Step by Step Paint by Numbers

Selecting the right kit

The first step is to choose a kit you'd like to have on your wall. Consider the room it will go in, and find a picture that works with the style and colors of the space. You'll want something that you can see yourself living with for years to come; don't settle for something "good enough."

Once you've got your selection in mind, consider the size of the picture. We recommend a size no bigger than 16x20”—not because you won't be able to finish it if it's larger, but because after finishing your first kit (or two or three), you'll want to move on to more challenging pieces. Don't limit yourself by starting with a huge canvas!

After selecting which style of painting you prefer, decide on an appropriate size based on what appeals to you and what will work best in your house. Smaller canvases are easier for beginners, while larger ones can take some time and patience.

Preparing your kit

There are few things as fun and exciting as getting a new paint by numbers kit in the mail. You rip open the package and all you want to do is get started painting! But first, there's some prep work to be done.

As you can imagine, the first thing to check is that you have all of your kit pieces. Take a look at your list and make sure it matches up with what came in your box. If you're missing something, don't worry! It probably just got left out by accident and we'll send it right over as soon as we can.

Next, flip through your instructions—or take a closer look if this is your first time with a specific kit—and make sure that each color matches up with the correct numbered area on the canvas. Follow along with our handy video below for more tips on how to ensure everything in your kit is ready to go before you start painting!

Preparing your canvas

Prepare your canvas by wiping it down with a dry cloth. Mark your canvas with the numbers where they are supposed to go. You can use a pencil, but it's important that you don't press so hard that the numbers are indented into the canvas. If you do, when you paint over those areas the paint will lean away from the pencil markings because of the divots in your canvas. You can use tape to secure your canvas to a stable surface.

In this example, we've taped our canvas to an old piece of plywood and have used one of our small brushes (size 2) to paint in all of the background colors using acrylics.

Painting your background

  • keep your paintbrush clean

  • paint carefully in the areas allocated for each color

Painting your image

Painting by numbers is easy. One of the biggest questions people have about painting kits is, "How do I paint this image?" Once you get started, you'll see that it's not much different from the way you've been coloring since elementary school.

  • Paint in sections. Your paint-by-number kit will be marked with a number pattern. The numbers on your canvas correspond with the numbers on the paints. Each color will have its own numbered section or sections to paint to achieve a beautiful image.

  • Paint numerically. The easiest way to make sure your painting turns out well is to start at the top and work your way down through each numbered section in order. Follow along with our video example of how to paint by numbers for more guidance!

  • Fill in all the numbers in each section with the corresponding color before moving on to another section or color, and make sure you mix enough of each paint color so that you don't run out midway through an area! If a small section is too tight for your brush, choose one closer in size. Make sure you're using even pressure when applying each stroke as any heavy strokes can cause cracking later when varnishing!

  • Clean off your brush between every use so as not to contaminate colors - rinse well after cleaning! Remember: there are no mistakes here because we've already done all of their mixing for them (or if it does happen accidentally - just let dry completely before varnishing!).

Let your painting dry completely before starting again from step one above until finished

Paint by numbers is easy to do if you do it slowly and carefully

  • Start with the background.

  • Use paint straight from the pot and apply it to a clean, dry brush.

  • Don’t rush—you can take your time!

  • A small brush is ideal for most of your work.

  • Make sure you don’t mix your paints while working on a section.

  • Don’t worry about making mistakes—it’s easy to paint over and correct them!

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