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.

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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

Late 19th-Century Illustrations of Gems and Precious Stones

Who loves rocks and minerals? Free scientific illustrations of rocks and minerals

I most certainly do 🙂

Recently, I went to the latest gems and minerals show held at the New York State Museum. It was awesome.

And a few years ago I was lucky enough to attend the rocks and minerals show in Tuscan, Arizona, the largest of its kind in the United States. That was an awesome show too, as I came away with some great mini trilobites at a fraction of the price.

Tip: vendors ALWAYS discount on the last day!

Anyways, I’m getting off track. I clearly had rocks and minerals on the brain, so I went searching through 19th-century mineralogy books and found some wonderful illustrations for you to use and share.

These are my favorite illustrations from the book, Gems and Precious Stones of North America. But you can view the entire book here where you’ll find more images too.

Antique rocks and minerals illustrations

 

Who Wrote This Book Anyway?

The vintage book, Gems and Precious Stones of North America, was written and illustrated by the 19th-century mineralogist, George Frederick Kunz.

Kunz was born in 1856 in New York City and harbored a love for rocks and minerals from an early age.

In fact, by the time he was a teenager, Kunz had collected thousands of specimens and sold them to the University of Minnesota.

Though a working mineralogist and collector, Kunz never went to college to pursue a degree in the field. Instead, he taught himself through his own field research and whatever mineralogy books he could find.

By 23, Kunz was already vice president of Tiffany & Co.

During his tenure with Tiffany & Co., Kunz discovered a new gem which was aptly named, Kunzite.

Kunz founded the Museums of the Peaceful Arts, was president of the American Metric Association, and was a lead research curator for the Museum of Natural History in New York City.

vintage illustrations of precious stones and gems

Shop For Rocks & Mineral Gifts

With your purchase of any Cost Plus World Market product below, FreeVintageillustrations.com will receive a commission. This is one way to support the site and score some really awesome gifts too 🙂

      

                   

      

Vintage Images for Mothers Day: Antique Rose Illustrations in the Public Domain

This is a free antique image of blue lace and roses for Mothers DayRoses are a Mothers Day classic! For this post, I sifted through the Library of Congress online and stumbled upon some really great vintage images from the 19th century, and I used Pixlr to clean them up a bit. For a quick and easy Mothers Day card, just print one out and you’re good to go! I personally love the light teal lace image because it brings a textured look to a greeting card.

Try using these free antique images to create napkins, invitations, greeting cards, decor, and other printed products for Mothers Day, weddings, engagement parties, bridal showers, or vintage themed birthdays. For more creative inspiration, I scoured the internet to find some truly clever and creative tutorials for rose-themed Mothers Day crafting too.

Rose Inspired Mothers Day Crafts

Vintage Pretty Chic Floral Rose Garden Collage Throw Pillow

Vintage Rose Pillow

Easy DIY Paper Roses

Paper Bouquet for Mothers Day

Origami Mothers Day Rose

Tye-Dye Roses for Mothers Day

DIY Chocolate Roses for Mom

Rose Petal and Salt Dough Crafts

Mothers Day Rose Corsage

 

 

Beautiful Vintage Children’s Book Illustrations of Country Flowers

Happy Monday, Everyone! I hope the Easter Bunny was good to you this year. I miss Easter already, but the next awesome craft holiday on the horizon is Mothers Day, so I really wanted to curate a special collection of free illustrations, fun facts, craft tips, and gift ideas this year.

This is a free vintage illustration of country flowers and lilies from an antique public domain childrens book from 1857

Nothing says Mothers Day more than flowers, so I searched the public domain to find some hidden gems buried away in antique books and was stoked to find the illustrated children’s book, A little Girl’s Visit to a Country Garden.

Published in 1857, this mid-19th-century children’s story follows a young city girl as she travels through the countryside and visits a beautiful flower garden with her Mother. Along with its charming story, this public domain book is packed with vibrant multicolored flowers. I used Pixlr to brighten up the images more and really bring out those lush colors.

I used Pixlr to brighten up the images more and really bring out those lush colors. These vintage flower graphics would make ideal craft and digital material for Mothers Day DIY gifts, Pinterest marketing campaigns, e-greetings, newsletters, postcards, and more!

 

Vintage Floral Teacup Card for Mothers Day

Mothers Day Teacup of Flowers Greeting Card

There are so many lovely vintage style Mothers Day gifts online. This is a great way to avoid the madness of the mall and still send a beautiful and personalized gift to your Mother. I went on a search to find some really great flower-inspired Mothers Day gifts and found this charming vintage teacup greeting card!

 

Free Religious Vintage Illustrations for Easter: Elaborate Victorian Crosses

This is a free vintage Easter illustration of an antique pink floral cross from a vintage greeting card.

I was rummaging through my treasure trove of Victorian postcards at home and found some really elaborate embossed postcards from the turn of the century. These antique postcards feature lovely pastel floral designs, making them ideal crafting material for religious Easter gifts, Easter Sunday greeting cards, Bible study coloring books, and church programs. They also make charming antique graphics for blog posts, email newsletters, and social media posts!

 

I selected and edited these antique cross images from my own personal collection of vintage postcards. You may use these images for your own personal and commercial projects for free and without permission. A link back is only required if you use an image for online purposes.

Free Vintage Thanksgiving Illustrations for all Your Festive Projects!

Thanksgiving is almost upon us, so here I am continuing the next wave of Thanksgiving themed posts! This time, I come armed with more antique free vintage Thanksgiving greetings, postcards, and book illustrations. These make great materials for Thanksgiving decoupage projects, napkin fabric prints, coasters, greeting cards, Zazzle projects, and placemats. Find more DIY Thanksgiving craft ideas below the gallery!

Thanksgiving Craft Ideas

With Thanksgiving on the brain, more and more ideas keep popping into my head. These are ideas that I’ve either tried before or would really like to but just can’t find the time (a.k.a I’m lazy.) These are all creative ways to incorporate free vintage illustrations into your crafts. Simply print out your favorite Thanksgiving images above to start working on these projects. Please try these at home!

1. Autumn floral bouquet inserts

2. Laminated Thanksgiving Placemats for the kids

3. Laminated Thanksgiving Placemats WITH dry-erase marker activities

4. Framed fabric prints for the kitchen

5. Decoupage a wooden box for a floral centerpiece

6. Create a Thanksgiving coloring book for the kids

7. Print out images on skrinky-dinks vellum to create unique Thanksgiving jewelry

8. Create your own Thanksgiving themed gift wrap

9. Create a classic framed print for house decoration

10. Print out and decorate Thanksgiving greeting cards

11. Invites for your Thanksgiving party