DIY Inspiration: Natural Art

Lately my eye has been drawn to botanical/natural art, especially gallery style. It lends a room a cabinet-of-curiosities feel, without actually having to have a cabinet or collect the curiosities. Though that would be fun, I’m looking for more instant gratification.

Use free printable vintage art to give a room a cabinet-of-curiosities feel with a gallery wall of natural art of plants or animals. #art
Clockwise from top left: Nordic Design Collective, Poppytalk, Unknown, House & Garden, Harper’s Bazaar

If you’re into plants, birds, bugs, or any other sort of creature, there’s a set of prints out there for you. Plus you can get away without using a frame–they look great even just taped or clipped up. Alone or in a gallery, in full color or black and white, they’re so versatile that there’s a way to work them into nearly any style of decor.

Use free printable vintage art to give a room a cabinet-of-curiosities feel with a gallery wall of natural art of plants or animals. #artClockwise from top left: Vibeke Design, DesignSponge, Skonahem, Skonahem

It’s easy to find vintage or reproduction botanical illustrations on Etsy, or from books like Cabinet of Natural Curiosities or Art Forms in Nature. But it’s even easier (and practically free, if you already have a good printer), to download some images and print them yourself. Even if you don’t have a printer, a copy shop can get the job done for just a few bucks. So here are some great resources to do just that:

Biodiversity Heritage Library has a handy photo stream where you can search for and download illustrations of whatever type of creature strikes your fancy.
21 Free Botanical Prints
Butterfly prints, in several colorways
A set of free botanical prints from Poppytalk
Vintage Printable is another searchable database of public domain images.
The Graphics Fairy has tons of vintage illustrations under filed under natural history and botanicals. I especially like this moth print and these mushrooms.
Botanicus has an abundance of free plant illustrations. Here’s a rundown of how to navigate this set.

Those are some of the best vintage image sources I’ve come across. I found and cleaned up my own set of free botanical art, which you are welcome to download and use.

Have I missed any good sources for free vintage botanical or animal art that you’d recommend?

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