Budget Wall Décor: Frame Lovely Pictures From Books

With a sharp razor blade or exacto knife, you can fill piles of picture frames cheaply and easily with just one picture book!

Because the collection of illustrations are from one book, they’re easy to mix and match as you wish–each are the same size and of the same subject.

Use a sharp razor and a careful hand to separate the page from a book neatly along the binding (but not into the binding), you’ll be able to keep the rest of the book intact.

Illustration Theme Ideas

  • Flower, Plant & Herb Illustrations
  • Kitchen Fruit & Vegetable Illustrations (both retro designs & artistic works)
  • Pen Drawings or Pencil Sketches from Famous Artists
  • Copies of Vintage Product Advertising
  • Vintage Magazine Covers

Tips For Choosing Supplies

  • Dig around in a bookstore’s bargain bin or online bookstore clearance section (Amazon.com and Bookcloseouts.com are good starts), amazing book finds with dozens of pictures can be found for just a couple bucks. You can also score big by browsing through used bookstores.
  • Collect frames cheaply from garage & estate sales, bargain bins, etc., and replace the pictures with the ones you’ve chosen from a book. Paint the frames if they need sprucing up.
  • Select oversized books with illustrations of good quality, printed on heavy paper and lots of full page illustrations to choose from.
  • If you’re painting frames, choose colors that will work well with future picture choices and any decor color changes (black, white, neutrals).

Tips & Ideas

  • Hang a series of framed botany prints from straps of ribbons (say three to a strap)
  • Outline lone pieces of furniture (such as a hall chest) with framed prints
  • Decorate the wall along a stairway with an assortment of framed illustrations
  • Arrange a block of framed pictures in rows on the wall space behind a sofa or on a bare wall
  • If arranging the pictures in clusters, you can create a uniform look with frames the same size, color and finish. If you’d like a charming display of pictures that gives the impression of a collection grown over time, try frames of different sizes and colors (that compliment each other nicely). You’ll need a book that has different sizes of pictures to accomplish this (or a few different books in different sizes on the same theme).
  • Stick with simple frames and mats that don’t compete with the illustrations, these can be used again and again without worrying about design conflicts with any new book picture selections.

When you’re tired of the “art” currently displayed in your home and need a change, just switch out the illustrations with pictures from a different book. Updating decor doesn’t get any easier (or budget friendlier) than this!

Inspired by the article “How To Use A Book With Decorative Pictures”, House Beautiful (1946)

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What Readers Are Saying: 9 Comments
  1. Victoria says:

    I have a scanner/printer at home and when I don’t want to cut into a book, or I want a print to fit a specific frame, I just scan and resize the page and then print on photo paper.

  2. sara says:

    I did something similar to decorate my kids’ bedroom. I had 21 frames, all the same size, so I bought 2 of the same 10 page storybooks, took the cover and all the pages out and framed them (the second book provided all of the back pages). I then hung them up in order to look like a border, so the story goes all the way across the wall. It brightened up the whole room, and I found the books at the dollar store, so it’s inexpensive to change as they get older.

  3. TipNut says:

    What a great idea sara, thanks for sharing that, I bet it looks adorable :).

    Great idea on the scanner too Victoria, saves the books!

  4. Sharon says:

    This is a great tip but don’t ruin a good book. Some books need to remain intact because they are valuable. Be sure you aren’t ruining a First edition of Audubon birds or something! Check the value at Bookfinder.com or some other place before you dismember an old book. Also vintage magazines have ads or articles that make good frameable art.

  5. Sue Lester says:

    I work in a public library. One of my duties is to repair books. Some of our “patrons” really like this decorating idea…they cut the pictures (and sometimes recipes or other things)out of the library books. It’s “free” for them, but the library ends up spending tax payers’ money to replace the books.

  6. TipNut says:

    That’s too bad Sue, I’m sure readers here know better than to destroy property that isn’t theirs to do so but it’s a good point to keep in mind.

  7. Linda Gockel says:

    You can also use calendar pages for framed artwork. Art museum gift shops are a good source for some beautiful works.

  8. leonard waks says:

    Even if the pages are the same size, the illustrations are not. So to achieve a proper look you may need mats of different sizes.

    Also I wonder whether you will want to display ot hide the information about the picture if it is ptinterd in the same page as the illustration.

    For example, a book with Mondtian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie: If the page has this caption under the picture, do you display or hide it?

  9. Jane says:

    there are many sources for pictures-I have used greeting cards also

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