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Did you know you can make your own Coloring Book? With these instructions from Mark you can make coloring books that are inexpensive, look good, and will fit into a shoebox gift without folding or bending. You could even slip a few pages in a card to cheer a child in a hospital as well. Or print a special gift for an adult – everyone loves to color!
You will need
- a little skill with a word processing program such as Microsoft Word
- a computer with internet access and a printer
- access to affordable or free photocopying
- extra-long stapler is a plus but not essential, any stapler will do
Unless this is a one time gift of a coloring book, to produce these in quantity, the price needs to remain low or buying one from the dollar store is the better deal.
First: Open your word processing program and open the page setup function. Your page setup will probably have the paper in portrait (vertical) format, with fairly wide margins. Choose the landscape (horizontal) layout, and adjust all four page margins to the minimum (about 0.3 inches).
Next: CLICK HERE to begin your search for free-to-copy coloring pages. There are many places to choose from! Copy the image using your program’s “copy” function, and “insert” the image it into your document. Each “landscape” page can hold 2 images! (You will fold the 8 1/2″x11″ paper in half to make a smaller booklet.) Adjust the size of your image to fill most of one side of the page and add another image to the other side. Make a wider margin in the middle of the page to allow for folding and stapling.
A note on choosing pictures: Make sure the images you choose are either not copyright-protected (or possibly free for nonprofit copying.) Most educational sites are fine. People spend a great deal of time on their artwork and it is unfair and illegal to use them without their permission. However there are thousands of high-quality, free coloring pages available online.
Check out Crayola.com and choose a category. Here is a sample one for the younger ages:
They even have adult coloring pages that you can print off for yourself or cheer a friend!
You can even search HERE for adult coloring pages – what a special gift to cheer a friend!
For example, try Christmas or seasonal terms in your search, animals, sports, dot-to-dots and other puzzles, maps, etc. (For example, Mark chose a picture of a pair of mittens, because each of his shoebox gifts will contain mittens!) Perhaps you want to have a snowman theme or princess theme!
NOW: Choose your cover! You can type “Coloring Book” or if this is for a special gift: “Mary’s Coloring Book” or “My Special Friend’s Coloring Book” etc.
Make as many pages as you want, until you have an even number – 6 or 8 is good. (Update: I made a large booklet for a gift and found it very difficult to fold and staple if there are too many pages!)
Time to photocopy your pages on both sides to make a double sided booklet! (This is why you want an even number of pages – so they go back to front.) Run a test copy to make sure you have the pictures properly positioned so that you can turn the page and the images on the other side of the page will still be right-side-up. (I’ve made that mistake before, lol!)
Fold each page in half, then assemble the pages in the form of a book. Mark and I found the final result was neater when we folded each page individually, rather than stacking them and folding the stack in half. Staple the pages together in the center of the inside margin to make a book. A regular stapler will work, with some maneuvering, but a long (11-inch stapler) is ideal. The work for this project could easily be divided among several people, which makes it perfect for craft groups. 🙂
Thanks to Mark for these great instructions for a neat-looking half-size coloring book! But if you can’t follow them exactly, don’t worry. Even if you can’t copy double-sided, or the pictures turn out upside-down, they will still be fun to color and the child (or even adult!) who gets it will probably be delighted.