With the plethora of information on the internet today, you can make just about anything yourself: You can sew a new outfit, install a new kitchen countertop or even make your own coloring book. Surprise the tyke in your life with a custom, personalized coloring book with professional binding by ordering a coloring book as a photo book.
Photo Books: More Than a Simple Album
Many people fail to print the photos they capture with their digital cameras and smartphones, which means friends and family members never see them. Photo books allow consumers to customize and order high-quality books filled with personal photographs.
Simply choose a service that provides photo books, such as Mixbook or Shutterfly, and create an account. Upload your photographs and other images, arrange them using the provided templates and place your order. You receive a bound copy, either hardcover or paperback, of your book in the mail.
Coloring Books: Make Your Own
Adults love looking through professional-quality photo books, but kids prefer the interactive variety. Instead of ordering custom photo books with images, convert your favorite photos into black-and-white coloring book pages.
You might use photographs of the recipients, such as your children, nieces, nephews or grandchildren. Take photos of them in different places, then upload the images to your computer for processing. Alternatively, choose photographs of the children's favorite objects and places, such as toys, the local park or animals from the zoo.
Images: Turn Photographs Into Line Drawings
To create a coloring book from your existing photos, open each image in a graphics editing software program. Photoshop or another professional-quality graphics program might work best, but you can also use free versions such as Gimp.
The photography website Photojojo recommends using the photocopy filter in your image-editing program. You'll find the feature under the Sketch menu. Set the foreground color in the program to pure black, #000, then run the filter. The effect brings out the edge detail in black and leaves everything else in white.
Clean up the image with the eraser tool. Remove spots, blemishes, unnecessary shadows, and distracting lines. You can also color in areas with black using the brush tool.
Finished Product: Order and Color Your Book
Assemble as many coloring book pages as you like. The best photo books allow you to select the number of pages you want to include in your book so you won't have to fit a predefined quota. Save all your images in the service's preferred format, PNG and JPG are usually safe, and upload the photos to the service's site.
When your book arrives, sit down with the intended recipient and the book. Permanent instruments, such as felt-tip markers, might work best on the glossy pages, but crayon wax should transfer as well. Invite the child to color the pages with you. Order multiple books if you want to give the books to several children or if you think he or she might want a do-over.
Creating traditional photo books allows you to produce a one-of-a-kind keepsake, but turning those photo books into coloring books provides children with hours of entertainment.