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 museums 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!

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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

Vintage St. Patrick’s Day Postcards

Antique St. Patrick's Day Postcard Vintage St. Patty's Day Postcard

I realized I didn’t have too much stuff for Saint Patrick’s Day.

I wanted to expand my pool of resources anyway and found myself sifting through the public domain collection from the New York State Public Library.

Glad I did because I found these super festive St. Patrick’s Day Postcards.

I made a few brightness and contrast adjustments with Pixlr, but you can also find the originals right here

These vintage St. Patty’s Day postcards were produced sometime between the 1930s and 40s. The NYPL thoroughly reviewed their copyright status and found that you are “free to use [them] in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that [apply] to your use.”

Enjoy!

 

Fun Facts About St. Patrick’s Day

Curious about the history of St. Patrick’s Day?

Me too! So I did a little research and compiled these fun facts for your flashcards, blogs, etc.

  • St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.
  • St. Patrick is credited with introducing Christianity to Ireland.
  • Scholars believe St. Patrick died in the year 461 on March 17th.
  • Shamrock connection: Legend says that St. Patrick would use shamrocks to describe the father, son, and the holy spirit.
  • Roughly 100 different St. Patrick’s Day parades on held in the U.S on March 17th.
  • The largest St. Patrick’s Day parades are in Boston and New York City.
  • The very first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in the United States, not Ireland, in 1962.
  • In 1962, Chicago dumped green dye into the Chicago River to trace and remove sewage. This started a tradition of Chicago dying their river green every St. Patrick’s Day.

Vintage Book Illustrations of British Mammals

Free to use vintage book illustration of British Fox Free vintage book illustration of British Squirrel

I think it’s time to add more animals to this site, don’t you think?

Good because I found this awesome antique book packed with British mammal illustrations from the early 20th century!

Published in 1920, British Mammals features more than 50 color plates and pen ink illustrations of Britain’s most recognized mammals.

I picked out my personal favorites, a walrus, fox, hedgehog, squirrel, and wildcat, then made a few quick edits using Pixlr.

These illustrations are perfect for magnets, postcards, coffee mugs, school flashcards, posters, and images for your blog.

Keep reading to learn more about the book’s illustrator, Archibald Thorburn.

Free antique illustration of a British Hedgehog Antique book illustration of British wildcat - free to use

An antique book illustration of a British Walrus

About The Artist: Archibald Thorburn

  • Archibald Thorburn was born in 1860 in Hascombe, Surrey in the UK.
  • He was of Scottish descent and frequently visited Scotland to paint its floral and fauna.
  • His favorite place in Scotland to paint was the Forest of Gaick.
  • Archibald’s father, Robert Thorburn, was a miniature portrait artist and worked for Queen Victoria.
  • His work was frequently shown at the Royal Academy.
  • He regularly painted birds, and in 1899, he created the first official Christmas Card for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Vintage Illustrations of Breads, Cakes, and More Baked Goods

A rare 1917 Flour Company CookBook With IllustrationsI always feel like I’ve hit the motherload when I discover a vintage illustrated cookbook.

And it happened again this weekend when I found this awesome antique cookbook published back in 1917.

Now in the public domain, this cookbook is packed with vintage baking recipes you can whip at home and a few colored illustrations of rolls, bread loaves, cakes, biscuits, and more yummy baked goods pictured below.

Project Ideas For Vintage Baked Goods Illustrations

Need some creative inspiration? I was brainstorming different projects you could do with these illustrations and came up with the following ideas:

  • DIY ABC Flashcards: These make great images for the letters “B” (Bread or biscuits), “C” (cake), and “R” (rolls).
  • DIY Coloring Book: Create coloring books for homeschooling, summer learning, classrooms, and after school programs.
  • Printed Kitchen Fabric: Use these images to create printed towels, placemats, calendars, and more kitchen decor.
  • Books & Activities: Use these antique illustrations to create hidden picture books, matching games, and phonics exercises.
  • Mixed-Media Painting: Incorporate vintage images of bread and cakes into your culinary inspired paintings.

Fun Facts About The History of Bread

Cultures the world over have contributed their own unique recipes and methods for making bread. Here are some fascinating facts about the history of bread that you can use in your trivia games, lessons, flashcards, and more:

  • According to historians, people may have started baking bread more than 3,000 years ago!
  • Before bread, people would make “gruel”, which was simply water mixed with grains.
  • Eventually, people began cooking gruel and grain paste on hot rocks.
  • Yeast is what makes bread light and fluffy. Archaeologists have found that yeast has been used in breadmaking as far back as 300 B.C. when the Ancient Egyptians used it in their commercial bread market.
  • The first mechanical bread slicer was invented in 1917. Two years later, more than 90% of bread sold in markets and grocery stores were mechanically sliced in factories.

Vintage Illustrations of Elegant Table Settings

A vintage illustration of an elegant buffet setting from Mrs. Beeton's 1907 publication.

I’m back!

It’s been a while since my last FVI post, but I’m stoked to be back with more vintage images for your projects.

We’re in the middle of the holiday season, so I thought I’d revisit one of my favorite public domain resources, Mrs. Beeton’s Household management.

In it, you’ll find everything from old-fashioned food platters to fancy desserts.

However, one of my favorite sections is devoted purely to elegant table settings.

These versatile vintage illustrations are ideal for the following:

  • Tea party invitations
  • Birthday party invitations
  • Valentine’s Day collages
  • Holiday collages
  • Style websites
  • Printed fabric
  • Pinterest pages
  • Finger puppet theater sets and more!

These ideas are just the start.

How do these illustrations inspire you?

Antique Summer: Vintage Illustrations of Fresh Strawberries

I’m officially obsessed with summer now. Since yesterday, I’ve been on a quest to find and edit classic vintage images for your summer projects. I’m really lucky that so many awesome turn-of-the-century gardening catalogs and magazines featured vibrant illustrations of strawberries on their covers! With that being said, I grabbed my favorite free imaging editing tool, Pixlr, and went to work. I was able to create more vintage strawberry clipart by simply cutting up and editing these old antique gardening publications.

They’re ideal for DIY invitations, greeting cards, thank you notes, printed fabric, Etsy, and decoupage for old furniture. For more creative ideas, check out these strawberry-inspired projects!