The excellent quality, the variety of pictorial formats and compositions, as well as the possibility to create surreal, fantastic, and unique masterpieces using the paint by numbers kits without having to learn the principles, the wide choice of subjects, make it very popular both among the beginners and the great hobby painters.
Painting Allows to Express Yourself
It’s not about painting life, it’s about making painting live..
Through her paintings, Frida Kahlo was able to literally transform her disability into a work of art, to exalt her real self instead of hiding it, to express, in the same way she lived, that nothing can hinder the inner strength, the freedom of intentions if they are sincere, the beauty outside conventional schemes.
While painting, you are free to express your feelings, emotions and bring on the canvas your thoughts, dreams, hopes, and desires.
Paint by Numbers for Kids
Besides the adults, another target who really enjoys painting by numbers is the very young generation. paint by numbers kits for kids are created to make young imaginations soar through a realm of color, excitement and innovative creation and keep children entertained for hours.
Not only children would love painting, but these kits also help them develop better concentration, patience and an eye for detail.
If they told you that painting influences our standard of living and our physical and mental health, would you believe it?
One of the main and immediate benefits we derive from painting is undoubtedly its action against stress: emotions are free to express themselves through a preferential channel that does not risk bumping into others or being misunderstood.
Painting as the right therapy
Many psychotherapists have verified the beneficial effects of art in helping patients with psychological problems because art in all its expressions fees the subjectivity of the person. Thus, one can resort to the art of painting by numbers to resolve conflicts, communication problems, difficulties in expression and many other psychological aspects.
It improves our motor skills
Like when playing a musical instrument, even with the painting by numbers canvas we learn how to adjust the movements of the hand when we handle a brush or pencil and develop brain connections related to this ability. In adults, painting helps improve up-motor skills.
It increases concentration and brain movements
Dedicating oneself to painting requires concentration. Painting is a meticulous job that allows you to forget the environment and to let go, letting time pass without realizing it.
With the painting, both the hemispheres of the brain are stimulated, right and left. The left hemisphere has to do with the logical and rational aspect, while the right one is connected to creativity and emotions. It is about freeing the imagination and letting it fly so that even the most profound thoughts can breathe.
“The true painter is one who is able to paint extraordinary scenes in the middle of an empty desert….”
Emotions are a very important part of creativity. With painting by numbers kits, it is possible to let emotions flow and experience happiness, love, empathy and inner peace. The feeling of relaxation that is achieved with paint helps to achieve a harmonious balance between the mind and the heart.
Paint by numbers vintage kits
Apart from the thrill of creating your own works of art, another fascination with paint by number is the possibility to paint big vintage masterpieces just by following the numbers.
From ballerinas and the Eiffel Tower, to tug boats and poppies, you’ll have your choice among a huge inventory of different paint by numbers vintage kits.
Paint by numbers landscapes
You can capture the serenity of a lake scene or the beauty of pine on the shore, the freedom of a small chirping bird on a tree branch, spend a beautiful afternoon in Tuscany or enchanted by looking at the beauty of a street in Paris.
It’s easy to unleash your creativity with fun, beautiful paint by numbers kits and create beautiful landscapes to use as home decorations.
How to Paint by numbers
It’s easy and accessible to everybody: All you have to do is to paint one color at a time inside the lines and also paint outside the lines, starting from the largest area to the smallest. This technique will help you prevent any accidental smudging. Little by little, you’ll learn a technique.
Another tip is to start with darkest to light colors or the other way around. This helps you to gain a deeper understanding of the composition, shapes, and shades of colors, color toning and how they affect one another.
Even though you are being guided by the numbers, the canvas numbers are guiding you in a relaxing and non-conformist way.
There’s room to express yourself, there’s a way to use your brain and a strong feeling of accomplishment at the end.
It all depends on you and your vision. You don’t have to be afraid to experiment and find your own style.
Do you, as an adult, buy paint by numbers because you feel nostalgic of good old times when you felt you’ll end up as Michelangelo when you would grow up. Well, the reality is this classic art of painting by numbers is, in fact, the invention of the greatest Michelangelo. So, while you might not have grown as an artist, you are being one of his students if you are painting by numbers for whatever reason.
While Michelangelo, of course, did not end up with making a kit of paint by number, it was Dan Robbin who liked the idea so much that in 1949, he introduced paint by numbers kit. The man was no ordinary artist himself, he has a record of the most exhibited artist of the world!
HOW DID IT HAPPEN:
As a worker of the company, Dan Robbin was assigned a task to come up with an idea strong enough to grab everyone’s attention. It was the year 1950 and the company’s president wanted something original to get him more customers. That is when it clicked to Dan Robbin to start something that can make everyone an artist but the task was way too daunting to be appreciated initially.
People were not willing to start a new hobby and therefore, at first, the company was not happy to go for it. But even then, Dan Robbin was not willing to give up and thus he came up with brilliant marketing strategies which did the trick. One of the cleverest one was stocking the kits at Macy’s by promising the toy shop owner to take back all the unsold kits. Company then awarded $250 to all the employees and requested them to ask their friends, family, and relatives to buy the kit for just $2.50! During holiday season this idea worked brilliantly as people got curious to see so many customers buying the paint by number kits that they started buying too!
Not only that, but a huge billboard was set up with a print of paint-by-numbers. Each day a new color was added to the picture while people watched it, intriguing them enough to buy the kits for themselves too. The result was like a dream come true because, by 1954, the company was making $20 million just by a sale of the Craft Master Kit-The Paint by Numbers!
Everyone was happiest with the idea that they could relive their memories from childhood and initiate drawing again. The painting was never so simpler and thus it made everyone felt like an artist. While all of this happened because of a marketing stunt, what is precious to observe from the history of this great art activity is that it revived the classic exercise to de-stress – that is the art of Painting.
Create PROFESSIONAL quality paintings in 4 EASY steps.
Want more thorough instructions for your paint by number kit? Check out our Ultimate Paint by Number Guide for everything you need to know about your new craft!
1. Unpack your Adult DIY my paint by numbers kit:
2. Lay out your the canvas, paints, brushes and instructions. Fill up a small cup of water and get ready!
3. Paint in the numbered area with the corresponding paint
4. Enjoy, hang, and/or show off your work of Art!
19 Paint by Numbers Tips you just can not afford to ignore before you start your first Paint by Number Canvas. These tips will definitely save you from throwing your kit in the bin because you did not know how to do it the correct way.
- Buy a Kit with Frame
- Keep the work area clean
- Start from the Top
- Start from the Background
- Close the paint pot lid after using
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
- Use water for better flow
- Take breaks – Enjoy Art
- Use nail polish to clean your brushes.
- Don’t use up all the paint before the painting is completed.
- Use a wet piece of cloth
- Buy a professional set of brushes
- Give a realistic look to your painting (Use blurring)
- Use clear gesso
- Take a Photo of Your Canvas before you Start Painting
- Use White pencil to to hide numbers/lines
- Iron your canvas to get rid of wrinkles
- Use flow-improver
Paint by numbers is on the list of 100 best hobbies of the century. It’s a creative way to spend your free time and have fun. You can paint for fun and relaxation, but also to enjoy the pleasures of painting regardless of your age or level of expertise. It is the perfect first step for beginners to learn the art. You only need to fill the numbered spaces on canvas with the respective color. All Paint by numbers has hundreds of ready to painting kits you can choose from.
Beginner Paint by Number Tips
- Buy a Kit with Frame
It is better to work on a framed canvas so that the canvas stays tight while you work, and you are not likely to create creases on it. Most of our kits have a frame option. If you buy our standard size 40X50 cm painting and there is no frame option, you can buy the frame here.
- Keep the Work area Clean
It’s useful to cover the area where you plan to work with old newspapers to keep it clean. The colors are not very liquid and the risk of dirtying up the place is not that high. Yet, having a clean and tidy location will help you focus on your work and avoid being distracted by splashes and stains.
- Start from the Top
Start from the top of your painting canvas and continue downwards to avoid any smudging. If you are left-handed, it’s better to start from the top right corner, while if you are right-handed start from the top left one. In this way, the risk of smudging will be minimal.
- Start from the Background
Paint one color at a time, preferring darker colors. These are usually part of the background and will help you create an outline which will give you the general idea of the picture you are about to paint. As soon as you finish with the background, continue with the smaller areas.
- Keep the Brushes Clean
Clean the brushes every time you switch from one color to another of your paint by numbers canvas. The paint dries very quickly and will ruin your brush if you do not wash it immediately. You can prepare a bottle of water and a brush-cleaning bowl. Wet towel is also very helpful for cleaning brushes. Choose one from 700+ unique designs from paint by numbers home now.
- Pay attention to the Paint
Be sure to close the paint lid when you are not using it, as it may dry out quickly. If the paint dries, you can try adding water to restore its creamy texture.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
If you fill in a number with the wrong color, you don’t have to worry. you can wait for the paint to dry and cover the surface with the correct color. If you still see the wrong color below, try covering it with another layer of the correct one.
- Do not Overdo
You do not need to use a lot of color for each section of your canvas. Don’t take a huge amount of color as the canvas may not absorb well the excess color and this may cause smudging.
- Take a Break
If you are new, just know that you don’t have to complete it in one go. Do it in parts and you will enjoy more every time. Don’t be hurried, whenever you feel like it’s taking a lot of time; tell yourself that it took Leonardo Da Vinci, 7 years to complete Mona Lisa.
Tip # 1: Clogged Brushes
The paint comes in the kit of paint by numbers are acrylic paints. This thick paint usually gets stuck in the brush once they are dried and does not come out easily. That eats up your plenty of time to remove it. Grab nail Polish thinner and dip your brush in it just for few seconds. The clotty color will leave hairs of the brush quickly without any hassle.
Tip # 2: Don’t hesitate to use water
I would suggest you not to use the color directly on the canvas. AS I have told you this paint is thicker, it is better to add a few drops of water in it before applying to make its consistency according to your need.
Tip # 3: Wet piece of Cloth
Let me tell you a secret here. Your brushes require to be cleaned frequently while painting, use a wet piece of cloth instead of paper towel. Paper towel wear off quickly as compare to wet piece of cloth. It will help you to remove the residuals of the paint from the brush quickly and effectively.
Tip # 4: Be comfortable with the brushes
Sometimes it requires little effort to work with new brushes, although the brushes’ comes in the kit works well. But I would suggest; if you have your own familiar brushes then use them instead because the control and comfort it gives you. If you are a painter, then you must know what I am talking about when it comes to using new brushes.
Tip # 5: Art of blurring
If you like to give the background or the corners of the picture a blurry look, then the best way to do is to stroke the painted color over the other near color on the canvas with the help of a clean and dry brush, or you can use your finger as well.
Insider tip: Use a Retarder if you want to slow the drying time of your paints for better blurring.
Tip # 6: Purpose of three brushes
There are three different sizes of brushes you will find in the kit. Each one has a different job to do. The big, medium and small brush are used for softness, sharpness, and crispness, respectively and for large and small areas. However, you can use them as per your need, but keep in mind not to paint all the parts with the single brush. Nonetheless, you can buy 10 pieces of brush set of a variety of sizes from us as well.
Tip # 7: Use of translucent
If you are a beginner, you might have some difficulty painting on the canvas, though the canvas you buy from all paint by numbers, is of extremely good quality. However, to avoid any inconvenience, apply gesso translucent on the surface of the canvas. It will give slightly textured and ready-to-adopt paint touch to the canvas. Further, it will give a look of a matte finish as well.
Tip # 8: Be clever
Oh, you will love this trick guys. Bring out your smartphone and take a full picture of the canvas before it gets painted. This will help you to check out what number was associated in a particular section before it was painted, in case you forgot. Or you can zoom the picture in your phone to see the tiny numbers in the tiny section, in case you can’t see it properly.
Time for mother of all tips
All the tips and tricks are useless until you are not emotionally, physically and mentally ready to paint. Build a passion for art in yourself and be comfortable and relax. Feel the first stroke of the brush like a feather on your nerve and try to blend your emotions with the lovely colors, then only you can master the art of painting fully and effectively.
How do you get wrinkles and creases out of canvas? The #1 secret to getting wrinkles and creases out of a canvas is to use an iron on high! However, before you go ahead and do that, you should read through our list below of the most important Do’s and Don’ts:
Iron and ironing board to remove wrinkles from canvas
The good news is that some wrinkling for canvases of all types is VERY normal. The bad news is that wrinkles on paint by number canvases are more common due to the printing of the numbers and lines, which also makes it a little more challenging to deal with. Fear not! We are here to help you with the Do’s and Don’t of getting those annoying creases out!
Let’s start with the Don’ts:
- DO NOT use a lot of water, and avoid using any. Many websites suggest using a little bit of water, fine mist, or steam when ironing. We recommend doing this with caution because paint by number kits are different from regular canvases in that they have numbers and lines printed on them. Too much water and steam can actually clean away the numbers and lines, so unless you want to paint completely free-hand, we recommend proceeding with caution any time you spritz your canvas with water or use steam when ironing.
- DO NOT iron face up! When you begin ironing, make sure you iron face down to prevent any smudging of numbers and lines. Canvases are designed to be painted on, not printed on, so the ink can smear easily. Direct contact with a hot iron can easily blemish your favorite paint by number kit!
- DO iron your canvas on high without steam. Many websites suggest using a little bit of water or steam when ironing. You’re welcome to try doing this, but Paint by number kits are different from regular blank canvases in that they have numbers and lines printed on them which may be accidentally cleaned off! Make sure to press down firmly on the canvas, and make sure you never keep the iron in one place for too long.
- DO make your canvas taught. Canvases are made to be stretched, and the stretching process helps to get the last wrinkles out. Try to make sure the canvas is as tight as possible, even when just taping or tacking the canvas to a flat surface!
- DO use a damp cloth on the back of the canvas. If you can’t get the wrinkles out without water, and you don’t have a VERY fine mister, we recommend laying the canvas face down, and ironing with a damp cloth on the back.
How do you stretch and frame a paint by number canvas using DIY stretcher bars?
Stretching a canvas can be daunting at first, but it’s a lot easier than it seems! Our DIY stretcher bars are specifically designed to stretch canvas without the need for any tools! The 4x stretcher bars are pre-cut, and the notches are built so that the wood pieces slip perfectly into one another. The wood is made of soft fibers that don’t require nails or staples. Simply slip a thumbtack through the canvas and into the wood, while pulling each side taught! Before you know it, you’ll have a perfectly stretched canvas!
Follow the steps below to see exactly how these are done:
Part 1: How to Assemble the DIY Frame/Stretcher Bars
Step 1: Lay out your frame and thumb tacks on a flat surface. Put the thumb tacks over to the side until the DIY frame is assembled.
Step 2: Connect the first two frames by sliding the corner of a longer and shorter piece into one another. Each piece of wood from our frames come with pre-cut grooves so no tools are necessary. It’s okay if the pieces are not perfectly perpendicular at this point. Once the 4th piece is added the frame will come together.
Step 3: Connect the other short piece so you have 3 parts of the frame together. Once this is ready, add the final piece of the wooden frame so that you complete the rectangle. Once everything is securely in, you should be able to straighten out the frame so each of the bars forms a 90 degree angle.
Part 2: How to Stretch the Canvas
Step 1: Lay out your assembled frame and canvas onto a flat surface. Put the now assembled frame, paints, brushes, and anything else included in your kit over to the side.
Step 2: Unroll the canvas. Canvases may sometimes have wrinkles. You can get them out with an iron on high with a very small bit of steam. Make sure you iron face down to prevent any of the lines and numbers from smudging! For tips and tricks on the best way to iron your canvas, check out our how-to here.
Step 3: Once your canvas has all the wrinkles out, lay it face down on your flat surface. Line up your frame with the border of the underlying kit. This is best done under bright light so you can see the outline through the canvas. The flat side of the frame should touch the canvas and the beveled side should be facing you! The rounded edges are very important for canvas. The roundness increases the surface area of the wood, which lowers the friction the frame has with the canvas. By reducing the friction, it will allow you to more easily pull the canvas over the frame, and ultimately make it more taught. The rounded edges will also prevent the canvas from splitting or cracking.
Step 4: Pull back the first long side of the canvas and thumb tack it to your frame. Try to make sure that the underlying border is lined up and that the canvas runs straight along your frame. Only put the thumb tack in half way so that you can easily pull it out with a pair of scissors or back of a hammer if anything is too far off!
Step 5: Continue to make sure that your frame is straight and perpendicular to with you canvas. The underlying image can still be adjusted to be aligned with the frame. Put the second thumbtack into the other long side of the frame.
SPECIAL BONUS TIP:
After each thumb tack, flip the canvas over to make sure everything is aligned. If something looks off, you can always pull slightly harder on one side before you put the thumb tack in to adjust. If it’s off by too much, you can pull out the thumb tack and try again!
Step 6: Make sure to pull tight to make the underlying lines align with the frame as you go along. Double check by flipping back and forth to see how it’s going. Once you feel comfortable, go ahead and put thumb tacks into the two shorter frames
Step 7: Finally, fold over your corners and push a thumb tack through. Remember to only go halfway with the thumb tacks so you can easily pull them out with the back of a hammer or a pair of scissors!
*PRO TIP – You can also cut the edges so they hold better, however, we usually recommend just folding them so you don’t accidentally ruin your kit!
Step 8: Flip your kit over to make sure it is aligned how you like. Pull the canvas taught to align it even better, and add the final thumb tacks. Once you’re satisfied, push the thumb tacks in the rest of the way!
Congratulations on framing your first Paint by Number Canvas! Only one more step!
Step 9: Paint! ?
The Top 4 Secrets to Making the BEST Custom Paint by Number Kit
1. Pick the Right Size Canvas for Your Image Dimensions (Aspect Ratio)
Choosing the right size canvas can be tricky and can require a little bit of math, but have no fear—we manually check each image to make sure that the dimensions of your image are suited for the canvas size selected! We are Photoshop experts and will always ensure that your image is optimized to maximize the surface area of the canvas.
What is aspect ratio and how can you choose the right size canvas for your image?
Aspect ratio is the ratio between the width and height of your image, you can calculate it by dividing the width of your picture by the height. Ideally you want the image you send to have the same or a similar aspect ratio as the canvas you select for your kit. If the two are very off, we have to add white space, crop the image, or choose a size canvas that better matches your image. We will always maximize the surface area and working space of your custom kit so that your image takes up as much room as possible!
How do I find and change the aspect ratio of an image?
Open the image with the photos application (usually the default in windows PC’s)
Go to “Edit & Create” and select “Edit” from the dropdown
Once you edit it, you can crop the image to one of the most popular aspect ratios.
The following aspect ratios from our custom paint by number kit drop down will work perfectly with the corresponding kit sizes:
4:3 Aspect Ratio (the standard ratio for most iPhone and Samsung devices):
10:8 Aspect Ratio:
Square Aspect Ratio:
3:2 Aspect Ratio:
7:5 Aspect Ratio:
We keep our dimensions in centimeters because it uses more whole numbers and makes the calculation quite a bit easier.
How can you make your custom kit landscape or portrait?
Some of our customers ask us how to choose whether the image is landscape or portrait (or as my 1st grade teacher would say, hamburger or hot dog style). It doesn’t matter if you choose a 30×40 or a 40×30, we will make it is landscape or portrait based on the image!
2. Choose a Large & High-Resolution Image of at least 500 pixels
Your custom paint by number can only come out as good as the image you put in. As our MPBN accountants say, “Garbage in, Garbage Out.”
What is a pixel? A pixel is a small dot on your screen that is roughly 1/96th of an inch (or .26mm). That’s REALLY tiny! A paint by number kit of 40x50cm (16”x20”) is about 1500×2000 pixels. That means that any image that does not have enough pixels needs to be blown up, so each pixel is larger than it was intended. This process causes details of that image to be lost. When there are not enough pixels, we need to zoom-in on the image, which makes each pixel bigger. If the image sent in is too small and we have to zoom in a lot, the image will not blend well, and you may be able to see each pixel as a square and the image may be considered “pixelated”. You can see how large the pixels in your image might be if you zoom in on the image to fill up your entire screen. Consider the example of a high-resolution vs a low-resolution image below!
How can you check for the pixels on your image?
1.Find the file on your computer
2.Right click on the image and select “Properties”
3.Click on the “Details” tab
4.Check the image width and height in pixels to make sure each dimension is greater than 500 pixels to prevent any pixilation.
- Right click on the file in “Finder”
- Click “Get Info”
- Under “More Info” you can find the dimensions (pixels) of the image
- Check for the image width and height in pixels to make sure each dimension is greater than 500 pixels to prevent any pixilation.
3. Be Mindful of How the Paint Works with the Colors and Shading in your Original Photo
High contrast and vibrant color are the deciding factors between a good and great paint by number kit. Read more to see how to make the right choices for your kit.
What is contrast?
Contrast is the difference between elements of an image. An image or photograph can have several types of contrast, including color contrast and tonal contrast. Color contrast is usually the most important to focus on for paint by number kits—if your kit is mostly one color, it doesn’t turn out as well. The best images kits are made with images that have a different background color than the subject matter, providing a significant amount of contrast in the image.
There are many types of color schemes from which to choose, but choosing colors with an aesthetically pleasing relationship with other colors in the image typically produces the best result. You can read more about color theory and choosing the best color relationships at Wikipedia. We recommend checking out this article on Color Theory https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_theory
The Optical Illusion of “White”
White can be a very tricky and often misleading color for our human eyes. It is easiest to think of this as an optical illusion or a trick that the image plays on us. Take for instance the photo below, and the belly of this very cute dolphin. What looks to our eyes as a slightly off white, is actually a very strong shade of blue that our software will pick up as such! This picture also lacks a lot of color contrast, so it would not make for the very best paint by number kit.
4. Make sure the subject matter of your image takes up most of the space!
We highly recommend cropping out as much background as possible when creating a custom kit. The subject matter (say your family, loved one, fur baby, pet, etc.) should be the main focus of your image, and take up at least 70% of the image for the details to be prominent!
Ready to paint your next sentimental masterpiece? You don’t need to worry about mastering everything in the above guide if you order with My Paint by Numbers! We go through each image with our experts to optimize your image before producing your custom kit.
We have had over 70,000 happy customers and you have all taught us SO MUCH.
We get questions from all over the world, and most of the time, one of our customers has answered them for us. Here are the tips and tricks that we have learned from YOU!
Tip 10 – How to make the numbers not show through
Most of the time the numbers underneath don’t show through, but once in a while our customers say they can see the numbers through some of the lighter paint when they’re close. That’s when someone suggested using white out pen or white colored pencils to cover the numbers, which works phenomenally!
Find the number and space on the canvas, but right before you paint, color over the number with the pencil! Who would have guessed?
Tip 9 – Clear Gesso – How to make the paint stick better
Clear Gesso provides an degree of rough surface to to give acrylic and oil paints a better place to hold. Clear gesso is ideal for painting over paint by number kits because it makes the canvas surface better to paint on, but still allows you to see all the numbers and areas to paint between!
Tip 8 – Flow Improver – How to make the paint less thick or revive dry paint
Some people would like their paints to be a little less thick and easier to work with. Since these are acrylic paints and water soluble, you can usually get away with just a few drops of water. For the more challenging paints, you can splurge for a few drops of Flow Improver to make the paint easier to work with.
Tip 7 – Foam Board – How to keep your painting sturdy and mobile
Foam board is a great flat surface onto which you can mount your canvas. Once you have taped, tacked, or clipped your painting to the board you can bring it with you to paint anywhere you feel comfortable. It makes it so you can do your painting indoors and outside! Get our favorite Elmer’s Foam Board, 16×20 Inch, Pack of 3 from Amazon
Tip 6 – Extra Paints – How to use those leftover paints when you’re finished
Once you’re done, you usually have a few pods of leftover paint that end up drying up and getting thrown out. We found that some of our customers like to test how their painting skills have improved by using those extra paints on a blank canvas (without lines)!
Tip 5 – Digital instructions – How to never lose your instructions again
Some of our customers find the numbers to be too small to see easily and wish that we included a magnifying glass in our kits. Having tiny spaces helps make the final paintings more detailed, so it’s hard to strike the perfect balance.
Our customers have also found a very clever and innovative solution to the problem! Before starting your kit take a picture of the canvas! As you are painting, you can go back and reference the digital photo in your smartphone or camera and zoom in on any of those hard to see numbers!
Tip 4 – Wrinkled Canvas – How to flatten out those pesky wrinkles
Wrinkling is very normal for shipping canvases like this. Fortunately, just like wrinkly clothes from a dryer, you can use an iron to get them out! Check out this video below or our helpful blog post here
Tip 3 – Go one number at a time – How to keep paint moist
If you paint one number at a time and make sure to close the pods between strokes, it also helps keep the paint fresh and moist since they all won’t be exposed to the air for long periods of time!
These paints are acrylic, so you can use water or Flow Improver to make it less thick should you want. You can find a how-to here
Tip 2 – ZigZag – How to PERFECTLY blur colors
There is no better explanation for the technique than by watching it yourself.
Tip 1 – Cat repellent – How to keep cats off your work
We still have not solved this one–but they do make for excellent subject matter for a custom paint by number kit!
Step-by-Step Paint by Number Instructions and Everything You Need to Know to Get Started!
Looking for step-by-step paint by number instructions and helpful hints, tips, and tricks? Do you need to use gesso before painting? Is it better to stretch your canvas before or after you have painted? How do you remove wrinkles? There are lots of options for PBN kits. We have answered the most common questions and highlighted everything you need to know to get started on your new hobby!
~Before Starting your Kit~
- Find a comfortable and well-lit room in which to paint. The more detailed the kit, the tinier the numbers and spaces may be. For the particularly small spaces, a magnifying glass and lamp can be very helpful. Our customers swear by this Magnifying Headlamp!
- Get a comfortable desk or table in which to paint. Being hunched over for long periods of time can be bad for your neck and back, so try to make sure you are comfortable and change positions frequently. Switching between painting on a flat surface and a tabletop easel usually helps!
- Clear a space of anything that should not get wet or dirty! As careful as we think we will be, the paint always seems to find its way onto something other than canvas!
- Take a digital picture of your canvas with your phone! This will give you a permanent reference sheet that you can never misplace, spill paint on, tear, burn, crumple, or shred! You can also zoom in on any small numbers or spaces. Now it’s time to ditch that magnifying glass!
- Get a small cup of water and a few paper towels. Keeping the brush moist, but not too saturated, is very important throughout the painting process. We highly recommend going 1 color/number at a time as it will ensure your paints stay moist and fresh for the entire kit!. To keep your brush moist and clean, dip the brush in water and dry off any excess with your paper towel. Make sure to clean it well when switching colors/numbers!
~Preparing your canvas~
There are lots of options for preparing your canvas. Do you need to use gesso before painting? Is it better to frame your canvas before or after you have painted? We have answered the most common canvas prep questions and have outlined the many options for preparing a canvas below.
QUICK SUMMARY: GESSO IS NOT NECESSARY FOR ACRYLIC PAINTINGS!
Question 1: What exactly is gesso, and why is it used?
Answer 1: Gesso is a primer that makes paint go on more smoothly and makes the canvas more absorbent. HOWEVER, gesso is not nearly as necessary when painting with acrylic paints versus painting with oil paints.
Traditional gesso for oil paints contains a glue that helps bind the paint to the canvas and prevents the paint from corroding; however,all ofMy Paint by Number’s 700+ kits use ACRYLIC paints. Acrylic paints do not corrode like oil paints, which make gesso a lot less important.
Question 2: Should I use gesso?
Answer 2: Totally up to you! We do not recommend it for our acrylic paint by number kits!
Gesso for acrylic paints will make the canvas a little bit smoother and a little more absorbent, but may smudge your numbers and lines and will make it more likely to run out of paint for your paint by number kit!
Question 3: Should I use clear gesso or white gesso?
Answer 3: Only use CLEAR GESSO for paint by number kits! If you use white gesso or any other color, it will cover up the numbers and spaces you need for your paint by number kit!
Question 4: Are you interested in learning more about gesso?
Answer 4: Check out this video from Dina herself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShETJURbxzQ
Stretching and Framing
QUICK SUMMARY: STRETCHING A CANVAS IS NOT NECESSARY FOR THESE KITS!
Question 1: Should I stretch my canvas? Should I do it before or after I paint?
Answer 1: It is totally up to you! You really cannot go wrong, but we do not recommend stretching your canvas for beginners or first timers. However, if you do want to stretch your canvas, we recommend doing so before painting!
Question 2: How do I stretch a paint by number canvas?
Answer 2: Stretching paint by number kits can be a little more difficult than stretching a regular canvas because you need to line up the border of the canvas with the DIY frame. It may take a few tries, but it is totally doable. You can click on the following link to check out our thorough how-to guide on how to stretch and frame a canvas
Question 3: What are the benefits to stretching a paint by number canvas?
Answer 3: Stretching a canvas makes the canvas a bit more portable. We usually recommend it if you have an easel and you want to take your kit outside to paint. (Painting on a beach was one of the most relaxing painting experience we have ever had.)
Question 4: What are the detriments to stretching a paint by number canvas?
Answer 4: Stretching a paint by number canvas takes a lot of patience. It may also be hard to stretch it very tautly without the proper tools, so you may find it easier to paint with a flat hard surface behind an unstretched canvas as a backing.
Question 5: Where is the best place to paint–on a table or on an easel?
Answer 5:Spending too many hours painting with an easel hurts our necks and our arms. Painting for too many hours on a flat surface makes just our necks sore. Switching between the two can help ease some of that soreness! We ranked our 3 favorite options by level of ease:
- EASY – Lay your canvas on a flat surface and securely tape it using masking tape. We are addicted to paint by numbers ourselves and found this to be the simplest and most pleasant way of painting. It is also very easy to pick up and move to a different space!
- MEDIUM – Tape, tack, or binder clip your canvas to a piece of foam board or cardboard. This method gives you a strong and hard back for your canvas and also makes your project very portable! You can still put your canvas on a flat surface, or stand it up on an easel.
- DIFFICULT – Stretching your canvas is the most difficult. We have a separate how-to guide on doing that; however, it makes your canvas less portable and you will no longer have that hard backing, which usually makes painting the canvas a bit more challenging. A stretched kit is also a little harder to frame after you are finished–but it definitely does not hurt to try!
~Starting your kit~
Easy Paint by Number Instructions
- Unpack your paint by number kit and lay out the canvas, paints, and brushes on a flat surface.
- Unroll the canvas and carefully iron it on high to remove any wrinkles or creases.
- Tape the canvas to the flat surface. We recommend masking tape to mitigate any residue that may be left on the flat surface or canvas.
- Fill up a small cup of water and lay out a few paper towels. (Do not forget the paper towels, they are very important for cleaning your brushes when changing colors!)
- *BONUS STEP* – Take a digital picture of your canvas with your phone! This trick will give you a permanent reference sheet that you can never misplace, spill paint on, tear, burn, crumple, or shred! You can also zoom in on any small numbers or spaces with ease–no more magnifying glasses!
- Match each of the numbered paint pots with the pre-numbered area on the canvas. We highly recommend going one number at a time to prevent the paints from drying.
- Start with the darker colors first, then go lighter. Go from top to bottom. For right-handed individuals, go from left to right as your make your way from the top to the bottom of your canvas. For left-handed individuals, go from right to left as your make your way from the top to the bottom of your canvas.
- Dip the tip of your paintbrush and begin painting! Using just the tip will increase the precision of your strokes and help you stay within the lines. It also prevents paint from drying up in the bristles closer to the handle, which may damage your brush. Using just the tip will also conserve paint so you will have plenty leftover for touch-ups and free-hand kits for fun once you are done!
From Novice to NICE!
- Acrylic paints dry quickly. Make sure to paint 1 number at a time and close the lids whenever you are not painting to prevent them from drying out! Only open 1 paint pot at a time! Check out our guide for fixing dry paints here!
- A paint pod with no number or a gray dot will correspond with the gray or blank area on the canvas.
- Always iron your canvas before beginning to paint to get out any creases or wrinkles!
- If you want to hang your painting, but do not want to put holes in your wall or all the hassle of framing your canvas, you can use double-sided tape, glue dots, or reusable adhesive tabs! Quick, easy, and a cheap way of displaying your artwork!
- Make sure to clean your brushes thoroughly between colors. It helps to dip the brush into your water, then wipe it against the paper towel, and repeating until there is hardly any color left in the brush.
- Moisten your brush before putting it in the paint. We recommend dipping the brush in a cup of water and then drying the excess water off on a paper towel before dipping the tip of your brush into the paint pod.
- Dip the tip! To make the most precise strokes, conserve paint, and prevent your brushes from getting dried up and hard, just use the tip of your brush! It makes it much easier to paint the fine details in these kits!
- Use white out or a white colored pencil to cover the numbers and spaces and ensure they do no show through the paint.
- Save any extra paint you have after your kit for future touch ups, or even a masterpiece of your own!
- All our paints are acrylic and water soluble. Sometimes paint dry up if they were not sealed well after use. If you find that a paint pod has dried up or a little too thick, add a drop or 2 of warm water to bring it back to life!
- Is your paint thicker than you would like? Add 1 part flow improver or flow aid to 20 parts water in your water cup. This will make the paint flow more smoothly off your brush compared to dipping in regular water!
- Tiny spaces too small for even your tiniest professional paint brushes? Try using a toothpick!
- Having trouble getting paint off? Try a cotton ball and nail polish remover!