If you’re a Facebook friend, you might have seen a post of mine from last week featuring a collection of nautical images I created for a new gallery wall at my parent’s beach house.

I found the original images on The Graphics Fairy then modified them slightly to suit my needs. Now, with permission from Karen (The Graphics Fairy) I am offering them as free printables.

This collection includes twelve high resolution images on standard letter-sized paper (for easy at-home or in-store printing) to fit regular 8″ x 10″ photo frames or standard certificate/document frames (of course, you can always use larger frames with mattes or smaller frames if you reduce the image size).

Free Printables - 12 Nautical Illustrations | The Painted Hive


These lovely vintage illustrations are just so versatile. Although the images themselves are all similar in scale and would have real impact in a uniform grid, there’s no reason you couldn’t use randomly sized frames for a more collected look (any larger frames could simply be matted). I think it’s a bit of a misconception that frames and art need to be perfectly scaled and proportioned. There really are no rules, it just depends on the look and feel you’re after.

Here are a few ideas…

Gallery Wall Configurations | The Painted Hive

I like all these options though really love the simplicity of the single feature idea – using a large frame to give a relatively small print real presence.

And, on top of choosing a hanging configuration, there are also tonnes of framing options (especially if you also use mattes). How about blue frames to co-ordinate with the images, simple white or black frames with blue mattes, gold frames for a more refined look, textured mattes in a natural tone to add some warmth or double mattes to create a border, and on and on.

Of course, if you’re going for an eclectic look, you can simply use a mish-mash of frames which I think always looks great.

To Print
For convenience, I simply printed these at home using my best quality print settings onto good matte photo paper. You could also have them printed professionally (in-store or online). If so, look into using a colour document printing service (if available) over actual photo printing. It is usually heaps cheaper and for simple images like these quality is comparable. I just had a quick look at the Officeworks website and saw that 8″ x 10″ photo prints start at \$2.50 whereas colour documents begin at just 88 cents (for twelve prints that’s a saving of around \$20).

Editing Digital Images
I get lots of questions about working with free printables so I know it’s not straight-forward for everyone. I also remember just how challenging I personally found it at first. If you’d like to learn more about customising digital graphics refer to my free printables series.

For these images (which were originally found on the Graphics Fairy – as mentioned above) I simply changed the colour (they were initially black) and marginally increased the size. I did this in Photoshop (which is my preferred editing program) though simple modifications like this can be made using lots of programs (such as publishing programs, like Word, or free online editors, like Pixlr).

Of course, you can make further edits to my images if you’d like. You could change the colour, invert the background, introduce a border, add some text or play with overlays for a distressed or grungy look, and so on.

Note: If using a publishing program or free online editor, just be mindful of image quality. One of the reasons I prefer using a purpose editing programs is the control and clarity it offers in terms of resolution. Some editors are not designed to produce print quality images (they merely edit for digital purposes). If you’re confused, you can read more about quality and resolution in my series about free printables. I recommend downloading GIMP if you’re not willing or able to purchase an editing program.

Have fun!


PS I know lots of my regular readers are sick to death of hearing me apologise for my sporadic absences, though I just wanted to let you know that at the mo’ I’m helping my sister finalise deets for her at-home wedding (taking place in two weeks time – eeek!) and hope to be back more frequently once it’s all done and dusted.

You’ve just read the post Free Printable Vintage Nautical Illustrations from The Painted Hive. Click on over to visit the blog and get engaged in the comments section – I’d love to hear your thoughts! Republishing this article in full or in part is a violation of copyright law.

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