Cheap Paint by Numbers Kits; Are They Worth It? 3 Reasons to Stay Away from Suspiciously Cheap Paint by Numbers Kits
A cheap paint by numbers kit will cause you a ton of undeserved stress.
In case you didn’t already know this, painting by numbers is a therapeutic, stress-relieving from of art. That is, if you use a high-quality kit like the ones that you’ll find from Ledgebay. Every time your hand places paint on the canvas, your mind joyfully indulges in the art, easing away any built-up worries and anxieties.
The only thing that can come in the way of your relaxation is a cheaply-made paint by numbers kit. It won’t allow you to simply enjoy the process of creating art. Instead, you’ll spend a bulk of your time removing creases from the canvas, dealing with low-quality paints, trying to fix fraying brushes and many other unpleasant things. Lastly, you will likely have to wait 4 to 6 weeks to even receive the cheap kits because most of them are drop-shipped from China.
Art sets, including painting by numbers kits, should not come with such issues. They should be made with the highest standard. That way you’ll be able to unleash your creative side without any interruptions.
What I’ve said is a mere highlight reel. Here are my top 3 reasons why you should stay away from cheap paint by numbers kits.
You will get low-quality materials
Nothing messes with creativity and artistry as much as poorly made materials. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what you’ll get if you buy a cheap paint by numbers kit. “What are these materials?” You ask.
A suspiciously cheap paint by numbers kit will almost always come with a suspiciously cheap surface. The surface is the material on which you paint. Most people (wrongfully) call it canvas.
Just an FYI, canvas is actually one of the materials used to make painting surfaces. It can either be a cotton or linen canvas – both are equally good, especially with acrylic or oil paints. Watercolor paint goes well with watercolor paper.
Now, not all surfaces are made equal. They may have the same material but staggering differences in quality. A poorly-made surface will not last as long as you need it to. In fact, if you poke it even just slightly with a paint brush or finger, chances are it will rip.
Besides, most of these cheap surfaces have loose weaves and super thin warps. Lift it up to some light and you’ll see through it. That’s not a good thing; high-quality surfaces are usually opaque.
Another common problem with cheap paint by numbers kits is that you might get a pretty decent design to paint, but with some numbers missing from the canvas. In that case you’ll not know which color to apply in some spots. And – you guessed it – the final painting will look nothing like the photo included in the kit.
Lastly, You will likely receive a FOLDED canvas. This is due to the cheaper shipping price from a smaller package. The majority (ALL) drop-shippers do not care about customer service, they just want to make a profit.
More often than not, a cheap paint by numbers kit will come with a poorly constructed paint. There are very particular ways of making oil, acrylic and watercolor paints.
But because cheap manufacturers want to make more money at your expense, they won’t follow the standards. That always results in annoying problems. For one, the paint will show through.
The numbers on the surface will not be visible if you use a good quality kit. It doesn’t matter if it’s a light color like white or yellow, the paint will cover the numbers to your satisfaction.
You can’t say the same for a cheap paint by numbers kit. People will clearly see the numbers peeking through light-colored paint. Because of that, you’ll have to wait until the painting is completely dry, then repaint any spot where a number appears.
That’s just a waste of time and paint. Speaking of which, it’s very common for cheap paint by numbers kits to come with insufficient paint.
Picture this: you’re sitting there in your art corner enjoying the pleasure of painting by numbers and at the peak of your creativity, get this, you run out of paint before completing the artwork.
That is just the worst thing that can happen to an artist. Especially since it’s the job of the kit maker to ensure that there’s enough paint in the set. You should not be in a position where you have to buy extra paint. If anything, your kit should have more paint than you need. Here are some more details on what a good paint by numbers kit should look like.
The biggest problem with cheap paint by numbers brushes is that they fray. At best you won’t be able to paint within the lines and at worst the brush will ruin your surface. The only way around this annoying problem is digging in your pocket (again) to buy new paint brushes.
Something else that’s synonymous with cheap paint by numbers kits is a lack of proper brushes. A typical paint by numbers design has small as well as large spots to paint. The extremely small ones require equally small brushes so that you don’t paint outside the lines.
Unfortunately, people who sell cheap kits don’t put that into consideration. They’ll throw in large brushes that you can’t use on small designs. It’ll be up to you to figure out how to get the small brushes that you need. Needless to say, that will be another dent in your pocket.
You will get a poorly packaged kit with poor instructions
When it comes to packaging, the biggest concern is always the surface; which in most cases is a canvas. It may be a strong material but canvas is prone to damage when packaged incorrectly.
For example, if you fold it, it will get permanent wrinkles. Of all the things that can happen to a canvas, wrinkles are among the worst. They make the surface unsightly and hard to paint on. If somehow you manage to complete the artwork, the wrinkles will possibly grab a viewer’s attention more than the artwork itself.
Most cheap paint by numbers kits come with folded canvases and surprise, surprise, they’re always wrinkled. Some people will give you all sorts of guides on how to get wrinkles out of paint by numbers canvas. But if the canvas is poorly made, the creases won’t go away even after months of stretching, ironing, placing books on it, and what have you.
Wrinkled Canvas = Cheap Paint By Number Kit
So, what should you do to avoid the issue of a wrinkled canvas? Buy a good kit that’s packaged well. The best way to package a canvas for transportation or delivery is to roll it around a tube. Doing that avoids folding the canvas and therefore saves it from wrinkles and creases.
In case you already ordered your paint by numbers kit and it came folded, you can read this for a few tips on how to flatten a canvas.
As long as we’re talking about packaging, it’s very common for cheap paint by numbers kits to come with missing items. You’ll place your order and have the kit delivered. You’ll feel really excited to start painting, so you’ll open the package immediately and start unpacking the contents.
Oh wait, brushes were not included. There are only 7 paints instead of the 10 that were advertised in the product specs. The seller said you’d get hooks to hang the artwork, but the package has none.
That’s a whole new level of disappointment that you don’t want to experience. To make matters worse, almost every cheap paint by numbers kit has poorly-worded instructions. In some cases, there are no instructions at all.
No matter how experienced you are in painting by numbers, you’ll always need an instruction booklet/sheet. That’s where the manufacturer explains that “if you see a shape with two numbers, it means that you have to mix two colors”. Or something like “don’t dip a brush in two different paint containers before washing it because you’ll contaminate the paint”.
They may seem obvious but we always need a reminder. It’s in that moment of excitement that some of these tips and precautions disappear from the back of our minds. And that’s where an instruction booklet becomes our hero/heroine.
Your final artwork might not match the photo
This is a very big deal because you’re buying the kit with the aim of reproducing the photo in it. It’s always disappointing when the final artwork doesn’t look anything like the photo used to advertise the kit despite your very best efforts. This always happens for many reasons.
For one, the photo might have some things that the design doesn’t. For example, the photo might have five street lights in it. Upon finishing your painting (with utmost accuracy), you realize that the design only had 3 lights. Now your final artwork lacks two lights.
Such (seemingly) small mismatches can make a huge difference between the photo and final artwork. Yet they are very common in cheap paint by numbers kits. At times the photo included is entirely different from the design. It’s only after you’ve finished painting that you realize it’s not the same picture.
The second thing that can cause a mismatch between photo and final painting is the quality of paints. Poorly constructed paints are largely problematic. They either dry shiny or shift (change color after drying). Whatever the case, the final painting will not have the same colors as the included photo.
For instance, red color can shift to orange, blue to a whitish hue, and dark green to light green. Ultimately you’ll be left with a painting that has the worst color combination you could ever imagine.
The thing is, we always choose paint by numbers kits based on the photo. So if we can’t reproduce it, it’s a fail. It would be tolerable to fail because you didn’t do one or two things correctly but not because the manufacturer sold you a sub-standard kit.
As long as we’re talking about paint by numbers photos, knowing how to pick a picture that will create an awesome painting is a skill on its own. It never hurts to research thoroughly before settling on an image. And whatever you do, don’t go for the cheap paint by numbers kits because most likely the image won’t be the same as the painting.
Are you feeling ready to create your next paint by numbers artwork? Great! Stay away from the suspiciously cheap stuff and you’ll pull off a masterpiece. If you’re not sure where to start, this step-by-step guide on how to paint by numbers might help.
There’s a paint by numbers oil vs watercolor debate all over the internet. Some people believe that oil is more suitable when you’re painting by numbers. Others argue that watercolor is the perfect medium for this type of painting.
All this talk can be very confusing, especially if you’re just dipping your toes in painting. So, let me start by clarifying:
Watercolor and oil are both great paints.
They both produce stunning art when applied properly.
And you can create some amazingly beautiful paintings with either of them regardless of your experience level.
Having said that, they do have some profound differences. It’s because of these distinctions that you may have to use varying techniques when painting with oil and watercolor.
A Short, Colorful History of Oil and Watercolor Paints
Almost all cave paintings were created with watercolor, which makes it (perhaps) as old as history itself. In fact, most Baroque painters used watercolors for their sketches.
A good example is Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528). His watercolor masterpieces are among the best pieces of art in history. He popularized watercolors and made them as cool as any other medium.
At the time, oil paints had been in existence since at least the 5th century (thanks to Buddhist painters). But they weren’t popular in their early years, at least not until the 12th century.
It wasn’t until the height of the Renaissance when oil became the main medium for painting. It replaced tempera, and rightfully so considering the oil paintings that followed soon after.
Think of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer, The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh or Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Pablo Picasso – they are all oil paintings.
Which brings me to the topic of the day. In paint by numbers oil vs watercolor, will you get van Gogh-quality if you use oil? And can you pull a Dürer if you use watercolors?
Probably not. But you’ll get great pieces of art nonetheless. The trick is knowing how different these two are and the techniques to apply in each case.
Paint by Numbers Oil vs. Watercolor: The Key Differences
The very first paint by numbers oil vs watercolor difference lies in how they are created. Oil paint is made by suspending pigment in an oil (typically linseed oil but walnut oil can be used too).
Watercolor paint, on the other hand, uses gum Arabic in place of oil. Gum Arabic is a tree sap that’s extracted from acacia tree. It creates the awesome watercolor paint that we all know when mixed with pigment.
Thinning and cleaning
Watercolor paint is water-based; the name kinda gives it away. Anyway, that property means that you can use water to thin your painting by numbers paint if it’s too thick. Similarly, you only need water to clean up after you’ve finished painting or to remove the paint from surfaces.
That’s not the case with oil paint. It requires white spirit or turpentine to thin and clean. Both of those liquids are highly flammable, which makes them fire hazards. So if you’re buying a paint by numbers kit for kids, you probably want to stay away from those that have oil paint.
Along the same lines, almost all the liquids that are used to thin and clean oil have a strong odor. Even if you’re highly tolerable to smells, continuous inhalation of these odors can ultimately affect you.
That’s why it’s always wise to use oil paints in a large, well-ventilated room where you can get fresh air. Watercolor doesn’t come with such an issue. It’s perfect even in small rooms.
One of the biggest differences in the paint by numbers oil vs watercolor comparison is their drying times. Watercolor is a lot like acrylic in that it dries quickly, very quickly.
There’s a good side to that. If you make a mistake – like painting outside the borders – you only have to wait for a minutes. The wrong paint will dry quickly and then you can paint the right one as an overlay.
On the downside, watercolor paint is not pliable. Once you place it on the canvas, that’s it. Oil is the exact opposite. It takes longer to dry, which makes it pliable. If you paint outside the borders, you can paint over the mistake or scrap it off with a palette knife or something similar.
As a rule of thumb, oil paintings look much better when you paint from dark to light. I.e. start by painting the dark colors first and then the light ones last. Again, this circles back to the fact that oil is very forgiving.
Mistakes don’t happen 🙂
You can make a mistake and correct it by painting over. Yes, you can overlay a black oil paint with a white one and the latter will completely and effectively cover the black one.
If you’re using watercolor, it’s always advisable to start from light to dark. That’s because it dries fast and the effects on a canvas are immediate. There’s little to no room for correction. By painting the light layers first, you can overlay them with dark ones whenever the need arises.
Still on matters technique, oil is an opaque paint. It’s an excellent choice if you want your painting to have a variety of depths (shadows and highlights). That’s one of the reasons why artists find it easier to create 3D impressions with oil paint.
Watercolor, on the other hand, is great for 2D art. If depth is not that important, you’re likely to enjoy using watercolor paints a lot more.
In the case of paint by numbers oil vs watercolor, look at the photo that’s included in the kit. If you feel that it will look better with some depth, you may want to consider choosing oil paints. If not, then watercolors will do the 2D magic.
The difference in paint by numbers oil vs watercolor is more prominent in the final artwork than anywhere else. Because oil is thicker and has more pigments, oil paintings usually have richness in color and texture.
They are glossy and have depth (physical and perspective) that’s hard to achieve with watercolor. Which emphasizes the point that if you want your artwork to have depth in shadows and highlights, you may want to consider a painting by numbers kit that has oil paints.
Watercolor is absorbed by the canvas, so it lacks physical depth. In fact, watercolor paintings are usually transparent. When light passes through, it filters through the canvas, making for a bright and vibrant appearance.
The final piece appears more mate than glossy. Therefore, if you want your paint by numbers artwork to look colorful and striking, you may want to consider this medium.
There’s an interesting comparison of these two paints on this page. If you have the time give it read. It’s not specific to paint by numbers oil vs watercolor, but it makes the point nonetheless.
Which Is Better, Watercolor or Oil Painting by Numbers?
From what we’ve seen in this paint by numbers oil vs watercolor comparison, which paint edges over the other?
As you think about that, I just want to emphasize that both are great mediums for creating art. More often than not, if you apply the right techniques you’ll end up with an excellent painting regardless of the type of paint.
And while oil paints can seem a tad bit intimidating, they do offer realistic artwork. You’ll find that the reward is always worth the effort.
That doesn’t mean using watercolor is more of a breeze than oil. It’s fast drying time means that you always have to be on your toes. There’s very little room for mistake. But again, the final piece is always worthy because of the bright, vibrant colors.
So, to answer the question: paint by numbers oil vs watercolor, which is better? Both are good. It all depends on the type of artwork that you want to achieve and how you go about it.
Nevertheless, here are some recommendations to keep in mind:
When to Use Oil Paint by Numbers
Choose oil paint if you want a rich texture, variety of depths and glossy finish. If the photo in the kit looks awesome BECAUSE it has depth, then opt for oil paint over watercolor.
It makes a lot of sense to choose oil if you’re not in a hurry to get the painting done. Oil paint takes a while to dry; time which you can use to evaluate your work as you progress. So, if you’re the slow, meticulous type of painter, oil is your paint.
Oil paint is a good choice if your working space is large enough. It should also be well-ventilated so that you don’t inhale the fumes from turpentine or white spirit.
Oil is a classic. By the time you’re done with the painting you’ll be feeling like a really accomplished artist. That might just be enough motivation to keep painting in case you’re looking for some.
When to Use Watercolor Paint by Numbers
The first and most obvious situation is when you need the painting to dry quickly. If you only have a few days to get it done, oil might disappoint but watercolor won’t.
Watercolor produces vibrant artwork. It’s an excellent choice if your paint by numbers photo is bright and lively.
Additionally, you’ll find it easier to stay within the borders of your design if you use watercolor. Oil is generally thicker and tends to “spill over” beyond the borders. And this explains why beginners are usually introduced to watercolor first. Because it’s easier to maintain borders even with freehand.
The fact that it’s easier to clean makes watercolor the go-to paint if you don’t want the hassle of intensive cleaning.
Comparing the Pros and Cons of Oil and Watercolor Paints
Has several mediums that you can use to manipulate e.g. linseed oil, alkyd gel etc.
Creates depth and rich texture
Dries quickly, which means you can complete a project faster
Takes longer to dry and that leaves a painting pliable for long
Easier to paint crisp edges.
Doesn’t have color shift. I.e. the colors won’t change after painting has dried
Final artwork looks bright and lovely
It’s a classic paint that always delivers quality
Doesn’t have an odor
Solution: work in a large, well-ventilated room or use an odorless thinner
Dries very quickly
Solution: add retarder or palette. It will keep the paint wet for longer.
Painting starts to “yellow” with time
Solution: none. This is a natural process with oil
Colors could change
Solution: none. It’s natural for watercolor to shift after drying
Takes long to dry
Solution: add alkyd to the paint or gently blow warm air on painting using hair dryer
Paint totally blends with canvas
Solution: consider adding retarder to thicken paint. If it’s thick enough you’ll be able to scrap off the surface.
In the end, I must admit that the paint by numbers oil vs watercolor debate boils down to technique. If you perfect your art, it won’t matter which paint you use. You’ll still be able to pull off a masterpiece.
That’s how Albrecht Dürer’s managed to create masterpieces that even oil paintings find hard to rival. Because he mastered his art.
Similarly, your child won’t have to endure years of school just to pick up some skills that he/she could’ve easily learned through paint by numbers. It’s kind of a win-win situation.
Your only worry will be buying the best paint by numbers kits for kids. Luckily, there are tons of online stores that stock them.
What if you want to get the kit from a physical store? That’s where Walmart comes in handy. I know Walmart gives you the option to buy anything online and get it delivered to your doorstep.
But when you’re dealing with art, it’s never a bad idea to do some physical shopping. That way you can inspect the kit thoroughly before purchasing it. And you’ll have another excuse to visit the ever-vibrant arts, crafts and sewing section of Walmart.
Think that’s a good idea? Well, here are 7 things to keep in mind when shopping for a paint by numbers Walmart paint set for kids.
Here Is Our List of 7 Factors To Consider
1. Kit contents
The best paint by numbers Walmart paint set for kids should come complete. It should have everything that your child will need to complete the painting from start to finish.
Generally speaking, a paint by numbers kit should have a canvas, easel (for framed canvas), mounting hardware (for framed canvas), paintbrushes, miniature of the original picture, numbered paint sets and a set of instructions.
Pro Tip: when buying a kit from Walmart, always look at the packaging for a list of contents. Make sure that everything on the list above appears in the kit. The same applies if you’re buying the kit from any other physical store.
2. Oil vs. Acrylic vs. Watercolor Paint by Numbers
Paint by numbers kits for adults mostly contain oil or acrylic paints. Very rarely will you find a kit with watercolor paints. The same applies for kids’ kits.
Most of them are either oil or acrylic. But for the sake of curiosity, we’re also going to include watercolor as an option for your little one. So, how do these three stack up against each other?
Construction: oil paint is made by suspending pigment in an oil (typically linseed or walnut oil). Acrylic paint, on the other hand, suspends pigment in an acrylic polymer emulsion. Watercolor has pigment suspended in gum Arabic. Since oil paints use oil, they are insoluble in water. So if you want to thin an oil paint, you’ll have to use turpentine or white spirit. Acrylic and watercolor and both water-based paints. You can thin them with water. Why is this important? Because if your child is too young, you certainly don’t want them handling flammable liquids like white spirit and turpentine. Yet it’s practically impossible to avoid those two when you’re using oil paint. Which means that your best bet is an acrylic paint by numbers Walmart paint set for kids.
Cleaning: all types of paint can be messy. However, the fact that they are water-based makes both acrylic and watercolor very easy to clean. All you need is water. Oil, on the other hand, will require your child to handle turpentine and white spirit when cleaning up after painting. Again, that’s something you want to avoid. Unless, of course, the child is grown enough to understand how to avoid fire hazards.
Quality of art: each of the three types of paint brings something pleasant to the table. Oil’s richness in color and texture gives oil paintings their famous glossy finish. Acrylic, on its part, turn pretty much any artwork into a vibrant and colorful painting. So does watercolor – it creates bright and fresh paintings. That’s down to the transparent nature of watercolor, which in turn allows light from the canvas to filter through color pigments. Feel free to check out this nice comparison of oil and watercolor and this piece which compares acrylic to oil. What you’ll learn is that all three create high-quality paintings. Having said that, if you want your child to create colorful and vibrant paintings, acrylic or watercolor will do. Oil is ideal for paintings that have rich colors and texture.
Durability: acrylic paintings last the longest and require minimum maintenance. With occasional dusting, a paint by numbers artwork will last for hundreds of years when painted with acrylic. Oil and watercolor require significantly more attention and effort. The latter will only last a few years unless it’s stored in an airtight glass frame and kept away from moisture. With those conditions it can last for a century or two. Oil, on the other hand, suffers from yellowing over time. There’s not much you can do about that because oil paints simply have poor light-fastness. However, you can make the painting more durable by varnishing it.
Pro Tip: check the package to know the type of paint that’s in the kit. More often than not you’ll see some indication on the top whether it’s an oil, acrylic or watercolor kit.
3. The Canvas
Paint by numbers canvases are usually made of cotton or linen. While cotton is soft, fluffy and nice to the touch, linen is stronger and more durable. Nonetheless, your child’s painting will look awesome regardless of the material.
In fact, most paint by numbers Walmart paint set for kids don’t indicate whether the canvas is cotton or linen. But just in case, keep in mind that cotton is velvety. Your child will probably fall in love with it instantly.
Linen, on the other hand, is the ideal choice if you want a painting that will last long. Combine it with acrylic and you have a top-notch artwork that will last for tens of generations after your child.
Additionally, you may also want to consider the size of the canvas. Most kits measure 20 x 16 inches, but occasionally you’ll find smaller ones that are 16 x 12 or even smaller.
The most ideal size for your little one depends on how tall he/she is. Make sure he/she doesn’t have to strain to reach the top of the canvas when it’s on an easel. Ideally, the top of the canvas should be at his/her eye level.
Pro Tip: apply Gesso on the canvas if the child is going to use oil paint. Gesso makes the paint go on more smoothly. It’s not necessary for acrylic or watercolor paint.
4. Framed vs. Unframed Paint by Numbers
Some paint by numbers canvases come when they’re already framed…
Get this framed paint by numbers for adults and kids here.
The biggest difference here is that if you buy an unframed canvas, you or your child will have to frame it once the painting is done. That’s assuming you want it framed in the first place.
There are so many alternatives to framing art. You can stick it on the wall with washi tape, hang it using command strips, use bulldog clips etc. The point is, a frame is not as important as the art itself. It’s only important if, for some reason, you absolutely have to frame the final piece.
Pro Tip: buying framed canvases costs more than unframed ones. Consider alternative ways of displaying art if you want to save a few bucks.
5. Choosing the Perfect Paint by Numbers Photo
The best paint by numbers Walmart paint set for kids should have a photo that a child can clearly see. Most kits usually have the photo printed on the packaging. You’ll also find it inside the kit. You can get an idea of the photo by looking at the one that’s printed on the packaging.
First, the photo should be a close up. The focus object should be so much on the foreground that your little one can identify and paint it.
Second, vibrant colors make for excellent art, especially to kids. Don’t choose a background that’s too dull or too dark. Instead, stimulate their sense of sight with some colorful photos.
Pro Tip: choose a photo based on your child’s interest. It will grab and retain his/her attention and he/she will enjoy painting it. For example, if your child likes superheroes, make it a superhero painting.
6. Print design
When examining the photo, look at the amount of detail required to complete the painting. In other words, examine the number of things (elements to be painted) in the design.
Look at the above image for example. Great as it looks, it’s extremely detailed. Which means that it has tiny circles, small arcs and all kinds of small shapes to paint.
That’s always challenging, even for adults. Considering your child is still learning, you want to give them a design that they won’t color outside the borders frequently. Because if they constantly make mistakes (like coloring outside the borders) they may feel demoralized and quit on painting altogether.
Something like this should be perfect for toddlers and growing kids:
It’s mostly straight lines and large shapes that are fairly easy to paint.
Pro Tip: designs with only one element in them are easier to paint. For example, your child will find it easier to paint just one tiger in the entire frame. He/she will have a hard time painting a streak of tigers with woods and possibly other things in the background.
You really can’t spend what you don’t have, can you? Luckily, most paint by numbers Walmart paint set for kids are very affordable. Even the very best one will hardly dent your pocket.
Still, it’s worth mentioning that price is a factor when you’re buying a painting by numbers kit. Some high-end kits come with a sturdy frame, easel, many brushes and high-quality paints.
Pro Tip: in case you’re not entirely sold on the idea of buying kits from Walmart, you can always get them from Ledgebay. There are some exciting paint by number kits for adults, yet they’re simple enough for kids to complete.
Better yet, you can partner with your little one in painting. That’s the kind of bonding that every child deserves. And you can gift your little one simply by purchasing a paint by numbers Walmart paint set for kids.
Here at Ledgebay we are in the final stages of developing a NEW line of paint by numbers just for little ones! Sign up below to be notified when the limited stock goes on sale!
Is Painting by Numbers Cheating or an Artistic Process? What Constitutes Cheating in Art?
Is painting by numbers cheating? Can you say that you’re a real artist if you only paint by numbers? Should you take credit for the final piece? If you’re an enthusiast of this art, then I bet such questions linger in your head a lot.
Well, paint by numbers is not cheating. And in a short while I’m going to show you why that’s so. Also, you are a real artist even if all you do is paint by numbers. In case you have some doubts, just look at the definition of art.
What Is Art and What Makes Someone a Real Artist?
Leonardo da Vinci defined art as:
“the queen of all sciences communicating knowledge to all the generations of the world”.
If whatever you’re painting communicates some form of knowledge and can be viewed by current and future generations, then it is art. Da Vinci should know, he is one of the greatest artists to have ever walked this earth.
Literally every paint by numbers painting communicates something. Take a look at this masterpiece as an example.
It conveys intimacy without relying on words. That’s exactly what art does – it communicates in different ways.
And if you get that particular piece, it will last for hundreds of years because it’s an acrylic kit. Ledgebay do have it on sale; feel free to get yours here.
If you can paint something like that, then you are an artist; at least according to da Vinci’s definition. However, most people take the dictionary as the go-to tool for definitions. How about we look at what the Oxford Dictionary says about art:
“the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power”.
Painting is right there in the definition. Do you know what paint by numbers is? It is painting!
It’s an artwork that you create using pigments on a surface. In other words, it is an artistic process. And painting by numbers makes you a real artist.
What’s Cheating in Art?
Since we know it’s art, is painting by numbers cheating? No, it’s not. Again, I’m going to show you why.
The definition of cheating is pretty relative and subjective, especially in the context of art. Take tracing for example. Many artists and enthusiasts will say that tracing is cheating.
But if you think about it, tracing is actually copying someone else’s work. As long as you don’t take credit for it, it shouldn’t be cheating. In any case, copying has been in art since forever and it has been “acceptable” to some degree.
That’s why Pablo Picasso said “good artists copy, great artists steal”. I’m guessing he wouldn’t have condoned it but he probably wouldn’t have called it cheating either. It just goes to show that there’s no single definition of cheating in art.
For the sake of uniformity, let’s turn to the Oxford Dictionary again and see how it defines cheating. It is to:
“gain an advantage over or deprive of something by using unfair or deceitful methods”.
Two things stand out: gaining an advantage and using unfair or deceitful methods.
Advantage is reward. Is there an aspect of reward in paint by numbers? Absolutely! Positive attention and admiration are both rewards. And they’re very common in art.
We hang our finished paint by numbers projects because we want people to acknowledge and possibly admire our efforts. In some cases, we even gift them to our loved ones or try to sell them. That’s how highly we regard these projects.
In fact, if your painting is that good, you can even showcase it to the world. LedgeBay has an entire section on its website dedicated to DIY paint by numbers projects. Don’t feel shy to showcase yours and get praise for it; reward – material and non-material – is a part of art.
2. Unfair means
Now, the big question here is: do you have legitimate claim to the reward? If no, then you cheated. If yes, then it’s not cheating.
Take this illustration for example. Assume you have a very nice paint by numbers kit. Your sibling, niece/nephew or even child sees it and then starts painting the canvas before you do.
By the time you realize, he/she has completed it and the final piece is a beauty to behold. So you take it, post it online and credit the masterpiece to yourself.
Now that would be cheating because you didn’t paint the art. Whoever does the painting should get the reward. If it’s a shared effort, everyone should be rewarded according to their effort. That’s the general rule of fairness in art.
So, Is Painting by Numbers Cheating?
As an art, it’s not cheating. It does not give you any unfair advantage.
More importantly, it requires you to use your own hands to put paint on canvas, just like any other type of painting. You basically create an artwork that didn’t exist. And the process involves applying the right paint in the right spot, pretty much like all other forms of painting.
By the way, paint by numbers doesn’t even use some of the most controversial art techniques. There’s no tracing when you’re painting by numbers. It doesn’t require you to paint from a photograph.
You won’t use any software to digitally edit the final piece. There are no grids involved, no projectors, and no rulers. All these things are usually construed by some people as cheating.
But you won’t have any of them in paint by numbers. It’s just you, your canvas, brushes, paints and probably a cup of coffee of whichever beverage you enjoy most.
Painting by Numbers is Not Cheating Because There Are No Rules in Painting
Thus far we have determined a few key points:
· Paint by numbers is art and if you’re doing it then you’re an artist.
· Painting by numbers is not cheating unless you’re using unfair methods to gain an advantage.
Now, the big question is, what constitutes an unfair method?
The thing that makes art so unique is that it doesn’t have rules. It’s so unlike other things that people do for fun or entertainment.
Take games for example. In chess, if you move a pawn horizontally then you’ve broken a rule. That would be cheating. But at what point do you say that someone has cheated in paint by numbers? Which rules or principles should apply here?
(Un)fortunately, art – especially painting – is not governed by rules. It wouldn’t be art if there were limits to what you can do, right? After all, art is all about expressing imagination; and imagination is infinite.
Nonetheless, you’ll come across some general principles of painting like how the artwork should have balance, proportion, emphasis, variety and so on. Which then begs the question, is painting by numbers cheating if it doesn’t follow these principles?
Absolutely not! In fact, it is not cheating if you disregard every one of those principles. And that’s not just in painting by numbers, it applies to all types of painting.
Nobody will call you a cheat because your painting doesn’t have some form of emphasis or because it lacks balance. Critics might criticize, but that won’t make it less of a piece of art.
What About Submitting a Paint by Numbers Project to a Painting Competition?
Another good question, is painting by numbers cheating if it’s entered in a competition?
Competitions usually change the artistic process because they typically introduce rules and regulations. For example, a competition can require all participants to use oil paints only. In that case if you use acrylic or any other type of paint, you will have cheated.
Now, to answer the question, is painting by numbers cheating in the context of a competition? It depends on the rules of the competition. If the rules don’t allow using a pre-printed canvas, then entering a paint by numbers project would be cheating.
On the other hand, if participants are allowed to submit any type of project, then it won’t be cheating if you did some painting by numbers. The same applies if the competition requires entrants to strictly submit paint by numbers projects.
Is painting by numbers cheating? No, it’s not. It’s an artistic process.
Cheating only becomes a possibility if there’s a competition with set rules. If you do enter your paint by numbers project in a competition, and then flout the rules while painting it, then you will have cheated.
You will have an unfair advantage over the other competitors. That is not acceptable in paint by numbers. In fact, it’s not acceptable in all forms of art.
What’s Hot Right Now in Paint by Numbers?
As long as you’re here, I thought I should introduce you to some cool paint by numbers kits. They produce amazingly beautiful artwork.
More importantly, painting by numbers is something that everyone should be doing. It doesn’t just inspire the artist in you, it’s therapeutic as well. Those are two solid reasons to check out these cool kits:
“Art is a mad search for individualism” – Paul Gauguin.
Paint by numbers might just be what you need to find yourself.
Should you use paint by numbers oil or acrylic paints? That’s arguably the biggest decision you will have to make, especially if you’re just learning how to paint by numbers.
Although they look similar, acrylic and oil have fundamental differences, starting with how they are constructed. Oil paints are made by suspending pigments in oil (typically linseed oil).
That’s very important because in addition to giving them the title “oil paints”, it also makes them incompatible with water. To clean or thin your paint, you’ll need to use a different liquid like white spirit or turpentine.
Neither of those is usually included in a paint by numbers kit. And that means you’ll have to budget for it separately. Check this out if you want to know what’s included in a Ledgebay kit.
Nonetheless, oil is a classic in the world of art. So don’t be surprised when a kit that has oil paint sets you back a bit more than an acrylic one.
Acrylics are made by suspending pigment in an acrylic polymer emulsion. Unlike oil paints, acrylics can be thinned with water. They are quite affordable too.
But does that make the case for acrylics in our paint by numbers oil or acrylic review? Probably not. You’ll need more for a proper comparison; so here’s more.
The Key Differences Between Acrylic and Oil
This is the part that you want to read carefully because different oils can have varying results. So, let’s get to it, shall we?
When of the biggest differences between these two paints is the time they take to dry. And it may influence your decision when choosing paint by numbers oil or acrylic kits.
Acrylic paints are water-based and so they dry very fast. They only take minutes, or hours tops, to dry. You can shorten that time some more by blowing warm air on the paint by numbers canvas (using a hair dryer).
The short drying time means that you can quickly add a layer of paint on an already existing one. For example, if you painted a wrong color, simply give it a few minutes to dry and then add a layer of the right color over the wrong one.
The only problem with that correction technique is that if the underlying color is darker than the overlaying one, then it might still be visible. That’s because acrylic paints don’t blend as smoothly as oils.
Speaking of oil paints, they take longer than acrylics to dry. The exact time varies from a few days to months. For that reason, painting by numbers using oil is ideal for you if you like to work slowly.
And you just might enjoy blending colors whenever you paint a wrong color in a spot. The way oil paints blend smoothly, mixing them might actually surprise you. But of course you shouldn’t do that intentionally, otherwise you risk spoiling the intended piece of art.
There’s a lot more to know about blending colors in painting. If you’re feeling curious, the good people at Will Kemp Art School have additional info that might help
Type of Bristle
Virtually all paint by numbers oil or acrylic kits come with brushes in the package. Most of the time you won’t have to find your own, unless the ones in the kit are damaged.
Anyway, for the sake of “what if”, let’s say you have to buy your own brushes. Which type of bristles should you buy for oil paint and which ones should you get for acrylic?
First off, there are two types of bristles: synthetic and natural. The latter are made from animal fur, contrary to synthetic ones which are made of polyester and nylon.
While natural bristles are excellent for oil paint, synthetics are ideal for acrylic. That’s because synthetic bristles don’t absorb water. Remember I mentioned that acrylic paint is water-based? Great, you don’t want your brush to keep absorbing that water because then you’ll have to keep thinning the paint.
Natural bristles, on the other hand, are a perfect match with oil paint. They are soft, and that’s good when you’re carrying oil paint. It will help you to paint within the lines.
If it does come to the point where you need to shop for brushes, you can get exciting deals at LedgeBay. Check this page out to see which brush works for your paint by numbers oil or acrylic design.
Lightfastness refers to how fast a color fades when exposed to light. Why is it important in paint by numbers oil or acrylic techniques? Because your final painting will be exposed to light most of the time, particularly if you’re planning to hang it.
Now, acrylic paint has an excellent lightfastness. Finish painting by numbers using acrylic, frame your art, hang it and forget about it.
Well, maybe not completely. You have to dust it once on a while. Many years to come, that piece of art will still look the same.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for oil. Oils respond completely differently to lightfastness. They start to fade over time and appear yellowish after many years have passed.
That’s down to how oil is constructed. Its pigment becomes dull over time, allowing the oil binder to show through. If extreme durability is a concern when choosing a paint by numbers oil or acrylic kit, you may want to go for the latter.
Size of Your Working Space
Good as they are to the eye, oil paints are not exactly friends of the nose. Their thinners, specifically white spirit and turpentine, have a strong and irritating smell. Those fumes can be overwhelming when you’re working in a small space.
Acrylic paints do not have that problem. You can bury yourself in a painting by numbers project for hours and you won’t get so much as a headache. With oil you’ll probably need a large, well-ventilated room if you want to work for hours on end.
In other words, examine your working space before choosing a paint by numbers oil or acrylic kit.
Acrylic vs. Oil: The Key Similarities
It’s not all differences when it comes to paint by numbers oil or acrylic. They do have a few things in common. For starters, both options result in great art as long as you follow the design.
If you embark on two simultaneous projects, one oil and the other acrylic, the acrylic painting will dry faster. And it will look amazing on any wall. The oil painting will take longer to dry but once it does, you’ll want it on the wall even more.
So, it’s (arguably) a win-win for oil and acrylic in terms of their ability to produce quality art. But what else do they have in common?
For example, if you add linseed to oil paint, it takes longer to dry. That’s a good strategy if you like taking your time when painting by numbers. You can correct edges, lines and corners before the paint dries.
If you want to work faster, you can speed up oil’s drying time by adding alkyd gel. And if you just want a glossy painting, consider adding poppy oil to your paint. The final art will look all shiny and glossy like the masterpiece that it should be.
Acrylic has its mediums too, but you may want to know that they are not essential to good art. If you’re a beginner, you definitely don’t need them. They’re more like add-ons.
The best paint by numbers kits usually have sealed containers (airtight) to preserve the paint. But just in case you want an extra method of storage, both acrylic and oil paints last longer when stored in the fridge.
Feel free to mix the colors if you have some leftover paint after completing a project. Only mix acrylic with acrylic and oil with oil. You can then use the mixed colors for any other art and craft projects that may pick your interest.
Mixing colors can produce a neutral color, which you can use as a base color for other projects. That’s just as idea in case you’re exploring the idea of doing more than paint by numbers.
Acrylic vs. Oil Paint: Which One Should You Choose?
It’s usually a paint by numbers oil OR acrylic kit; not oil and acrylic. So, you kinda have to choose one. From the comparison and contrast above, which one do you feel suits you best?
As you ponder on that, there’s a general belief that acrylic paints are good for beginners. Oils, on the other hand, are usually fronted as ideal for people who have experience in paint by numbers.
Personally I don’t think that’s the case. It’s more about what you prefer between oil and acrylic. I could say budget is a factor but the cost difference between an oil kit and acrylic kit is too small and mostly negligible.
Still, below is a general recommendation if you need one. It may come in handy if you have never tried paint by numbers and have no idea what to expect from both of these paints:
When to Choose Acrylic Paint by Numbers
Acrylic is great if your paint by numbers design has very small shapes. I’m talking about the type of small shapes that you can’t paint without going outside the borders.
Every time your brush crosses the line, simply wait for the paint to dry and then apply the right paint in the affected spot. So, be sure to look at the design first and examine how detailed it is. If it has very small shapes to paint, go with acrylic.
Similarly, if you’re buying a painting by numbers kit for your little one, consider acrylic over oil. Kids generally struggle to paint within borders. They frequently need to reapply paint in some spots whenever they make a mistake.
Finally, choose acrylic if you’re a sucker for easy cleaning. Oil paints are harder to clean and you need white spirit or turpentine to really polish a surface in case of a spill. Water does the trick for acrylic paints.
When to Choose Oil Paint by Numbers
Oil is a great option if you like taking your time to complete a paint by numbers project. The fact that it takes longer to dry can be a good thing. It gives you time to evaluate your painting as you move slowly. Therefore, oil is an ideal choice for those who are deliberately cautious.
Don’t forget that oil paints have a strong smell. It becomes even stronger when combined with a thinner. But you won’t feel the effects so much if you are working from a large and well-ventilated room. That’s to say, if your working space is small, go with acrylic. Otherwise, oil is as good an option as acrylic.
Finally, oil brings that traditional painting style and feeling, which can be good for your motivation. It wouldn’t hurt to feel like Leonardo or Picasso just for a day or two.
Comparing the Pros and Cons of Acrylic and Oil Paint by Numbers
· Takes time to dry, which makes the paint pliable for long
· Dries quickly. You can finish your project faster with acrylic
· No color shift; i.e. color doesn’t change when the painting dries
· Easy to achieve crisp edge. Great pick for detailed designs
· Easier to manipulate with medium
· Lightfast. Doesn’t fade in time
· Has a traditional, classy touch to it
· Doesn’t fade with time
· Leads to great paint by numbers art
· Takes longer to dry
Solution: gently blow warm air evenly on painting
· Dries too quickly
Solution: add a retarder or palette to keep the paint wet for longer
Solution: none. Oil paintings just fade quicker
· Might change color when it dries
Solution: use high-quality paint by numbers kits
· Strong odor
Solution: use oil paint in a large, well-ventilated room
· Painting wet over dry acrylic can cause color bleed
Solution: none, not much you can do here
So, paint by numbers oil or acrylic? If you’ve made it this far then you probably have your answer. Both are great options, just a few differences here and there.
In case you’re looking for a flexible paint that dries quickly and doesn’t have an odor then acrylic is your best pick. But if you want a more traditional paint that takes longer to dry and is therefore pliable, consider going with an oil paint by numbers kit.
Don’t be shy to submit your finished painting to Ledgebay. You’ll get a lot of support and inspiration from other DIY painters, which may just be what you need to fully unleash the artist in you.
What is Paint by Number Kit? Paint by number kits use a number system to assign paint colors to some areas of a pre-lined canvas. Ours is made with superior material and packaged with care so that you can begin painting as soon as you get the kit with no waiting time needed or preparing the canvas.
The kit comes with a canvas pre-lined picture of a painting in various sizes and orientations for you to choose from. It has divided areas drawn on and ready to be painted over. Several sets of acrylic paints will be in containers with numbers on the top of each one. Each section on the canvas has a number to correspond to whichever paint color you should use to color in that part. Breaking the picture up by color allows even beginner artists to follow in the footsteps of master painters by recreating their famous paintings.
Our kits will turn a relaxing evening into a creative experience you will never forget. Watch a familiar painting come to life under your hands and enjoy the process of creating something beautiful. You can also use paint by numbers as a stress relief tool because it is very calming and easy to follow.
There are several different paint by numbers kits to choose from on the market today. Ours come in two types; Unframed and Framed. The framed kits come with a small wooden easel meant to be set on a table while the non-frame one is intended to be laid flat on a surface and painted in. You can mount the loose canvas onto a backer board if you wish to do that instead. However, we recommend purchasing a framed canvas if you intend to have it hanging on the wall.
What is excellent about our kits is that you can have a whole series of them hanging up around your home. You can be proud of the lovely artwork you have created with nothing but time and some acrylic paint. The kits are a great way to begin learning to paint if you have never done anything like that previously. No matter what age you are right now, it is never too late to learn to paint.
It can sometimes be a little intimidating at first to see a blank canvas and not sure where to start. With paint by numbers, that is not a problem. The canvas itself will direct you on what to put where and the reference photo will be available for you to use to see how it all is going to come together in the end.
What Is Included In a Paint By Number Kit
There are many pictures to choose from so you can find the perfect painting for your needs. You can work through our whole collection of famous paintings.
Most kits come with the following items:
Tabletop easel (framed versions)
Four paintbrushes of different sizes
A 4 x 5-inch color miniature of the original picture to use as a guide
Numbered acrylic paint sets of thirty separate colors
Mounting Hardware (framed versions)
Full set of instructions!
We prime the canvas in every kit so that when it arrives, it is immediately ready to be painted. There is also wall hanging materials in the package so that when it is complete, you can hang it up where people can enjoy seeing it. You can use the table easel on any flat surface. The paintings come with attached sets of acrylic paint, usually around thirty individual color counts per picture. A high number of colors allows for a depth of detail and vibrancy in the painting that most kits with fewer colors included lack.
Paint Brush Kits
You can also purchase one of our paintbrush kits as an add-on when you buy a paint by number kit. They come with (7), (12), or (15) micro brushes of varying sizes to ensure that even the smallest sections are easy to paint. The Ledgebay Paint Brush kits come in a hardened case so they can travel with you wherever you go. Make it fun and effortless to re-create all the most celebrated paintings using the paint by number kit and accompanying brush set.
It is not necessary to buy the additional brush set. However, as you get more experienced with paint by numbers, you may want the smaller brush sizes to make it easier to complete some of the more micro-sized numbered spots on the painting. These smaller brushes will also make it easier to fix any mistakes that you may make along the way.
Skill Range For Paint By Number Kits
The beauty of a paint by number kit is that anyone anywhere can successfully use it. Even a person who has never held a brush before can paint a beautiful piece of art using this system. Paint by number kits are an excellent way to practice for both brand new and established artists. Anyone who may be interested in learning an art form can use this as a way to recognize patterns and color perception. It helps foster an interest in art while also teaching techniques.
PBN Kits are a great gift for someone you know who has an interest in artistic activities. They will have hours of fun connecting colors to numbers until they reveal a gorgeous painting on the canvas. There is absolutely no rush when it comes to completing a kit. You can do it in one sitting or over several months. Another bonus, the canvas is numbered so you will not forget where you left off. Your canvas will be there waiting whenever you are ready to complete it.
The more paint by numbers you do, the better you will get it. So while there is no experience needed to complete one of these paintings, the details and changes in color will get more precise and cleaner the more you practice. We have created the Ultimate Guide to Paint By Numbers as a FREE resource for all of our customers. As your Art improves you can either hang the finished product up or give them out as gifts to your friends and family.
Why Buy a Paint By Number Kit?
These kits are an excellent group activity for younger people. Since each section is numbered, even if several people are working on one painting, then the finished product will still look the same. It is also an excellent parent-child bonding activity that can create moments that will last a lifetime. They are fun, educational, and can help anyone connect with their inner artist. Our paint by number kits are an affordable alternative to individual or group painting classes while guiding new painters.
What Sets Ledgebay Apart
What sets our kits apart from those of our competitors is the amount of care we put into each product. We want all of our customers to have the very best experience possible. Our kits come with superior customer service, you can always reach out to the Ledgebay customer service team (firstname.lastname@example.org). We pride ourselves on our excellent support services and will always make sure you have all the information you need to succeed. At Ledgebay we want you to have the best experience possible from beginning to end.
We work hard to make sure that you get the best product possible so that you can fully enjoy paint by numbers. Instead of folding our unframed canvas for cheaper shipping, we roll it so that when you get started there are ZERO wrinkles. Rolling it leaves you with a flat, beautiful canvas ready for painting the moment you open the package.
Paint By Number Kits Are Great As A Gift Or Decoration
Our affordable paint by number kits are an excellent gift for a friend or loved one and a great way to spend an afternoon. It requires no skill in painting to recreate some of the most beautiful pictures the world has ever seen. Anyone can be a master painter by following the numbers.
Proudly show off your artwork in your home or office. Each framed kit comes with mounting brackets so you can have your gorgeous painting front and center. Show your masterpiece off in your dining area or living room. It makes a great decoration and conversational piece. No matter what you intend to do with the finished product, the experience of creating it will be well worth the time. These affordable kits come with everything that you need to turn them into glorious masterpieces.
You are guaranteed to succeed in creating a piece of art. Whether you are trying a new hobby or have been painting for years, our kits are the perfect way to enjoy painting a new picture. Check out the Ledgebay paint by number sets today and find the one that is right for you. No matter what kind of painting you like, there will be something for you.