Turn your family photos into fun kids' coloring books for free! This simple tutorial will teach you how to turn any photograph into black and white outlines that you can print out at home. What better way to keep your kids entertained on a rainy day or a holiday weekend?

I used a free online image editing app called Pixlr to achieve this effect, but you can do much the same thing in other software, such as Photoshop or GIMP.

Of course, you don't need to use family photos. We'll even discuss how to insert your family members into exciting action scenes or far-flung landscapes. It's your coloring book, so you can choose the story! Even better, why not let the kids decide?

I'm going to talk through this process in a lot of detail, but that's only so that a complete beginner will feel comfortable. Don't be intimidated by the number of steps; you can actually complete the project in about 5 minutes!

Step 1: Choose a Photo

The first thing you need to do is pick a photograph that you want to turn into a page in your coloring book. The best photos for this are ones that are in focus and have plenty of contrast between the different objects in the scene.

If you're planning to edit any of the people in your photo onto another background, it helps if the original photo is taken against a fairly plain background. For example, you could start by photographing your kids fiercely brandishing toy swords in front of a blank wall, then edit them onto a pirate ship background later!

Save whichever photos you want to use to an easy-to-find file on your computer.
<p>we just finished trying this. The web site has been changed a bit since this was written but we were still able to follow all the steps. Great results.</p>
<p>I love this. I am using it for a school project.</p>
<p>Awesome! I found this extremely easy to follow. Thank you!</p>
<p>Everything proceeded as directed until I reached Step 9, Flatten the Image. When I right-clicked on the top layer (Background Copy), I got the following: &quot;Settings, Global Settings, About Adobe Flash Player version......&quot; It seems to relate to settings of Flash itself. I'm running Windows 7 and Chrome. No matter what I click on now - View, File, Adjustment, Background, Opacity, etc, the list of &quot;Settings, Global Settings, and About Adobe Flash Player version...&quot; displays.Each step worked perfectly until now. What can I do? </p>
<p>I'm on a Mac, and got to the 'Levels' point, however the sliders will not move individually; I moved the 'black', but when I went to move the grey and white sliders, the black moves at the same time, and won't operate solo. Can you help? Thanks!</p>
<p>Thank you for sharing this was amazingly easy!</p>
Can you create these on a cell phone? Or does it have to be done on a computer
I did it! But it won't save? Does is usually take a long time to save? I've tried a few times, but it just keeps saying 'working please wait' any suggestions?
<p>Thanks for this. I've wanted to do this kind of thing for a while and this works great!</p>
<p>Can anyone tell me how to print these to a full size 8.5x11? I want to bind them together in a book but they are all printing small size. Thanks!</p>
<p>Thank you so much! In about ten minutes I was able to turn a picture of my library building into a coloring page for an election night . I made one misstep and had to go back and follow the directions more carefully, but I did it! Thanks for taking time to help us.</p>
<p>This is actually the best method, by far, that I've tried. Fantastic.</p>
<p>I tried it out and I love how some of my animal pictures came out</p>
<p>I love all the instructables you make--they're beautiful, practical and fun. I sense that you may have children, and that many of your instructables were made with them in mind. Well done, sir! </p>
<p>I love all the instructables you make--they're beautiful, practical and fun. I sense that you may have children, and that many of your instructables were made with them in mind. Well done, sir! </p>
<p>Thank you so much for this! It worked brilliantly.</p>
<p>this is cool</p>
<p>The first 16 steps went well, but I got lost on step 17. I was unable to drag one layer into the other. Can you give more detailed instructions for that step? Thanks!</p>
<p>Thank you so much for this step-by-step guide. I'm doing a project for work and you made it SO MUCH EASIER. I expected WEEKS to be spent trying to figure out how to do what I wanted to do. Instead, in 20 minutes, I had exactly what I wanted. </p>
I have two dogs. I have one cat.
<p>How do you do step 7 in Photoshop? Everything else is the same, but there is no 'mode' selection as such. Thanks.</p>
<p>It's called linear dodge in photoshop. So once you double click on the image Choose blend mode and select linear dodge.</p>
<p>How do you do step 7 in Photoshop? Everything else is the same, but there is no 'mode' selection as such. Thanks.</p>
<p>why can't i do this thing??????? ;( :( can anybody explain this to me?</p>
<p>how far r u getting before u run into trouble ??</p>
<p>how far r u getting before u run into trouble ??</p>
<p>At last i found the the steps to turn my daughters images into a drawing book :)</p><p>Thanks to you .. I will know make it more creative..</p><p>This is was the image i exercised on .. but i will add another images in a more creative way..</p>
<p>how did you do it? plz help me</p>
<p>why can't i do this thing??????? ;( :( can anybody explain this to me?</p>
<p>Here's Procyon smashing a frost giant!</p>
<p>and here's Corvidae riding her bike to war with Thor and his goat-driven chariot. </p>
<p> i loved this instructional steps. I couldn't done it by myself.</p><p>Annie Porter</p>
Very useful tutorial! The results are not as good as what I get from using Photoshop or <a href="http://www.matchwoodstudio.com/sketchpen" rel="nofollow">SketchPen</a>, but hey, it's free, definitely worth a try
thanks so much for tutorial...hope to make special nephew coloring book for Christmas :)
Hello and please help...on Step 5 when I ctl/click (MAC) on the Layers, I did not get a Background option....it gave me another line that says Layer 0 copy. Can you advise? thx <br>
If you only knew how wonderful this is for an artist painting from personal photo's. Combined with transferring techniques or a light box trace this has saved me hours. Thank you so much for your post. Perfect for my watercolor class...may I refer to this post and the steps you teach in my blog and class, giving credit where credit is due of course!
Thanks for the idea! I'll be making small coloring books for my daughter's birthday! Here's one I made using your i'ble.
thats so cute
Wow! Great work! I love it when people post examples like this.<br />I really hope she was wearing a Halloween costume when that photo was taken. If you can actually see her bones, you might have the flash on your camera set a bit too bright...
They're pajamas actually, they glow in the dark too. When I saw your i'ble I knew exactly what picture to try this out with. Thanks again.
that is so cool but dont u have to have a certain program for to do that?
I experimented with Gimp using the desaturate feature, then cartoon, and then experiment with the contrast and darkness sliders to get an effect.
omg that would be so cool to color
Thank you so much! <br>I sorted out the problem of finding colouring pages with different cartoon heroes. <br>My brother endlessly colours them in, but our cartoon and film tastes are unusual, and even popular heroes like Bob the Builder rarely have more than five colouring pages. (Try finding a picture of Judy Garland as Dorothy to colour). <br>Thanks!!!
I'm an elementary art teacher and was preparing to make individual books for my littlest &quot;Special&quot; students. THANKS so much for sharing. I will make a color book and board book for each one-they are going to love this!<br>
Soo amazing. Had to share it with my friends on facebook. Tx a million
IMO, raster art programs are probably not the best choice for this project. You'd get a better coloring book using Adobe Illustrator or the free Inkscape program. <br><br>Both of them have EXCELLENT &quot;trace&quot; tools for turning raster images into crisp and beautiful solid lines. For inkscape, see: <br>http://inkscape.org/doc/tracing/tutorial-tracing.html (tutorial)<br>http://wiki.inkscape.org/wiki/index.php/Tools#Vectorize.2Ftrace (alternatives)

About This Instructable




Bio: Artist in Residence at Pier 9, currently exploring a vast array of new tools with which to injure myself.
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