By Alex Whisman
My parents divorced when I was in my early teen years. Mom has always been craft-inclined, and as a single parent on minimum wage, she encouraged us to bake cookies and make gifts for our loved ones. Those memories have stayed with me over the years. While I buy many of my gifts, I try to get ones that are locally created. A recent change in our budget means I have started looking into making my own crafted gifts.
There are sites where you can buy colorable gifts like bags, plates, cups and frames, but these can become expensive, especially if you live somewhere like New Zealand where postage for many items is high. Sometimes you need special pens to use on these items, which adds to the cost. The last thing you want, especially during the holidays, is more expenses.
I was first turned onto the idea of coloring page craft gifts by three artists: Sarah Renae Clark, Ellen Million and Lynette Hansen-McNamara. I thought these were such a cool idea! They create pages to color which are made in such a way to become a cool gift for someone else with a few (or more!) folds here and there.
Sarah Renae Clark is our feature artist for this month. She draws coloring pages & coloring page gifts that you can color for different special events throughout the year, like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. She has standard holiday coloring pages, but the fold-able gifts are a work of genius. She meshes the concept of origami with pages that you print, color and fold into a variety of items like Easter baskets, Christmas crackers and ornaments. Let the kids color their own little Easter baskets next year. Or perhaps you would prefer to color her cute Valentines cards or make a Valentines bag to fill with treats for your loved one instead. Sarah has instructions on how to fold them into shape on her website and YouTube channel.
When you browse her web-shop you can see she’s got a lot going on! Not only does she curate color ideas and tips in the link to her blog, but she has a large range of coloring pages and coloring page gifts at different prices. She has activity packs which combine her holiday-themed tags, bookmarks and pages. These are great value! There are several of her pictures to try your hand at in this issue. You can find Sarah’s work at: http://sarahrenaeclark.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/sarahrenaeclark/
Ellen Million has some cute, colorable dragon Christmas cards for sale at her Etsy shop. She has them packaged into different packs with 5 dragons each. Her dragon cards are a great creative and unique way to send your season’s greetings. These come pre-formatted so you just print, color, fold & send! I used her colorable gift tags from the November 2015 issue of Color On for my Christmas gifts. My friends appreciated the personal touch on their presents. I bought a couple of her dragon card packs from her Etsy shop and have been coloring her dragon cards slowly over the year so I can wing them on their way to my friends and family. Ellen does a lot of great fantasy type drawings, so having cards I can color and send to my fantasy/sci-fi loving friends is perfect! She also sells a lovely colorable wedding frame that you can use for announcements or perhaps even a menu for a special event. Ellen has contributed to our magazine in the past and has kindly given our subscribers a couple of her cards for this issue. You can find her cards and other cute holiday pictures at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ellenmillion or check out her coloring books and those of her artists at http://www.EllenMillionGraphics.com
Lynette Hansen-McNamara of Wobbly Lines draws 2 or 4 images per sheet of paper. She does this is so you can color, cut out and stick them onto paper to create your own post cards, half-folded cards or quarter-folded cards. She has been active on a couple different online postal exchange sites and wanted to create colorable cards so people can share them. Her downloadable Faerie Village Books 1 & 2 are sets of 2 images on each page. Faerie Village Book 3 is her card toppers book with sets of 4 images on each page. You can use her images to make colorable post cards or folded cards. People loved the Santa card toppers I used last year to make Christmas cards. Contact her on her Wobbly Lines Facebook page for her Faerie Village books or check out her Patreon for her other images. In this month’s issue, Lynette has offered our readers both 2-card and a 4-card images that can be used for any occasion. https://www.patreon.com/WobblyLinesArtNZ or https://www.facebook.com/WobblyLines/
Ligia Ortega’s books have colorable positive messages. They are a great, positive gift idea to lift someone’s spirits. You can color and give them as they are, frame them and give as gifts or create cards or bookmarks out of them. Her books are called Coloring Gifts: Gifts of Encouragement, Coloring Gifts: Gifts of Thanks & her newest is Coloring Gifts: Gifts of Friendship. Your art becomes a gift that you can color and give to people you want to cheer up, wish them well or just let them know you are thinking of them. A neat idea is to color a positive saying and use the back as stationary to send a hand-written note to someone you care about. If you use pens that bleed through you can use a glue stick and attach your colored page to a nicer piece of paper or a piece of brightly colored construction paper. Ligia crafts her pictures and you just need to add color to become a beautiful gift. Our subscribers will be thrilled to see the images Ligia has given us for this month’s issue. You can find Ligia’s works on Amazon, at https://coloringpress.com/my-books/ or https://www.facebook.com/Ligia.Ortega01
Hattifant is another artist I came across. She also combines coloring and origami so you can create cones, luminaries, triskele paper globes and other great items. She has cleverly created foldable gifts for all ages. These would be cool to do for place settings, decorations for a special party or as gifts on their own. http://hattifant.com/coloringpages/
I like the idea of combining my coloring with making things for someone else. It suits my inner artist and my budget. Buying downloadable versions means I can get a start on my gifts immediately instead of waiting for a book to be shipped or worrying about it being lost in the mail. Once I have colored my pages, I scan and then print my colored version on thick paper to save time. It also lets me send my hand-made gifts to more of my friends and family than if I colored each of them individually.
Use your own creativity with these coloring page gifts. Color & fold Sarah’s Christmas ornaments and then use them as table decorations for any holiday or special occasion by changing your color scheme. Write your Christmas menu inside Sarah’s Christmas cracker, fold it up, put a couple after-dinner mints inside them and place them on people’s plates. Use the back of one of Ligia’s pictures to invite someone over for a special cup of tea/coffee/drink and visit. Use Ellen’s dragon cards to wish someone a happy “first snow storm of the season”. Color Lynette’s card-toppers, put people’s names onto them and set them on their plates for their place-settings. There aren’t any limitations on how you can purpose the images these creative artists have come up with.
You can use these as a great way to brighten a retirement home or other assisted-living community. Make it a family event, get everyone involved in coloring and creating gifts this year! We often talk about how families are moving apart in this age of technology. You can even have a “digital-free” night to spend some time making gifts for friends, or use these to keep the kids occupied over the holidays or on Christmas Eve before bed. Perhaps you can print the gift pages and put some pens, pencils and/or crayons out for people to color on Christmas Day while waiting for everyone to wake up to open their gifts. Whatever you do, remember to take time for yourself.