat pretty large with the image small in the middle for my butterfly collection. I bought four 12 x 16 ready made frames at 50% off (total was $42.00).

Step 7) Have the craft/frame store cut your mats to fit the image and the frame.  Hobby Lobby usually does this while you wait:



Step 8) Position and tape your image to the mat and insert in frame and hang your new beautiful collection:


Free Art Online {How to Print and Frame It}


There are so many possibilities to make gorgeous groupings and framed collections. You could also use the images for small wrapping paper or all kinds of craft projects.  If you’re child has a research project, this would be a great place to find images as well. You just have to be ready to sift through and find exactly what you’re looking for.  Also, there are several other online resources for free printable art (some with higher resolution images for larger prints) that you need to check out as well including Vintage Printable and The Graphics Fairy.

Have a wonderful rest of the week friends and I’ll be back for Friday Favorites.  If you missed last week’s Friday Favorites “Favorite Tips & Tricks for Choosing the Paint Color”, you can get to it by clicking the image below:


How to Pick a Paint Color- Tips for Picking a Paint Color




This entry was posted in Art, Decorate, DIY, Do It Yourself Projects, printables and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Free Art Online to Download and Print

  1. Fabulous!! It’s a great way to have truly good art on the cheap.
    I can’t wait to check this out. Thank you !!!

  2. Niki says:

    What a great source for beautiful images. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Kathy says:

    Awesome idea…thanks so much for sharing!! Blessings, Kathy

  4. LauraCYW says:

    Wow, thanks for sharing. Just found your blog. Looking forward to following you. 🙂

  5. Rick Bolt says:

    Awesome tip! Exactly what I am looking for to hang some prints in the stairwell of my old house. Love your website….

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