30 Public Domain Vintage Illustrations For The 4th of July

Spring went by in a SNAP!  But summer is in full swing, which means it’s time to start planning DIY decor summer gatherings like birthdays, Father’s Day, and of course, Fourth of July!  I was struck with inspiration, so I combed the public domain databases to find some truly creative and FREE fourth of JUly illustrations you can really work with.  Use this gallery to create all sorts of DIY decor items for the season, like 4th of July stickers, placemats, banners, invitations, wall art, name cards, and much more.

4th of July Gifts For Moms & Teachers

There were a lot of cool vintage images to choose from, but these really stood out to me in terms of colors, uniqueness, and versatility for crafting.  With the help of creative online printing services like Zazzle and Cafe Press, you can print single units of vintage inspired mugs, mouse pads, t-shirts, wall art, pencil holders, binders, and many more accessories.
So to help inspire that next vintage-themed gift for the 4th, I whipped up 10 creative gift ideas using the gallery above.
  1. Pencil Cup/mug & Supply Gift Bundle:  This is perfect for teachers on the last day of school!  Choose your favorite images and select your product printing service of choice, like Cafe Press, Zazzle or Vista Print.  I suggest printing on a plain classic coffee mug.  You can even edit and arrange images to make a cool composition or collage.  Once you’ve received your printed mug, stock it up with teacher favorites like colorful pencils, cute erasers, trail mix & other snacks, funky paper clips and many more useful trinkets.
  2. Another great way to use those print-on-demand services is for making classic picture frames that moms LOVE.  And a crafty red, white, & blue vintage inspired frame with an old picture of you two would definitely make the holiday.

Once upon a time, people believed in Unicorns.

And I still believe! And I’m absolutely loving this post too. These old scientific illustrations of unicorns capture that unique moment in time when these creatures were actually studied. I especially love the ram-unicorn hybrid.

*This is a reblog. The images in this reblog were not curated/and or scanned by myself. For the purposes of this reblogged post, these images are for creative inspiration only. Please see the original blog or source for information regarding use.


Once upon a time, for nearly two thousand years, everybody believed in unicorns. Aristotle, Pliny the Elder, and Julius Caesar were all believers. If people did not believe, we have no way of knowing because they didn’t leave evidence of their doubt.  The most well-known evidence of the belief in unicorns are found in the tapestries woven in the fifteenth century, the Lady with the Unicorn at the Cluny Museum in Paris and the Hunt of the Unicorn at the Cloisters in New York.


Lesser known are etchings that I came across in an old book found at the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

antique unicorn printThese were alongside illustrations of credible mammals, and I think if I were reading the book back then, I’d be a believer.  antique unicorn printantique unicorn print

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Public Domain Vintage Illustrations of Gnomes and Fairies!

It’s time to step into the land of make believe. Mr. Rogers had one on his show.  So gosh darn it, I’m going to create one of my own! There’s a lot of whimsical, fantasy themed vintage art in the public domain.  For this post, I thought I’d focus on Gnomes, fairies, and other magical beings that inhabit fairy lands.  Look out for more whimsical themed posts on fairy houses, mushrooms, and other woodland themes.


Throw a Fairy & Gnome Themed Party with these 5 Party Decor Ideas!

Whimsical gnome and fairy themed parties are seriously fun to plan.  Plus there are tons of fantastic free vintage images available to create unique goodie/party favor bags, tree ornaments and garlands, jewelry, decoupaged toy chests for gifts, birthday party t-shirts, and more.

Keep these 5 super creative ideas on hand the next time you’re stumped for party planning inspiration.

  1. Turn your favorite images above into iron-transfers for party t-shirts, hoodies, and sweatshirts.

  2. Print images out on adhesive paper to make quick and easy stickers for party favor bags, fairy-themed craft activities, invitations, and to/from stickers for presents.

  3. Use a simple online photo editor to turn your gnome images into black and white pages for a gnome-themed coloring books.  Makes a great alternative to party favor bags.

  4. Have a holiday birthday coming up?  Create cardstock holiday ornaments by simply cutting out and decorating your favorite gnome images above.

  5. Pick a compelling image above and print it out on plastic transfer sheets design for projectors.  Cover a portion of a wall with large white butcher paper.  Project your fairy or gnome image onto the covered portion of the wall to create a unique fairy tracing activity for your party!

This theme is just for kids either!  Yes, I totally support you channelling your inner elf, gnome, woodland fairy, and wizard.  These images serve has fantastic inspiration for cosplay ideas, Halloween costumes, masquerade balls, and theater productions too.

Free Vintage Children’s Books and Illustrations

There’s some really charming late 19th – 20th century children’s book prints out there.  I curated this latest gallery from a variety of public domain media databases, and I can only imagine all the other out-of-copyright children’s illustrations stashed in people’s basements, vintage stores, and garage sales.  Side note: I’m taking a trip to one of my favorite stops tomorrow, SCRAP Warehouse, to see if I can score some good vintage prints to upload!

This collection features a variety of unique and whimsical prints in the public domain, ranging from nursery rhyme illustrations to classic vintage “Wizard of Oz” prints.  Enjoy, and as usual, you can find some fresh arts n’ crafts ideas attached at the end of this post.


20 Art Projects You Can Make With Public Domain Children’s Books!

Typically, this is the part where I whip up a specific themed craft idea for you to try.  I get a ton of ideas, but I usually end up focusing on just one or two.  Not this time!  For this post, I was flooded with craft ideas.  Public domain children’s books are some of the best free artwork out there, so I wanted to create a big list of projects that you can bookmark and use all year round.  Free vintage children’s book art is ideal for birthdays and back to school, as well as holiday crafting, dioramas, and even high school and college projects.

  1. Create a chic decoupaged lunch box
  2. Make plant decorations for indoor window sill gardens
  3. Print out these illustrations and turn them into brand NEW pop-up books for kids
  4. Create black and white print-outs to make a DIY coloring book
  5. Make your own textbook covers
  6. Create DIY kid’s bedroom posters
  7. Print out and laminate these illustrations to make placemats
  8. Create paper birthday banners
  9. Make your own Christmas tree ornaments and garland
  10. Collage your favorite images on cardboard to make a picture frame
  11. Cut-out illustrations to make cool dioramas
  12. Create your own sets for puppet theater shows!
  13. Make your own vintage image jewelry
  14. Create a chic vintage style potted plant
  15. Collage and create your own jewelry box
  16. Use them for your school poster board project
  17. Make a beautiful handcrafted birthday card
  18. Make cool vintage style origami ornaments
  19. Use an x-acto knife to make precise cut-outs for name cards or to/from notes
  20. Create an iron-on or fabric print to make your own pillows!