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Photo Editing: How to Turn a Picture into a Coloring Page Using Picnik Free Photo Editor: Make Your Own Coloring Book

Updated on January 24, 2012

DIY Coloring Pages from Photos

Coloring is an activity enjoyed by children (and many adults as well).  There are many sources for coloring pages, including store-bought coloring books and downloadable, printable coloring sheets on the internet.

You can also make your own coloring sheet using your favorite photos, even if you have no photo editing experience and you don't have any fancy photo software.  These step-by-step instructions will show you how to make your own coloring pages for free using the Picnik photo editing website.


Google has decided that they are going to close the Picnik photo editing website as of April 19, 2012. After that time, the functions of Picnik will be available through Google+ instead. You will still be able to follow these steps, but you will have to log into a G+ account to do it.

Step One: Choose a Photo

Choose a photo to make into a coloring page.  There are a couple of factors to consider when choosing your photo:

  • Choose a photo with simple lines.  You can use any photo, but pictures with clearly defined, larger shapes work best.
  • Choose a photo that has large dimensions.  Use a picture that will be large enough to cover most or all of a sheet of paper when printed.

Step Two: Upload Your Photo to

Go to the free photo editor.  Click on the "Upload a Photo" button and choose your image file from your computer's hard drive or other disk, then click on the "Open" button.  Picnik will load your photo in a window like the one shown to the right.  (Click on the picture to enlarge.)

Step Three: Locate the "Pencil Sketch" Effect

Click on the "Create" tab at the top of the page.  You will see a toolbar with several options; click on the "Effects" button.  A window of different effects will appear on the right-hand side of the screen as shown.  Scroll down the list until you find the effect called "Pencil Sketch."  Click on this option.

Step Four: Adjust the Effect

When you select the Pencil Sketch effect, a row of slider bars will appear below the name of the effect in the left-hand window. Your image will also appear as a line drawing. Use the slider bars to adjust the settings until you are appearance of your coloring page. When you are satisfied with your picture, click on the button marked "Apply."

Tip: If you wish to remove any excess gray from the photo, return to the "Edit" tab and select the "Exposure" tool. Drag the contrast bar all the way to the right, then move the exposure bar to the right until all of the excess gray has disappeared.  Remeber to save your changes before you continue.

Step Five: Save Your Coloring Page

Click the tab at the top of the page that says "Save & Share."  This will load the page shown to the right.  Select the options you would like and click the "Save Photo" button at the bottom of the screen.  This will bring up a window where you can choose where on you computer you would like the photo to be saved.  Pick the appropriate folder and click on the "Save" button.

Step Six: Print and Color

Now that your coloring page is saved to your computer, simply open the file and print your custom coloring page. If it is printing too large to fit on one page or too small to color, try opening the image in a word processing program (such as Microsoft Word), resizing the image within a new document, and printing.

These DIY coloring pages are great for kids birthday parties, activities at special events, as handouts promoting your business or organization, and more.  Try making a series of coloring pages, which you can print and bind into an entire customized coloring book.

Sharing Your Coloring Page

If you want to share your coloring page and make it available for download online, you may want to turn the file into an Adobe Acrobat PDF file.  The PDF format is a standard for downloadable documents on the internet because the files are quick and easy to download and print.  Learn how to make you coloring page into a PDF file.


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    • mollypark profile image

      Molly Park 5 years ago from Chicago, IL

      What a great idea! I am definitely going to make a coloring book for my nieces now.

    • profile image

      mrburch 5 years ago

      Google+ seems to have removed the Pencil Scketch option from the effects tools.

    • rhondarowley profile image

      Rhonda Greene 5 years ago from Manistee, MI

      Rena - yes, the Picnik closure is noted in the article. (Please refer to the second section, titled "IMPORTANT UPDATE".) As I stated above, you can still do the exact same thing in Google+, as the Picnik tools are now Google's photo editor.

    • profile image

      Rena 5 years ago

      Piknik closed in April

    • profile image

      interested person 6 years ago

      cool idea im bout to try it rite now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Kim M Gregory profile image

      Kim Morgan Gregory 6 years ago from The Coast of The South Carolina Lowcountry

      I can't wait to do this for my grandchildren!

    • profile image

      gonzaga 6 years ago

      its really awesome,,,thanks for ur sharing. i waanna try it :D

    • randomcreative profile image

      Rose Clearfield 6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      How awesome! I've never seen this before. I will definitely share it with my crafty mom friends.

    • cindy.dauer profile image

      cindy.dauer 7 years ago from Oregon

      Cool idea!

    • AmRealist profile image

      AmRealist 7 years ago

      Very interesting. I appreciate a new twist to an existing format. Keep up the good work

    • s.wilson profile image

      s.wilson 7 years ago

      This is awesome! Thanks for the information. I am going to have to try and do this for some of my photos!

    • Becky Puetz profile image

      Becky 7 years ago from Oklahoma

      I learned a lot from this hub. I'm going over to Picnik right now to check it out. Thanks :)

    • France Travel Inf profile image

      France Travel Inf 7 years ago

      This is a great idea! Doing this before you take the kids on a trip gives them something tangible to look forward to!

    • profile image

      I walk with Jesus 7 years ago

      This is truly awesome, and probably the best idea hub I've ever read!!! Great job!