No 30 – Adult colouring books or fabric painting projects – What are the pros and cons?

Dear visitors at Your Colourful Mind,

Adult colouring books and fabric painting projects have much in common.

They are different leisure activities but both support relaxation and share a range of features.

We can summarize their common characteristics using headlines such as
“Art therapy”

Both activities can be used as a kind of “art therapy” to reduce stress and anxiety levels. They are especially well-suited to people who struggle to benefit from traditional relaxation methods such as deep breathing or meditation.


They offer an easy way to calm down and decrease the hectic of our fast-paced digitalised lives. By getting us away from constant multitasking and requiring concentration and focus they increase our mindfulness.

“Unfreezing creativity”

Colouring-in and many painting techniques are creative activities which don’t require original talent. They allow us to unleash our creative impulses even if we are not naturally good at art. We also don’t need a special qualification or artistic training to start painting or colouring-in.

“Hands-on crafting”

Both being hands-on activities, they bring us back to doing things that take a longer time to be crafted by hand, giving us a sense of satisfaction from creating something we can see and touch.

Adult colouring books and fabric painting projects have some distinctive pros and cons.

Colouring books – easier and more flexible

Starting and performing colouring-in is easy. Buying colouring books and pens is not too expensive. And many illustrations can be found and downloaded for free on the internet. Books and pens can easily be carried around, and taken out and being used in different surroundings: at home, sitting in front of the TY, in the doctor’s waiting room, travelling on the bus, sitting in a café, etc.

Compared to colouring-in books, starting fabric painting is more expensive and in most cases more cumbersome.  Yes, drawing and colouring with fabric markers on tea-towels can be done anywhere, – like colouring-in a book. But most painting techniques require a special working area and often additional equipment. Painting with paintbrushes and fabric paints on a shirt, for example, can hardly be done while travelling on the bus.

Fabric painting – more creative and productive

Fabric painting requires creating/drawing illustrations or patterns on fabric which we then can colour-in. This means we need a design idea before we can start the painting process. Thus, we need to be really creative. And also, by choosing a fabric or garment item we already have an idea of the purpose of the final product on mind. Assuming that the painting process ended successfully, we then can make real use of it, we can wear the painted clothes or use the tea-towel, for example.

Colouring-in a book or a single illustration is less creative and not really productive. We end up with a colourful piece of paper which we can collect, show  to others or hang on the wall, but that’s it. And the creative process is restricted, it is limited by the lines of the illustration we decide to colour-in. Selecting the colours and assigning them to parts of the illustration is the only creative part of the colouring-in process.

Adult colouring books and fabric painting could combine their pros, creating a new relaxation “discipline”:


This creative colouring-in activity consists of different steps:     
  • First creative step: Choosing a fabric or apparel item
  • Second creative step: Developing a design idea and choosing the fabric painting technique and materials
  • Third creative step: Drawing/painting our individual illustrations or patterns on the fabric
  • Fourth creative step: Colouring in our drawn or painted designs
  • Last step: Making use of the individually designed and coloured product

Depending on how sophisticated our design ideas and fabric painting techniques are and depending on the kind of fabric item we choose, it is more or less easy to take our fabric colouring-in project around and to work on it at different places.


The next blog posts (Posts No 31, No 33, No 34, No 36, No 38, No 41, No 42, No 43, No 44, No 46) will help to define the idea of “fabric colouring-in design” in more detail by presenting and evaluating different examples of fabric colouring-in projects.

What do you think of “Fabric colouring-in design” as easy-to-do, flexible, creative and productive alternative to adult colouring books?
Will you give it a try? 🙂

I am looking forward to hearing from you,

signature - Margot

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6 thoughts on “No 30 – Adult colouring books or fabric painting projects – What are the pros and cons?”

  1. brigitte lange says:

    ich habe noch nicht verstanden was fabric coloring design ist. Warte auf die angekündigten Beispiele.
    Viele Grüsse,
    B Lange

    1. Hallo Brigitte,
      bei Fabric Colouring-in Design handelt es sich um Stoffmalerei-Projekte, bei denen zunaechst Muster, Illustrationen, etc. auf dem Stoff aufgetragen werden, die dann, so wie die Zeichungen in einem Malbuch, farbig ausgemalt werden.
      Die naechsten Posts mit Beispielen werden hoffentlich klar machen, was ich meine. Bitte melden Sie sich, falls nicht! 🙂
      Herzliche Gruesse,

  2. Hi Margot,

    great and I look forward to your new blog. I like the idea of fabric colouring in design (fcid)

    Enjoy Easter. Best Ferdie

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