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Painting by Numbers – How it Works

So just how does one go about painting by numbers?  Well, it's quite straightforward, and you don't need much more than a paint by numbers kit to get started.

Here, we're going to show you how it's done in our step by step guide, so read on to find out.

So Just What is Painting by Numbers?

Painting by numbers is a way of creating pictures in a straightforward fashion, following easy to understand instructions to create beautiful masterpieces even without any previous experience on the part of the artist.

Painting this way is typically done using kits that you can buy, allowing you to follow a numbered guide to painting the chosen image.

There are many different kits which you can buy.  Available for both children and adults, the sheer amount of sets available means that you'll never run out of designs to paint.

The adult's kits, go several steps further.  Recreating many of the great works of the old masters, in addition to beautiful landscapes and portraits.  The adult's sets are usually far more complicated than those for children and often end up hanging in peoples homes for years, as once finished they become genuinely beautiful works.

Why Should You Paint This Way?

There are many reasons why people use painting kits such as these.  Firstly they're great for people who've never painted before, as they require no previous experience.  Secondly, even experienced painters can use them to learn more about colour composition by painting all sections of a single colour at once, and seeing how it balances out throughout the painting without having to worry about the overall structure of the piece. 

What Will You Need in Addition to Your Paint by Numbers Kit?

To get started painting by numbers, firstly you'd need to buy a painting by numbers kit which will come complete with brushes and paints, and a piece of art canvas printed with a numbered guide from which the products derive their name.

Apart from that, all you'll need will be a glass of water to clean the brushes with, and preferably an old shirt that you don't mind getting paint all over (we all try to be clean, but let's be honest, accidents happen).

It also helps to have some paper towels handy, to dry the brushes after you've cleaned them.

 How to Paint By Numbers

For the most part, the painting kits are quite self-explanatory to use.  You have a numbered guide on the canvas, and corresponding numbered paints to use on the relevant sections marked on the guide.  But there are some general guidelines, which if followed will make your painting go much more smoothly.

We've listed the main points below, and later we'll give you a few extra tips and tricks to provide you with that little extra push so that your paintings will come out better than you'd ever have expected.

Work in a Well-Lit Room:  This is quite important.  If you're working in a darkened room, you'll still be able to paint because you'll be following the numbered guide for the colours.  But you'll also be straining to see well, and over the course of time, this can be tiring.  It's always best to create your painting in a bright and well-lit environment.  So try to find somewhere near a window if you can.

Prepare Your Place:  Take out all of the paints without opening them.  And clear a space for the canvas on which you're going to paint.  Then make sure you have your brushes and the glass of water for cleaning them and some paper towels to dry the brushes.  Now you're ready to begin.

Paint According to the Numbered Guide:  Simply pick a part of the painting and check the number for that section.  Then choose the corresponding numbered paint and start painting!  It's that simple!

Paint the Small Areas First:  Start off by painting the smaller areas first and then gradually move onto the more significant areas of the painting.  Doing this will allow you to keep a clear view of the guide and make sure that you don't miss any essential small parts by accidentally painting over the tinier areas.

Let Each Colour Dry First Before Painting the Next:  When changing from one colour to the next, it's best to allow the first to dry completely before painting another colour next to it to prevent colour bleed between the two. Merely allow around ten minutes for the paint to dry before moving onto the next colour.  Also, remember to wash your paint brush thoroughly in the water and dry it before applying the next colour.

Paint One Colour at a Time:  Try to paint all areas of a single colour at a time before moving onto the next.  Doing this will cut down on the number of times that you have to clean your brushes.

Continue Until Finished:  That's it.  Painting by numbers is as simple as that.  Once you've finished the painting, allow it to dry and then why don't you treat yourself and frame it, then hang it on your living room wall.

Tips and Tricks

We've decided to add some extra tips down here.  These are a few things that we've found tend to make life a little more comfortable when painting by numbers.

Work From Top to Bottom:  As much as you can, it's worth trying to work from the top of the painting, and finish at the bottom for each colour that you paint.  We've found that this dramatically reduces the chance of having your hand smudge the paint, as it leaves all of the drying paint above your hand.

You Can Blend The Paints:  While not necessary on the majority of the painting by numbers kits, blending the paints, inside or between the numbered sections can leave you with some beautiful results once you've acquired some skill at it.  Acquiring this skill is something that's worth learning over the course of several paintings as it often takes time to get the hang of it.

Close the Lids of the Paints That You're Not Using:  We've lost count of how many times we've all forgotten this.  But try to remember to keep the lids of the other colours closed when you're not using them to prevent them from drying out.  If they do get a little dry, you can still liquefy them with some water if you need to.

You Can Seal Your Painting When Finished:  You don't need to do this, but it's an option if you'd like to add a robust and durable finish to your painting once finished.  So if you'd prefer, go and buy a spray can of clear acrylic sealer from the paint or hardware store.  You'll need to apply three or four coats to seal it entirely, and after that nothing can ruin your creation.

That's All There is

Well, that's it, we hope you have lots of fun with your new painting by numbers kit.  We know we've enjoyed all of ours.  You'll find that the more pictures that you finish, the better you tend to get.  It's all about practice, practice, practice!

So keep trying, and soon you'll have a house filled with beautiful artworks that you'll cherish forever.

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