Adult Coloring Books: An Experiment

Adult Coloring Books… let’s chat about them.

coloring is a great way to relieve stress and pass the time - for kids and adults!Have you tried them? Do you color on a regular basis? Do you love ’em…. hate ’em? 

When we started seeing these adult coloring books pop up in a few stores last year, we both smiled a bit inside when spotting them but didn’t give them much thought beyond the simple, Grab a cup of coffee and bust out the coloring books for a fum morningswow…. how crazy/cool/unexpected is that?!” At that point, we’d moved on and pretty much forgot about them until we ran across another one weeks later. This was pretty much the routine until recently when we started spotting Adult Coloring Books or hearing about them (what seemed to be) everywhere! We heard about them from co-workers, heard about them on the radio, and seemed to see them in literally every store where we shop.

Adult coloring books are a fun way to destress and waste some timeEventually that, “wow, how funny/random/cute” thought was replaced with seeing them & honestly not thinking much about it because these Adult Coloring books were the new “norm” at pretty much any store we went into. <— Please tell us we weren’t the only ones that went through this process over the last year?!

The fun designs in adult coloring books are a bit more complicated than kid's booksSo when Michaels told us that our Monthly Makers challenge was try something “new to us” by taking a class at Michaels, we decided that THIS was finally our chance to embrace the Adult Coloring book phenomenon and carve out time in our schedules to actually TRY it! We both loved coloring as kids (who didn’t?!) but we wanted to see how that experience would compare to coloring as adults.

So we signed up to attend a FREE coloring class at Michaels (they have tons of awesome FREE classes!) and vowed that we would go in with an open mind. Not only that, we also wanted to try to pay close attention to our mood/focus/thought process/etc. while in the class so that we could honestly report back to you guys. We saw this as a science experience of sorts — but with crafts. <— Man, we wish that was a thing when we were in school!

adult coloring books help us get back in touch with our younger years and the joy of coloringOur hypothesis: Before the class, we guessed that getting back into coloring would open the flood gates of our childhood and take us back to the carefree days of sitting, coloring, and literally thinking about nothing else except what color to choose next. (those were the days, weren’t they?!). If coloring could clear our minds and bring us to a place where we didn’t have to think about anything outside of our coloring — we’d call our experiment a big success!

Our materials:

You can find adult coloring books almost anywhere these days

  • Adult Coloring Books (scored these at Michaels on sale!)
  • Colored Pencils
  • Mini Pencil Sharpener
  • Coffee (optional)

Our results:If you need to slow down and take a mini-break, coloring in adult coloring books is a great way to destress

  • Coloring is still FUN!!!!! <— why did we wait so long to get back in the game?
  • It definitely allowed us to take a step back from our busy to-do lists and relax
  • Some of these adult coloring books are SUPER intricate and take some serious concentration. (like a LOT!)
  • Music made our coloring experience even more fun.
  • Coloring did bring back lots of childhood memories, but we didn’t find ourselves completely “checked-out” mentally when we were coloring (like back when we were kids). Instead of just thinking about what color to use next (like back-in-the-day), we found ourselves thinking about other “life stuff” while we colored– our jobs, the blog, relationships, the future, past, present…. it really was like a mini meditation and reflection time, which was very unexpected and an awesome perk! <– we definitely don’t carve out enough time in our everyday lives to reflect and just think about life, so finally getting a little time to do that was pretty awesome.
  • Coloring a detailed Adult Coloring book page takes TIME so definitely do not try coloring if you’re in a rush and want to get to the next thing on your to-do list. We think the only way you’ll genuinely relax and enjoy the experience is if you’re not under pressure to be done at a certain time. <— which is sometimes hard for us so this was a really good way to force ourselves to S-L-O-W down.
  • We were both a bit rusty on the coloring front but just like riding a bike, a little bit of practice and we were right back where we left off… inside those lines. 😉
  • We loved the finish products of our detailed adult coloring pages, but we think if you’re looking to truly relax and have a coloring experience like you did when you were a kid, try to find a book that offers pictures that aren’t very detailed. Those “easier” pages will probably require less focus, but we think they offer more relaxation.
  • You do NOT need to be creative AT ALL to have fun with this activity!
  • Coffee, coloring, and morning sunshine streaming in really work well together.

Our conclusion:

the fun designs in an adult coloring book take some time to fill in, but it's still all funSo our “results” were a bit all over the board, but the overall “conclusion” we can make from this very unofficial science experiment is that coloring really was a great way to force ourselves to slow down and reflect on our lives. We don’t want to get too deep on ya, but sitting down and just thinking about life was an unexpected, yet very welcome perk of this activity.

We’re glad we gave this old hobby a second chance, and definitely feel more inspired to try other “new to us” stuff. It’s always good to get outside that comfort zone and try new things, right?!

We definitely think you should try out a free class at your local Michaels store. But if you don’t have time to leave the house, you can still get creative right at home with one of their craft kits.
have you tried adult coloring books? It's a fun way to destress and feel like a kid againNow before you run off and check out all of the other Makers experimenting with something “new to them”, we would love to hear what “new to you” something you would try if challenged to do so. It doesn’t even have to be craft or DIY related, what is something you would l-o-v-e to try but never seem to have the time do so?

take some time to yourself and enjoy some coloring - you're never too old!

Bridget&Casey