Wednesday, July 4, 2012

(Almost) Free Art and Mantel Decor

Awhile ago, I shared a really great site for free art printables. It's no secret I've never gotten our mantel looking just right, but that is all about to change. I found some great sea life art on NYPL's site. You can click here to see the images- I chose 6 of my favorites, planning to make a 2x3 collage over the mantel. Here's my favorite of the bunch:

1. Chylocladia articulata; 2. ... Digital ID: 434175. New York Public Library
You can tell they're images from a book. At the top of each image is a print button-I clicked that, then right clicked the image to save to my desktop. From there, I imported each image into Picasa. It's free and you can get it here if you need photo editing capabilities. I cropped out the really dark edges-didn't want to waste all that ink!!!! From there: click "File," then "Print." Choose "Full Page" and click the print button on the lower right side, under the image.

With all 6 images printed, the only thing left was to find 6 inexpensive frames for them. A quick trip to Dollar Tree fixed that. I just got plain old document frames with hangers on the back.

If you look closely, you can actually see my reflection in the frame. Not the best, sorry. We're re-doing the flooring in the kitchen and I just had a couple of seconds before I needed to get back to it. I had originally planned to arrange my art over the mantel in a 2x3 collage, but decided to experiment with staggering them as well. We ultimately settled on a configuration that required 7 pieces, so I printed out another sheet and bought one more frame from the dollar store.  We scored a raku-style ceramic vase from Target for about 5 bucks, marked down from 17.99:

And yet again, the picture quality sucks, but I want you to know that I'm not fudging the's one thing to say that something was "inexpensive" but that can mean different things to different people!

 Then, we added a couple of candle sticks to complete the look, and there you have it. I tried to keep everything "centered" since we have a ridiculously long mantel. i was hopeful that I could visually shorten it up. I love how the sea life art turned out- the husband declared it Pottery Barn-esque- and best of all I'm only into the mantel decor about 13 bucks, so I'm not exactly locked into it.

I love that the reddish brown in the shells compliment our uber-cheap curtains...

Here's the 5 buck vase-love!- and some coral I got from my dad a million years ago...he used to be a professional diver and I've swiped borrowed some really cool ocean-findings from him over the years.

 There was no eliminating all of the glare on the frames in our *lovely* hazy weather, but I hope the pics are good enough to give you the gist- enjoy!

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