Thursday, January 5, 2012

How to make your own Vintage Book Print on a $0 Budget

Day 5 and all is well on my $0 Budget front. We are having a hodge podge of things for lunch today so I can use up those little things I found in the freezer. The kids usually love this because they gets bits of some of their favorite junk type food (you know the last 3 chicken finger, a handful of french fries, a few perogies) so they won't complain. 
If you have been on Pinterest recently, you probably have seen those really cool Vintage art pieces where the designer has 'created' art on old dictionary paper. You know the ones I am talking about; they sell for $7-$8 depending on the Etsy seller. Well I use the word design very loosely because if you have a printer, internet access and an old book you are willing to cut up, you can make these for NOTHIN.

(sorry, I haven't hung it. It is standing on my headboard)
I sat down last night after getting the kids to bed and thought I would give this a try. It literally took me 5 minutes from the time my behind hit my chair to being finished.

Here is how I did it within my $0 budget.

At my local not-for-profit thrift store they have a book shelf of free books. One offs that they can't sell so they just let you take what ever you want. So whenever I am there I look for old books and dictionaries. I like to stack them to prop up little items on our bookshelves. Over the past few months I have created good collection of odd old books...some are not as good as others like the Nursing one from a really long time ago that has horrible drawings in it. I be sure to keep it high so the kids don't see them :) Sorry, I went off topic a bit.

So I grabbed one of my free books that was a little bigger than 4x6 and had a nice yellowing to it. If your page doesn't have the color you want, search on the internet and there are simple ways to yellow the pages.

I carefully cut out the pages with an exacto knife and a metal ruler. Since the book I used was a gardening one, I only used pages that had no drawings on them.
 I searched the internet and found an amazing site that offers "Free vintage images, printable, downloadable" . The funniest part of finding this is, that after I started going through the images, many of those being sold on Etsy are from this site. So you might be able to create the exact one you like for FREE.

There are so many on this site I can guarantee you will find something you love. Here is my favorite octopus (which they have loads of) and one of my favorite flowers.

When you find the image you like, right click on it and select 'Save Image As' . Save it to a location you will find easily.

Open Word and insert the image. I used a full page to design it because my printer is horrible and I find this works the best. But be prepared to have a few test prints before you print the final ones.

Here is where it gets fun. I didn't want my images to be really bold, I wanted them to be a little blurry and not crisp. So I used an artistic affect called 'glow diffused'. It just softened the image around the edges.

If you want to change the overall color like they have on the Etsy shops, this is how you do that. Select the image by clicking once on it, go to the 'Format' tab, select 'Color' and then this window will open.
Then run your arrow over the different colors to see what they will look like. Once you find one you like, click on it. That simple! You can always go back to the original so play around and see what you can do.
Next, put a sample paper in your printer and test how it prints. Change the size, positioning, etc. as you need to and print it again.

It really is that easy!
I had a three panel frame from IKEA sitting around that I had intended to use last Father's day but I never got around to. So I printed three images that remind me of our travels (the squid from Korea's fish markets and the sea horses from San Fransisco's Monterey Bay Aquarium). The best part is these can easily be changed as I grow tired of them.

The possibilities are endless! Wouldn't it be great to customize these?
  • My mom is a nurse, so I could cut a page out of my horrible nursing book and print the nursing symbol on it.
  •  If you have a gardener, cut a page out of an old gardening book and print some images of flowers, trees, etc.
  • A dictionary page for a teacher with their name, initials, or the Chinese symbol for teacher.
  • As a wedding or shower gift with a large heart and then the bride and grooms initials  and wedding date.
If you don't have a local thrift store to find the books at, talk to your parents, grandparents, neighbors, go to garage sales. I can guarantee you will not have to look far to find what you want.

What do you think? Can you use this for something?

I guess I can post this on both my frugal gift idea page and my $0 Budget page :)



  1. Great tutorial. Can't wait to try it!

  2. Fab Hun, just fab! I reckon you must not have much room left on your walls to hang all these goodies...! We too had a right mishmash of food last night running down the freezer! I made a cake to use up the oranges in my fruit bowl, that's my post today, then used them to make some to make a homemade body scrub along with other cosmetics, that's my post tomorrow! I'm having so much fun on this 0.00 challenge! Xx

  3. Wonderful idea! This is a great tutorial! The ideas are endless. :)

  4. This is so simple and easy? Why did I never think to print on book pages? *duh* (thunks head.) Thank you so much! I'm going to be using this for gifts all the time now!

  5. Thank you so much for this - I think something like this would be great for my son's wall.

  6. I love the heart one. I want to make something similar for my girlfriend as a nice little present. I just wondered where you got the heart template picture from and what effect you use to make it so transparent on the printed page?

    Excellent post, btw.

  7. Please advice as to how you make the picture transparent. I want to see all the print from the book.

    Thanks in advance

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  21. I work in a school library and I LOVE doing this with quotes or sayings typed on them in BOLD black letters.

  22. you just saved me a ton of money and now I can make Christmas gifts for my favorite co-workers! Thank you!

  23. Thank you so much for the info! Didn't know M Word could to that to pics. Thanks again.

  24. Hi. Thanks so much for a great idea, especially on a budget. I have done something similar with an old page from music - or a picture of such - with a Santa or other Christmas image on top. When framed, these make a wonderful, inexpensive gift. Even in a dollar store easel frame, I would surely welcome this in my own décor. Think teacher gift, hostess gift, neighbor, etc. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL THE GREAT IDEAS. Bess from VA

  25. This is amazing! Thank you so much!!!!

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  27. Hi
    Really love your stuff, could you tell me how you would put two
    pictures over lapping or next to each other on the paper.


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  29. Thank you!! Love these from Etsy.

  30. Can you tell me what kind of printer do you use,
    Inkjet Printer or Laser Printer or Multifunction Printer or Photo Printer?
    thank you

  31. Hey,
    Why is the picture transparent like? (You can see the words the image is printed on)
    Can this be done on any type of book? Like a book that is new and not vintage or old)

  32. I love this look, we just bought a new home and I am really trying to decorate on a budget...I know what I will be doing this weekend!

  33. Ok i have looked the on the Web high an low and I can't find where or how to make my images transparent!? PLEASE TELL ME WHAT SITE,PROGRAM that you used to make the pictures see through

  34. Great information but how do I post it on Etsy?

  35. Great information but how do I post it on Etsy?

  36. Your blog was so informative.I also using printer for my printing work.Although I was using canon printer .My printer was connected with wireless Asus router.Sometimes router did not work properly then I unplugged the LAN from router but when I reconnect at that time can't login to asus router.I was so frustrated about that problem.Because I could not any work for that problem.



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