17 Chocolate Dessert Illustrations in the Public Domain

Happy Saturday! I have a serious sweet tooth post coming your way. It’s only fitting since my last batch was on Valentine’s Day. These dessert illustrations can also be used as crafting material for Valentine’s Day, and many other projects as well. Personally, I think these guys are great for learning how to draw, collage, creating imaginative works, and designing hidden picture video games.

But where did these yummy illustrations come from? A cookbook from the turn of the century – 1908 to be exact. It was originally archived by the Library of Congress, but you can also find the full color-illustrated cookbook on Archive.org. All the images in this post were curated from the chocolate dessert section. And that section was huge, as the cookbook was also sponsored by a chocolate company.

So without further ado. Let’s get chocolate wasted!

2-Ingredient Chocolate Desserts

Don’t have time or money to waste? These recipes only take two ingredients to make and are done in a snap. I found these recipes on AllRecipes.com,  Enjoy!

  • Oreo Cookie Bark
  • Nutella Coconut Fudge Pops
  • Chocolate Covered Potato Chips
  • Chocolate Blueberry Bark
  • Dark Chocolate Almond Clusters

How to Make Your Own Dessert Illustrations

Need help drawing your own chocolate illustrations? Check out these tips and tutorials for drawing candy, ice cream, cake, and more yummy treats.

And these…

How to Score Free Chocolate Samples

Free chocolate, anyone? Here are some brands and services that give away free chocolate samples, and a few other tricks for scoring chocolate freebies.

  • Attend a food fair
  • Go to the mall. If you’re lucky, you can score free samples.
  • 2000Freebies has a ton of free sample links. I found some for Lindt chocolate, Oreo cookies, and Godiva.
  • Check websites and coupons of your favorite chocolate brands for fee samples opportunities.
  • Look for new chocolate brands that are giving away free samples to promote their brands.
  • And my personal favorite: free sample Saturdays at Costco 🙂

And one last chocolate illustration before I go.

Free vintage chocolate cake dessert illustrations from the public domain


Until next time, internet.

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25 Valentine’s Day Pictures from the 19th-20th Century

Brace yourself. Valentine’s Day pictures are coming!

But I have a confession to make…

I’m really not that into celebrating the day itself, but I LOVE curating images for it and crafting. Sooo maybe I’m not such a curmudgeon about it after all?

Getting ready for the scanner and Pixlr!

If you follow this site regularly, you may have noticed some reshuffling happening too. There’s a lot I’m working on, from user experience to bringing in “new” vintage illustrations for 2018. There’s a lot on my plate, and one of my first projects is revamping the Valentine’s Day section. That’s why this post is so ginormous.

I wanted to do something a little different for this new section, so instead of traditional bows and arrows, cherubs, and valentines, I included more nature illustrations, symbols, and colors that aren’t always associated with traditional Valentine’s Day pictures but work perfectly.

If you’d rather head straight to the images, I’ve added these Valentine’s Day pictures to the gallery already. As for sourcing, these images were all curated and edited from my big box of vintage postcards (see above), trading cards, ads, and scraps – all dating to around the 19th to early 20th century. Please use, re-imagine, and modify these images to your liking. You’ll also find some additional free resources and hacks sprinkled through this post as well.

So without further ado, I bring you my Valentine’s Day explosion!

How to Make Collages with Valentine’s Day Pictures

Before I delve into collage hacks, I had to take a moment and admire my little vintage fishbowl illustration above. It’s tiny, but it’s my favorite in the collection.

Anyhoo. Here are some collage hacks I wish I had when I was a kid.

  • Yes Paste – When I started making more intricate, detailed collages in collage, this stuff was magic. Really wish I had it when I was a kid. You can dilute it with water for a smooth consistency. But the best part is that you can easily smooth it down without air bubbles.
  • X-ACTO knife – Unfortunately, I’m working with a bulky X-ACTO box cutter because I’m too lazy to get smaller one, but it works great too lol! But yeah, I definitely suggest getting a small X-ACTO for collages.
  • Modge Podge – Needs no explanation. Just use it. On ALL your collages.
  • Prisma Colored Pencils – These are literally like butter. Art butter! Anyhoo, these are wonderful for drawing on anything, especially if you like doing mixed-media collages with Valentine’s Day pictures.

How to Send Valentines Online for Free

Let’s take a moment to thank the internet for providing so many ways to send valentines for free. Thank you, internet! Along with using any of the Valentine’s Day pictures in this post, you can also use the following sites and free services to send personalized valentines to loved ones.

You can also create your own valentines from scratch online using Pixlr, Fotor, or Paint.net, for example.

10 Best Valentines Day Cartoons

I’m not into rom-coms, but I can watch cartoons for days, especially those Peanuts holiday specials. You too can relive the nostalgia with these 5 cartoons for Valentine’s Day.

  1. Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown
  2. A Charlie Brown Valentine
  3. Disney’s Beauty and the beast
  4. Wall-E
  5. I love the Chipmunks Valentines Day Special (1984)

5 Projects You Can Do with Valentine’s Day Pictures

Hey! There’s more to Valentine’s Day crafts than just valentines. Here are a few alternative craft projects you can make with Valentine’s Day pictures:

  • Make origami hearts, birds, and envelopes
  • Create a Valentine’s Day frame
  • Decoupage a keepsake box
  • Print vintage illustrations on paint color strips
  • Create embroidered Valentine’s Day gifts

Want More Free Valentine’s Day Pictures?

Like and share this site whenever you can! You can also like and follow FreeVintageillustrations.com on Facebook.

Oh yeah, one more image before I go.

Hope everyone has a great Valentine’s Day!

Bird Nest Clipart: 19th and Early 20th Century

Did I mention I’m drowning in vintage illustrations?

I’ve been stocking up on antique die-cuts and struck gold with these illustrations ideal for bird nest clipart. Plus, I found egg illustrations for specific species, like the Bulfinch eggs pictured above.

Getting ready for the scanner!


There are a lot of projects you can use these for. Animal flashcards, Easter basket add-ons, dioramas, Valentines, and art assignments are just a few ideas that come to mind.

And before I forget…

*In website housekeeping news: stay on the look out for a new miscellaneous gallery section, master gallery, and revamped holiday galleries in the coming weeks. 

Okay – back to birdies! Here’s a look at four more vintage illustrations of birds, nests, and eggs. And some more freebies I picked up along the way.

Free Tutorials: How to Make a Bird’s Nest

Want to make your own nests similar to the bird nest clipart above? Check out the following tutorials to make your own nests for school, decor, and other creative projects:

How to Draw a Bird’s Nest

Need to draw a bird’s nest for an assignment or video game? There are several types of nests to choose from. Styles include spheres, cups, platforms, mounds, burrows, scrapes, and cavity-nesting. You can learn more in this in-depth Spruce guide.

Here’s a YouTube video tutorial on how to draw a simple bird’s nest:

7 School Projects You Can Do with Bird Nest Clipart

Vintage animal illustrations are ideal for school and art classes. Here are 7 creative projects you do with antique bird illustrations:

  1. Avian (bird) science diorama
  2. Bird species flashcards
  3. Storyboarding
  4. Stop-motion animation
  5. Book report cover
  6. Bird posters for the classroom
  7. word-image association

Is your project ready to take flight? Don’t forget to check the FAQ page and terms page to get the scoop on image usage. If you like what I’m doing and want to see more vintage illustrations, give this site a like on Facebook and share on social media.

Stay tuned for more 🙂

Mushroom Illustrations from the 19th-20th Century

Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

I’ve been trying to curate a post with vintage mushroom illustrations for a while now and finally got around to it this weekend. I found some awesome scientific illustrations from the 19th century book, ‘Champignons et truffes (mushrooms and truffles)’ and ‘Minnesota Mushrooms‘, published in 1910.

I love including mushroom images in my artsy projects, but they’re also fascinating to learn about. Keep reading to discover more free illustrations and other cool mushroom-related stuff.

What Can We Learn from Vintage Mushroom Images?



Lots of stuff!

For starters, you get a peak into how science was being studied and visualized in the 19th and 20th century. But scientific illustration didn’t end there.

Even with advancements in photography, the art of scientific illustration is still very much alive.

Believe it or not, there are limits to what photography can do for research, but scientific illustration can fill in the gaps by illustrating processes, extinct specimens, anatomy, and highlighting more specific subjects.

Vintage mushroom illustrations are also fantastic resources for learning how to draw. In doing so, you sharpen your observation skills and eye for detail.

More Free Mushroom-Related Resources

Need some creative inspiration for your next mushroom-related project? Check out the following links and tutorials to inspire your mushroom craft, book cover, video game art, classroom projects, and more:

What Can You Create with Mushroom Illustrations?



I have friends that are really into sustainable mushroom design, so these illustrations would make an excellent card or print-on-demand mug for gifts.

Here are a few other ideas to consider:

  • Mushroom shrinky-dink jewelry
  • Geeky scientific gift wrap
  • Print-on-demand wall art
  • Note cards and stationery
  • Unique Christmas tree ornaments
  • Vintage scientific illustration scrapbook

Stay tuned for more vintage illustrations! As always, you can check the archives section for past posts and sourcing information.

If you would like to support this site, you can like my Facebook page or share on social media.

Winter Illustrations from the 19th-20th Century

Winter illustrations from vintage christmas cards

More snow, please!

I’m so ready to cozy up with hot chocolate and new books. I also went a little crazy on eBay and can’t wait to rummage through my latest batch of illustrations en route.

And speaking of winter, here are five more vintage Christmas cards and winter illustrations for the season. These guys are from my collection of antique postcards and trading cards, and most were produced in Germany between the 19th and 20th century. A couple of illustrations featured here are from trade cards for tea and medicine, originally published in the 1880’s!

How to Use Winter Illustrations for Holiday Crafts

If you’re gonna be stuck inside all winter, you better get your glue gun out! The holiday season is all about crafting, DIY, and putting ideas on paper. Here are several project ideas and links to get keep you busy with your winter illustrations:

You can also use these vintage Christmas graphics to make your own gift wrap and scientific illustrations to create DIY gifts for geeks.

Free Things to Do This Winter


I’m a big fan of finding free things to do (shocked?)

Here are a few of my favorite free things to do in winter to help you save money:

  • Free museum days!!
  • Free concerts and movies in the park
  • Dig into your winter reading list
  • Make your own Christmas tree ornaments
  • Nature walks in state parks
  • Go ice skating for free
  • Have a documentary marathon for free
  • Make a snow lantern (I haven’t tried this but I want to!)

More Vintage Winter Illustrations

Need more illustrations for your winter projects? Check out the archives for a complete list of every post!

Free Vintage Birthday Cards from the Public Domain

Do we have any fall birthdays?

I noticed the birthday section is pretty light, so I scanned in six vintage Birthday cards I got a year ago and cleaned them up in Pixlr. These guys were produced in Germany at the turn 20th century and feature birthday flowers and cats. Woo-hoo cats!

And in website housekeeping news, I added a Frequently Asked Questions page. This should answer a lot of questions about public domain, usage, attribution, supporting the site, etc. So, yeah, check it out!

Okay, so back to birthdays.

How to Download Vintage Birthday Cards for Free

Downloading antique birthday cards is super easy. Just follow these quick steps to save and print your cards. You can also edit your image for free with Pixlr or with any of the free image editors mentioned here.

  1. Right click on the image you want to download and click “save as.” Save your .jpg to any folder you wish and print whenever you like.
  2. Use a free image editor to crop, resize, add text, and adjust the color and contrast of your card. Some free editors allow you to add stickers and other effects like glitter, fireworks, or clipart.

Making Sparkly Vintage Birthday Cards Online!

Who misses glitter graphics?

*raises hand*

Well, excuse my nostalgia because I LOVE glitter graphics. My Myspace was a work of art (my old account is long gone, but you can click here to get an idea lol.)

If you’re like me and want to relive your glittery graphics days, take a look at the following free glitter graphics editors online. I used GlitterBoo to quickly animate the antique birthday card above.

  • Glitterboo
  • Glitterfy
  • Glitter Delight
  • Blingee
  • GlitterPhoto.net

Why We Celebrate Birthdays

Ever wondered how birthday celebrations got their start?

Here’s what you may not know about common birthday traditions:

So why do we celebrate birthdays every year?

You can thank ancient Egyptians and Greeks. A Pharaoh’s birthday from 3,000 BC is the earliest known record of a ‘birthday.’ A pharaoh’s coronation day was considered far more important than his actual date of birth, so Pharaoh coronations were celebrated as birthdays.

So how does Ancient Greece factor in? They added to the celebration!

Birthday candles to be specific.

Many scholars believe Ancient Geeks were inspired by Ancient Egyptian birthday traditions when creating their own celebrations for gods and goddesses. But they took it further. For example, Ancient Greeks would make moon cakes honoring lunar goddesses and added candles specifically to illuminate the cakes at night.

Ancient Romans were the first to celebrate their own birthdays, not just their Gods and Goddesses.  The Government also began observing the birthdays of powerful, influential figures in Ancient Roman society.

Want more vintage birthday cards or illustrations for your favorite holidays? Browse through the archives or go straight to the galleries.

You can also get a head start on your projects for Winter and Spring.

Free Vintage Christmas Cards in the Public Domain

Hope everyone is having an awesome weekend! I sure am. Someone just scored a sweet deal on a bunch of vintage trading cards (those images to come soon!)

Now I’m in the Christmas spirit. And I hope you are too. Coming your way are eight vintage Christmas cards in the public domain, originally published in the early 20th century.

I edited these images a bit in Pixlr, but you can find the originals under ‘Christmas cards’ tag in the NYPL public domain collection online.


How to Print & Decorate Your Vintage Christmas Cards

Printing out your vintage Christmas cards is super easy, but decorating them is the fun part. Use card stock paper to print out your greeting cards and decorate them with puffy paint, glitter, or found objects like buttons, yarn, and dried flowers. You may even like them better as is.

Other crafty ideas to consider:

  • Resize them to create small note cards or magnets
  • Resize them even smaller for Christmas jewelry and pendants
  • Create your own Christmas wrapping paper
  • Make your own Christmas mugs
  • Change the image resolution in Photoshop to create Christmas posters
  • Use Photoshop to convert images into simple lined drawings for coloring books

For more free Christmas illustrations check out last year’s post on antique Xmas graphics and typography.

Editing Your Vintage Christmas Cards for Free

If you follow this website, then you know I don’t hide my love for Pixlr. Pixlr is Autodesk’s free online image editor. It’s the one I use the most, but there are other free editors as well.

In the mean time, here are 10 more free online photo editors to try, courtesy of The Balance:

  • Gimp
  • Paint.net
  • Inkscape
  • EasyComic
  • Pixia
  • Photo Pos
  • Artweaver Free
  • Photoscape
  • Krita
  • Photobie

The History of Vintage Christmas Cards

Ever stopped to think of how Christmas cards came to be?

Here are a few tid-bits on the history of Christmas cards from Smithsonian Magazine:

The most talked-about origin involved wealthy 19th-century arts patron, Sir Henry Cole, who wanted an easier way to send Christmas letters in bulk. So he contacted artist, J.C. Horsley, and took their illustration to a London printer to print 1,000 copies. These original vintage Christmas cards were printed on Cardstock and featured people celebrating around a holiday table or helping people in need.

These cards were produced in the late 1840’s, but Christmas cards themselves didn’t catch on till decades later.

*Henry Cole also played a significant role in developing London’s renowned Victoria and Albert Museum.

More Free Christmas Stuff

Before I wrap up this post, here are more free Christmas resources to check out. Enjoy!

Watch free Christmas movies

Free stock photos of Christmas trees

Christmas Gifs to share online

Twinkling Christmas lights graphics

Listen to free Christmas music online

More free Christmas music downloads

Free printable Christmas gift wrap

Big list of Christmas freebies

Get free Christmas catalogs

public domain vintage christmas cards with holly gift box