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How Hard Is Paint By Numbers For Adults?

how hard is paint by numbers

Have you ever looked at paintings in galleries and wished you could create something like that? Do you enjoy arts and crafts and being able to say, “I made that!” when someone compliments something in your home? Do you just need a way to relax and disconnect from the world for a while? Paint by numbers can be an amazing way to relax and create a beautiful piece of art you can be proud of. And if you’ve ever found yourself asking, “How hard is paint by numbers?” don’t worry. Below are some tips to make this amazing hobby a snap.

What Is Paint by Numbers?

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If you were artistic as a kid, you may have had a paint by numbers kit, but before we dive into how to make these paintings look the best, let’s take a look at what they are. A paint by numbers kit involves a canvas with different outlined areas that form a cohesive picture. Each area is coded with a number that corresponds to a paint color in your set. To complete a paint by numbers kit, you fill in each area with the paint its number corresponds to. At the end of the process, you have a completed painting that looks like the masterpieces you see in art galleries. And some of the new adult paint by numbers are amazingly beautiful.

Look for a Frame

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One of the first ways to make sure your paint by numbers is a success is to look for one that comes with a frame. And when we say a frame, we don’t mean the kind you hang a painting in. We mean the kind that the canvas comes wrapped around, making your artwork a 3D piece. Paint by numbers canvases that don’t have frames can tend to get creases in them, especially if you work on them over a long period of time. This can mar the final effect of your painting. Instead, look for a numbers kit that includes a framed canvas that will stay taut the whole time you’re working on it.

Use Newspapers

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When you’re doing paint by numbers, you want to be able to relax into the art, not worry about getting paint on the dining table. You need to make sure you make your space as easy to clean up as possible. Start by collecting old newspapers or getting a drop cloth and then gathering all your painting supplies. Spread your newspapers or drop cloth out over your workspace so you don’t have to worry about paint getting everywhere. Wear an old t-shirt you don’t care much about, and make sure you have everything you need to paint right off the bat. This will include your paint by numbers kit, any additional paintbrushes you may want to use, a cup of water to rinse your brush out in, some paper towels to dry your brush on, and a glass or mug of your favorite beverage.

Work Someplace Peaceful

As much as possible, try to find someplace peaceful to work on your paint by numbers. Art can have huge relaxing and therapeutic benefits, but you need to be able to relax into that headspace. If you’re trying to paint in the middle of the living room with kids running everywhere and trying to dip their fingers in the paint jars, you won’t be able to enjoy the painting process. Find someplace quiet with good lighting and maybe a nice view. Make sure you have a comfortable chair and plenty of space to spread out your work. And if you can, try to arrange for an hour or two that you can spend just focusing on this – maybe after the kids have gone to bed for the evening or once they head off to school.

Start from the Top

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When you get ready to start painting, start at the top left corner of your painting and work your way down. If you start at the bottom, you’ll have to worry about keeping your arms and sleeves off the painting. This can make it uncomfortable and stressful to paint and can lead to smudges. But if you start at the top of the painting, you’ll be able to work your way down, avoiding the previous areas you’ve painted. By the time you make it to the bottom of the canvas, the paint at the top should have dried. It’s important to note that if you’re left-handed, you should start at the top right of your painting, not the top left.

Start Dark

For many of us, when we get ready to start on our paint by numbers, we would tend to start with number 1 and move up the line from there. But that’s not the best way to approach your paint by numbers. Rather, you should start with the darkest color, no matter what number it is, and work your way up to the lighter colors. When you’re doing a normal painting, you want to start with the background and paint forwards into the foreground. This helps you layer things appropriately and not wind up trying to paint around or “behind” a space. With paint by numbers, the darker colors tend to be in the background, so you want to start with those.

Keep Your Brushes Clean

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With paint by numbers, you’re going to be swapping among different colors on a regular basis. Maybe you only have a few sections of one color before you’re moving onto the next color. And while some blending is okay and can make your painting look more natural, you don’t want to go too far down that road.

Each color in a paint by numbers kit is carefully chosen to contribute to the final overall shading of the piece. You don’t want to contaminate colors, so be sure to clean your brushes carefully between colors. Rinse them out in your water cup, making sure to get all the paint all the way down to the base of the bristles, and dry them carefully on your paper towels.

Close the Paint

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Paint by numbers kits come with little tubs of paint that have snap-on lids. When you’re working between a number of different colors at once, it can be tempting to leave those little tubs open. But those tubs of paint are small, and they’ll dry out quickly.

Make sure you close all the paint tubs except the one you’re using at the moment. Make sure the lid snaps all the way on, rather than just snapping down on the back or front. If your paints do dry up, add a little water and stir until they reach their original consistency.

Don’t Overdo It

When you’re working with paint by numbers, you may find that your numbers start showing up through the paint. They have to be printed on thick enough for you to see them, and the paint you’re using may be somewhat thin. You may find yourself tempted to glob on paint to cover up the numbers.

But resist this urge; for one thing, overdoing it with paint may leave you short on enough paint to finish your piece. But the canvas may also not take well to too much paint, and you could wind up with smudges. Instead, there’s a better way to handle covering those numbers and lines.

Use Two Coats

As you’re working, use two coats of paint to cover every area. Start at the top of your painting and fill in every area of a certain number all the way down the canvas. Use enough paint to cover the area, but not so much that if you were to pick the painting up, it might drip.

Once you’ve reached the bottom of your painting, give your paint a minute to dry, and then start again at the top. Paint over each area, making sure that the number is covered this time and working your way down to the bottom of the painting. This will give you a better effect (and more relaxation time) than globbing on too much paint right at first.

Take Your Time

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  • PREMIUM PACKAGING - When it comes to protecting your paints, nobody does it better than Ledgebay. Their DIY painting by numbers for adults kit...
  • VACUUM SEALED - With our painting by numbers pack, you can keep your paint fresh and flexible for a long time. The vacuum-sealed design prevents...

If you live a busy lifestyle, you may find yourself tempted to rush through your paint by numbers kit.

You don’t have time to sit and enjoy this, there are dishes and laundry that need to be run, a floor that needs to be swept, kids who need to be fed, and a dozen emails you need to respond to for work. But this defeats the purpose of getting the paint by numbers kit.

Take your time working on your kit, and try to relax into the process. You’re not going to get the painting done all in one sitting, and nor should you. Instead, work on it a little at a time, and come back to it when you can; you’ll be much more relaxed and find yourself with a much better painting for it.

Answer “How Hard Is Paint by Numbers?”

If you’ve found yourself asking the question, “How hard is paint by numbers?” before, ask no more. This can be a fun and relaxing activity, and if you follow these tips, it’ll be a breeze. At the end of it, you’ll find yourself feeling more peaceful, and you’ll have a beautiful piece of art that you created.

If you’d like to get amazing paint by numbers kits, check out the rest of our site at LedgeBay. We have tons of paint by numbers kits for adults, with subjects ranging from landscape scenery to fun animal prints.

Shop our most popular kits and start exploring your artistic side today. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at

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