How to Make a Picture Book Online for Less Than $20

make a picture book online
Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels

I know the feeling – you have a wonderful children’s book idea buzzing in your head and you want to turn it into a picture book. Your children love the story too and you know how special holding their favorite story would feel. So, you write the text and then head over to Google or Fiverr to get it illustrated and formatted. And then – WHAM! You find out that illustrators charge from $30 per illustration and formatting your book isn’t cheap either. And average children’s picture book project can cost you well over $1,000, not to mention the cost of getting it printed. But don’t get discouraged – you can still make a picture book online for less than $20! Let me show you how to do it in just a few simple steps.

Step 1: Write Your Book and Break it Down Into Pages

The first step is to put your story to paper. Any text editor will work: Word, Notepad, Google Docs (you’ll be able to edit your book on the go that way), or do it right here on BookBildr. If you go for BookBildr, you’ll save lots of time because you’ll be able to illustrate your book for free right in our editing tool!

When you’re splitting your flowing story for book pages, it’s important to figure out which bits of text go to which page because your illustrations will depend on that. If you’re working on a short picture book for young kids with little text and lots of pictures, keep 2-3 sentences per page. If you’re planning to write and illustrate something for older children, put a couple of paragraphs of text on each page.

Once your text is nicely outlined, it’s time to look for free illustrations.

Step 2: Find Free or Cheap Illustrations for Your Book

There is an abundance of free stock sites on the Internet where you can find beautiful pictures and vector graphics without spending a dime. BookBildr offers free, legal to use images via Pixabay – you don’t have to credit anyone when you use our images and add them to your pages in one click. There are also powerful image editing tools and filters you can use.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for, check FreePik. This website is a goldmine of illustrations you can download and use for free provided you credit the website. Alternatively, they have a premium plan that offers lots more pictures and costs only 9.99 EUR per month or 4.87 EUR per month if you purchase an annual plan. Considering that you won’t have to credit the website in your book and will have access to lots more professional graphics and illustrations, it’s well worth it.

Other website where you can get free vector illustrations for your book are Vecteezy and Vector4Free. Remember to check their terms before using any images in your book, though!

Another way to make a picture book online and illustrate it yourself is to “cartoonize” your photos. That won’t look as professional as using vector illustrations but that way you’ll be able to put your children in the book – always a nice bonus! You can do that for free using

Step 3: Design Your Book on BookBildr

Now that you have your story and illustrations, head over to BookBildr and design your book. Don’t worry, it’s easier than using Microsoft Word or any other text editing program!

With BookBildr, you simply select elements, such as text or images, and then drag them around the page to place them exactly as you like. You can combine as few or as many elements as you like.

Formatting your book on BookBildr is also super-easy. Just keep in mind the following:

  • The first page of your design is the front cover and the last page of your design is the back cover. A lot of our clients forget to add a back cover and have their content as the last page – that’s a huge mistake that affects your book’s look. After all, having a content page printed on the back cover doesn’t look nice!
  • We have margin lines in the editing tool that show you the safe aread for your text and illustrations. Stay within them to avoid any content being obscured or cut off during printing.
  • If you want to have a lot of text on one page, don’t try desperately fit it all in. Select a smaller font size if necessary or add some extra pages.
  • Use the “Layers” feature to make sure your illustrations aren’t covering any text or any other important elements.

Step 4: Download Your Book or Have It Professionally Printed

And now the exciting part – getting your book. With BookBildr, you can download your book in PDF format and/or order professionally printed copies. We offer softcovers and hardcovers. A PDF download costs only €3.56 (that’s roughly 4.30 USD based on today’s exchange rate) and softcover books start at €7.12, which is way below our set budget.

As you can see, you really can make a picture book online for less than $20! Moreover, BookBildr makes it a fun and exciting process without a learning curve, the need to download any software, or hire anyone.