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21 Paint By Numbers Tips and Hacks You Should Know

Paint by numbers has become a trendy hobby for both adults and children. There’s something satisfying about watching a blank canvas slowly transform into a beautiful work of art, all with your hands. However, painting by numbers can also be frustrating if you don’t have the right supplies and techniques.

In this article, I am sharing 13 fantastic paint by numbers tips that can help you to start your journey of becoming an artist. Read some helpful paint by numbers tips and tricks. If you have any suggestions for our readers, I request you to comment below in the comment section.

Paint by numbers tips and tricks

Paint By Numbers Tips and Hacks for Beginners

1. Choose the Right Canvas

Not all paint by number canvases are created equal. Cheap-quality canvases often have low-resolution designs and thin, cheap canvas material. The paint also tends to bleed through the canvas. Instead, opt for a high-quality, thick canvas with a crisp, clearly printed design. This will make the painting process much easier.

Linen canvases are the best I have used for paint by numbers. I highly recommend you get a colored canvas with numbers.

2. Buy a kit with a Frame

We highly recommend getting artwork with a DIY frame or a pre-framed canvas because it is easy to work with a pre-framed painting canvas. You can easily frame your painting with DIY frame as well and then start painting.
Most of our paint by number kits come with a frame option. If you don’t find any frame option then you can buy a frame from here.

Paint by number kit with frame

3. Prep Your Workspace

Before starting to paint, prep your workspace. Cover your table or floor with a disposable covering like a newspaper or a plastic tablecloth to protect the surface from paint spills. Gather all your supplies and have them nearby.

Always have 2 glasses of water for rinsing brushes and dampening paints as needed. Ensure you have good lighting, so you can see all the numbered sections clearly. Doing this prep work ahead of time will make your painting session go much smoother.

Paint by number

4. Use the Right Brushes

Invest in a quality set of paint brushes in various sizes. Cheap bristle brushes will shed and leave streaks in the paint. The bristles should have a sharp tip and good spring. Every kit comes with three high-quality nylon brushes.

Have a range of brush sizes on hand, from small detail brushes to wider brushes for larger areas. This allows you to handle both fine details and background sections with ease.

5. Keep the brushes clean.

You should clean the brushes when you switch from one color to another. If you don’t clean the brush properly, two colors may overlap.
Our painting colors dry very quickly and can ruin your brush if you don’t wash it.
It would be best to keep a water bottle and a clean cloth near you to wash the brush every time.

6. Apply Thin Layers

Resist the urge to apply the paint too thickly to cover faster. Multiple thin layers of paint are better than one thick, gloopy layer. Thick paint is also more likely to bleed under the contact paper barriers. Build up opaque coverage gradually. Let each layer dry before adding another. Your result will have a richer, more professional look.

7. Close the Paint Lid

As we already mentioned earlier, acrylic paint dries very quickly. We suggest you close the paint lid when you are not using it.

If you think a color gets a little dry, you can add a bit of water to restore its creamy texture.

8. Don’t worry if you fill in the Wrong color  

Making a mistake is human nature, so you don’t need to worry if you fill in the wrong color. We recommend you wait for some time and let the paint get dry.
Now fill in the right color in the box and let it dry if you still can see the wrong color we recommend you add one more layer of the paint.

Paint By numbers project

9. Take Breaks while Painting  

Paint by numbers is a marathon, not a sprint. Avoid rushing through and doing too much all at once. After completing a section, step back and let the paint dry before moving on.

Do another task and come back to the canvas later. This not only keeps you from messing up wet paint but gives your mind a break as well. Slow down and take regular breaks for best results.

Doing it in one go can give you pain in the back or a headache. So we suggest you complete it in parts.

10. Paint Light to Dark

Acrylic paint dries quickly, so colors can turn out darker than expected. To combat this, start by applying the lightest shades first. Save the darkest colors like black, brown, and dark blue for the end. Painting light to dark helps Prevent darker colors from overpowering lighter ones before they have a chance to fully dry. You’ll get more accurate, vibrant results.

11. Blend Colors Smoothly

Sometimes, a paint by number canvas will have you blend from one color to another within a section. To create a smooth, seamless transition, overlap the two colors back and forth. Apply thin layers of one color, then the second color on top, partially overlapping the first. Continue overlapping back and forth. The colors will melt into each other for a natural blended look.

12. Keep the work Area Clean and dry

Having a clean environment will increase your interest in the painting, and you can focus on it correctly.
We suggest you cover the whole area with a newspaper so no dust or other particles will be there to make your canvas dirty.

13. Use a Detail Brush for Faces

Faces can be tricky to paint neatly. A fine-tip detail brush is a must. Thin your paint slightly to prevent globs. Gently follow the pencil outlines you traced earlier. Work slowly and methodically. Avoid applying too much pressure, as the brush can separate and splay. You may need to step away and come back several times to get faces looking just right.

14. Consider Equipment Upgrades

If you find yourself really enjoying paint by numbers as a hobby, invest in a few upgrades to make painting easier. An easel and paint palette keep supplies organized at arm’s reach. Magnifying lenses assist when painting small details. A floor lamp illuminates your workspace and eliminates shadows. And turntables allow you to rotate canvases as you work easily.

15. Start from the top of the canvas

Start from the top of your painting canvas and continue downwards to avoid smudging.
Please prefer the right or left corner according to your personal preference. If you are left-handed, start from the top right corner. If you are right-handed, start from the top left.

16. Don’t apply A lot of colors.

Please don’t put a lot of color on each section of the canvas because the canvas may not absorb a thick layer of paint and this can cause smudging.

17. Repair Mistakes as Needed

No one is perfect, and paint may occasionally go outside the lines. Thankfully, acrylic paint is very forgivable. If the underlying layers are dry, you can paint over any errors. Use a craft knife to gently scrape away stray drips or smears before covering over with the correct color. You can also use cotton swabs dipped in water to wipe away fresh acrylic mistakes.

18. Add some water if you feel dryness in colors  

The pigment of the colors we provided contains a thick color, so we suggest you add a bit of water before applying if required.
This will help you to fill up the color quickly. But please don’t add a large amount of water.

Keep water near you

19. Have a Wet Piece of Cloth near you

As I already said you should clean the brushes when you change the color that you want to fill up on the canvas. To make this task more accessible and convenient, I recommend you have a wet towel near you. This will help you to clean the brushes quickly.

20. Store Unused Paint Correctly

When taking a break or finishing up for the day, don’t leave unused acrylic paint just sitting out. Acrylics can completely dry out in unfavorable conditions. Just close the lid of the container, this prevents air from hitting it.

21. Love your painting art.

You need to get attached emotionally, physically, and mentally to your painting.
This will help you to complete your painting with happiness, and this will help you to reduce stress.

If you are a beginner, you should check out our step by step paint by number tutorial.

Paint by numbers tips


With the right mindset, supplies, and techniques, painting by numbers can be an utterly enjoyable hobby for all skill levels. Follow these tips on choosing quality canvases, prepping your workspace, employing thoughtful brushwork, and more.

Take your time, don’t rush, and delight in the creative process. Correct mistakes as needed, upgrade tools over time, and care for your supplies properly. Paint-by-number projects will provide hours of fulfilling, relaxing enjoyment. Let the artist within shine through!

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