I could just print it on scrap paper
November 19, 2019 6:25 PM   Subscribe

Have you used a service to print your own coloring book? Which, and why was it awesome?

I’m looking to print a few coloring books. This is for a gift but I understand printing one book is expensive for what you get, and there are other people, but not many, who might want this, so I’ll print 10 and then want the option to print like 100 if the people in this niche hobby (That the pages are about) are into it.

I’m flexible on size and pages. I can imagine this as 5-25 pages, but 10 sounds best. I’d love to have it printed on the beige, rough, paper of my childhood coloring books, saddle stitch bound, with a glossy cover.

I’ve found places that can do my initial run of 10 for $40, and that works for me, but that’s regular paper so if you’ve done this and had good results, especially if you’ve found the right paper for a coloring book, lemme know how you did it.
posted by OrangeVelour to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I think it's unlikely that you'll find anyone who can print small quantities on that type of paper. That paper is basically heavy newsprint, and was printed on a web press (the paper comes on a big roll) rather than a sheetfed press. Any of the small run printers are printing using sheetfed digital presses. So your closest option may be finding a printer who offers printing on matte paper. You cold somewhat mimic the look by making the background a color similar to that old paper, or you could scan in some sheets of similar paper, which would show some of the texture.

And don't forget, if it's going to be saddle stitched, the page count needs to be a multiple of four.
posted by jonathanhughes at 6:50 PM on November 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Whatever you decide to do, consider getting some blank paper-samples if possible. Most on-demand printers will send you paper samples, but they'll have printing on them. Try to get some blanks so you can try different colouring media on them and see how they work. It would suck to print a colouring book and they don't work well with pencil crayons or markers, which are the main things people will use.

For printers, check out blurb. Their "trade books" economy option might be what you need and comes in at around the price you want, though I think it's a minimum of 24 pages.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:57 PM on November 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Saddle-stitched books go in multiples of 4 pages (sides) and is cheaper (often) than perfect binding. It has two staples in the centre of the book. Do check the paper available, I've been very disappointed in the media that works with commercial colouring books and ordinary photocopy paper.
posted by b33j at 7:52 PM on November 19, 2019

If you're making ten of these, it's not that bad making them yourself. You can get a heavy-duty stapler and a guillotine paper cutter and have the pages laid out double-printed on A1 or A2 heavy newsprint-type paper, then cut it up and fold it to the small B5-size booklets you want, with the covers wrapped around and either glued on or stitched on. These are essentially zines.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 9:53 PM on November 19, 2019

Following up on dorothyisunderwood's comment, you can buy rough newsprint pads at an art supply store, cut the paper down to size to run through your printer. I don't have a long-arm stapler so what I do is open the stapler hinge, line up the sheets including the cover face down with a piece of foam core underneath and staple through the lot. Since the staple prongs stay straight, I bend them over with a metal nail file and even use a hammer to pound them flat. The hardest part is lining up the sheets evenly (binder clips help) so you might need to trim them afterwards if the pages are uneven with an x-acto knife.

Or, you know what, since the paper is the sticking point here...I've brought my (trimmed to size) paper to a place like Kinko's and had them (spiral) bind it (for a notebook) so having your artwork photocopied and saddle-stitched would be a cinch for them. They might even be willing to trim down your sheets of newsprint to the correct size with their chopper first.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 3:57 AM on November 20, 2019

If you do it yourself, manila drawing paper will be closest to the coloring books of your childhood, not newsprint. It'll go through a printer better too.

I remember it being A Thing few years ago, a bunch of indie bookstores got in-store print-on-demand machines that used somewhat more substantial paper, along the lines of what you would find in a nice adult coloring book. I don't know if those machines were capable of doing images though.
posted by yeahlikethat at 2:20 PM on November 20, 2019

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