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14 ways to get wall art for free - or nearly free!

From downloading free images to framing wallpaper samples, there are lots of creative ways of getting art for next to nothing

Book illustrations can make great pictures
Published: May 17, 2022 at 2:57 pm
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There's no denying buying art for your walls can be expensive - even buying mass-produced pictures from the high street chains can add up and you could find yourself spending far more than you meant to, especially if you have a lot of wall space to cover.

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However it doesn't have to be that way, as with a little imagination and creative thinking you could create a totally original look at a fraction of the cost.

Here are our favourite ways of sourcing free wall art ideas to build up a gallery that doesn't break the bank

Free picture ideas

Wallpaper samples

Yes, really! Wallpaper samples can make great pictures, and you can often get them for free! Samples usually come in A4 or similar size and you can frame them individually or create a collage from them.

We loved this design from Little Greene, pictured above with a picture frame bought for £1.50 in a charity shop.

Book illustrations

Book illustrations can make great pictures

Book illustrations make great wall art, and browsing the books on offer in charity shops, vintage shops or car boot sales could unearth some real gems and pay dividends for your art collection. From vintage tourist guides, fashion annuals and gardening texts to beautifully-illustrated contemporary fiction, books can be a treasure trove of pictures whether you scan them or carefully cut out the originals.

The Concise British Flora in Colour (pictured above) was bought for a few pounds in a second-hand bookshop and contains around 80 beautiful botanical illustrations - which would create an impressive gallery wall!

Buy from Amazon.

And don't forget children's books, they often contain fabulous illustrations that could make a great set of pictures for a children's room or nursery.

Also keep an eye out for old magazines, sheet music and pamphlets - you never know when inspiration may strike!

Handkerchiefs and scarfs

A silk scarf could easily be framed as a picture
Credit: Getty Images

When you're in the charity shops looking for books why not scour the accessory section for vintage handkerchiefs and scarfs for framing? Who knows you may score a bargain from Liberty at the fraction of original cost - it will probably last longer on you wall!

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Post cards and birthday cards

Perhaps an obvious one but definitely worth mentioning! If you receive funny cards from friends, why not frame them? Or keep an eye out for quirky postcards on your travels. Whether you frame them individually or group a whole load together they can be memorable mementos of a trip or friendship as well as art.

Free downloadable images

Guide to hawk moths

There are many websites that offer free downloadable images, posters and pictures, often courtesy of institutions like the British Library, whose Flickr account has over one million images and illustrations for download. And if you love natural history prints, the Butterfly Trust has a great guide to hawk moths (pictured above), which you can download for free.

Old Book Illustrations offers a wide range of public domain, royalty-free images scanned from old books. For a wide selection of art, photos and posters head to Unsplash

Do be sure to check the small print of any images before you download to make sure you have the right to reproduce it for your personal use, and factor in any printing costs...

Wirework photo frame

Photo display ideas - how to make a wirework photo frame

If you’ve been looking for creative ways to display your photographs around your home, why not make a unique wirework frame? Here is our tutorial for making a wirework frame.

Newspaper art

Newspaper wall in bathroom
Image from Shelby Mae Interiors' Instagram

Old newspapers can be used to great affect on a wall. You can either use newspapers to wallpaper a whole wall, like this stunning bathroom wall above created by Shelby Mae Interiors, or to create unique pictures and collages. Older newspapers are a particular treasure trove, as you'll often find vintage adverts and cartoons within.

Honeycomb wall art

How to make honeycomb wall art
How to make honeycomb wall art

Turn wooden tiles into a statement piece, just like Diane has, by upcycling them with metallic spray paint and creating a bold pattern.

Personalised initial art

How to make bespoke initial wall art

This bespoke initial wall art is the perfect way to inject a bit of personality into your interior and it’s so easy to make.

Custom quote frame

Creating a custom quote frame 1

When it’s done well, typographic art looks absolutely stunning – so check out our simple guide and create your own inspiring message!

Marble canvas

DIY marble canvas

Brighten up a dark corner of your home with this colourful DIY marble canvas, totally on trend and adaptable to colours of your choice to make a customised piece of art for your own home.

Here are the instructions for making your own marble canvas

Leaf paintings

If you love botanical prints why not try creating your own? Our sister title Gathered explains how to create stunning watercolour leaf paintings – easily achievable even if you're new to painting.

Artificial plant wall

Want to include more greenery in your home? How about an artificial plant wall: how to create a faux greenery wall for your home

Wall mural

Getty Images
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Of course you could just paint a picture straight onto a wall! Whether you keep it simple or go for a landscape masterpiece a wall mural or colourwash effect makes a fantastic focal point that adds character and drama. You don't need to be Picasso to give it a go and if you don't like the result just paint over it and start again!

Authors

Debbie GrahamSenior digital editor

Debbie Graham is the senior digital editor for YourHomeStyle, and is passionate about vintage interiors. In her free time she loves nothing better than scouring second-hand and vintage shops for bargains and upcycling projects. Her home is a Victorian house that is a bit of a project and when she's not putting buckets under leaks you can find her painting and patching

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