Looking for an inexpensive way to deck the walls this Christmas? Download, print, and frame this free Vintage Santa Photo!
Have you ever gone into a store around Christmastime and saw something that you really, really wanted? Well I went to the craft store and when I walked in there was this huge painting of Santa Claus sitting on an easel. And. I. Wanted It. As I walked around the store I realized that this huge Christmas painting was a bad idea.
First of all, it was $149 for a fake painting that would be put on display for 1 out of 12 months a year. Secondly, where in the heck would I put it those other 11 months? It’s not like you can fold up a huge framed canvas. Nope. As much as I adored Santa he would not be coming home with me.
Earlier in the year, though, I found myself wanting a piece of art that would perfectly match my Autumnal art display. And so I purchased a large poster frame from the craft store. Then I painted a simple watercolor in the shades of my Fall Décor. The idea was that when my orange, gold and burgundy decorations came down, I could easily put another painting or photo in the frame to match. And my fall painting would just be shuffled to the back of the pile, ready for next year, taking up no extra space.
Basically, everything was put in motion for me to add this awesome vintage Santa photo months ago.
And so I browsed the Library of Congress and found my favorite Santa image.
At the Library of Congress you can find tons and tons of amazing images with a simple search. It can take some time searching the catalog of images but as far as inexpensive art goes, it’s totally worth it.
Go to the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Reading Room. You can search for whatever you please from “Santa Claus” to “Christmas Trees” to seriously anything you can think of. At the top of the search you can change the view of how you see the images. I always select “Gallery” because it’s the easiest way to see lots of photos at once. Also at the top of the screen you’ll see a check box for “larger image available anywhere”. This means there will be a downloadable image for the photo results shown. Because nothing stinks worse than finding the perfect photo and finding out you don’t have access to it.
Most things that are available to download on the LOC considered “Fair Use” where the copyright has expired or has no known restrictions for use. But it’s a good idea to double-check. You can access the copyright and other restrictions for materials you find at the Library of Congress here.
The Santa image I’m using today was created in 1895 so the copyright has expired. I couldn’t find any information about it being in a special collection that might restrict using the image.
How I Added Color to This Vintage Santa Photo
Adding color to photographs in Adobe Photoshop is fairly easy if you already have knowledge of the program. Color on a new layer (not the original photo layer) using the paintbrush tool. Change the Layer Style to either “color” or “overlay”. Multiple layers can be made to achieve the colors you’re looking for. And feel free to play around with layer styles until you find one that is creating the look you are going for.
How to Print Your Santa Art
Now here’s the pretty brilliant part of this whole business. It’s so cheap! A color engineering print of this vintage Santa photo run at Staples cost me a little over $4 with tax. FOUR BUCKS! Now the quality isn’t absolutely amazing, and it states that this method isn’t really meant for photographs. But, a lot of us bloggers have been doing this for YEARS. It’s really an amazing way to create season specific art for your house on the cheap. Because why spend $149 on a fake painting of Santa when you can instead spend only $4 on a vintage Santa photo?
What’s even cheaper is printing this guy out on photo paper at home! You can use photo editing software like Canva or Photoshop to bring the size down to something that will fit on letter sized paper. OR you can scale the image down by opening the PDF in Acrobat. Change the size in the print options to what you need! Still need help? Leave a comment with the size you’re needing and I’ll do my best to assist!
Download the Printable Photo
If you’d love to print the same color Santa that I painted and used in my living room Christmas décor, you can grab a ZIP file here. If you’d like to simply print the black and white version you can download that image at the Library of Congress and send the photo to print. You can also order a copy directly through the Library of Congress. Just click on the “Obtaining Copies” tab for more information.
Affordably Dress Your Nest for Christmas!
FYI, if you love those natural wood and flocked snowflakes, check out my tutorial for how to make them out of clothespins! And also, can we just say ‘hey’ to that cute pirate nutcracker? My nephew gave it to my for my birthday to add to my collection. So cute!
Also, if you have a mirror that you already have hung in the space, but perhaps it’s not super festive, add a small, inexpensive wreath on top. I purchased my little wreath from Michael’s for around 4 bucks and tied it onto the mirror already hanging with a piece of twine. Temporary, cheap, festive! And hanging nearby this awesome vintage Santa photo and above some of my nutcracker collection it’s PERFECT!