Comprehensive Guide on Paint By Numbers

Comprehensive Guide on Paint By Numbers

Comprehensive Guide on Paint By Numbers 

Paint by numbers is a form of art that teaches you how to paint without any formal training. It’s a fun past time that allows adults to explore their creativity. However, people who are new to paint by numbers may not know which kits to select or how to get started.

If you’d like to know which kits to buy and the best way to begin your painting keep reading. We’re here to help you with all the information you need to get started with paint by numbers.

The Benefits of Paint by Numbers

The hustle and bustle of modern society has taken its toll on adults. There’s an increase in stress, anxiety and depression because no one is able to switch off their brains when they need to.

Burnouts are more frequent these days and adults are searching for ways to improve their mental health.

Fortunately, paint by numbers has many benefits that can assist adults and children in improving their mental health & cognitive abilities. Being able to paint using guidelines and numbers reduces stress & anxiety. It makes one feel more relaxed and focused & the advantage is that anyone can paint with paint by numbers.

A paint by numbers kit is an excellent way to improve your concentration and attention span, therefore it’s ideal for children. Paint by numbers teaches you how to be patient and gives you a sense of achievement when it’s completed.

How to Select a Paint By Numbers Kit

Now that you know the benefits of paint by numbers how do you pick a kit you’ll love? This guide will help you select a paint by numbers kit suitable for beginners as well as advanced painters. 

Framed or Unframed Kits  

There are two main types of kits: framed and unframed. Framed kits come with a wooden border that you can use to hang your painting on the wall when you’re done painting it. Unframed kits don’t have this border and the image will either be printed on board canvas or hard paper. 

Some people prefer to purchase a kit that comes with a frame because it typically has other items in it such as an easel. It also comes with hardware to mount your painting after it’s complete.

What Image do You Want to Paint?

Most people will simply purchase a kit because of the image on the canvas. There are many images for you to select from in any category such as animals, landscapes, famous landmarks and more.

There are also companies that offer custom images that they can print for you. Send the company a picture of your family or your pet so you can paint them using the numbered guidelines.

It should be noted that if you’re a beginner painter, images with more detail might be difficult for you to complete. Select an image that doesn’t have too much detail so you can get a feel for the art first before moving onto pictures with more features.

Size of the Image

One aspect to consider is the size of the paint by numbers canvas. There are small ones that are 15cm by 15cm and then there are larger ones that are 23.7cm by 42cm.

The smaller canvases are ideal for beginner painters who want to put paint by numbers to the test before moving on to larger pieces. However, if you’re up for the challenge then select paint by numbers kit with a larger canvas.

Acrylics Oils or Watercolour Paints

There are three types of paints that will either make the process for you frustrating or more enjoyable. In this section, we’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of acrylics, oils & watercolour paint by number kits.

Oil Paints

The disadvantages of oil paint are that you need a solvent such as turpentine to clean the paint off of the brush and to thin the paint out. It’s also a slow-drying paint which can be frustrating because it can smudge easily and, if you’re not careful, it can make your painting look messy. Using oil paints may be difficult for beginner painters or children to use.

However, there are benefits to oil paints too. You don’t need a primed canvas before you start working and the paint spreads more efficiently than other types of paint. It’s easier to blend with oil paints.

Water Colour Paints

Watercolour paints aren’t as vibrant as oil paints because they’re less pigmented. If you don’t know how to use watercolour paints your image can come out looking blotchy.

The advantage of watercolour paints is that they’re suitable for children to use. It’s easy to clean brushes and surface areas because it’s a water-based paint.

Acrylic Paint

Since acrylic paint is water-based you must prime your canvas first before you use them. One aspect that’s frustrating is that acrylic colours are bright when the paint is still wet but when it dries it darkens slightly.

However, there are many advantages to acrylic paints. The acrylic paint dries quickly so you don’t have to wait for it to dry before applying layers. These paints spread easily and you can reduce the pigment by adding more water to the colours. It’s easy to clean acrylic paint off of brushes because all you need is warm water and soap. 

Paint Brushes

Paint by numbers kits come with different sized brushes. Big brushes that have thicker bristles are used to paint larger areas of your image. Brushes with thinner bristles are used to paint smaller areas or finer details on the canvas.

There are also various-shaped brushes that are designed for different contours of your image. Flat brushes are used for straighter lines. Round brushes are used to paint large sections and for blending. Angled brushes are for painting rounded shapes or slanted lines.   

Getting Started with Paint By Numbers

Once you’ve selected your paint by numbers kit with all the items you need and the image you want, it’s time to get started on your masterpiece. Here is a complete guide on what you should do before and during the painting process.

Find a Well Lit and Comfortable Working Space

Before you start painting, find an area that has ample natural light so you can see all the lines of your image and the shades of all your colours you’ll be working with.

Use a Large Desk to Work On

You must have a large working area especially if you’re not using an easel so there’s enough space to place all your brushes, paint pots and cleaning tools. If you’re not using an easel, place paper towels or newspaper down on the table so that you don’t get paint spills on the surface of your desk.

Location of Paints and Tools

Paints must be in the correct location on the desk (on the left if you’re left-handed and on the right if you’re right-handed). The paint you’re working with first must be the correct distance from your arm and canvas so you can reach the pot easily without damaging your painting.

Your cup of water or turpentine must be behind the paints so that you don’t knock it over when moving your hand from paint to canvas.

Consider Using an Easel

If you don’t have an easel consider purchasing a kit that comes with one or buy it separately from any art store. An easel will free up space on your desk and it will improve your posture because you’ll be sitting upright instead of slouching over your canvas.   

Take a Picture of the Canvas Before you Start Painting

Before you begin painting, take a picture of your canvas with a camera or your smartphone. The digital image will give you a permanent reference that you can’t damage or misplace. Your digital reference will assist you when you’ve made a mistake on your canvas such as:

  • Painting outside of the lines
  • Using the incorrect colour on a number
  • Not remembering which colour to use when the number has been covered

Cups of Water or Turpentine for Cleaning

You must have a cup of water if you’re using acrylic paints or solvent if you’re using oils. This is so you can thoroughly clean your brushes off in between painting. It’s important to always keep your brushes clean while painting so that you don’t mix your colours.   

Paper Towels

Have a roll of paper towels next to you so you can dry your brushes in between painting. If your brushes are too wet it can drastically thin out the paint and make the colours run or seep into each other. So always make sure your brushes are slightly damp or dry when dipping your brush into the paint.

A Guide on Gesso

Gesso is essentially a primer for your canvas. It’s used to prevent oil paints from corroding over time and it helps acrylic paint spread easily leaving a smoother finish. Some paint by numbers kits don’t have pre-primed canvases so you may have to use clear gesso on your image before you start painting. 

It’s important to use clear gesso as opposed to white so that you can still see the numbers and lines on your image. Wait for the gesso to dry first before you start painting so that it doesn’t thin out your paints. 

5 Painting Tips

Now it’s time for the fun part which is painting your canvas. Here are five tips for you to follow to make the process easier and more enjoyable.

1. Paint One Number at a Time

Pick a number you’d like to start with and only paint all the sections with that number. The reason for this is to prevent all your paint in your pots from drying out while you work. It also teaches you to work on your painting systematically.

2. Go from Dark to Light

When painting a numbered image you’ll be tempted to start with number one on the image. However, it’s important to start with sections that require all the dark colours first. In painting, you must work your way from the dark colours through to the mid-tones and then to the lightest parts.

Using the dark to light technique will help you understand the composition of your painting and will improve the arrangement of your image.

3. When the Paint Dries

If you’re working with acrylic paints sometimes the colours dry out fast. If your paint has become thick or unmanageable simply add two or three drops of warm water and mix the paint well. If you’re using oils simply add a drop or two of solvent to bring the paint back to life.

4. Blending

If you use a wet or damp brush to blend your colours it can thin the paint out too much and create blotches or uneven blending. So always use a dry brush to blend your colours into each other.

5. Use Toothpicks for Tiny Touchups

After you’re done with your painting there may be a few areas that need some touch-ups such as white dots found around the canvas that haven’t been filled in. You could use a finer brush to fill these dots in but it may still be too thick and could add too much paint to an area.

To solve this problem dip the tip of a toothpick into the correct colour paint to fill in these areas or to improve your line work.

Final Thoughts

Have you got paint by numbers kit that you’re too afraid to start with because you don’t want to mess it up? Don’t let art anxiety stop you from being creative. With paint by numbers, there’s no way you can go wrong. Use our painting guide to help you get started. 

If you don’t already have a paint by numbers kit then you should get yourself one. You’ll love how easy and therapeutic it is to paint. Use our guide to help you find the perfect paint by numbers kit for you.



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