“I’ve Colored; NOW WHAT DO I DO WITH IT?!" Some Answers to That Question From a "Coloring Expert"

I'm a coloring/creativity workshop facilitator, so folks see me as sort of a "coloring expert," a label I am uncomfortable with, but I've learn to accept with grace (I hope). Part of my job is to answer folks' coloring questions, and I am happy to say that I usually have the answers. Lately, however, I have been getting asked a question that absolutely stumps me:

"What do I do with all my coloring pages?"

Do with them? As a life-long colorist, it never occurred to me that one would DO anything with coloring pages beyond color them. But, as I have heard this question time and time again at the coloring/creativity workshops I run, I thought I should do my due diligence and seek out a proper answer for folks.

I don't believe in reinventing the wheel, so the first thing I did was Google "re-purposing completed coloring pages" to see what other creatives have come up with. Here are the best suggestions I found separated into 4 crafting personality types.

Online Suggestions:

Scrap Paper Tree Tutorial

If you have loads and loads of coloring pages, colored and uncolored, and you don’t mind seriously altering them, this tutorial that is designed to put spare scrapbook paper to good use would be an awesome way to create a unique home decor piece out of coloring pages. I also think it would be an especially good option for folks who have a passion for coloring intricately patterned pages.

11 Crafty Ways To Use Your Coloring Page

If you are into other kinds of creative activities as well as coloring and/or don’t mind investing further money if it means putting your finished coloring page to good use, there's probably at least one idea on this list you might find interesting. One caveat to this link to think about, however, was brought to my attention when a participant in a Coloring Therapy program at the New Braunfels Public Library asked me how I would feel if I saw a scarf of one of the pages of my coloring book, Doodled Blooms, out and about on a stranger's shoulders, which is suggestion #6 on this list. This question led to an intriguing conversation in our group about copyright, artistic license, and plagiarism. It is the best policy to err on the side of caution and politeness; if this idea appeals to you and you wish to wear your gorgeous coloring, seek permission of the artist and/or publisher of your original coloring pages.

4 Brilliant Ways To Repurpose And Display Your Finished Coloring Pages

If you’re really happy with the way your coloring page turned out, and you’d like to have a more permanent way to enjoy it in its original form every day and/or share it with others, this link has ideas that are quick and easy that require few additional materials. I especially like the idea of making coasters out of your favorite pages. 

23 Crafts To Make With Adult Coloring Pages

If you enjoy project tutorials and are comfortable sharing and altering your completed and uncompleted coloring pages, this blog post has enough tutorials to last a crafty colorist a long time! My favorite is #22; I think this would be super fun to make with some of the youngsters in my life.

Have Color Will Travel Suggestions:
Like I said at the beginning of this post, it never really occurred to me that one would need to DO anything with coloring pages. But, I find questions I don't have immediate answers to intriguing (I'm a nerd to my very core!), so I set to brainstorming this predicament. Here's what I came up with:)

1. If you color from books, keep your coloring pages in the bound coloring book, signing and dating your pages as you complete them, creating a memory book of your creative time. You can add text to the back sides of the pages or margins, thoughts that you had while coloring or that the image inspired in you, utilizing the entire book and really having a creative and therapeutic experience with your coloring. Once a coloring book is fully colored, it will essentially have become an art journal.

2. If you primarily enjoy coloring loose and/or torn-out coloring pages, get a 3-ring binder and some sheet protectors. Once you've finished a coloring page, slide it in a protector, creating a sort of a coloring portfolio for you to look back on or to show to friends and family.

3. Use completed coloring pages that are one-sided as extra-special stationary, writing letters on the back sides and sending them to loved ones. Everyone LOVES receiving an actual letter in the mail; that it also does the double duty of being beautifully colored makes it an all the more unique communication experience!

I colored this macro version of a small section of one
of my pages from Doodled Blooms to make the
 background for my blog, but I didn't have the heart to recycle it
 (I have the problem of thinking everything is "precious"). I am now
very excited to use this page for stationary as I have quite a few
pen pals:)

4. It isn't a good thing when our hobbies and passions begin to feel like weights that overwhelm our hearts and our creativity. Living a creative life is a worthwhile goal that needs no purpose or function. Life is creation, so to be alive is to create. To that effect, coloring is of value even if we can't find a "purpose" for our completed pages. The "purpose" was our act of creating them. What I am suggesting next is REALLY emotionally challenging: take a good picture of your completed coloring pages, and then recycle them. The pages served their purpose (they inspired in us, the colorists, creative thought and action) - there is no need for us to DO anything more with them. If they are collecting dust or crowding out other important elements of our lives, then we should let them go. Having just typed this suggestion, I feel compelled to let readers know I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS, NEVER RECYCLED ANY OF MY ART. But, this suggestion is one that comes out of my focused reading on creativity and art in our lives that I have been doing lately, and I am beginning to think that there is more to this idea than just posing a "double-dog-dare" to ourselves.

5. Lastly, this suggestion goes super old school and sort of reflects back to #3 (use coloring pages as stationary): send your completed coloring pages to friends/family to put up on their refrigerators, dorm walls, cubicle walls, and pinup boards (but don’t forget to sign and date them!). I adore getting the completed coloring pages of my young nieces and nephews, so it makes sense that they, too, might enjoy receiving colored pages from their crazy auntie! I have friends of all ages, and I can think of a few who are college aged that would get a kick out of receiving a Lion King coloring page completed by a middle-aged friend. Parents never tire of hearing about how their kids are doing, regardless of how old you are, so even if you're 55, send a completed coloring page to your mom or dad! It may be a head-scratcher to them at first, but it will also probably brighten their day and make them laugh.

Whether you are the sort of person who would like to DO something with your coloring pages or not, I hope this post has given you some ideas to either try or think about (I'm serious about my #4 - why can't I just let my art go? It isn't all amazing, it isn't all truly precious, so why on earth is it still in my studio??). And, if you have an additional suggestion for what to do with coloring pages, PLEASE share with us all in the comments! Coloring nerds need to stick together and help each other continue coloring happily:)