Printing cards with public domain art. Is it okay? And does it count as handmade?

Hey everyone! I believe this is my first post in the forum, though I’ve been a lurker for quite a while haha!

So, I’m a huge fan of art history, but because i can’t really find cards with brazilian art, I’ve decided to format and print my own by using art that’s now in public domain, as I thought this might be something that people in other countries might be interested in seeing!

My questions are: 1. is it generally considered okay to print your own cards if it’s using public domain artwork? I can’t personally see the problem, though I’m a bit afraid I might be breaking etiquette!

  1. Do these cards count as homemade cards? I know some people don’t enjoy receiving those, but I’m not sure if homemade refers to “collage cards” or something more like “anything you didn’t buy at a store” (I’d have LOVED to find brazilian artwork postcards in a store, promise :'^] )

I am not an avid Postcard Collect but related public domain if that is for free distribution I don´t see a problem in any case you can add the credits of the creator.
Some people don´t like selfmades card in my case I don´t like something printed from the PC but do not generalize with preferences.

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I don’t see a problem using these for postcrossing. I wouldn’t count them as handmade cards (if printed by a professional printing company). If the quality is nice, of both the picture you’re using and the paper used by the printing company, no one is able to tell the difference. In fact some store bought cards are of really bad quality (pixelated pictures, ultra thin paper etc)


Museum shops often have such cards, at least here in Germany. So maybe you ask the next art museum, if they have a shop.

I’d restrain from printing downloaded pictures on postcards, for recipients might be disappointed if they see the picture has been downloaded.

I’d argue the exact opposite. Why would the small selection of images a business has chosen be better than what we can? Open source images do not need to be less quality than copyrighted ones. And besides many of the commercial postcards are just downloads as well (like German based Anaconda).


I imagine a lot of Postcrossers appreciate it when someone puts a little extra effort into the process of sending someone else a card. Printing up your own cards requires effort, maybe at least as much as buying cards off a rack.


I say go for it! It’s in the public domain and honestly, if something is for your own personal use and not an item you are reselling, it should be fine. What a great way to introduce people to Brazilian art! I can honestly say I barely know of any Brazilian artists ( new or old) because so much of art history is still dominated by white European art. I’d be so excited to get a postcard with images of Lygia Clark‘s work! Most of us have only seen 1 or 2 probably in a museum.


Personally speaking, your idea is fine with me. I would be happy to receive such a card. :slightly_smiling_face:

I am new too and have been reading around the forums quite a lot. There are a variety of opinions obviously, but the impression I get is that most people seem to be aware that postcards aren’t always easy to get hold of, depending on the country, and understanding of ways people try to get around this who want to participate in the fun. :tipping_hand_woman:t3::slightly_smiling_face:

I don’t argue at all. I just express my opinion. You may express a different one.

Spreading beautiful art around the world - wonderful idea! I had some of my favorite art works (all in public domain) printed as postcards - I found high resolution originals to work with so that the results looked professional. Here is one I sent out on Postcrossing. Also this one.


As long as you stay on the right side of copyright law, then yes, of course!

There’s no one definition of what counts as “homemade”, and the users who prefer not to receive “homemade” cards all have their own different reasons for making that request. (And remember it is just a request; no one can demand to receive or avoid certain cards.)

I think a good guide in this case would be thinking about how you print your cards. If you print them at home on to a piece of glossy photo paper using an inkjet printer then most users would consider that “homemade”. If you design the card and have it professionally printed, then most users wouldn’t consider that “homemade”. (How could they? That’s exactly how any commercial postcard seller makes their cards too.)

For what it’s worth, I enjoy designing and sending my own postcards (either from scratch or using available and correctly attributed artwork). I have them printed by a professional printer. I’ve sent them out to plenty of users who’ve asked not to receive “homemade” cards and not one has ever mentioned it being an issue. Maybe they’re just being polite, or maybe what most of these users really care about is getting a card strong enough to survive a journey through the international postal system and with a non-blurry picture on it.


I would not mind sending cards with public domain artwork … For example: I went to keukenhof last year and made som really nice photo’s … I had one of those photo’s printed out by a professional company into cards and placed a small line on the back (in one of the corners) explaining where and when I made this photo.
If I were to download something from the internet for use on a postcard, I’d make sure it is either copyright free - or copyright sign on the card with source where I found that photo
I would not automatically consider that to be ‘handmade’ … unles quality of the card is sub standard…

I would love getting a card like that. Some of the homemade cards I’ve received have been wonderful, but some have been not so great.

There are very few postcards of my town, and the ones that exist cost $5 each and usually are just pictures printed at the local drug store with a line on the back and a square for a stamp. I’ve had three of my pictures printed as postcards and have sent them on Postcrossing for between $1 to $1.50 each

Postcard US-8112054 (

and others that haven’t been uploaded.

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I am an artist I would love to send you one of my printed postcards. And I am interested in your choice of card. Send me your address.