Custom Coloring Book Help
December 7, 2007 10:24 AM   Subscribe

How should I print and bind a custom coloring book?

I ran a bunch of my photos and other material through some photoshop filters to make black & white coloring book pages out of them. I want to put these together into a coloring book for my niece.

How should I go about printing and binding this into a coloring book? I want it to look and feel as much like a real coloring book as possible, so the paper should be heavy (hard to rip) and not glossy. The binding should be child-safe and shouldn't be easy to tear apart.

I have an inkjet printer if that helps. Also, I would only need to make one copy of the book.
posted by burnmp3s to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you're in North America, I think you can get one-off spiral or comb binding done at Kinkos?
posted by ceri richard at 11:09 AM on December 7, 2007

Best answer: If you want it to look just like a regular coloring book you probably want to try "perfect bind" which is how most paperbacks are put together. It also doesn't require a lot of specialized tools, like other binding types do. This video is a pretty good introduction.
posted by tractorfeed at 11:12 AM on December 7, 2007

Best answer: Most of the coloring books I could find in my house are either thin saddle-stitched books (20 or 30 pages) or 200+ page perfect-bound ones that look like telephone books.

You're probably talking about a smallish number of pages (?), so I'd recommend the first type. That means turning your "full page" photos into two-across ones by laying them out two-across on 11x17 (tabloid paper), and planning the page numbers for double-sidedness. If your pages are in largely random order, you'll save a lot of 4-1-2-3 planning headache if you choose to not number them at all. If you are doing this two-sided like most coloring books, you need 1/4 the printed-pages as the number of actual finished-pages. If two sided (I have some where the left side of each spread is blank), 1/2 as many.

Then print them on a regular laser printer that handles tabloid. If you do this at a quick-print shop, you just need to find one that has an 11x17 duplex laser printer. If they don't do duplex (double-sided) printing, they can probably hand-feed a second pass for the backs, though there may be some loss and waste. As you noticed, a rough/course paper is best for coloring books. You may need to source this yourself from a paper store and walk it to the print shop, since most quick print places have horrible paper selections.

That's the inside. Now, based on my samples here, you'll want some kind of glossy heavy near-card stock for the cover, but again, lay it out as two 8.5x11 pages across a single 11x17 sheet for printing. The inside of most coloring book covers seem to be blank. The same quick print shop that is doing the inside laser pages for you can probably do a single 11x17 "glossy photograph" for you.

Then stack the cover and all the inside pages in the right order, fold them in half down to 11x17 and place two or three staples very carefully along the "spine" you have created. (You'll probably want to pre-fold each page by hand to get it right first, then nest the stack like you're building a paper taco.)

You may need an extra-long stapler to reach across 8.5 inches. The print shop will have that, too, since this sort of thing comes up all the time.

This will produce a book just as "real" looking as the real coloring books I've just examined.

Good luck! Lucky niece.
posted by rokusan at 11:18 AM on December 7, 2007

Wow. I was about to post this same exact question (read Lifehacker much?) for my book for my niece. To hijack a bit, does anyone specifically have an opinion about what kind of paper to use? Something that would take inkjet ink well (without too much flaking) but still have a good feel for crayons and maybe markers? Bonus if it resists tearing, although durability isn't my main concern. Also are there any toxicity issues I should be aware of re: paper and ink? She's going on four, but there's also going to be a new baby soon, so assume this is going to wind up in someone's mouth at some point...
posted by anaelith at 11:39 AM on December 7, 2007

Use heavy newsprint. It takes crayon and pencil better than glossy paper will. She can even glue on it if she wants and it'll hold up well.
posted by MrFongGoesToLunch at 2:45 PM on December 7, 2007

But...glossy paper prints out the most detail and even with the best printer, pixel dots are still noticeable with the heaviest of cardstock. Why not do something artsy with the binding since you are doing something artsy. Stapling something seems kinda quick and cheap. I was an architecture student and depending on where you are, if the cover can be cut through, you can bind anything, any paper, and any size thickness.

Since you are doing black and white, I suggest getting black board, it is stiff board and not cardboard, cut it to the size of the papers and then of the wholes of the binding, line it with silver rings to have that black/white/silver effect. The black board will make it prestine and clean. I used it to make all of my portfolios and they look very professional.
posted by dnthomps at 12:38 AM on December 8, 2007

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