31 Days of Decorating on a Shoestring Budget, Day 5

Hey there!  Thanks for coming back to see me again.  I'm hoping to make a lot of new friends with this 31 day series and am so happy you're joining me. :)

Day 5: Print your own art

Art is expensive.  I'm not even talking about "real" art that someone actually painted.  I'm talking about mass produced stuff you can find at Pier 1, Hobby Lobby, Target, etc.  If you need something to fill a large space it's especially challenging to do it on a budget.  Many of the large canvases (36" x 36" and up) are priced $179, $199, $299 and even $399.  There are cheaper options at other stores I mentioned but many times the selection is totally ugly lacking.

In the case of my dining room I needed to fill the large space over my buffet with something that wasn't ugly or expensive.  It was before I was a blogger so I thought my only option was to buy something.  I started out with this ok canvas (view here)from Bed, Bath & Beyond.  It was so not me but the colors were right at the time, it was big enough and it was on major clearance so I settled for it rather than having an empty wall.

It was fine really, but I didn't like it at all.  It set the tone for the room, so it made the whole room look bad to me.

It was really starting to bug me so I decided to do something about it.  To get something as big as I needed I was in that $199 and up price range.  Unfortunately, my shoestring budget was in the $30 range.  Wah, wahhh.

Thank goodness for blogs.  In my search for cheap art I came across several blogs that had printed their own botanicals.  (I can't remember which ones or I would site them here!  It was before Pinterest)  The kicker was that the botanicals looked great.  Straight out of a fancy botanical book, not those ugly pencil looking drawings with scientific words all over them.  These were actually pretty!

free botanical prints

I got these cheapo frames with mats included from Michaels (with a coupon that I talked about yesterday).  The frames were 50% off and then I had a 25% off total purchase of tabletop and wall frames coupon, they ended up being $3 and some change a piece, mats included!  Dirt cheap!  Just under my $30 budget.

free botanical printables

It is very easy to print these botanicals for your personal use thanks to the Missouri Botanical Garden http://www.botanicus.org.   Go HERE and on the left side where it says "pages" scroll down to where it says "Plate 1", anything that says Plate is usually a picture.  To download an image the website explains:

Clicking the "Save" icon Save on any page will open a new window with an image in JPG format, optimized for printing. Right click on that image, or click and hold on a Mac, to download it to your computer.

You can also go to "Plate 1" in the pages and then click the download button just above the picture that pops up.  This downloads all the pictures.

After downloading the botanicals book I went through and picked out the ones that would match my dining room the best and started printing.  I soon found that some of the botanicals had a rosey-pink background that was not really working for me.  I couldn't tell they were pink-ish on my computer monitor so I ended up printing 18 altogether and only needed 9!

Mine actually printed out the correct size so I didn't have to mess with the size settings.   Some printed slightly more narrow than others but you can't notice at all, the mats covered them.  Free art!

These are the ones that turned out pink-ish.  They are some of the prettiest ones and I may use them somewhere else in my house, the pink just didn't work in my dining room.

free printable botanicals

Of course there are plenty of other options for free or inexpensive art.  You can always paint something on a canvas yourself, even if you're not an artist you can do an "abstract" piece in the colors of your choice.

You can also have your kids paint or draw something for you and frame it in an inexpensive frame.    This is one of my favorites ways of making free art, always something charming about a little kids art work prettied up in a frame.

You can also check garage sales and your local thrift stores.  Sometimes you get lucky.

Do you have any ideas for inexpensive art?

Catch up on my 31 day series on decorating on a shoestring budget:

Linking:  Tatertots & Jello


  1. I actually am not really an artist but did have an art teacher teach my first graders (and me) different types of art media for 13 years...I felt empowered when I got a yellowed textured paper and began sketching trees, leaves, blossoms of trees, orchards, on small squares about 3". I found square frames at the DollarTree with a matting. I had my hubby attach a board to the wall close to ceiling and used about twenty to create a border. I little bit of dark brown paint would keep the eye from realizing that the frames even have any gaps! It's one of my favorite things because no one else has done it that I've ever seen! I am going to check out the MO botanical

  2. Great idea. I love the botanicals, thanks for posting the link!

  3. lovely!!! i love coupons :) i just went to joann's yesterday to buy some curtain rings and i only paid $17 instead of around $30!


  4. I used these prints in my bedroom, in frames above the headboard. Only cost $6. I love inexpensive decor and they look great too.


  5. I love these and they turned out gorgeous! I live in st. Louis and the Missouri Botanical Garden is a favorite place to go and enjoy the day. The beauty there is breathtaking.

    Kristy @ Shona Skye Creations

  6. We have been printing off black and white copies of "scenery" photos we have taken over the years. Aren't the photos available by the Missouri Botanical Garden incredible?! We used them as a source when I was in college going for a horticulture degree.

    Thank you so very much for doing this series! I look forward to each suggestion you make. Have a wonderful day!


  7. HI there, I found you thru a link originally from Top This,Top That, then took a link from there to Days of Chalk and Chocolate then she listed you as her linked bloggers.
    Thank you so much for the wonderful info about the botanical pictures. I've always wanted some of those pictures but phew, way over my non-budget so just let it go at that but now I can access them and print them out.
    Love the frames you used, I'll have to keep an eye out at Michaels and Hobby Lobby for their frames sales. The botanicals you printed out are so pretty in the frames.
    I'm a new subscriber and am very glad I found you. Was worth it to keep searching thru the links. I'm enjoying viewing your days of decorating.

  8. Printing artwork is a great idea for inexpensive decorating. I have also used wall-paper designs and even really cute cards I have received over the years!


  9. Do you print on plain office copy paper?

    I tried something like this once and by printing on standard printer paper my prints wrinkled and looked chintzy after soon after they were framed.

  10. Catching up on your series :). Thanks for the link to the botanical prints....love them! bookmarking until I figure out where to use them!

  11. These are great. The botanical prints don't work with the style in my home but I absolutely love the mix of pumpkins you have underneath them. Do you have a post on that?

  12. Wordle.net lets you create a collage of words...I am working on creating one for my daughter's room including her name and words that describe her.

  13. Hi Kate, I came here from Pinterest while looking up transitional foyer decor. Well done with the prints and love how inexpensive this is. This reminds me of the days in Year 12, when we had to draw these botanicals for our botany lab. I had pinned this when we bought our house and now after a fresh coat of grey paint in the foyer, i am all set to go.

    A few tips for those downloading images, there are four volumes of Kohler's medicinal plants in the link and each volume has different and more intresting prints. You can load the new volume by selecting it from the dropdown next to "About the title". Also if you're looking for a more polished white background prints, wikimedia has touched up versions of these images. - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:K%C3%B6hler%27s_Medizinal-Pflanzen


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