Vintage French primer book pages and illustrations are perfect for decoupage, wall art, home decor projects, art/junk journals, greeting cards, scrapbooking, and so much more.
I am crazy about the aesthetic of these vintage French primer book pages, which include a wealth of hand-drawn illustrations. You just can’t find anything like it in modern textbooks. I’ve created free printables for ten full vintage French primer book pages. The book pages feature more than 60 illustrations, which I’ve made available separately. Enjoy!
How to use vintage book pages and illustrations
Most likely, if you’re searching for vintage book pages and illustrations to print, you already have an idea for wall art, home decor, or another DIY project. If you’re looking for inspiration or simply more possibilities, consider one or more of the following ideas.
- DIY wall art. One of the most common ways to use vintage book pages is to create one of a kind wall art. I think that the book pages make great wall decor all on their own for nurseries, living rooms, kitchens, and more. You can also overlay virtually any PNG or transparent background image onto an old book page to create easy, unique wall decor.
- Bottle cap or glass magnets, using the technique that I developed for my sheet music glass magnets.
- Greeting cards. Old book pages create a beautiful background for a wide variety of homemade greeting cards. Hand-drawn illustrations can also serve as backgrounds or decorative elements.
- Tile coasters, using the technique that I developed for my vintage sheet music botanical coasters. As the primer pages have so many illustrations, I probably wouldn’t overlay them with more images. But you certainly can.
- Art journals or mixed media projects. Layer ink, stamps, paint, and more to create mixed media art or art journal/junk journal pages.
- Scrapbooking. Vintage book pages create whimsical backgrounds for both physical and digital scrapbooks. Old book pages are also ideal for DIY scrapbook embellishments.
The vintage primer illustrations
The ten vintage primer pages include 61 hand-drawn black and white illustrations. I’ve cropped and cleaned up every single image and made them available separately. I know that some readers are looking solely for vintage illustrations and will appreciate not having to do this work themselves.
The vintage French primer illustrations, include, but aren’t limited to, the following subjects:
- Animals – cat, dog, owl, mice, elephant, roosters, geese, chicks, cranes, butterfly, and more
- Grandfather clock
- Birds’ nest with eggs
- Wooden shoe
- Postage stamp
- Various portraits
Creating transparent background images or PNG files from the vintage primer illustrations
For certain types of DIY projects, it may be beneficial to turn the image JPG files into PNG files with transparent backgrounds. Turning this kind of illustration into a PNG file is a bit time-consuming due to the sketch style of the illustrations. As such, I only created a few PNG samples to illustrate the reason for converting your images. It’s up to you to convert the images you’d like for your projects. I use the select and mask method from Digital Trends’ how to make a background transparent in Photoshop.
I overlayed two of my images on vintage dictionary pages and two of my images on vintage hymns. As you can see, converting the images into PNG files makes the overlay much more seamless than it would be with JPG files.
About the free vintage French primer book pages and illustrations
I’ve created the book pages and illustration sets as follows:
- Original ratio. The original ratio pages are exactly as I saved them after I uploaded and edited them. You can get the most control to crop the pages exactly as you like for varying projects.
- 8×10 with and without borders. The vast majority of readers looking for vintage book pages to create wall art want 8×10 format pages. I’ve created versions with and without borders. Depending on the frame you choose and the aesthetic you want to achieve with your framed art, you may prefer one version over the other.
- Illustrations. As mentioned above, I cropped and cleaned up all of the illustrations from the vintage primer pages and made them available separately. I’ve broken up the illustrations into three sets with approximately 20 illustrations in each set. Breaking the illustrations up into sets ensures that the ZIP files extract and download properly.
The vintage French primer book pages and illustrations are for personal use only. You may download and print them as many times as you like, including for classroom use. Please don’t distribute the ZIP folders or download files. If friends, family, or co-workers are interested in their own printables, direct them to this post. Thank you!
>> [Full illustrations set – Part I] <<
>> [Full illustrations set – Part II] <<
Extracting and downloading the full ZIP folders
I’ve created ZIP folders for all of the vintage French primer book pages and illustrations to provide the highest-resolution images possible and to protect the images from potential theft. Extracting and downloading is an easy, straightforward process. Please note that it will take a bit of time to get each folder fully downloaded.
- When you click on the full set link, select the Open with ZIP Extractor option at the top of the page.
- The folder will open in a new window, and the files will download.
- After the files have downloaded, click Extract Now.
- When the files are extracted and uploaded, click View Extracted Files.
- Double click on the folder.
- To download, choose the files you’d like to download. Click the three horizontal dots More Actions button. Select Download.
- Follow the prompts on the download screen.
- I highly suggest moving your downloaded files out of your downloads folder and into your main photos folder. You may want to make a copy on an external hard drive or cloud storage drive as well. Make sure to keep your downloads in a folder labeled “Vintage French Primer Book Pages and Illustrations” or something similar, so you can find them easily.
You’re now ready to turn your vintage book pages and illustrations into wall art or print them for DIY and craft projects!
Printing vintage French primer book pages and illustrations
When you use vintage book pages to create wall art, I highly recommend purchasing Finestra Art paper, which is what I used to print the vintage dictionary pages featured above. The acid-free, matte surface dries ink immediately, creating crisp, vivid images. Regular printer paper, card stock, and presentation paper do work. However, the results they produce aren’t as good. It’s worth spending a little more to make frame-worthy vintage book page art.
For all other DIY and craft projects, white card stock is a great choice. When you’re incorporating book pages and illustrations into mixed media art, greeting cards, and scrapbook embellishments, it’s not important that the pages look quite so vibrant. For tile coasters or magnets, you won’t be able to detect any difference under multiple coats of diamond glaze or Mod Podge. Depending on the given project, you may even prefer a darker, rougher finish to play up the vintage aesthetic.
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More free vintage printables:
Head to the free printables section for the blog for even more vintage offerings as well as to-do lists, recipe cards, home decor, greeting cards, and more.