Friday, June 26, 2009

Make It: Custom Coloring Pages

I'm always looking for something artsy to distract my daughters long enough for me to have a few minutes break from all their energy. Right now, putting colored pencil to their custom coloring books filled with all their favorite family photos, is the girl's favorite downtime activity.

This project is so easy and quick. It only takes a few minutes to have several pages printed up.

For this process, I use the free photo-editing software, Photoscape. If you don't have a photo-editing software, you can find Photoscape by clicking {HERE} It's awesome.

To begin, let your child choose a favorite photo. My daughter likes this one, because of her lollipop lipstick. I like it because there aren't too many dark spots, which means less ink usage when it comes print time.

Open up Photoscape, and go into 'Edit.' Make sure your picture is up on the screen, and begin adjusting the level/contrast/backlight... whatever you feel your picture needs to make it POP!

I click on the "Backlight" "Auto Contrast" and "Auto Level" buttons to get the colors just right. Sometimes I have to deepen and brighten a photo, which can be found under the "Bright, Color" button.

Before I go on to the next step, I always "Sharpen" my photo once or twice. It makes the picture look grainy (and quite scary) but it makes a huge difference when it comes to how nice the coloring page comes out.

Next step: Convert to Grey Scale.

Once you are in grey scale, you might want to adjust the contrast by clicking the "backlight" and "level" buttons some more. Remember, you can always undo what you've done if you go to far.

Next Step: Convert to Black/White.

Once you are in this step, you can't fiddle with the contrast anymore... but you can jiggle the threshold to get the picture to the perfect outline. Just move the little lever back and forth until the coloring page looks good.

And there you have it... an awesome coloring page, customized for your favorite artist!

Print up a bunch and your kids will have the sweetest coloring book in town. Want to make a bunch of the same page? I'd suggest going to an office supply/print shop and having them print them up for you. The prints will probably be cheaper than doing it yourself.

Also, getting a bunch of pages spiral bound into a coloring book is pretty cheap, usually no more than 3-4 bucks (plus, if you have some free time and a small hole punch, you can replace the pages as your kids need more... that's what I do)

And they make a very unique gift!

Don't have kids? No worries. Use Photoscape's 'Page' feature, stick in some portrait shots of yourself, color them in, each with a different color palette. Now frame it as a pretty rockin' Warhol-esque Pop Art collage. Your friends will be jealous. But that is okay -- you can make them one, too!



  1. Ah HA! That'd how you do it. I'm excited to try it on my own :)

  2. excellent idea! my kids love to cartoonize themselves already, but i never thought to print them out!

  3. very very awesome! I'm so doing this!!

  4. i love this idea! thanks so much for sharing, marisa!

  5. What a great idea! I'll have to try this for my kids! Thanks for the tutorial!

  6. Fun idea! Coloring is one of the many things I'm looking forward to doing with my son, when he's a little older. At this point, he mostly likes to try to eat crayons...

  7. Love, love, love this technique. I hope I can do it with Photoshop Elements! Hope to see you over at my blog one of these days! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Nice blog. Thanks for sharing that looks awesome.
    Printing Malaysia


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