Love greenery but don’t have a green thumb? Incorporate it into your decor another way! Greenery doesn’t always need to be in the form of actual houseplants. I had some floating frames I wanted to fill with some vintage prints, but when I looked on Etsy, they were selling for $10-$20 for a digital download… Then I stumbled on a free botanical prints goldmine! The Smithsonian Department of Botany Collections is the world’s largest plant database and houses millions of prints — for free! I actually just bought two more wood frames and decided to use this database to fill these frames as well.

**I should also note that this is in no way a paid or sponsored post in partnership with The Smithsonian. I am writing this purely to share this found resource with you. 🙂

What You’ll Need:

  • a frame (or frames) — here are some options for both wood frames and floating frames, similar to the ones I have
  • a computer or phone to save your prints
  • paper & printer, or send away for printing
  • Command strips or nails/hammer for hanging

How To:

Step 1: Visit The Smithsonian Department of Botany Collections website. Now, I will say this site is not the easiest to navigate if you aren’t a plant connoisseur (IMO), so here are some tips. For illustrations, click ‘Botanical Art.’ If you prefer actual photographs, click ‘Plant Photo Archive.’ If you’re looking for a specific kind of botanical, you can search by scientific name, but I just filtered the ‘Medium’ dropdown to ‘watercolor’ and started browsing!

Step 2: Once you find a picture(s) you like, save them to your computer. For the floating frames above, I simply printed on 8×11″ paper right at home. For the larger Target frames, I sent them to Staples for same-day printing.

Step 3: Hang ’em! I used nails for my floating frames because of the chains, but for the larger frames, I 100% recommend using Command strips. These strips are AWESOME! (I use them to hang about 90% of my wall decor.)

That’s it! For a total of $1 and change (plus $10 for the frames), I got two vintage style botanical prints for our newly renovated basement! Give this a try, and definitely bookmark this site for future projects. Happy printing!

**When saving prints, please refer to the NHNM’s Terms and Conditions of Use.


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