Patterns & Projects

Projects from Coloring Books

The coloring fad has a side benefit: the designs are great for woodworking, too!

By Mindy Kinsey

We’ve all heard the buzz: adults are reclaiming their inner kid by coloring. Thousands of coloring books designed for adults have been released in the past two years, and rumor has it the fad has created a shortage of colored pencils. But even if you’re not interested in applying color to page, the books are still valuable: you can use them for woodworking patterns!

We shared samples with a half-dozen woodworkers to see what they would come up with. (Full disclosure: Fox Chapel Publishing, this magazine’s parent company, publishes coloring books, so we used our own.)

For carvers and pyrographers, coloring books are a treasure trove. Many of the designs are perfect for relief and chip carving, as well as woodburning. Creating in-the-round carvings from coloring pages would be more challenging, but with a little imagination, you can sketch the unseen views and make patterns.

On the scrolling side, many designs are natural for intarsia, although some simplification may be required. We also had good luck using Color Your Own Stickers to make jewelry. Transforming coloring pages into fretwork patterns is a little more challenging, although two of our test cutters, Dale Helgerson and Bob Duncan, were able to make frames by being selective in their cuts. A few of our books included inspirational sayings that we were able to cut as word art.

We hope our projects will inspire you to take a second look at coloring books. Make a few photocopies, sketch some ideas, and get carving! We have posted several coloring pages here. If you try it, send photos! Be sure to tell us which coloring book you used (doesn’t have to be ours—pick something that inspires you) and how you adapted the design to make your project. E-mail us at:

Note: Due to copyright laws, please make these projects for personal use only, not for sale.


Click on the links below to download the patterns:

Chalk-Style Garden

Christmas Traditions


Seek and Find Nature

TangleEasy Birds

TangleEasy Wildlife Designs


All of these books are also available for purchase from

CLICK HERE to see more great projects from Woodcarving Illustrated Spring 2017 (Issue 78), including patterns for the original Meisel Hardware Specialties project. CLICK HERE to purchase the issue.

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