Botanical prints are one of my many strange obsessions. These illustrations from botany and medicinal textbooks hearken back to a time when art and education collided. I’ve been interested in these prints for a while, but due to their rarity and popularity, they are hard to come by in your average peddler’s mall. They can also be expensive as original work of this kind is fairly valuable. I even looked in to purchasing a set of imitation prints, but in many home decor stores they were nearly as expensive as the real thing.
So, despite my general lack of artistic skill, I set out to DIY this project. Armed with my Pinterest research, I set about gathering prints that went with our blue and white kitchen decor. Many botanical images are considered public domain and are therefore available for print online. The Graphics Fairy, Vintage Printables and Botanicus were great resources. A quick Google search will also bring up many other blogs that have taken on similar projects. Be mindful of the image resolution as you hunt down your pictures. Make sure they are at a high enough resolution to be printed as 8.5×11 if you want to frame them as 8×10’s. Normally the website will specify, but if not, you can use the zoom feature on your photo viewer. If the picture is very blurry when you zoom in, it probably won’t print well.
Once I had gathered my favorite images, I headed to Office Depot to have them printed. Color copies on cardstock are 69 cents each at Office Depot, which was worth the lack of stress of using my at-home printer. In order to preserve the vintage patina of the images, I chose parchment colored paper instead of stark white.
Next it was time to find frames. I wanted copper frames to compliment the hardware in our kitchen, but knew finding large copper frames would probably be difficult and more than I wanted to spend. I decided I would have to find cheap frames and spray paint them copper. Since I wanted this project to cost as little as possible, I headed to Wal-Mart for my frame search. I needed frames that would take paint well, so I went with real wood frames that were $3.78 each.
A word on spray paint: Wal-Mart has the lowest price on spray paint, but they don’t have as wide a color variety as you will find at craft stores. For this project, they had every metal finish except copper. As per usual, I turned to Hobby Lobby in my distress. Hobby Lobby never marks their spray paint more than 30% off, so you are better off to wait until the following week when it goes back to regular price and use the weekly 40% off coupon.
With all the materials gathered it was as simple as paint, frame, and hang! I painted each of the frames with a generous coat of copper, trimmed down the prints, and whipped out my tape measure so I wouldn’t drive my husband insane just “eyeballing” the hanging process.
The grand total for the project was about $30. The same thing would have been nearly $200 from Ballard Designs. That’s a DIY success in my book!