Free Books & Vintage Images

Have you heard of Project Gutenberg? You can download free books from vintage craft books to the classics – even making use of the images as they’re in the public domain and generally royalty free*.

As well as free reading books, there’s loads of creative inspiration there:

A book that caught my eye was: Needlework Economies: A Book of Mending and Making with Oddments and Scraps

I found the image of the girl darning for ‘fun’ amusing, considering we are all looking for crafts to keep the kids busy during lockdown – I would sure like to see the response if we tried this suggestion!

So that image is perfect for a pin on our Pinterest ‘Funnies Board‘ and I might also use the front cover as a tracing image (click on it and save to your own device if you want to use it for something).

use a vintage book cover image as a pattern for art and craft
Inspiration: use old book cover images in your art and craft
e.g. tracing the intricate design here as a relaxing creative session
(click / press to save to your device)

Images are not high resolution so they are ideal for use as a starting point for inspiring a project, you might struggle to use them ‘in’ a project that needs good quality images. Gutenberg splits out the images from books into their own blue ‘Images’ folder if you look through the file options presented. This saves you from having to download entire books and individually save images from within them – unless you need to use the text as well, in which case downloading the whole thing is advisable.

A warning – browsing through Gutenberg is a bit like the black hole of Pinterest – you may find yourself there a while!

Join our “Creative Wellbeing Facebook Group” and share your own creative inspiration to promote positive mental health and wellbeing.


*Public domain usage and ‘royalty free’ can depend on your country so it pays to read the blurb and use your common sense e.g. you can find Beatrix Potter books on Gutenberg but to use those commercially in the UK would be a breach of copyright.

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