How to Paint by Numbers: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners

How To Paint By Numbers

Paint by numbers has become a popular hobby for individuals of all ages, providing a fun and relaxing way to create beautiful artwork even without prior painting experience. This painting method involves a pre-printed canvas with small numbered areas, which correspond to specific paint colors. By following the numbers and filling in the corresponding colored paint, even beginners can produce impressive masterpieces.

The paint by number process not only allows people to explore their creativity but also helps to improve focus, patience, and hand-eye coordination. With a wide variety of designs available, from intricate landscapes to whimsical animals, there is surely a paint by numbers kit that will match anyone's interests and skill level.

To make the most of your paint by numbers experience, it's essential to understand the basic techniques and best practices. This article will explore some helpful tips that will guide you through the steps, ensuring a smoother painting process and ultimately, a stunning result that you can be proud of.

Understanding Paint by Numbers

History of Paint by Numbers

The concept of paint by numbers dates back to the 1950s when it gained popularity as an accessible and enjoyable pastime for people with little or no painting experience. It was designed to make art more accessible to everyone, regardless of their skill level. The process involves a printed canvas that has been divided into numbered sections, with each number corresponding to a specific color. Users simply follow the numbered guide to fill in the sections with the appropriate paint colors.

Popularity and Pastime

Over the years, paint by numbers has become a popular hobby for people of all ages. It offers a stress-relieving and creative experience for those looking to unwind and explore their artistic side. With a wide range of paint by number kits available, individuals can select from various themes and subjects that appeal to their personal interests.

Paint by numbers has also been praised for its therapeutic benefits, as it can help improve focus, patience, and hand-eye coordination. Additionally, working on a paint-by-number set can foster a sense of accomplishment and boost one's self-confidence.

The popularity of paint by numbers can be attributed to several factors:

  • Easy to use: Paint by numbers is beginner-friendly, allowing people with no prior experience in painting to create beautiful art pieces.
  • Wide range of choices: Paint by number kits come in various designs, appealing to different interests, from landscapes to animals and abstracts.
  • Therapeutic benefits: It offers a calming and stress-relieving activity that improves concentration, patience, and hand-eye coordination.
  • Achievable goals: The structured nature of the process makes it possible for users to complete the paintings and feel a sense of accomplishment.

The process of painting by numbers is relatively simple. Users select a canvas with a pre-printed design and follow the numbered guide to paint each section with the corresponding colors. It is generally recommended to start with darker colors and work towards lighter ones, moving from top to bottom on the canvas. This ensures that the paints do not dry out before they are applied to the canvas and prevents smudging.

Preparing for Paint by Numbers

Choosing a Kit

When selecting a paint by numbers kit, consider the type of artwork you want to create and your skill level as an artist. Kits typically include a numbered canvas, acrylic paints, and brushes, but you may find some with added features like magnifying glasses or DIY frames. Look for a kit that provides clear, high-quality canvas with a nice selection of colors to create the desired effect. Some popular themes include landscapes, animals, and abstract designs.

Gathering Supplies

Before starting, gather all necessary supplies to set up a comfortable and organized work area. Essential items include:

  • Paint by numbers kit (canvas, paints, brushes)
  • Cardboard or flat surface to support canvas
  • Stretched canvas (optional)
  • Masking tape (to secure canvas or protect surfaces)
  • Easel (if using a stretched canvas)
  • Gesso or acrylic paint primer (optional, for prepping canvas)
  • Toothpick (for fine details)
  • Additional brushes in various sizes -.paint containers or small numbered paint pots
  • Cloth or paper towels (for cleaning brushes)
  • Cup of water (for cleaning brushes)

You can secure your canvas to a piece of cardboard or a flat surface using masking tape. This provides a solid base for painting and keeps the canvas stable. If you have a pre-stretched canvas, using an easel is recommended for a comfortable and more ergonomic painting experience.

Some artists choose to prime their canvas with gesso or an acrylic paint primer, providing a smoother surface and making it easier for the paint to adhere. This step is optional and depends on the quality of the canvas or your personal preference. While your kit may include basic brushes, consider having a variety of brush sizes on hand to easily work on large and smaller areas of the painting.

Have cloth or paper towels handy for cleaning brushes, as well as a cup of water to rinse. Keep paint containers or small numbered paint pots organized and easily accessible so that you can stay focused on your work. Using a toothpick can help with intricate details, while a magnifying glass (if available) can provide additional precision for small numbered areas on the canvas.

How to Begin Painting by Numbers

Setting up the Workspace

Before starting to paint by numbers, set up a comfortable and well-lit workspace. Find a flat surface, such as a table

Techniques for a Successful Paint by Numbers Experience

Painting Tips and Tricks

When starting a paint by numbers project, it's essential to prepare properly. First, unroll the canvas and carefully iron it on high to remove any wrinkles or creases. Tape the canvas to a flat surface using masking tape to avoid residue. When painting, use light brush strokes to maintain the canvas's texture1. To give your painting a professional look, consider highlighting areas using a color lighter than the area you wish to highlight2.

Mixing Colors

  • color theory by blending a limited range of hues. Use a plastic pallet to mix colors with your brushes or toothpicks. Make sure you mix your paints in equal proportions to ensure consistency across your canvas.
  • Clean your brushes thoroughly after mixing colors to avoid accidentally mixing unwanted shades.
  • If you need to create a new color that isn't part of your paint by numbers kit, experiment with mixing primary colors to achieve the desired hue.

Correcting Mistakes

If you accidentally applied the wrong color or made a mistake, here are some tips to correct it:

  • If the paint is still wet, quickly clean the area with warm water and a paper towel3.
  • Wait for the paint to dry if it's already dried. You can then apply the correct color over the mistake.
  • Use a small touch-up brush for detailed corrections and to clean up edges.

Remember to take your time and have patience when working on a paint by numbers project. With these techniques and tips, you'll be on your way to creating a beautiful, personal masterpiece.


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  2. 10 Skills and Tips for Paint by Numbers | Canvas by Numbers

  3. Mastering the Art of Paint by Numbers: Your Comprehensive Guide to Success

Finishing Your Masterpiece

Final Touches

After completing the paint by numbers, the artist should take time to review the artwork and add any necessary finishing touches. This step is crucial to ensure the masterpiece accurately represents the reference photo and achieves the desired level of precision. Enhancing the contrast and blending colors between sections can create a cohesive and polished final product. Using a fine brush, artists can refine edges and address any skipped or spotty areas. Additionally, it's essential to let the painting dry completely before moving on to framing.


Once the masterpiece is complete and dry, framing is an excellent way to protect and showcase the artwork. Artists should choose a frame that complements the colors and style of their piece. Matting can also be a valuable addition, as it can help highlight the painting and protect its edges. It's essential to ensure that both the frame and mat are acid-free to prevent any damage to the artwork over time. Measure the dimensions of the painting and select a frame accordingly. The painting can then be securely mounted on a backing board with acid-free tape or adhesive.


Proper display of the masterpiece is key to preserving its quality and showcasing the artist's talent. Find a location that is bright but not exposed to direct sunlight, as UV rays can cause the colors to fade over time. Avoid areas with high humidity or extreme temperature changes, as these can also damage the artwork. Hang the framed masterpiece at eye level to allow viewers to appreciate the artist's attention to detail and precision. If desired, a display light can be added to further enhance the presentation and draw attention to the piece.

Overall, finishing a paint by numbers masterpiece involves carefully reviewing the artwork, selecting an appropriate frame, and choosing a suitable display location. By taking these steps, artists can preserve and showcase their creations for years to come.

Alternative Art Forms

Diamond Painting Kits

Diamond painting kits have gained popularity in the art world due to their unique approach to creating stunning, detailed imagery. Using small, faceted, resin "diamonds" that adhere to a printed, adhesive canvas, artists can create a shimmering, mosaic-like effect. The diamond painting kits typically include a printed canvas, pre-sorted colored diamonds, a pen-like applicator, and a small tray to hold the diamonds.

The process of diamond painting is relatively simple and enjoyable for all skill levels. Here are some steps to get started:

  1. Unroll and layout the canvas on a clean, flat surface.
  2. Choose a starting point based on the design and colors.
  3. Pour a small number of corresponding diamonds onto the tray.
  4. Dip the applicator pen into the included wax and pick up a diamond.
  5. Press the diamond onto the adhesive canvas in the designated square.

Repeat these steps until the entire canvas is complete.


Birds, as the subject of painting, can bring life and energy to any artwork. Artists can use a variety of mediums, brush strokes, and techniques to accurately represent diverse bird species. Bird paintings can range from simple, minimalistic strokes to photorealistic depictions.

To capture the essence of a bird through painting, consider the following guidelines:

  • Study the bird's physical attributes, such as feathers, beaks, and talons.
  • Pay attention to colors, patterns, and markings to create an accurate and visually appealing representation.
  • Observe the bird's posture and behavior to convey their personality and natural habitat.

Incorporating these elements into your bird painting will result in a captivating, immersive piece that showcases the beauty and diversity of these fascinating creatures.

By exploring alternative art forms like diamond painting kits and bird artistry, artists can diversify their skills, find new inspirations, and ultimately produce remarkable, one-of-a-kind masterpieces.


In conclusion, painting by numbers is a rewarding and enjoyable activity for art enthusiasts of all skill levels. By following a few key steps, anyone can produce impressive artwork with minimal effort.

One important step is to identify and match each color with its corresponding number on the canvas. As mentioned in The Ultimate Paint by Number Guide for Beginners, focusing on one color at a time and ensuring paint lids are closed when not in use can prevent paint from drying out, keeping the process smooth and efficient.

Another valuable strategy is to paint from the top down, as discussed in the Step By Step Guide. Practicing this method can prevent smudges caused by your arm making contact with the canvas.

Furthermore, following the tips from The Frisky, painting darker colors first can lower the risk of colors mixing unintentionally, maintaining the clarity and vibrancy of the artwork.

To summarize, painting by numbers is an accessible and gratifying pastime. By adhering to these helpful tips, individuals of all artistic backgrounds can create stunning works of art with confidence and ease.

Paint By Numbers

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What are the 7 rules of painting?

A: As an artist, one utilizes balance, emphasis, movement, proportion, rhythm, unity, and variety to construct the visual components of a work.

Q: Where should I start with paint by numbers?

A: Start in the middle of the picture and work outwards. 

Q: What should a beginner paint first?

A: Beginners should start with simple landscapes and still lives.

Are you feeling stressed and burnt out? How about the best tips for paint by numbers? Are you looking for ways to unwind at home trying these paint by number tips? These are some great strategies for paint by numbers. 

Not only is it fun and easy, but it is also a stress-free activity that you can enjoy along with your family and friends.

If you’ve never tried it before, do not worry. In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about paint by numbers. We’ll show you how simple it is to get started. You’ll be given a list of what you need to have and find useful paint by number tips so you have a great time while working on your project.

Are you excited?

Then let’s go ahead and get started.

For most people, they were introduced to paint by numbers when they were kids. It can be described as a cross between a coloring book and a canvas painting.

We can’t emphasize enough how easy it is to paint by numbers. If kids can do it, then so can you. It all comes down to preparation. Once you have everything you need from paint by, you can knock down one painting after another quite handily.

How to Guide for Paint by Numbers Kits for Adults

Here’s what you need to do:

Find a spot with great lighting. You need to be able to see the canvas clearly.

Cover your work area with newspaper or any other protective material that works with paint.

Have a glass (or any type of container) that’s filled with water. You’ll be using this to clean your brush every now and then.

Start painting each area with the corresponding color. Make sure you’re applying enough paint to cover the number.

Let the painting dry when you’re done.

That’s it! You can frame the painting after it dries.


Additional Tips For Painting By Numbers Kits

It’s so tempting to start from left to right as you work on your painting. But that would be a rookie move. The best way to paint your canvas would be to go one color at a time. Read along for more great paint by numbers tips.

Looking for acrylic paint ideas? Read out blog post on it.

That way, you won’t be cleaning your brush as often. Pick a color and fill in all the numbers before moving to a new color.

For more complex pieces, having a magnifying glass by your side would help. This also applies to people with poor eyesight.

You may also want to work with more than one type of brush. If you need to cover a big area, using a broader brush would make more sense.

Take extra care of the canvas. Wrinkles and folds can mess with the final product.

Hopefully, this how to paint by numbers guide will take you from beginner to expert in no time at all. If your first couple kits don't go well, just keep trying, you will get better and better each time.

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