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How to Make DIY Vintage Wall Art From Free Prints!

Are you looking for an easy and affordable way to decorate your home with a vintage flair? Look no further than DIY vintage wall art made from free prints! With a few simple materials and some creativity, you can create beautiful, unique wall art that will add character and charm to any room.

DIY vintage art printable

How to Make DIY Vintage Wall Art From Free Prints!

Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that at no extra cost to you, I will receive a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.

DIY vintage art printable

Are you looking for an easy and affordable way to decorate your home with a vintage flair while also filling up all those blank walls? Look no further than these DIY vintage art pieces made from FREE prints!

With a few simple materials and some creativity, you can create beautiful, unique wall art that will add character and charm to any room. These gorgeous DIY vintage art prints end up looking like an original oil painting you paid $1,000’s for! That’s my kind of DIY!

Earlier this month I shared my collection of vintage art prints for FREE! In this post, I’ll break down how you can use a free download print to create a piece of DIY vintage art that looks like an authentic, old oil painting! This is one of my favorite, super simple DIY projects that can add a whole lot of character to your home.

What You’ll Need to Create Vintage-Inspired Art

  1. FREE download printable. Access my curated collection HERE, or select your own from the Public Domain.
  2. Cardstock or watercolor paper
  3. Matte Mod Podge
  4. A few paintbrushes
  5. A vintage frame (I get mine from a thrift store or flea markets) OR check out how to make a vintage-inspired frame HERE
  6. Piece of cardboard (optional)

Step 1: Find Free Vintage Art Prints

DIY vintage art printable

The first step is to find the vintage print you want to display in your home. There are many websites that offer vintage prints that you can download and print for free.

I shared in my post HERE, a comprehensive description of my process for finding vintage art online. This post will show you exactly how to search for, resize and print a free download on your home printer, BUT I’ll show you again here to get a full look at the process.

Step 2: Resize Your Digital Download

The next step is to resize your digital download on Canva (or whatever editing program you prefer). I am sharing Canva here because it’s FREE and my favorite. For this tutorial, I will be printing my download in an 8×10 size so I can print it on my home printer.

1. If you haven’t used Canva before, you’ll have to make a free account. It’s super simple! After you have logged in, this is what the home screen will look like:


2. Click on the “Create a design” button in the top right screen. A pop-up menu will open. At the very bottom of the menu is a “custom size” option. Click on that and enter the dimension you want. Here I entered 8 x 10 inches for my size.


3. Upload your image to Canva in the “uploads” section. You can simply drag and drop and then move your image around to fit.

NOTE: Due to these prints being digital downloads, it’s hard to tell how it will print until you’ve printed it out… Sometimes I do a mock print on paper before printing my actual image on cardstock. The images are vintage and are not always the perfect 8×10 size, etc. The beauty of Canva is you can add a border or readjust your sizing as needed.


NOTE: One thing that is important to ensure a beautiful print is that the resolution is high and good quality! Most of these downloads say what the resolution is right on the website. Aim for a high resolution of over 2000 pixels to get the best quality.

4.  After you have uploaded your design and resized it, you can download the newly sized digital files. When you click “download” in Canva, it will give you a bunch of options for the type of digital files you want. I like to export as a PDF because that’s best for printing! Simply export your file and hit PRINT!


Step 2: Print Your DIY Wall Art

For this tutorial, I printed on my home printer because the size I wanted is smaller than 8×10. If I am wanting a print that is sized 8×10, 5×7 or 4×6 I always print on my home printer.

If you are wanting different sizes that are larger, I recommend printing your file from Staples or Office Depot or ordering from one of the online printing services like Shutterfly. You can do all of this online and have it shipped to your home or just swing by and pick it up.

DIY vintage art

When printing art that I want to look like a real painting, I like to print on watercolor paper. I find this gives the illusion of quality! You can also print on a good-quality cardstock.

Step 3: Trim Your Print and Gather Materials

At this point, you should have your beautiful digital prints, printed out on a thick cardstock/watercolor paper and are ready to make your faux oil painting come to life!

DIY vintage art

I like to trim the excess border off my prints with a paper cutter. This gives the straightest lines and is fast and easy. Make sure you check how your print will fit and line up in your frame before you cut. These vintage pieces have irregular borders and aren’t always perfectly square so, measure twice, and cut once!

Gather the Rest of your materials. You’ll need:

  • matte mod podge
  • paint brush
  • vintage print
  • vintage frame
  • tape
  • rub n buff (optional)
DIY vintage art

Step 4: Paint Your Print With A Vintage Art Look

Here’s the part where the vintage look of your faux oil painting comes to life!

DIY vintage art

Simply dip your paintbrush in the mod podge and start painting over the strokes of the picture. This technique works best on oil paintings because you can kind of see the brush strokes the artist made and follow those patterns. 

You can still definitely do this process on a watercolor or even a sketch! It’s a great way to make the paper look older, BUT it may not look quite as authentically vintage as doing it on an actual oil painting.

The first time I did this process I did a very small amount of mod-podge. You can really put a good coating of this stuff on! It dries totally clear so, go nuts!

Step 5: Let your Vintage Art Piece Dry

DIY vintage art with mod podge

It takes 1-2 hours for the mod podge to totally dry. You can prep your frame in the meantime! Don’t be worried if you see the corners curling up a little- this is normal.

Step 5: Prep Your Frame

Any type of frame will work with these vintage art prints. I like to hit up the thrift store near my house for some very affordable, old frames. They usually go for $2-$10! You can also look for frames at flea markets, antique stores, and yard sales. These gorgeous wooden frames were $30 for 2 at my favorite antique store. I’ve definitely found frames even cheaper though.

DIY vintage art printable

If you don’t have a perfect vintage frame like these, try sprucing up a basic frame with acrylic paint or spray paint. My favorite paint to use for frames is rub n’ buff. (check out how I sued it on IKEA frames HERE). Rub n buff gives the perfect vintage look and a gold frame will really pop with these vintage pieces.

Remove the nails or metal pieces holding the glass in place and take the glass out! You want the texture of these faux oil paintings to shine. I like to store the glass in my decor closet just in case I switch the art out later on.

Step 6: Insert Art Into Frame and Secure

You can do this in a few different ways. The easiest is to simply secure your print to a piece of cardboard. You can glue the whole picture or use double-sided tape. Then put the back of the picture together again. If the frame is vintage and has a piece of art in it already, I will sometimes glue my new art right over the old. 

DIY vintage art printable with vintage frame

My lovely vintage frames didn’t have backs, so I went the cardboard route and secured the piece with staples and tape.

Step 7: Display Your Vintage Art Prints!

Once your DIY vintage wall art is complete, it’s time to display it! You can hang the framed print on the wall using picture hangers or display it on a shelf or table. Check out how I styled some of my prints in this mini-gallery wall display in my living room!

DIY vintage art printable

Tips for Making DIY Vintage Wall Art:

  • Experiment with different types of vintage prints, such as botanical illustrations, vintage maps, or old advertisements.
  • Choose frames that complement the colors and style of the print.
  • Consider creating a gallery wall of vintage prints in different frames and sizes for a unique and eclectic look.
  • Use matte or textured paper to add extra depth and dimension to your vintage print.
  • Don’t be afraid to get creative with your DIY vintage wall art – try adding embellishments or painting the frame in bold colors for a unique look.

In conclusion, making DIY vintage wall art from free prints is a simple and affordable way to add vintage charm to your home decor.

With a little bit of creativity and some basic materials, you can create beautiful and unique wall art that reflects your personal style. So why not try making some DIY vintage wall art today and give your home a touch of vintage charm?!

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