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!

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