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Make Your Own Coloring Book! A Free Tutorial

Have you heard? Coloring books intended for grown-ups are the latest can’t-miss trend in art. Seen as an exercise in mindfulness, they’re good for the mind as well as the spirit, as well as a very fun way to develop artistic skills. But since there aren’t too many coloring books on the market intended for adults, we’re going to teach you how to make your own coloring book.

DIY Coloring book

Photos via CakeSpy

There are many reasons to make your own coloring books. For one, you can rest assured that the subject matter won’t be limited to childlike favorites like princesses and/or trucks. You can choose the subject matter and style of your coloring book and create a unique piece of art that makes a great gift.

These tips will set you on the right path to make you rown coloring book.

Think about these aspects of your project before pencil hits paper and you’ll have more polished results.

Size and alignment

First, make a decision about what size you’d like to make your coloring book. It’s your project, and you can make it any size you want. But there’s a strong case for choosing an 8.5 x 11 inch final size.

For one, it’s easy: You can print out pages on your own home printer. For another, it’s an accessible size for coloring with a variety of media. Look at coloring books in toy stores or in the toy aisle of grocery stores: they’re usually around this size.

Next, decide what your alignment will be. While not a breaking point, it can be distracting to turn the pages of a book and find that some images are aligned horizontally and others vertically, so consider making a decision one way or the other and sticking with it.

Rainbow in color

Choose a theme

Do you want a theme for your coloring book? Deciding before you start creating art can be helpful, and help inspire subject matter. For instance, the above series was the inspiration for the coloring book made for an example for this post. With the digital colors removed, the black and white outlines make a great coloring book pages, and there is a definite theme.

Some fun themes could include drawing foods, art with landscapes or trees, illustrations of flowers or funny cartoon characters engaging in conversation.

Intended medium

Are you making a coloring book for kids to color with crayons? Or is it something for adults to paint in watercolor or color with colored pencils? This can affect how large you decide to make your lines and images. Knowing what the intended medium is from the get-go can help you make a coloring book that is more enjoyable for your intended audience.

Page number

It can be helpful to decide how many pages you’d like before you start. If there is a theme to the coloring book, that might dictate a page number. For instance, the example shown in this post is for coloring pages with the colors of the rainbow, so the page number would sensibly be as many pages as the rainbow has colors.

Composition size

You don’t have to work at the exact size that your finished pages will be, but work to scale. This will make formatting the pages easier later. Do consider your scanner size — even if you like working big, consider the effect of this later. Will you easily be able to scan these pages for reproduction?

Getting to work

Now for the fun part: get drawing! Now that you’ve decided the size and alignment, you can start working.

Coloring book

Choose your media

Typically, coloring books feature bold, black-and-white pages. For this reason, if you’re working by hand, a large tip pen or a black marker are ideal media for creating your coloring book images. The pages can also be drawn digitally.

Begin drawing

If you’re confident, you can begin to draw freehand. But many of us will prefer to start with a pencil sketch, to help cement the composition and layout in our mind before making it permanent. Once satisfied with a pencil sketch, you can add ink on top of your pencil guide. If needed, erase any pencil lines from sketches.

Scan your art

Scan your coloring book images. Remember how we talked about that suggested 8.5 x 11 size? If you went with that size, bet you’re relieved right about now, since the size is easy to format and print on a printer page. Clean up the image if the scanner has picked up any dust or debris.

Didn’t use 8.5 x 11 paper? Either trim the paper to fit your scanner or scan it in multiple parts and stitch the images together with a photo-editing software.

Trim pages

Print out your pages

Print out your pages, making sure that they are printing the same size. If needed, trim the pages if your printer leaves a lot of excess white space around the sides. Assemble the pages in order.

Coloring book cover

Make a cover

This step is optional, but adds a nice touch and makes your coloring book distinctly gift-able. Make a cover that shows what type of coloring book this is.

Bind the pages

Bind your pages so that you have a book. This doesn’t have to be high tech. In fact, it could be as low-tech as stapling the top corner of the pages, or as involved as doing a perfect binding (here’s a tutorial you can use). Another easy solution is punching the pages for a three-ring binder. This way, you can add additional pages to your collection as you draw them.

Happy coloring!




Where can I find the coloring sheets you are using as the display?


Seriously – I just want a CakeSpy coloring book please and thank you!


LOL! I have not made one but I linked in the above comment to another coloring book page. I also have some coloring book pages for adults coming to Craftsy soon!


Another vote for downloads of the coloring pages you have in your example. I would PAY for those, even! Love your artwork 🙂


What type of paper do you recommend for printing coloring pages on?


Hey, thanks for the post. This helps, but I have been unable to decide on the type of paper to be used for printing images for coloring books.

Any suggestions?


I am also wanting to know what the best paper type is for coloring books or to print coloring pages on


hi there l have a 50 pages for an adult colouring book l would like to sell.The problem l am facing is it has to then be put into the computer to make each line perfect, do l have to do this or just scan then print they are super different and l think this book would do well.The girl that is helping fix pics up has lots of pain and it will take her along time to finish ,so maybe you could tell me of a quicker way so l dont miss out thank you kindly.


I love Colering books


Love coloring books


Love coloring books

Donna Violette

How can you heat treat the colored pages to preserve over time?


Thanks for your awesome tutorial! It’s super helpful. I am making my own colouring in pages and struggling with the editing software. I have hand drawn the images and scanned them in. I need to enlarge them to A4 size and ideally bolden the lines so the quality is better and not so hand drawn. I am trying photoshop and illustrator using the trace tool but I end up losing lots of lines. Would love to know if there is any program in particular that you would recommend? Thanks!

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Desperate Mama

I just discovered your blog and am so in love. My four year old has requested that we create valentines for her friends that include valentines crayons and some coloring book pages. I can’t tell you how perfect these pages would be for a little girl obsessed with just about everything in these perfectly drawn pages. If you would be willing to sell them to me, I would sincerely appreciate it! Please, pretty please!!

Awwaas Habibi

Your article is very helpful. However, I have some queries that I needed to clear. If one opts to pen the coloring books for commercial use, what is the process?
Also, I have read another article where the author talks about using a digital tablet for the sketches. Does it make any difference? Or is it okay to draw on paper and then take printouts?


This is just an awesome tutorial, I really needed this one. I hope it will help me in making my coloring book.


I am also interested in what type of paper to print these pages on? Any suggestions? I am currently using a card stock brand from Wal-Mart.


*thinking face*
but there are 7 colors in a rainbow…


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