How to Find And Frame Vintage Art Prints
I am excited about today’s blog post because it’s such an easy and budget-friendly idea to add life, personality, and interest to your home. We’re talking all about finding, printing, and framing vintage art prints. Plus, I even have a super easy hack to make your vintage art look more realistic!
Of course, I love original art. I’ve found some amazing pieces for our home at flea markets and thrift stores. Plus, I have art painted by my great-grandmother and my grandfather hung throughout our home. But, digital art is another avenue to explore when you’re finding art for your walls.
Digital Art Prints – Old & New
One of the great things about the internet is that art is more accessible than ever before. You can find digital art prints, new and old, to download and add to your walls or even your Frame TV – as I showcase in this blog post! However, there are some things to know when it comes to digital art, so that you can buy and display it in an ethical way, while honoring the artist.
Searching The Public Domain
Ever since I read this post by Pretty on Fridays, my eyes have been opened to the world of art and how it’s copyrighted. Essentially, an artist owns the copyright to their piece until they die, plus an additional 70 years. After that, it is available in the public domain. Many of the art shops that you see on Etsy and online, take these art pieces that are no longer copyrighted, edit them, strip them of any credit to the original artist, and sell them at an insane markup. I’ve fallen prey to this, even buying some vintage prints from shops that use these methods.
But don’t fret if you want to get your hands on vintage art prints. I found this public domain print shop and love her mission. This blogger curates the content, honors the artists, and still offers these gorgeous pieces for FREE! This post goes into more detail about the process and how it all works. Whenever I need a new piece for my home, I browse through the hundreds of fantastic pieces, read up on the artists and the stories behind each piece, and download what speaks to me.
My Go-To Spot for New Art Prints
If I’m looking for current art prints, I’m a big fan of Juniper Print Shop. They offer digital downloads as well as physical prints, depending on your needs. They work with independent artists to license their work, so the artists are paid a commission for each of the prints sold. They also have a vintage collection and purchase commercial rights to these whenever possible. They provide attribution to the original artist too, which I appreciate.
Finding a New Piece for Our Bathroom
Our first-floor bathroom has needed a little refresh for quite some time now. I had a painting in here that I adored, which I found at a flea market for $25. I moved it up to our main bathroom and it looks phenomenal up there over the toilet.
But its disappearance left our first-floor bathroom feeling a little sad. I vowed to find a new piece of art to hang.
After searching the public domain, I stumbled upon this gorgeous piece of art. It was painted in the late 1800s by Alexander Helwig Wyant and is called “End of Summer.” I was instantly drawn to the pretty blue and green color palette in the piece.
How to Print Vintage Art Prints
Since I was able to download it for free, the only real cost to obtain the art was the printing. And, spoiler alert, it only cost me $4.18! Personally, I’ve had a lot of luck using FedEx Office. I uploaded the file directly to their site for printing.
Just upload as a “custom product” and then be sure to change the size, based on your frame. For me, I chose 11″ x 17″, knowing I would have to cut a bit off the sides to fit my 11″ x 14″ frame. You can then choose your card stock. I upgraded to water resistant so it would withstand moisture in the bathroom. But if you’re putting it elsewhere in your home, you could just go with thicker card stock.
Making It Look Old
My print was ready in a few hours and the employee even told me how much she loved it when I picked it up. That made me feel good! Once I got it home, I wanted to try a new-to-me technique to give my print some texture.
I grabbed some Mod Podge in a matte finish and realized it was so old that the top was glued completely shut. Not wanting to run to the store to get more, I took a knife to the bottle and cut it open. That worked like a charm!
I then took a paint brush, dipped it in the glue, and started painting over the print. I used back-and-forth strokes, going in a bunch of different directions. My hope was that it would give the print a textured look so it would look like it was actually painted and not just printed on a flat piece of paper.
As it dried, I got kinda nervous. The glue was looking kinda globby and I started second-guessing myself. As with most DIY projects I do, I asked myself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” If it didn’t work, I would just spend another $4 for a new print.
Luckily, it dried just fine and I got that textured surface look that I wanted!
My Favorite “Vintage” Frame
I love the look of vintage art prints in ornate frames to really drive home that old antique look. This gold frame is a favorite of mine. It’s new, of course, but the detailing gives it that vintage feel. I have this frame in multiple areas around our house and it’s a winner. For this project, I opted for the 11×14 size in bronze.
Since I wanted to show off the textured look of the piece and make it look like a real painting, I removed the glass and mat from the frame and set them aside for a future project. I then cut my print to the exact size and popped it right in.
The End Result
I was shocked by how great this turned out! Guys, I only spent $4 on the art and another $20 for the frame. It’s a large piece (11×14) and looks so real!
It adds so much life and color to our space. Rory noticed it immediately and told me she likes it. So that’s a win in my book.
The frame is so light without the glass, so I just used Command Strips to secure it to the wall. I thought about leaning it on the shelf (I love that look), but since this is a bathroom that the kids and all of our guests use, I don’t want anything ever toppling down on someone!
All in all, I’m so happy with our new piece in the bathroom and I think I’ll be adding more vintage art prints around our home using the mod podge technique!
Our First-Floor Bathroom – Sources
Paint Color: Sherwin Williams HGTV Home “Clary Sage” // Floor Tile // Black Faucet // Brass Vanity Light // Flushmount Fixture // Towel Hook // Toilet Paper Roll Holder // Shower Curtain // Shelf (vintage) // Match Stick Holder // Towels // DIY Wood Wall // Wood Mirror // Soap Dispenser // Cloe Tile // Shower Trim Package // Black Drain Kit // Shampoo & Conditioner Bottles // Frame // Art // Marble Tray // Candle // Planter
More Art Posts
I’ve done a lot of art posts here on the blog if you need more resources and ideas for your walls. Here’s a big list to peruse…
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.