A few weeks ago, I gave in to the adult coloring book trend. I felt so cliché – almost embarrassed by the fact that I was buying in to the latest craze. The cashier even commented on my purchase: clearly, this is a thing. According to an article in the New Yorker, these coloring books for adults have been around for quite some time, but there has been a huge boom in the past few years (a fire fueled, in part, by sites like Facebook and Pinterest).
So, what’s all the hype about? Simply put, coloring is fun. Sure, there are articles citing the mental health benefits (lower stress, boost mental function, etc.), and this is the biggest marketing point. We’re all busy and stressed out, even if needlessly so, and there’s something comforting about picking up a treasured hobby from childhood.
We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names, but they all have learned to live together in the same box. ~Robert Fulghum
But in many ways, the trend has become more about marketing than the simple act of coloring. Suddenly we feel that we need to buy special markers, pens and pencils. Books are marketed for anxiety, depression, and creativity, even though they are all, essentially, the same product. ‘This book looks nice,’ you think, ‘but it doesn’t have perforated pages. The designs in this book are beautiful, but the pages are double-sided, so I’ll have to choose between the two designs, and I can’t do that.’ Ugh, just the very thought gives me anxiety!
Well, my friends, I can tell you that my coloring book (Secret Garden, one of the popular ones – I guess I bought in to all the hype!) is currently being filled in with good old-fashioned Crayola pencils. Sure, the coloring isn’t as precise or complex, but it gets the job done. I don’t regret buying the book (it’s beautiful), but I want to point out you don’t have to buy a book to join in on the fun. Here are some resources for FREE coloring pages!
- Color Pages For Mom: I’m not a mom (not yet, anyway!), but who’s to say I can’t take advantage of these free coloring pages? Some of the designs are more simplistic, but there are pages and pages of images to choose from, so you’re sure to find something you’ll like!
- Coloring Pages for Adults: Okay, doesn’t get any more straightforward than that. Huge library of designs – my favorite is the Russian Doll section. Completely free! No strings attached, no accounts, no spam. Just choose one and print. Easy peasy.
- The Open Mind: Here’s a blog post with 29 FREE mandalas to color. Beautiful, intricate designs.
- A few Secret Garden pages: Here’s a site with 5 images from the Secret Garden coloring book! Pretty cool. Download them absolutely free.
- Coloring.com: This sounds so basic (and it is), but Coloring.com has a few Mandala pages to print out. As an added bonus, you can color them online for free! That way, you can keep coloring while you’re chained to your desk at work! Just kidding (or am I?). They have other categories, too, but they’re more simplistic (better for children).
BUT WAIT! What if you really do want to buy a coloring book? What’s the best way to do this? The smart thing to do is avoid the brick and mortar stores. Avoid a spontaneous purchase. Head on over to Amazon, a mecca I’ll never stop recommending, and browse, browse, browse. There are tons of options, most are under $10! Case in point, the Secret Garden coloring book sells for under 10 bucks, but I paid nearly $20 at Target. You can get fancy pencils here, too, if you want.
If you’re anything like me, sometimes you’re too impatient for your new treasure to come in the mail. Or maybe you don’t have Prime and don’t want to pay for shipping. Worry not! Did you know that Target price matches with items sold/shipped by Amazon? It’s true! That way, you can buy the item in store and still rake in the savings. Stack with the Target Red Card (the debit card is no brainer!) for an extra 5% off.
Another option is to keep an eye out for coupons from JoAnn Fabrics or Michaels. They regularly put out coupons for 40-50% off one item. Bingo! If you have a Barnes and Noble nearby, check out their bargain book section. I stopped in last week and saw several adult coloring books for around $8.
Bottom line? Don’t feel like you have to miss out on all the fun if you’re budget’s a little tight. The Internet is full of great resources if you’re willing to do a little searching. Happy coloring!