It is that most joyous time of year where gardeners around the world, in a desperate attempt to thwart off SAD and homicidal thoughts, converge on malls, shopping centers and craft shows like rabid squirrels with credit cards. I am not so certain that these are really the best places for people who have botanically inspired homicidal thoughts to converge, so I am really posting this as a public service announcement.
Yes, ladies and gentleman, it is the holiday season and you have no money. (trust me, don’t go checking your wallet. It is really, really empty. Especially if you have kids.)
But do not despair; gift giving does not have to be expensive. You just have to be creative. This year, you will be giving all of your favorite relatives or friends or teachers their own unique and lovely framed botanical print. I know, it does not sound cheap, but really, it is.
What you will need for this project is:
- a frame (any size)
- a computer
- a color printer
The quality of the paper can vary depending on your budget. If you find yourself without a color printer, your local Kinko’s will do color prints for about $1 each.
As far as the frame goes, for this kind of gift, I prefer a simple black frame. Normally you can pick one up at a dollar store or outlet store (we have Marc’s here) for just a dollar or two. If you want to get really fancy, you can splurge $3 on a can of gold or silver spray paint and paint the frame.
Next, you will need to select a botanical print. The really awesome thing about most botanical prints that you find on the web is that they are from books that are several hundred years old. This means that the copyrights on them have long since expired. Not sure where to go to find these free botanical prints? My favorite place is WikiMedia Commons, which is a branch of Wikipedia. To make thing easy for you, Here are a few searches that bring up some lovely botanical prints:
- Curtis’s Botanical Magazine
- Botanical illustrations
- Botanical illustrations Orchidaceae
- Edwards’s Botanical Register
- Leonardo da Vinci Botanical Drawings
Choose an image. Keep in mind that larger images will print better when resized, so look for larger images to do this with. Click on it until you get down to just the image file URL. You will know this because all of the WikiMedia navigation and text will no longer be on the screen. Right click on the images and choose “Save picture as…â€ Save the image to your computer.
If you find you need to make changes to the image, such as adding a personal message or resizing or touchup, there is an awesome free photo editor online called Picnik. You can make changes to the picture there without needing to buy software.
Once you have the image on your computer, you can print it. If you choose to print it from home, make sure that your printer’s print quality is set to Highest or Best. This can be changed in Control Panel>Printers>Right Click on Printer>Properties> click on the button Print Preferences on the General tab.
If you are taking it to a Kinko’s or the like, ask then to print it as a high quality.
These images look best printed on off white paper, instead of bright white paper. This will help to keep the illusion of it being an antique print. If you want to enhance the look of the print, printing it on linen paper will do this. It will cost a little more and to be fair, they still look great printed on normal paper.
Place the image in the frame and you are done. Perfect gift for the flower and plant lover in your life. The bonus is that by looking at all of those pretty botanical prints, you can believe, just for a moment, you are back out in your garden. And maybe you can stop the spending (or killing) spree that the lack of garden had caused in the first place.