Create your own printable art with Open Access & Canva

If you have a printer and the internet, you can do this

The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam was an early adopter of open access. In 2013, they re-opened the museum after a 10 year restoration. Symbolically, they launched their online initiative “Rijksstudio” to reach admirers around the globe.

Enthusiasts could curate works they love, and play – creating new designs with this art, using tools incorporated into the studio.

Today, if you want to order a print you can make your own detail and order it as a poster, a print on canvas – or even a print on aluminum. Or you can order a poster designed by the Rijksmuseum.

But they have another lovely feature: you can download high resolution images, and make your own designs.

Now, not everyone is a designer and this could feel intimidating.

However, there are certain styles of art that lend themselves to a very straightforward art project: printable art.

Using 8.5×11 sheets of paper, you can print designs that are fun for coloring, or even to hang as art, or to incorporate into collage or decoupage.

Here’s an example. This is a work by the artist Julie de Graag made in 1920. The lines are simple, elegant. It is striking in just one tone with the faded paper, but if I wanted to print it at home it probably would not look as nice as it does online.

Varens, Julie de Graag, 1920 | Open Access from the Rijksmuseum

What if we could make it a true black and white?

With Canva, the free online design tool, we can. After downloading the image from Rijksstudio, I uploaded it to my Canva account. Canva will let you select all kinds of design templates, but in this case all I want to do is make sure that it will print well on an 8.5×11″ sheet of paper.

Sizing the design

Step One: Set your template size for 8.5×11″

Step Two: Navigate to your upload folder, and click on the image. It will now populate on to the template.

Step Three: Drag the corners of the image and position it so that it fits the page well.

Now that we have the layout set, Canva will automatically crop out the edges beyond the template.

Now we’ll focus on turning it into a black and white image ready for printing.

Step One: Click on the image, and a set of tools will appear for editing

Step Two: Select Filter, and navigate to “Greyscale.”

Step Three: Select “Adjust” and options to change the contrast and the brightness will appear. Adjust this until the background appears white, and the lines are crisp and dark.

Edited version of Valens

Download your design as a PDF – and you’re good to go!

Image Credit

Varens, Julie de Graag, 1920 | Open Access from the Rijksmuseum

Inspired early on by Marshall McLuhan’s “the medium is the message,” Rachel creates products and initiatives to make art more accessible through technology. After completing a masters in art history at the University of Texas at Austin, she joined Corbis Images where she developed image licensing programs for education, mobile and consumer goods for more than 10 years. Subsequently she began experimenting with publishing open access images from cultural heritage in educational and commercial products. She now leads product strategy at CultureTech in their mission to open up art. Together with CultureTech, Tulane Law School, and several museums, she is currently researching how blockchain technology can connect art owners, rights holders and admirers – to make it easier to find, license, use, and re-mix art through the ages.