18 of the best online sources to find free printable wall art in the public domain that can be used by decorators, bloggers, artists, and Etsy shop owners.
Not to be dramatic, but the day I discovered free printable wall art in the public domain changed my life. (Okay, yeah, maybe that’s a little dramatic.) But I do completely believe art has super powers.
Art sets the mood for a room. Art is an expression of human experience. It can make a space feel elegant or eclectic or colorful or moody or whatever feeling you want it to have. And it wasn’t until about 4 years ago that I discovered I could have all of the art I wanted for FREE!
Granted, yes, I still had to print that said art, but I’ll totally swing a couple bucks in printer paper and ink versus a couple hundred buying art from the store. (Artists totally deserve clients who will pay them for their art, but art in the public domain is an excellent option for homeowners who can’t afford the “real deal”.)
Once I discovered art in the public domain and took the time to scour archives, clean up the images in Photoshop, and format them for print around our home, I started sharing them as free printable wall art as an affordable option for homeowners everywhere and have kept the Bless’er House Printable Library going ever since.
What is the public domain?
Public domain art isn’t protected by copyright law, so you can legally print, sell, or distribute them as much as you want. Usually works enter the public domain because…
- The copyright date has expired. In the United States, a work’s copyright expires 70 years after the death of its creator.
- The work doesn’t have a copyright notice prior to March 1, 1989.
- The U.S. federal government produced the work.
Can you sell public domain art?
Yes! Which is why it could be a great income stream if you’ve ever thought about opening an Etsy shop selling digital products.
It takes some time to curate the art to find beautiful images in high resolution, but if you have the patience to search through public domain archives and the ability to clean up the image quality in Photoshop, you can sell digital copies of public domain art for people to buy and print art in their homes.
How can bloggers use public domain art?
I’ve sourced art from the public domain for years to create a free printable wall art gallery just for my email subscribers. It’s a great way to build a community, have an email opt-in, and provide a thank you to blog readers. You could sell printable art on your blog, but I prefer to provide it for free.
Can artists manipulate existing public domain art?
Yep! Say you find an old children’s book cover art image that you want to paint or add your own medium. You can manipulate that art in your own style and then sell it.
Okay, since all of those commonly asked questions about public domain art is out of the way…
The Best Online Sources to Get Free Printable Wall Art
- The Met Collection
- Wikimedia Commons
- National Gallery of Art
- Raw Pixel
- Smithsonian Open Access
- John J. Audubon’s Birds of America
- Public Domain Review
- Old Book Illustrations
- The British Library
- Art Institute of Chicago
- The Cleveland Museum of Art
- Harvard Art Museums
- The Getty
- Library of Congress
- National Gallery of Art
- New York Public Library
- Yale University Art Gallery
How do I print my free printable wall art?
Sometimes if I’m in a rush, I just print art from my home office printer and put it right in a frame to hang on my wall, but ink can be expensive and sometimes it’s just easier to order prints from an online printer (still cheaper than if you would have paid for store-bought art).
Plus, if you want art printed larger than 8×10, a home printer won’t cut it. Some printers online allow you to print oversized art by ordering it as a blueprint (some places have restrictions on that so ask ahead of time).
- Office Depot
- Overnight Prints
- Vista Print
- Giclee Today
If you want to see all of the art I’ve shared here on the blog over the years, you can see all of the Bless’er House free printable art archives here.
(If you’re already a subscriber, click here to visit the Bless’er House Printable Library using the password at the bottom of my email newsletters.)
Have you ever looked through public domain archives for art before? It’s kind of addictive really. There are so many hidden gems with rich history to be discovered just begging to be framed on a wall somewhere.