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How to Get Started With Paint by Numbers? A Comprehensive Guide

Paint by numbers is a very relaxing hobby that you can enjoy. It allows you to create beautiful artwork even if you don’t have any artistic experience. With paint by number sets, the design is already printed onto the canvas with numbers corresponding to different colors.

You must match the paint to the numbers and fill in the areas. If you follow the instructions, you’ll end up with a painting worthy of hanging on your wall!

In this article, we are going to share

  • Introduction to painting by numbers
  • Step-by-step guide
  • Tips for beginners
paint by numbers

What is Paint By Numbers?

As the name suggests, you have to paint with the numbers. You get a canvas that has a printed design on it, divided into different numbered sections. Each number corresponds to a different color. You paint each numbered section on the canvas with the matching colored paint. For instance, paint color number 7 on the canvas all the way number 7 is marked on the canvas.

By carefully painting each numbered space with the right color, the painted design slowly comes to life section by section. It’s an easy, relaxing way to make your artwork just by patiently following the numbers, without needing any artistic skill. The result is a beautiful painting that you created yourself just by filling in the numbered spaces, almost like a color-by-numbers drawing. It’s a fun DIY hobby for both kids and adults!

History of Paint by Numbers

You must wonder that painting by numbers started a long way back, nearly a century ago. Yes, you heard it right. Firstly, it was started in 1950 by Max S. Klein, who named it crayon by number. Later it was popularised by PaintingsCart in 2010 in the Asian market and it became famous in the USA and Europe in 2016.

We are here to give wings to your dreams if you ever desire to paint a canvas like a professional artist. Here, I am sharing a complete tutorial for painting by numbers.

Prerequisites for Painting

Have a look at some prerequisites before starting your painting project. I recommend you to read these carefully if you are working on your first painting project.

Choosing Your Paint by Numbers Set

The first step is selecting the paint by numbers set you want to start with. There are sets available for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced. For your first paint by number, look for something relatively simple.

I recommend you avoid sets with too much detail or too many colors. A set with 12-24 colors is a good place to start. Also, pay attention to the size of the canvas. Smaller 9×12 inch canvases are recommended for beginners compared to larger 20×30 inch ones.

Once you feel comfortable and enjoy the process, you can move on to more challenging sets. Advanced sets feature more colors, smaller details, and landscapes. The image also plays a role. Choose a set featuring a subject you find relaxing or enjoyable like animals, nature scenes, or famous artwork reproductions.

Acrylic vs Oil Based Paints

The next decision is whether to use acrylic or oil-based paints. Acrylic paints are water-soluble, fast-drying, and easy to use. They’re a good choice for beginners. Oil paints take longer to dry but blend more smoothly. The drawback is they require more solvents for cleanup.

For your first project, acrylic craft paints are recommended. They are inexpensive, readily available, and easy to use. All the kits shipped by PaintingsCart come with acrylic colors and three different-sized brushes.

Since it is pretty easy to paint any simple or complex patterns, it is also trendy among adults. With this technique, people get hands-on experience to draw anything they ever desired but could not complete due to a lack of proficiency in painting. It won’t be too much to say that such painting methods not only fulfill someone’s dream of becoming an artist but also boost their confidence once they finish and see the final painting.

Paint by Numbers tutorial

Paint-by-number projects can take 30 minutes to 2 days depending on the difficulty and size of the canvas. The time mentioned in this tutorial is an average. Take a look at the step-by-step process to get started with your paint by numbers project.

Total Time: 10 hours

  1. Get your DIY Paint by number kit

    First, you need to get your favorite painting kit to start your journey. We have selected many unique and best-selling designs for you to get started.
    We suggest you go through all the designs and select the best design for you.

    Paint by numbers all designs

    If you are still unable to find your favorite design or want to make a painting from your photo, then we can also help you with this. Just take a look at the below product to create your custom painting.

    Customized paint by numbers

    You must upload your beautiful picture from your photo album to get customized artwork.


  2. Prepare the essentials

    One of the first things you’ll need to do when you get your paint-by-numbers kit is to determine where you’ll paint. Finding a comfortable place is essential, and the space should be clean and free of distractions.

    Also, somewhere, you can leave your painting since it generally takes about 10 to 15 hours to complete an entire paint-by-numbers canvas. We suggest you stick the canvas on a table; working on a table will be easier for a long time.

    Now, prepare the essentials along with your package accessories. We are going to work with multiple colors. So, we need to wash the brushes repeatedly and dry them out.

    For this, you will need two cups of water, one for clean water and one for dirty paint water, and paper towels or cotton cloth to dry up your paintbrushes.

    Get all the pigments, brushes, and canvas in a single place. This will make your painting process faster because having everything near you will help you speed up your work.

    Supplies you’ll need include:
    1. Paint by numbers canvas
    2. Acrylic paint sets
    3. Paintbrushes in small, medium, and large sizes
    4. Clean water containers
    5. Paper towels

    Optional items include:
    1. Paint palette knife for mixing paint
    2. Apron or clothes you don’t mind getting messy
    3. Hair dryer or fan for faster drying

    perfect position for paint by numbers

  3. Unroll the canvas

    Once you receive your product, please open it carefully. It would be best to unroll the canvas on a flat, hard surface like a table or floor. When we ship the canvas, it is usually rolled, and you must unroll it.
    While unrolling, if the canvas doesn’t lay flat on the surface, you need to roll it back to the opposite side and then open it again and stretch it using tape.

    Pull the canvas tight and apply adhesive tape to all four corners. You may also consider putting tape around the borders of the canvas so that you don’t accidentally paint in the white area of the canvas; this choice is up to you now. Ultimately, this border area will be covered once the canvas
    is framed.

    Linen canvas

  4. Understanding the canvas

    The canvas has some numbers marked on it. These numbers refer to a color. You must match the number on the canvas and color pigment, and paint accordingly. So please look at the image below to know how to read the canvas properly.

    As shown in this picture, the canvas and colored pots have a number marked. So, we need to precisely fill up the same color corresponding to each number written on the canvas in the given area.

    For instance, in the picture, we have marked the number 12 on both pigment color and canvas, meaning we have to fill the color number 12 on the canvas where the number 12 is marked.

    understanding canvas

  5. Prepare your brushes

    Preparing your brushes before you start using them is a good idea. Look at them, evaluating whether they have any stray hairs. To make that easier, dip them in water and take a closer look.
    If there is a distinct clump of stray hairs, you must cut it using scissors.

    This way, you can be precise and won’t have to worry about your brushes messing up your painting.
    We send three different-size brushes with each kit. Please use them accordingly, depending on the area that needs to be covered. If you have to paint in a small size, use a small brush, and if the site is more prominent, you can use the bigger one.

    Paint brushes

  6. Know about paints

    Before starting the painting, you should shake the color pigment, like cough syrup, which helps to mix the color well. If you feel that the color is very creamy/dense, add a bit of water from a clean water cup to make it more easily spreadable on the canvas.

    Now, you can start painting over the number. While painting on the canvas if you switch the colors, please dip the brush in the water and remove the previous color from the brush. If any color is left, please use a towel or paper to clean it.

    Repeat this process, and you will get your perfect painting.

    We send some extra pigment colors to ensure your paint will not go out of stock before the painting is finished.


  7. Appreciate your artwork

    Once you finish your painting, you may want to hang it up. To showcase your work, frame this painting with the DIY Frame and hang it on the wall. Painting with numbers will surely take your home decor to the next level. 
    appreciate your artwork

Estimated Cost: 40 USD


  • Numbered Canvas
  • Color Pots
  • DIY Frame (if selected)


  • Nylon brushes

Materials: Acrylic colors Linen canvas

What does the paint-by-numbers kit contain?

You will get all the tools and accessories required to complete a painting. In your package, you will receive a high-quality color canvas with three paint brushes and color pigments referred to with different numbers.

Some of our kits also have color cards and a reference color picture (miniature) of your selected photo, which is essential for how the painting will look when it’s done. You can look at the image below to learn more about the kit.

paint by number kits contains

The package contains the following items 

  • High-quality linen canvas
  • Acrylic color pigments/pots
  • 3 different sized brushes
  • Reference drawing of the design

We are one of the best distributors worldwide, providing paint by numbers kits for adults, kids, and whosoever has a dream to become an artist.

Painting by Numbers Techniques

Approach your paint by numbers canvas like a coloring book. Stay within the lines and evenly fill in each numbered shape. Avoid scraping the canvas or painting overlapping strokes. Here are some tips for filling areas cleanly:

  • Use the edge of the brush to paint straight edges. Tilting the brush slightly under the edge helps avoid overflow.
  • For broad areas, apply long back & forth brush strokes. Overlap strokes to blend and cover evenly.
  • Work from the outer edges toward the middle to avoid dragging your hand through wet paint.
  • Paint small or curved areas using the tip of the brush in small circular motions.
  • For dark, solid colors, apply 2-3 layers, letting each dry between coats.

Where to start?

Start the painting from the top left (if you are right-handed and vice versa) down to the bottom, suitable with that one color. Once you are done with the first color, go to the next color and repeat the process.

Expanding Your Paint by Numbers Hobby

Once you’ve completed your first paint by number kit, you may find yourself eager to continue with this enjoyable hobby. Here are some ways to carry your enthusiasm forward:

  • Increase the difficulty level gradually by trying larger or more complex sets
  • Branch out into different themes like landscapes, architecture, animals, or abstract.
  • Try two-tone partial sets that leave some areas unnumbered for your artistry.
  • Ask friends or family to gift you new sets for birthdays, holidays, or other occasions.
  • Watch instructional YouTube videos to pick up advanced techniques
  • Browse other artists’ galleries online or in-person to get inspired.
  • Join Facebook groups or Reddit communities to connect with fellow enthusiasts
  • Consider investing in higher-quality acrylic paints and brushes as you progress.
  • Set up a dedicated crafting area with good lighting and storage for all your supplies.

The benefits of paint by numbers don’t end when one project is complete. Let your finished paintings decorate your home while fueling your desire to keep learning and creating. With so many options, you could enjoy this relaxing pastime for years!

Getting started with paint by numbers is now easier than ever. With this complete guide, you have all the tips, advice, and instructions you need to dive in. Pick a beginner-friendly set, set up your workspace, and start painting! Before you know it, you’ll be creating beautiful works of art worthy of proudly displaying. Paint by numbers opens up the fulfilling world of art and creativity for anyone ready to try it. So order your first kit today and let your inner artist shine through!

Now, as you’re painting, you might not even know how to hold the brush, but don’t worry; as you become more proficient, you’ll start developing techniques. However, when you’re first starting, it can be easiest to use just the tip of the brush. If you dip only the tip of the brush in the paint and then color on the canvas, it will help you with precision and stay in the lines.

Let’s have a look at some FAQs

What kind of paint is used in paint by numbers?

Acrylic paint is used on every paint by number project because acrylic paint dry faster than oil paint. You may have to use two or three coats of the paint to get the perfect effect.

Do you need water for paint by numbers?

You may need some water while working on the paint by number project. If the acrylic color is very dense you can add one or two drops of water to spread it evenly on the canvas.

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Paint by numbers – A beginner-friendly tutorial