Monday, June 17, 2013

DIY Vintage Botanical School Charts

I developed an obsession recently with vintage classroom charts. Old maps, lettering charts, you name it. However, it appears that I am not the only one enamored with these gorgeous relics that once bored the crap out of school children everywhere, because it turns out they are quite pricey. 

A sucker for the botanical prints, especially, I've had my eye on this particular one for a while now, and though I adore it, at $270, it is out of my price range. I do have this mass-produced one from Ikea, but unfortunately  its the only budget friendly option I've found.


Dramatic lead-in aside, you will need:
Vintage botanical images
Dowel rods

Right now if you're thinking "Gee thanks, where the fuck am I going to find some vintage botanical images just lying around?", ye of little faith, I got you. Botanicus is a never ending resource of gorgeous, open-source downloadable images, though requires a little hunting for the perfect images. If you're not feeling like hunting, Poppy Talk just featured a few downloadable botanical prints as well, which is what I will be using today.

First, glue the dowel rods to the top and bottom of your image. It helps if you print your image on a heavier paper, and leave margins so that you don't cover the illustrations. I used a hot glue gun, because its what I had on hand, but super glue works too.

Once that is dry, flip it over and attach your string. About a foot of string was perfect, but laying out first to mock it up will give you the perfect length. You can attach this with glue, or a stapler, or both if you're controlling like that. 

Price Breakdown:
Botanical prints - free
Dowels- $.99 for four (look in the birdhouse/wooden letter section of Joanns!)
String - Already had
Glue - Already had
Total: $.99

I love that they make the little corner of my office a bit prettier for when I'm working. They may be tiny versions of the old-school charts, but for $1, these miniatures will hold me over until I can afford the real deal.



  1. Thanks for posting this! I've been wanting something like this for ages but have had to hold off because of the prohivitive price tag. Now I can just make them myself!

    Ladyface Blog

    1. they are all just so beautiful, i want to be the crazy lady with a house full of old school prints

  2. Ooh, I've got some beautiful old maps (prints, of course) that might be getting this treatment very soon!

    1. How did you attach the string to the dowels?

  3. For pulldown maps, I have had great luck on eBay. You can definitely keep it under $100 and sometimes even under $50, depending on what you are looking for -- a deal when you consider the size and visual impact.

    Botanicals and biology charts definitely seem to command a higher price though :(

    1. i need to start stalking for maps too! andy is particularly obsessed with maps, so our house is full of them and an old pull down one would be an amaazing addition!

  4. Speakin to my heart, lady. Love old botanical prints and any old science prints as well. Maps would be cool, like Caitlin mentioned.

    1. i dont know how i didnt think of that! you are all so wise.

  5. your DIYs always make me go "DUH! why didn't I think of that?"
    you are a smart girl, ms. zandi! I love this!

  6. We totally adore pull down maps! Great job and thanks for sharing!


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