Last week I shared with you the calendar I bought that was filled with Patent Posters, most from the 1800’s. With a few pieces of pallet wood and some modpodge the calendar patent posters were transformed into inexpensive artwork.
I know that you can still buy this 2016 calendar online but I didn’t provide a link and that was on purpose. I didn’t want you to go out and buy the calendar and then today I tell you how to get the patent images for free. Oh, by the way, if you do want to buy the calendar, you can find it at Amazon here. Just remember, that if you buy the calendar you are limited to the 12 pictures on the calendar.
Vintage patent artwork is also available online from a whole bunch of dealers but it doesn’t matter who is selling the images, they all get their artwork from one place… United States Patent and Trademark Office and the easiest place to find a patent is at Google Patents. Yes Google has a site devoted exclusively to patents. All the information at Google Patents comes from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the European Patent Office and the World Intellectual Property Organization.
The U.S. patents date back to 1790. By doing a search in Google Patents, you’ll get every imaginable patent that has to do with your search term. It’s a bit of overload.
I have a thing for mechanical banks, like the one above. When I searched for money box (as mechanical banks were once known), I got over 35,000 results. Every patent that had money or box in it’s write up was listed.
What I like about Google patents is that you can narrow your search by year, such as before 1900 when the results narrowed down to a more manageable 88 results.
If you have a specific patent in mind, you can also look up a patent with just the patent number. Every patent has a number in the top left corner.
If you have any collection or theme in your house you can find a patent that would coordinate, whether it’s cycling, photography, golf, baseball, shoes, cars, toys, boating. You name it, it’s out there.
From what I’ve read, the text and the drawing of a patent are not subject to copyright restrictions and the images are free for your own personal use. If you want to use an image for something other than your own personal use you may have to check with a lawyer, the company that owns the patent or read the documentation on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website to see if you can interpret their legalese.
Once you have found the patent art image of your dreams, it is time to make your artwork.
With your favorite photo editing software, it is so easy to manipulate the patent image to coordinate with your room or decorating style, whether you like a sepia image, a chalkboard finish, an architectural blueprint image…the choice is yours.
These were all edited in Picasa, a free photo editing software. I also have Photoshop but I prefer Picasa because it’s a bit more intuitive even after my son bought me Photoshop for Dummies, obviously it didn’t work for me.
The images in my calendar were 13 x 16.25, slightly larger than a 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. To be able to print out my artwork on a regular printer, the image was imported into Microsoft Office Publisher where I can create any sized custom page..even 13 x 16.25
If you don’t have Publisher, Marie, at Interior Frugalista, gave me another site to use for enlarging a photo, Block Posters. If you know of any other programs where you can make custom sized prints I would love for you to leave a comment.
This is a print preview. My patent camera will print out on 4 sheets of paper.
All printed out and starting to be trimmed. I’ve also gathered my pallet wood.
You can find the full tutorial , Pallets and Calendar Wall Art here.
The pallet wood has been whitewashed and is ready for modpodge. Once the modpodge is painted on make sure to squeeze out those air bubbles.
If you print out on a regular home inkjet printer, beware, modpodge can turn the paper a bit greenish. If you don’t like that look there are a few tips you can use…Piddix created a great article on How to Prevent Smudges and Bleeding when using an Inkjet Printer. Experiment a bit and see what works for you. The picture above used straight modpodge over top of the printed page.
Not sure where to start? Check out my patent art board on pinterest to begin your inspiration. So far I’ve saved over 100 patents from corkscrews to slinkies.