Saturday, July 9, 2011

Absolutely FREE (and beautiful!) art

Well my goodness you lovelies – thank you so much for the sweet comments on our family room redo!! You all made my day. :) I SO appreciate each and every one!

I’m sitting here this evening with one of my very favorite people – my dear friend Traci from Beneath My Heart:

image(Traci at our recent IKEA trip.)

Yep, she’s here. In my house. Staying the night.

I’m in heaven. LOVE her!

So does the Bub, by the way. And the dog. I think there will be a very sad little boy and dog when she leaves. :(

We’ve been working on a fun little project in the office and I’m loving it! I can’t wait to show you, but we’ve talked a little too much and didn’t get enough done today. Hopefully we can talk and work at the same time and get it finished up before she leaves. ;)

For now, I’m really excited to tell you more about the art in the family room! I needed to fill some of the walls in the space, but I got to that part of the redo after I decided to not spend a dime in July.

Well. Drats.

I was determined, and was forced to get a little creative – and I love how it turned out! The best part -- this art is 100 percent, absolutely free for everyone. WHOO!

I found the NYC Digital Gallery years ago, and just haven’t made the time to go through their prints till now. (The thrill of not spending any money made up for the time it took to find what I wanted!) The Gallery is such a great resource -- it provides free access to over 700,000 images digitized from the The New York Public Library's collections.

And it is AWESOME.

If you are using the art on their site for personal, educational, or research purposes, they are absolutely free. (They can be used for commercial purposes for a reproduction fee.) Basically, they are free “printables” you can use for art in your home.

Told you – awesomesauce!

I found a few I wanted to share and then I’ll show you what I ended up with!

There are seven categories of prints, like arts, buildings and geography. But I especially loved the Nature and Science artwork, and thought this horse print was especially striking:

Wouldn’t that be fabulous in a library or office?

This one was a cover of a NYC theater program in 1930:

ziegfeld theatre

Isn’t that gorgeous?

I think a series of these shoe prints would be adorable in a closet or bedroom:

shoe art

Or even a little girl’s room – how fun!

And yes, you can make your closet a fun space – especially when it’s FREE to do so. ;)

I especially loved the maps – this one of Italy because someday I will go there:

map of italy

And I loved the aged look and beautiful colors of this one:

image Wouldn’t that be amazing blown up into a huge print?

Originally I had planned on using botanical prints in the family room, and there is an insane amount to pick from on this site!

So many beautiful options!:

botanical prints botanical prints

You may notice I added some pops of blue throughout the family room space, and I wanted to pull some blue to the wall by the TV to balance it out.

When I found the Ocean Flowers collection, I was hooked:

image image

They were set on the most beautiful blue background and I was completely smitten. I thought they were perfect – they were a little bit more laid back than the botanical prints, but also a bit sophisticated. And they were so interesting!

All I did was take the image, copy and paste it into a Word document and make it as large as possible. (I made the margins super small.)

I had large frames from our powder room art that I took down weeks ago:

image

That room is in limbo, waiting patiently for it’s new paint. Wait line bathroom…wait in line.

Years ago I had painted the poster board behind those old prints chocolate brown, so I just painted them again. Then I just printed out the art from the Word document, cut it out and taped it to the middle of the poster board:IMG_5706

I doubt I’ll ever pay for mats to be cut again – this looks great every time! I wanted the poster board “mat” to be a flat, white paint, but all I have is glossy white – so I used a very light blue paint I used on the farmhouse desk in the office.

It looks really cool – turns out it’s the exact same tone of blue as the images:

nyc digital art

I absolutely LOVE how they turned out!! And the best part – I didn’t spend a dime! I printed them on leftover cardstock, but you could just use regular paper (it looked just a good). And if you don’t have frames already, check out Goodwill and spray paint them the color you want. SO easy, so cheap!!

You just need a color printer, and if you don’t have one, ask around. :)

I love the “gallery” look of the prints:

It filled in that little spot perfectly! And it gave me that pop of blue I wanted on that side of the room:

The fact that these are free is fantastic – but I also love the variety. It’s all so original and different – no one else will have the exact same art. (Well, I guess some of you will, but you probably won’t know each other. So you’re good.)

Check out the collections at the Digital Gallery here. Give yourself some time to browse – you’ll be there awhile. ;)

Have you gotten creative and come up with free art? I’d love to hear what you did!

68 comments:

  1. Wow! I never knew about that site! Oh my gosh, but the possiblities have to got to be practically limitless...Thank-you so much for posting about this! Love the pictures you chose too!

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  2. I love the prints!! They look great in your family room! I will definitely check out that site.

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  3. I did the same thing in my dining room. I used 8 small clearance frames with mats and sprayed them silver (mats too). Then I printed sketches of rooms. Not floor plans , but pencil drawings of beautiful rooms. I love that they are personal to me because I'm a designer, but also only $3 for the frames! It's a great and cheap way to get personalized art.
    Stacy

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  4. Just the other night I "created" art to fill some frames I had stored in the garage that we wanted to put up. I just used clip art in a word doc and added a Bible verse.It was FREE and looks so great! But everything always looks better when it's FREE! :)

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  5. just amazing - what great outcome and what an amazing use for the public collection and accessible from anywhere in the WORLD - just love it :) best le xox

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  6. that's cool, thanks for the tip!

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  8. What an awesome resource! Unbelievable. Did you notice the menu collection??? Think those would be fab for the kitchen!

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  9. I absolutely love the prints you chose. They remind me of sunprints but with softer edges. Gorgeous. I will definitely have to check out that map section also!

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  10. I love this so much! The ocean flowers are beautiful! I had no idea there was such a place like that. Thank you for the information!

    Love always,
    )(ope*

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  11. Very nice! They look great and I love the price too.

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  12. These look great! Thanks for posting about this. I am ready to start working on art for several rooms and just haven't wanted to spend money, so this will be perfect! Heading to the gallery now...

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  13. Thanks for the info, I never knew about this site and my mind is racing as to what I can create...Yours looks wonderful.

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  14. Those look amazing! I'm always trying to finish projects for as little money as possible and you've shown that it's totally doable! Nice job!

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  15. Very cool post!!! Thanks for sharing everything with us. The blue prints are wonderful!!!

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  16. I agree! That is SO awesomesauce!!! ;). Love that they're free and adore the pop of colour they give. I'm going to go hunting on that site and find some prints with a hit of apple green for my family room. Thanks!

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  17. Pretty awesome idea! I love those blue prints especially. Great job!

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  18. What a fantastic find - thanks for sharing! Your prints turned out wonderful, and the idea of mounting the picture on the posterboard is briliant, especially in a pinch. Off to browse!!!!

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  19. That is really impressive. Thanks for sharing such a great resource.

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  20. What a great idea!
    I took a glance at the link but I need more time ;)

    I've lately been doing digital art in my girls rooms just off my computer.
    Nothing fancy at all but easy and FREE :)

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  21. i did something similar in my living room! i printed out a bunch of silhouettes with regular computer paper and bought cheap frames half off at michaels. i painted the mats to match my living room paint. it looks so pretty! i can't wait to start browsing the gallery. i have been looking for pretty botanical art prints!

    you can see my "artwork" here if you want: http://housewifingonabudget.blogspot.com/2011/03/one-of-my-true-loves.html

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  22. I LOVE the hydrangeas in the box. So simple but absolutely beautiful. I'm sure it is something I would "borrow". Thanks for sharing.

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  23. LOVE, LOVE, freaking love! I've been trying to find some nautical maps to go in some clear lamps (my husband is a sailor). Wouldn't you know, they have a chart of the gulf stream! Thanks a TON!

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  24. They look great! Nothing better than creating something so beautiful for free. :) And I really love the box of hydrangeas (?) on your TV stand. I want to find something similar to spruce ours up, and it has to be really low because we have our TV sitting on our cabinet. You've inspired me!

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  25. the prints look great in your family room! i love the pop of color. Thanks for sharing the link with us.
    PS. i love the box of hydrangeas too.

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  26. Just did something similar! I just bought my first home so I'm trying to deocrate on a VERY limited budget! I found a frame on sale, spray painted it, and framed free sheet music of "There's No Place Like Home." I distressed the paper with a little water and hot chocolate powder! It's now hanging proudly in my living room! I love it!

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  27. So cute!! Thanks for the link!! Just another thing to check out!!

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  28. Awesome. Thanks so much for the resource! I'm definitely going to check it out. Thanks for sharing!

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  29. GO TO ITALY! It's amazing - the sites, the views, the food! the old downtowns are the places to be. The smells of pasta, pizza and wine. LOVE IT!

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  30. Thanks for the info...it's such a great resources link..already bookmarked it!

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  31. Thanks for the info, i'm in need of some new art! :)

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  32. Awesome! What could be better than free and BEAUTIFUL!? :) The room looks great.

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  33. The theater program is Billie Burke who was Glinda the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz!

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  34. That's an awesome source. Thanks for the heads up!

    Most of my "free art" has been along the lines of cutting things out of fabric and sticking them to the wall with fabric starch. That's how I finished off my girls room.

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  35. Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! Love this post!

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  36. WOOHOO, Sarah! You are the wo-man! I found the most perfect prints for my daughter's nursery. And I linked to this on my blog. Here ya go! http://jenssweetmagnolias.blogspot.com/2011/07/free-artwork-what-what.html

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  37. Wow! I am so excited to check that out! Thanks for posting about it! Your living room looks amazing :)

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  38. Love your art. I havn't checked out their site, but I have printed a bunch off the internet. I just keep changing them in the frames I have, or when I find a fabulous frame, I just print out another one that I love. I have to check their site. Your room is stunning. Hugs, Marty

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  39. Wow! I just spent an hour looking through the gallery. Thanks for the link! I will definitely be printing some of those!

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  40. How fun! You and Traci are two of my favorite people. Have you ever met anyone nicer or more likable than Traci?!

    Also, your artwork looks great. Your living room looks smashing. :)

    Xoxo

    Allison @ House of Hepworths

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  41. Thanks for sharing about this site!

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  42. oh dear, this is just inspiring to read, you are just awesome..thank toy / Marie

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  43. GREAT post and thanks for the resource!! After living for weeks now with empty gallery wall frames all over my house, I promised myself I'd take 7 days and make a new piece of artwork each day for a week. Needless to say, I learned a lot about Photoshop this week.

    I know I'm not the only one with this challenge, so I posted my "masterpieces" as free printables for anyone to download from my own blog at housestuffworks.blogspot.com. :) Sharing the wealth!!

    Cheers from a fellow Hoosier in Bloomington,
    Steph

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  44. Ooooh Sarah, this is wonderful, I can't wait to go through, I have an old window I want to fill with vintage images, this will be perfect! And it's a no money miracle!

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  45. Love your link and inspiration but found a print I liked and could not get it to blow up without being blurry. Not sure what I did wrong. I right-clicked the image and hit "copy," then went to Word and hit "paste." When I "grabbed and drug" a corner, the picture was very blurry.

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  46. I've been reading your blog for a long time now and have never commented! goodness!

    so, i totally love this and thanks for the resource! I'm starting my new high school biology teaching job this fall and the nature/science prints will be PERFECT for my classroom! vintage and classy! yay!

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  47. This is a game changer! Thanks so much for finding and sharing this. Love your blog!

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  48. That's an awesome blue in these prints! You done well... you done well... :-)

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  49. Thanks for sharing Sarah. I'm heading over to that link today!

    laura@imnotatrophywife.com

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  50. I had no idea about the NYC Gallery...I'll have to bookmark that page if I need to look for something for FREE...can't ask for better than that! Thank you so much...and your pictures look really great on that wall space...I love it :)

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  51. I had fun in my son's room by framing dust covers to children's books in large black frames. My favorites are the polar express and mike mulligan and his steam shovel- both have beautiful covers and my kids would just tear them up if I didn't remove them from the books. So that was easy and he loves seeing his favorite vehicles.

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  53. Love it! Absolutely love it! I've already shared it with everyone who will listen to me. One of the coolest sites I've seen in a long time.

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  54. Anon aka real soon here:
    Found a DIY at Canadian House & Home (Mouse & Gnome as we call it) for Cyanotype Art - not as crsip as the real thing foun on the NYC Library site, but kinda cool still - http://houseandhome.com/blogs/house-home-daily/affordable-style/diy-cyanotype-art

    PS Still love the public domain personal use archive. Simply "Wow".

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  55. I really didn't have time for this today!! Thanks a lot! Now I am printing things for random frames for every room in the house.

    Thanks for the link!

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  56. I'm a gonna go spend the next 12 straight hours printing stuff out. Sleep be damned.

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  57. Great Ideas!
    Thanks so much.

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  58. Love the prints - and your fantastic idea of using the cloth!!!

    Thanks so much for the link to the site. YAY - more images to browse

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  59. What a wonderful resource! Thank you for posting. Pretty unbelievable, but I was at Ikea a few days after you posted this, and they are selling the ocean flowers prints in my area!

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  60. OMG!!!! Thank you sooo much for telling about this site. I love all the prints and to think they are free the most extreme bonus!!!

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  61. Thanks so much for the fab tip! I am in the middle of a bathroom remodel and used this site to find some great prints for two frames I had picked up on clearance at Michael's several months ago!

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  62. I LOVE you right now - thank you SO much for posting this!!!

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  63. Thank you for this unbelievable link! I will definitely using this frequently. Blessings.

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  64. Hello, I just came across your blog today and I love it! I love what you did in your family room. Could you tell me the size of the frames that you used for the Ocean Flower prints? Is it 11x14 matted to 5x7?

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