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Step by Step Guide to Painting by Numbers – Ledgebay Ebook 2 Draft


These days, finding someone who doesn’t know anything about paint by numbers history would be a pretty hard thing. But, there was a time when nobody knew it existed. Today paint by numbers is a household name, and the mere mention of it brings the fun and creative art form to the forefront of your mind.

Paint by numbers history shows that it was a little harder to get off the ground that you might think. There were years of trials and tribulations that went into it, but not many knew. From the initial idea about marketing, to who invented paint by numbers and where they got the idea. It’s definitely got an interesting backstory, but don’t take our word. Keep reading!

To appreciate this art hobby, we need to take a look to see where it began. Although paint by numbers is a household name and something recognized around the world, it wasn’t always that way. But thanks to the tenacity of the man behind it all, it’s become one of our favorite hobbies.

The Marketing and Launch of the Business – History of Paint By Numbers

As with all good business stories, the beginning of the paint by number kits wasn’t such an easy sell. Dan Robbins made many attempts to market his home painting kits to retailers, called the Craft Master kits. But, buyers thought that people would find the overall concept too basic or that they simply wouldn’t understand the point.

After years of trying, he was able to sell the idea to S.S Krege, the store that would become K-Mart. They made a huge initial order and filled their store with it, but it wouldn’t last long. An issue with packaging meant that the colors for “The Bullfighter” were mixed with the colors for “The Fisherman.”

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After countless complaints and refunds, S.S Krege pulled them from the shelves. Determined not to give up, Robbins and Palmer Paint reached out to Macy’s with an offer of an in-store demonstration for customers. It was under the proviso that anything not sold could be returned without charge, and they agreed.

With a cunning plan, they advised their sales representatives to give money to friends and family. They urged them to come and buy a painting kit.

This plan ended up working. From there, the kits were a total sellout and by 1954. Palmer Paints and Dan Robbins had made around $20 million from their success.

Paint By Numbers Today

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Today, paint by numbers are sold by hundreds of manufacturers. Although the CraftMaster was first, the originals are rare to find. The brand still makes a couple of their own kits, one in remembrance of the September 11 attacks and another depicting the Last Supper. Both kits being hugely popular. Vintage paint by numbers kits are hugely popular and in high demand for those who want to cherish a piece of history.

Paint by numbers is still experiencing the huge success it once had and now the trend has spread globally. The original founder, Dan Robbins, passed away in April of 2019 at the age of 93. According to his family, he still received many fan letters, even in his later years.

One of America’s Most Treasured Pastimes

The story of paint by numbers, and who started it is a true testament to motivation. And also to not giving up when you have a good idea! Dan Robbins knew the power that the paint by numbers kits would have on the world. And now millions of people around the world are able to enjoy the pleasure and satisfaction of creating their own art.

The paint by numbers phenomenon has only continued to grow since its initial invention. It’s clear that people have a deep love for art and all of the great things that are possible when you can paint your own. There are so many benefits to this art hobby and learning a bit more about its history makes it more special.

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What Is Paint by Numbers?

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.

Get All the Materials That You Would Need

Make sure that you have all the materials that you would need for painting. If you want to use oil mediums, you might want to look into linseed oil paint. Of course, you will need a varnish remover for mixing and diluting the paint.

Of course, if you’re thinking of using water soluble paint, you might need a simple art cleaner and dry cleaner. You’d find numerous types of art cleaners (like the Newton Artists picture cleaner) and art supplies depending on what type of paint you choose to use.

The dry cleaning process as well as your supplies vary depending on the kind of painting you’d like to do and materials you prefer to use.

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 kit that includes a framed canvas that will stay taut the whole time you’re working on it.

Use Newspapers

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

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

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

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.

Canvas Size Paint by Numbers Guide: Canvas Sizes and Difficulty Levels of Paint by Numbers Kits

What’s the best canvas size paint by numbers? Does it make sense to buy those big 40-inch canvases or should you stick to the smaller ones? Heck, does size even matter?

First of all, the size of art canvases matters. So, what are the dimensions of a canvas? The standard painting canvas sizes are 11 x 14, 16 x 20, 20 x 24, 30 x 40 and 36 x 48 inches. Check out this chart for all the most popular painting sizes.

Paint by numbers canvases are not widely different. You’ll find them in various sizes, including all the standard ones listed above and custom sizes as well. Therefore, there’s no single canvas size paint by numbers.

Hence the best canvas size for you depends on what you want to do with the finished artwork. For example, if you’re creating a gallery wall, you’ll want a healthy mixture of large and small paintings. On the other hand, if you want to frame and place the artwork on your nightstand, you may want to shop in the small canvas section.

Here’s a better rundown of some painting canvas sizes and how to choose the best canvas size paint by numbers.

Standard Paint by Numbers Canvas Size: 16 x 20

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When you’re talking about real paintings, the standard canvas size ranges from 11 x 14 inches all through 36 x 48 inches. However, the standard canvas size paint by numbers is strictly 16 x 20 inches. In fact, Ledgebay – one of the best paint by numbers brands – currently stocks 16 x 20 kits only.

Want to test your paint by numbers skills with this artwork? Get it here.

A 16 x 20 canvas is perfect for displaying medium-sized artwork, especially when it’s expansive in width. You can hang the final piece in your living room, office or game room. It will give the room some character and warmth without excessively drawing attention.

This canvas size paint by numbers is perfect all types of artists, but mostly beginners. That’s because it’s big enough to accommodate fairly detailed designs, yet it’s not intimidatingly large.

Besides, you can finish the entire painting in less than a day. Of course, the total time depends on how detailed it is. But it won’t require as much time and effort as the larger canvases.

For that reason, 16 x 20 paint by numbers canvases are ideal for beginners, juniors and senior painters. If you’re in the prime of your life and feel like taking on a painting challenge, consider going for a larger canvas.

Large Paint by Numbers Canvas Size: bigger than 16 x 20

What is the largest canvas size? That would be a 54 x 96 canvas. You can use it for high-resolution prints as well as real painting. Speaking of real painting, did you know that painting by numbers can help you learn how to paint? Now you know!

Notwithstanding, this page explains most of what you need to know about large painting canvases. When it comes to paint by numbers, anything above 16 x 20 is considered large. Nonetheless, you won’t find a canvas that measures 54 x 96.

In fact, you’ll barely find a paint by numbers canvas that measures more than 48 inches (height or width). They mostly range from 17 to 48 inches. Take this 18 x 22-inch canvas for example.

While it’s tall enough to create a lasting impression in any room, it can still work as a standalone artwork on a wall. It’s perfect for living rooms, bedrooms and studies.

If you want a larger painting, you can shop in the 35 x 17 canvas section.

The canvas is a lot longer than it is high, which makes it ideal for hallways or above the entertainment center. Furthermore, you can place a painting of this size in the bedroom just above the headboard.

A 20 x 40 canvas looks a bit odd, but in a good way. That shape opens up a ton of opportunities for experimenting. For example, you can choose a landscape artwork and hang it in the kitchen, fireplace mantle or long hallway.

At the same time, you can go with a portrait 20 x 40 paint by numbers canvas. It will fit perfectly where the wall is just wider than 20 inches but goes as high as the ceiling.

41 x 17 is probably the biggest canvas size paint by numbers that you can find.

It would look awesome on any size-able wall, preferably in the living room, bedroom or office. Additionally, you’ll probably want to hang it as the only photo. It will really impress and set a particular tone in the room.

That’s exactly what a large canvas for painting does – it makes an impact in a room. Needless to say, you’ll need some extra patience and energy to complete such paintings.

Usually, the larger the canvas the more detailed the design. And that means many shapes – large and small – to paint. Therefore, choose a large canvas size paint by numbers if you’re feeling sufficiently hyped to paint for several days.

Small Paint by Numbers Canvas Size: smaller than 16 x 20

Small canvases are excellent for small, desktop or tabletop paintings. Although you can find art canvases as small as 4 x 6 inches, paint by numbers canvases typically start at 9 x 12 inches.

Here’s one example of a 9 x 12 paint by numbers painting.

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This is a perfect size for fill-in artwork in a gallery wall. Alternatively, you can frame it and place it on a desk, table, entertainment unit, bookshelf etc.

If you want to go one size up, you can consider a 12 x 16 paint by numbers canvas like the one below.

While not as large as a 16 x 20, this canvas size paint by numbers is just as good for living rooms, bedrooms, offices and entertainment rooms.

Of course small paintings are easier to complete. Consequently, they are more suitable for beginners and older folks who want to paint at a slow pace. On the other hand, the small size means that the design will have small shapes to paint. Therefore, consider budgeting for a magnifying lens and small lamp alongside the paint by numbers kit.

Square Paint by Numbers Canvases

Most paint by numbers canvases are rectangular in shape. However, every so often you’ll find one that’s square. Here’s a good example.

Everything about this 16 x 16 artwork is interesting. First, the canvas is square. Secondly, the artwork itself is round.

Such canvases are perfect for displaying side-by-side artworks on a wall. They can fit in the living room, bedroom, office or even kitchen.

Paint by Numbers Canvas Set

Occasionally you’ll find a paint by numbers kit that comes with two or more different-sized canvases.

The above set from Schipper features 5 different canvases (on cardboards). Two of them measure 10.3 x 23.5. The other two measure 10.3 x 18.7 inches while the largest is a whopping 10.3 x 28.3 inches.

“What’s the benefit of such a paint by numbers set?” you ask. It has an unmatched wow factor. Whether it’s on a gallery wall, living room, bedroom or office, it will spruce up the décor in ways that individual paintings can’t.

Is Paint by Numbers Hard? The Difficulty Levels of Paint by Numbers

So many people ask this question: is paint by numbers hard? No, it’s not. That’s because the paint by numbers canvas is pre-designed. It has shapes that reveal a nice artwork when you paint all of them.

Each shape is numbered and each number represents a particular color. For example, let’s say #1 is blue, #2 is red, #3 is green, #4 is yellow, and #5 is black. That means you’ll apply blue paint on every shape (on the canvas) numbered 1, red on all the shapes numbered 2, green on all the shapes numbered 3 and so on.

That’s the gist of painting by numbers. Check out this comprehensive guide on how to do paint by numbers in case you need some more info. The bottom line is that paint by numbers is not hard.

Now that we have that out of the way, what are the difficulty levels of paint by numbers? You’ll generally get beginner and advanced paint by numbers.

Beginner Paint by Numbers

Beginner kits are simpler to paint. They feature a less detailed canvas design, which means bigger and less intricate shapes. Therefore, you won’t struggle to paint within the lines.

Most paint by numbers kits for beginners come with acrylic paints, a set of brushes, a picture of the finished artwork, and, of course, the pre-designed canvas. Why acrylic paint? Because it’s more forgiving to painters, at least as far as paint by numbers.

That makes beginner paint by numbers kits excellent for kids, seniors and adults who are just starting out. By the way, head over here if you’re looking to buy a paint by numbers kit for kids. Likewise, if you want paint by numbers kits for seniors, you can find them here.


Many people assume that advanced paint by numbers kits are meant for adults only. Well, that’s not the case. Paint by numbers kits for adults are those whose artwork may be inappropriate for kids. Take this series for example.

Advisory: contains adult content

While the artistic aspect of the kits is great, it’s not appropriate for kids. Therefore, you probably shouldn’t be shopping there if you’re looking for paint by numbers kits for kids.

So, what makes a kit advanced? A super-detailed canvas design with intricate areas and small shapes. Advanced paint by numbers kits may require you to use small brushes and magnifying glasses to paint.

Although they may take longer to complete, advanced paint by numbers usually reveal detailed and eye-catchy artwork.

My First Paint By Numbers Kit: What Do You Need to Know?

Paint by numbers kits are unique DIY projects. When buying a kit, you receive a canvas that shows the outline of the painting. You also receive all the painting tools you’ll need. Including different-sized brushes and various shades of paint. This way you can fill in the spots and complete the painting.

This sounds easy, right? Paint by numbers kits are not complicated, and this is why they’re extremely popular. People find them satisfying because you have control over how your painting will eventually look. You also know in advance what should be done, so there’s no room for guessing or mistakes.

However, buying the first paint by numbers kit can be a little overwhelming. Here are a few things that you need to think about.

Pick the Drawing

Luckily, there are plenty of scenes and images that you can pick from our paint by numbers kit. But having a vast collection to choose from can be a little confusing, especially if you’re picking your first kit.

First, you need to ask yourself who is going to finish this kit. Are you giving it out as a gift? In this case, you might think of something that appeals to the person you’re giving the gift to. Are you planning to finish it with your child? In this case, you might want to pick a happy scene that features bright colors. So your little one will be more interested in finishing the project.

What to do After You Finish Your Painting

After finishing your paint by numbers kit, you’ll be so proud of how it appears, so you will probably think about hanging it. Think of where you’re planning to hang your drawing once it’s finished. There are different paintings that show images of fruits and vegetables, which might be appealing if you’re planning to hang your painting in the kitchen or dining room.

You might want to consider a painting that shows flowers or trees in the living room, as the green shades bring feelings of calmness and peace. For your bedroom, it might be a good idea to pick a scene that shows a lake or the sea. The water movement will be an elegant addition to your bedroom so you can sleep peacefully at night.

Think of the Size

Paint by numbers kits come in different sizes and dimensions, allowing you to choose the most appropriate one based on the space you have available. A bigger painting takes more time to finish but will be an elegant addition to a big room. On the other hand, a smaller painting might be the best choice for a first-timer or for a summer project that you want to finish with your little one.

Think of the Details

Before picking a kit, you need to carefully examine the drawing on the box, as this is a clear representation of how your finished painting will look once it’s done. Some paintings look amazing as they combine several details, colors, shapes, and shades. However, the more details your painting includes, the more time you will spend to have your painting finished.

Picking a scene where the painting is divided into rather larger areas is a suitable choice for beginners and first-timers. You can grab the biggest brush, dip it into the paint pot that corresponds to the number, and quickly fill in the empty spots.

Dividing Lighter and Darker Shades

Having minor details will definitely make your painting look more interesting but takes more time and effort. In most cases, the scene will be divided into lighter and darker shades of the same color to show the effect of light and shade.

Having the same color repeated several times throughout the painting might be more appealing for someone who is trying a paint by numbers kit for the first time. You can grab one paint pot and fill in all the empty spots that correspond to this number. In very little time, you will be able to see the progress of your painting.

Lighter shades are a little easier to work with than darker shades, especially if you mess up. If you apply the wrong color, you can wait until it’s dry, then you can add another layer of the correct color on top. This is not that easy with darker shades, so you might need to add multiple coats of the correct color if you don’t want the wrong one to come through.

Tips to Finish My First Paint by Number Kit

After spending time choosing my first paint by number kit, it’s time to get to work. Here are some tips that guarantee the best outcome of your DIY project, even if you have never tried painting in your life.

  • Find a comfortable, well-lit area to start your DIY project. Make sure that you have a comfortable chair to support your back and have all your tools spread within reach, so you can work on your project comfortably.
  • If you’re working on a table, put away anything that might get dirty. It’s also recommended to paint away from your rugs and upholstery furniture.
  • Take a photo of your canvas. You can zoom in and check the numbers if you think that you have made a mistake later on. You should also take a photo of the drawing on the box for future reference, in case you misplace the box.
  • Get a cup of water and a few paper towels ready. This cup of water will be used to wet and clean your paint brushes, while the paper towels will be used to dry any excess moisture that might make your paint too runny and ruin your drawing.
  • Go with one color at a time. It’s a great idea to pick one color and fill in all the empty spots that correspond to that color. If you miss a spot or two, you can easily fill them in at the end.
  • If you want to stretch your canvas to take it outside where you can paint, you should do that before you start painting. However, most beginners don’t prefer to have their canvas stretched.

My First Paint by Number Kit – Wrap Up

Buying your first paint by numbers kit is an excellent decision, whether you want to finish it on your own or send it as a gift to someone you care about. There are several things that you need to take into consideration before picking your first kit, but if you follow the instructions, the results will always be outstanding.

Paint by Number Kits in Stores: What to Expect

Pro: Paint by Number Kits in Stores – You’ll Be Able to Try Out and Feel the Quality of the Canvas

Being able to try out the quality and materials of items is one of the biggest advantages that physical stores have over online ones, regardless of the product you’re purchasing.

Touching the canvas is usually one of the easiest ways to feel its durability and ability to handle beginners’ extra pressure.

Con: You Might Not Be Able to Find What You’re Looking for

A physical store will always have limited storage space and a certain procurement budget. For that reason, they can have fewer options than the ones you can find on the internet, which is usually made up of tons of sellers.

If you’re quite picky or looking for something specific, there’s a huge chance you might come back home with empty hands.

Pro: You Can Take Them Home Almost Immediately

Unless you’re viewing the kits from a catalog (which is online shopping but with extra steps), you’re almost sure that the item you’re looking for is available.

Despite that, you should be careful not to buy the last piece if it shows signs of wear due to showcasing.

Con: Paint by Number Kits in Stores – They’re Usually a Little Pricier

In addition to the products, there are various upfront costs of having a brick-and-mortar store. This includes rent, salaries, bills, and more!

All these extra charges usually make their products slightly more expensive than buying them online.

Pro: The Store Owner and Sellers Might Provide You with Helpful Tips

Sales assistants and store owners are usually in business for years or even decades, making them excellent consultants when it comes to finding what you’re looking for.

They also have a pretty thorough knowledge of the pieces they have in the store, so they can match you up quickly with what you need.

Con: They Can be Quite a Few in Your Area

Paint by number kits has a huge fanbase. However, there are usually quite a few businesses that deal in their kits.

On the other hand, there are tons of options on Amazon with tons of sellers from all over the nation which translates to more options than your local store.

Pro: Paint by Number Kits in Stores – The Experience Can Be Therapeutic and Enriching

For some people, even the experience of being among the things they love is enriching enough.

If you’re a huge paint by numbers fan, going downtown to visit your local store can be as fun as a little field trip!

Con: The Process Might Be Time Consuming

To buy a paint by numbers kit from a store, you’ll need to also weigh in the time you need to go out, and physically browse hundreds of choices until you find the one that appeals to you the most.

If you have a pretty tight schedule, this might be quite a time-consuming endeavor.

Paint by Number Kits Online: What to Expect

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Pro: A Much Wider Range of Options

With the huge success of online sales recently, almost all products available out there are listed online somewhere, with Amazon and Etsy being some of the largest markets to buy the kits.

In other words, you’ll be able to browse thousands of options from the comfort of your home!

Con: You Won’t Be Able to Feel the Quality of the Canvas

A downside of buying paint by number kits online is that you won’t get to try out the quality of the canvas.

However, such a downside is easily dodged through buyer’s guides and reviews from previous buyers. There are various reputable sellers that are known for supplying excellent quality kits.

Pro: They’re Conveniently Available 24/7

Not all brick and mortar stores are available around the clock, and many of them would be closed on weekends, which might be the only available time window for you to buy these kits.

However, the vast majority of online stores are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week, which allows you to shop quickly and easily!

Con: They Take a Little While to Arrive

In most cases, shipping can take anywhere between 1 day to several weeks. It depends on your region and online shop shipping policy.

If you’re in a rush, such as last-minute gifting, buying paint by number kits online might not be suitable for you.

Pro: You Can Still View the Design Pattern

Although you can’t touch the canvas itself, most sellers would provide high-resolution images for the canvas that shows the design pattern. Which you can use to find out more about the painting. Such as complexity and how easy it is to paint it.

Con: Less Likely to Find Help Online

If you’re looking for something quite personal or specific, you might not have a lot of luck finding help online.

However, you might be lucky enough to find guides and user reviews to help you while shopping.

Things to Consider While Deciding Between Paint by Number Kits in Stores vs Online

Here are some aspects and critical points of consideration while deciding between paint by number kits from stores or online.

The Durability of the Canvas

If you care about the durability of canvas, consider visiting a local store. That way you can test out the sturdiness of the canvas yourself.

However, if you only need a moderately sturdy canvas this may not be the case. Finding a reputable seller online might get you what you need without the extra hassle.

The Quality and Types of Paints

There are various paints used for painting on canvas. The ideal one for both beginners and experts is acrylic paint.

Make sure that you check the quality of paints both online and in-store before making up your mind.

Also, if you come across the same items both online and in a store, they can be the same item. So, going for the higher-rated and more affordable one is usually the wise thing to do.

The Accessories Included

In addition to the pre-printed painting canvas, you still need to buy a set of acrylic colors as well as different brushes for a precise painting.

Also, you might still need to get hooks, frames, and renderings to get the job done. As a rule of thumb, most online kits will offer the necessary items. Store-bought kits might charge extra for them.

Seller’s Reputation and Rating

Whether you’re buying the paint by number kit from a store or online, the same is true. It’s extremely essential to do a little research about the seller and how reliable their products are.

Paint by Number Kits in Stores vs Online – Final Words

As you can see, both brick and mortar stores and online ones have their own set of pros and cons.

If the quality of the materials and colors are your absolute priority, you might want to go for store-bought options.

However, if you are a beginner who is still starting their paint by number experience, buying them online might be a much better option to consider.

How to Start to Paint – Painting Tips for Beginners

1. Keep an Assortment of Brushes

As you’re starting out in the beginning, you’ll need a few different-sized brushes.

The brushes you’ll end up using the most are the ones with the flat top, known as Filbert brushes. So, it’s good to buy those in different sizes.

You’ll also need one or two liner brushes with long, thin bristles. They’ll come in handy when you’re painting small details and emphasize edges.

The best for acrylic paints is synthetic brushes. They’re neither too stiff nor too soft. Many great brands on the market are affordable and last for a long time. Ours have lasted for quite some time, and they’re still going strong!

2. Take Care of Your Brushes

Your brushes are your most prized possession. Keeping them clean and well-maintained should be your number one priority.

For starters, keep two jars of water next to you as you’re painting. Use one jar for diluting your paint or blending colors. Use the second jar or cleaning your brush when changing colors.

When you’re done painting for the day, always wash your brushes. You can use mild soap and lukewarm water to remove any paint that remains.

Then, lay them flat overnight. Once they’re fully dry, store them upright to help prevent damaging the bristles.

3. Pick Your Painting Medium

The term ‘medium’ typically refers to different paint types, such as acrylic, oil paint, or watercolors.


Acrylic paints are easy to use, which makes them great for beginners. You can add new layers without affecting the layers underneath.

They’re known for their quick drying time, so you won’t have to worry about smudges or overnight drying time. They’re also cheaper than oil paint and watercolors.


Oil paints are more challenging to work with. Yet, they’re known for creating rich, saturated colors and bright shades.


Watercolors are different because they always react to new layers. Anytime you add a new layer, the bottom layer will seep through. While this may make color mixing fun, it makes texturing quite tricky.

4. Embrace Bright Colors

One of our painting tips for beginners is all about color choices. Newbies tend to be a bit hesitant when using bright colors in their paintings.

I definitely was! Yet, there’s a way to incorporate bright colors without going overboard.

The best way to do this is by using contrasting colors to enhance your painting. To help you with that, keep a color wheel on hand as a reference.

Remember that acrylic paints become darker as they dry. If you want to create a lighter color, you can add a dab of white to it. The white will turn them into a slightly more opaque, lighter shade of color.

5. How to Start to Paint – Find a Reference

You’ve bought your paint, brushes, palette—everything’s ready and set! Now what? This is where many beginners falter because they don’t know what to paint.

Luckily, the internet is a great source filled with plenty of images to use. Photos are a great way to hone your skills. After that, you can set up your easel in public, maybe at the park or by the beach. Nothing beats painting a real-life image!

6. Get to Know Your Brush Strokes

Your brush strokes are ultimately what tell the story of your painting. By varying your strokes, you can create different visual styles to make your artwork stand out.

Here are four basic brush strokes you can apply to your next painting.

  1. Cross-hatching: use overlapping strokes from different directions to add texture
  2. Double-load: using a flat brush, apply two colors on the brush without mixing them
  3. Dry brush: cover the tip of the brush with little paint to apply light, brisk strokes
  4. Paint splatter: wet the brush slightly, then flick your wrist to create streaks of paint

7. Add Texture with a Palette Knife

A palette knife is a must-have tool for every artist. It adds a 3D effect and brings your painting to life. There are many affordable choices available.

However, if you’re stuck and don’t have a palette knife on hand, you can use a craft stick. Even an old credit card will do the trick!

8. Painting Tips for Beginners – Keep Your Paint Wet

I mentioned earlier that acrylic paints dry fairly quickly. To slow the drying time, use a spray bottle to mist the colors as you’re mixing them on the palette. A fine-mist sprayer works the best.

One trick I usually do is mist the painting surface as well. This works great, especially when I need to blend colors and create various shades.

Another option is to use an extender, also called a fluid retarder. This slows down drying time considerably. You’ll find that this comes in handy when you want to mix, blend, or create subtle nuances with your colors.

Some palettes work to keep your paint wet for longer by retaining the moisture within it. You can buy a moisture-retaining palette,or you can make your own.

9. Get a Better Perspective

Make a point to step back often during your painting sessions to prevent tunnel vision. You can even take a 15-minute break and come back to look at it with fresh eyes.

It allows you to see how well the colors are working together. Plus, seeing your work from a distance can give a sense of the painting’s overall composition.

10. Fix Mistakes After the Paint Has Dried

Don’t Panic! I think anyone learning how to paint should make this their new mantra. Mistakes are part of the artistic process.

The good news is that you can fix almost any mistake once the paint has dried. Simply paint over your mistake by adding a new layer. This is easier with acrylic paint because new layers don’t affect the ones below them.

11. How to Start to Paint – Embrace the Learning Curve

Many times when we embark on a new project, excitement takes over, and we rush into things. Then, as soon as we hit our first stumbling block, we give up. That’s one of the reasons why people quit all sorts of things in life.

With painting, practice is essential. You’ll notice that your technique improves from day to day, from painting to painting.

Get into the habit of painting once a day. If you have a busy schedule, then mark it down in your calendar. This way, you’ll be able to set time aside to focus on your artwork at least once a month.

When you get into the routine of being creative, it becomes an integral part of your life. So, keep at it, enjoy the process, and let your inner artist shine through.

How to Start to Paint – Final Thoughts

I hope these painting tips for beginners have shown you the basics of how to start painting. These 11 actionable tips for beginners listed are some of the fundamentals of painting. They can help you create unique works of art while reducing the risk of any mishaps.

Try to get in a few brush strokes each day until you feel ready to master an entire painting. Before you know it, you’ll be hooked just like the rest of us!

Selecting an Easy Paint by Numbers Kit for Beginners

For those who are inexperienced, picking out a kit can be a bit confusing. There are all kinds of kits out there: oil and acrylic kits, impressionist and baroque paintings.

Here are some details you might want to consider.

Detailed or Abstract?

What kind of painting is too difficult to manage? For beginners, detailed paintings might present somewhat of a challenge.

Remember: learning is a process. Take your time and don’t dive head-first into an advanced painting.

This is where abstract paintings can come in handy. They’ve just enough spaces and numbers to keep you engaged, yet they’re not too complicated for beginners.

Additionally, abstract paintings offer you a certain freedom that other paintings don’t. For example, more “realistic” paintings are restrictive because you have to forgo artistic conventions. This is especially hard for a beginner who’s still grappling with the basics.

Painting Medium

Acrylic Paints

Are you working with an acrylic kit? Or are you working with another kind of paint? You’ll notice that most beginner kits employ the use of acrylics. This is because acrylics are easy to work with and quick to dry down.

Nonetheless, acrylics’ ability to dry quickly can be a disadvantage. Paint can quickly grow tacky on the brush when you’re still pushing it around, which means you’ll have to use more paint than necessary.

To overcome all of the common problems that accompany acrylics when painting, you need to take a few precautions.

For starters, make sure to open only one pot at a time. Also, don’t forget to put the lids back on to keep the paint from drying. It’d also help if you painted one number at a time rather than multiple numbers at once.

All About Paints

Paint by number kits may seem straightforward and simple, and that’s largely part of their appeal. However, the paint that accompanies these kits often appears to be hit-or-miss.

Sometimes, the paint can be too spotty. Using it, you’ll have a hard time covering the numbers. You may try to counter its insufficient texture by layering on a thick coat, but you’d be surprised by how quickly this can turn into a mess!

Moreover, a lot of these kits include paint containers. Opening these containers can turn them tacky really fast, especially if you leave multiple containers open at once.

As a result, you’ll end up stirring these containers with toothpicks to keep the paint nice and smooth. This will waste an incredible amount of paint.

Overall, it’d be best if you purchase a painting kit that includes paint tubes. This way, you can squeeze a suitable amount of paint in your container with no problem.

What You Need to Know Before Painting

Before you make your order, you need to think about some things first. These details may seem small, but they’re incredibly detrimental to your overall painting experiment.

Painting Environment

You need to find a suitable environment to work in. For starters, it needs to be well-lit. If you try to paint in a dim place, you won’t only hurt your eyes and back, but you could also mess up your painting.

This could largely affect your performance. The bigger your kit is, the more detailed it is. And the more detailed it is, the more numbers and spaces it has. In such cases, you could use lamps to allow for better lighting. You could even use a magnifying glass.

All About Tables

Whether you’re on your computer or painting, the persistent backache is probably an all-too-familiar affair. Being hunched over your desk for long hours can only affect your back and neck negatively.

For those reasons, you should remind yourself to change your position every now and then. Not only will this make you more comfortable, but it’ll help you avoid unnecessary pain when painting.

Even switching between surfaces could help. If you’re starting to feel that soreness settle in again, try switching from a flat surface to tabletop easel, and vice versa.

Take a Picture!

A paint by numbers kit can get particularly messy. This is precisely why you need to take a picture with your phone of the untouched painting. A picture will serve as a reference and a reminder.

While painting, there’s an endless range of things that could happen; you could tear, spill, misplace, or even burn. Using the picture you took on your phone, you could zoom in to see every nook and cranny. This will help gain a clearer image of the borders and the details if you lose sight of them in the process.

Avoid Smudging!

One of the biggest problems a lot of beginners face with these kits is smudging. Your arm has never seemed more than an obstacle!

However, if you paint right, it won’t be.

To avoid any smudging, tackle one number at a time. Then, work your way from the top to the bottom. This way, your wrist will cause fewer issues.

Also, be patient. When switching between colors, remember to take a break as not to smudge them together.

From Darkest to Brightest

When you’re painting, be mindful of your colors. It’s preferable to paint first using the darkest color available to you. Then, start to lighten the shades until you reach the lightest color.

This will help you comprehend the composition of colors better. It also helps you understand how they relate to one another. You’ll quickly start to see the impact of colors against each other. After all, to show how dark something is, you have to contrast it against something light.

Amount of Paint

No matter how much you want to, you shouldn’t soak your brush in paint. Instead, let it gather an amount that’s sufficient enough to cover the required space, but not too much that it should leak into a connected space.

Remember: don’t let your brush drip with paint. This will conserve paint, and make it easier to paint in the smaller details.

Degree of Thickness

This is a common issue for beginners. What degree of thickness is suitable when painting? How many times do you have to layer over a space?

It’s important to not overuse paint when working. If you do, you could increase the risk of smudging. Additionally, the painting will take longer to dry.

Instead, layer your paint up to a medium thickness. You’ll know that you’ve reached an adequate layer when you see the number covered.

Move from Bigger to Smaller

A paint by numbers kit has small and big sections. To make things easier, you might begin by painting the bigger sections first. To do this, you should start painting in descending order; from biggest to smallest.

This will conserve both your time and energy. It’ll also help you avoid any unnecessary smudging.

Should You Use Gesso for Your Paint by Numbers Kit?


Gesso is a mixture that consists of a binder, chalk, pigment, and some other chemicals. It’s used as a primer for painting surfaces so that the paint would hold on longer. This allows for a longer lifetime for the painting, as well as better paint application.

However, gesso is typically used to prime canvases or panels. Do you have to use it for your paint by numbers kit?

The answer is no. Gesso usually accompanies oil paint, not acrylic paint. A lot of paint by numbers kits employ acrylic paints.

Nonetheless, it’s up to you. If your kit is non-acrylic, you could use gesso. In such cases, you must only use clear gesso. Colored gesso, such as white gesso, could cover up the numbers and spaces you need to complete your painting.

Conclusion – Easy paint by numbers

Paint by numbers kits are all about having fun. No matter how tips and tricks you arm yourself with, you won’t achieve anything notable if you’re not having fun.

Be patient. Take your time. We know it’s tempting to swallow your easy paint by numbers kit in one day, but it’s important to take a breather every now then. Those breaks aren’t only for you, they’re also for the quality of your painting, which will be a lot better. Good luck!

17 Paint by Number Mistakes Most Beginners Make

Paint by Number Mistakes: #1 – Buying a cheap kit

Original paint by numbers kits blow the cheap stuff out of the water. In addition to creating awesome art, original kits are well packaged and come with good-quality tools.

Cheap kits, on the other hand, are synonymous with wrinkles on canvas, low-quality brushes, inadequate/missing paints, and poorly constructed paints. Those are all things that you want to avoid at all costs.

In other words, cheap paint by numbers kits are not worth it! The canvas is usually folded during shipping, which creates all sorts of wrinkles. No matter how many times you iron it, someone will still see creases in your final artwork. And, the low-quality brushes will fray and poke holes on your canvas.

Don’t even get me started on cheap paints. First of all, their poor construction means that numbers will show through the paint.

Pro tip: If you suspect that your paint is low-quality, cover the numbers using white out or a white pencil before painting.

Secondly, there’s every possibility that you’ll run out of paint before you finish the painting. Even worse, the kit might come with some paints missing. Therefore, it’s better to use original paint by numbers.

“Is my paint by numbers legit?”

If you bought it from Ledgebay then it’s legit.

Paint by Numbers Mistakes: #2 – Ignoring comfort

Paint by numbers is wonderfully indulging, hence you’ll often find yourself thinking about the painting more than your comfort. Ideally, your comfort should come first. It’s only when you’re feeling nice and cozy that you can produce great art.

Therefore, start by finding a comfortable, well-lit room in which to paint. You should be able to see every number and shape (on the canvas) clearly. Otherwise you might end up painting the wrong color on a shape.

In case the design is super-detailed, chances are it will feature tiny spaces to paint. In that case, you may need a lamp and magnifying glass. Better yet, you could get a magnifying headlamp.

As long as we’re talking about your comfort, make sure that you have a comfortable working surface. A desk, table or counter top will do the trick. You could also consider using an easel, especially if you have a framed paint by numbers kit. That way you’ll alternate between sitting and standing.

Mistake 3: Using a cluttered working area


Keeping your work area clean is just as important as keeping brushes clean. There are two reasons for that. First, you want to clear the space of anything that can get dirty or wet.

As many painters will tell you, paint has a way of finding its way onto everything but the canvas. For that reason, you may also want to cover the working area with some old newspapers to protect it.

Secondly, a cluttered space is distracting. Decluttering it will help you focus on your paint by numbers project more than anything else.

Mistake 4: Failing to take reference picture

Bring out your phone and take a few pics of the canvas before you start to paint. Why? Because you’ll need a permanent reference picture in case you spill paint and cover a number.

Besides, you can zoom the picture to see the really tiny shapes and numbers on the canvas. Some kits do come with a miniature version of the canvas for reference. But you can never have too many backup plans when painting by numbers.

Mistake 5: Failing to read the instruction booklet

All the best paint by numbers kits for adults and kids come with an instruction booklet among other things. Read it carefully before you start painting.

That’s where you’ll get all the important information. For example, the manufacturer will specify that if you see an unnumbered shape, then it means you shouldn’t paint it. Or if you have two numbers in one shape, that means you should mix the two paints that correspond to those numbers.

Mistake 6: Starting from the bottom

One rule of thumb when painting by numbers is to start from the top and finish at the bottom. More precisely, start from the top right corner if you’re left-handed or the top left corner if you’re right-handed. Why so?

Because that way you won’t smudge the canvas. Conversely, if you start from the bottom, your hand or sleeve might touch wet paint that’s already on the canvas as you reach for the top spots. And then it will smudge sections of the canvas, thus ruining your artwork.

Mistake 7: Starting with light colors

The conventional way of painting with oil or acrylic is to start with dark colors and move to light ones. Watercolor, in contrast, requires that you to do the opposite; i.e. move from light to dark.

However, in paint by numbers, there’s only one principle: start with dark colors and finish with light ones. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using oil, acrylic or watercolor paint.

That’s because dark colors are usually part of the background. Consequently, painting them first not only gives you an idea of how the painting will look, but it also teaches you a thing or two about color composition.

Mistake 8: Using clogged brushes (Keeping Brushes Clean)

The thing with painting by numbers is that the paint dries out very quickly, especially if it’s acrylic or watercolor. And when it does, it clogs your painting brushes. The solution? Clean your brushes.

Keeping brushes clean prevents them from clogging. Additionally, you won’t mistakenly mix paints as you switch the brush from one paint container to another.

Pro tip: if your brush clogs, use a thinner (like nail polish, for example) to remove the thick paint.

Mistake 9: Using paper towels to clean brushes

So, keeping brushes clean is an important part of the paint by numbers process. But how do you that? Definitely not with paper towels.

While they may do a decent job in keeping brushes clean, paper towels wear off quickly. In contrast, a piece of cloth will last longer and do an excellent job.

Simply dip the brush in water and then dry off thoroughly with the cloth towel. As you’ve probably already guessed, you’ll need a small bowl of water for this part of the exercise.

Alternatively, you can keep the cloth constantly wet so that you don’t dip the brush in water every time. That’s an easier way of keeping brushes clean without spending all your paper towels.

Mistake 10: Using one brush for big and small shapes

Your typical paint by numbers canvas will have big and small shapes to paint. For that reason, you may need a brush for big shapes and a different brush for small shapes.

That’s because big brushes (those designed for big shapes) often paint outside the borders of small shapes. As a result, they tend to compromise the look of your final artwork.

Rather than taking that (unnecessary) risk, consider using a small, medium and large brush for small, medium and large shapes, they’ll also give you crispness, sharpness and softness respectively.

Mistake 11: Not buying your own set of brushes

Even if you’re a beginner, you should always stock extra sets of paint by numbers brushes. For one, the brushes that come with the kit could be too bad for your liking.

Also, the kit may contain just one large brush. Remember mistake #10? You’ll need a second, smaller brush for small shapes. And that’s where your own-bought set of paint by numbers brushes comes in.

You’ll feel even better painting with your own brushes if you’ve ever used them before. That’s because you’re more familiar with them, which means better control.

Pro tip: use a toothpick for the extremely tiny spaces in case you can’t find a suitable brush.

Mistake 12: Leaving paint lids open

Closing the paint container when you’re not using it is probably the top two tip to remember alongside keeping brushes clean. Just like watercolor, acrylic paint dries out very quickly when the lid stays open. Oil may take some time but it too will dry.

Therefore, make sure that you close all the paint containers when you’re not using them. Once you’re done with the artwork, save any extra paint for the future by sealing the containers and storing them safely. You may need to do some touch ups to the painting or possibly use the paints for another project all together.

Pro tip: if your acrylic or watercolor paint dries out, add some warm water into the pod to restore it. Both are water-soluble. Use an oil thinner like turpentine for oil paint.

Mistake 13: Using too much paint

Do not use too much paint because the canvas may fail to absorb all the excess. Consequently, the paint will remain wet for longer, and you don’t want that.

When paint dries out, it not only prevents smudging, but you also get to finish the artwork faster. Therefore, use each paint as conservatively as possible.

Pro tip: moisten the tip of your brush with water before dipping it in paint. It will pick just enough paint; not excess.

Mistake 14: Not thinning thick paint

The problem with thick paint is that it takes too long to dry. As a result, the artwork will constantly be prone to smudging for as long as you’re working on it. Thin the paint to avoid that unpleasant scenario.

Thin paint dries out quicker. And the best part is that you can use water to thin acrylic and watercolor paints. If you’re using oil, then turpentine or white spirit will do.

Mistake 15: Crippling fear of making mistakes

You’re allowed to make mistakes when creating art. Sounds ironic considering our topic, doesn’t it?

Nonetheless, mistakes help you learn, experiment and figure out what works and what doesn’t. More importantly, mistakes are easy to correct when painting by numbers. And that’s why you shouldn’t panic when you make one.

Painted the wrong color on a shape? Wait for it to dry and then overlay that color with the correct one. if you can still see the underlying color, wait for the shape to dry completely and then add a second layer of the correct paint.

Mistake 16: Fear of experimenting

As long as we’re talking about fear, do not be afraid to experiment. Experimenting has the same good effect as mistakes; i.e. it helps you learn and grasp the key concepts of real painting.

You can get the gist of balance, contrast, harmony, proportion, scale and repetition – all of which are principles of real painting – just by playing around with your paint by numbers project.

For example, you can paint a thin outline of a darker color around a shape to give it a richer depth. If the shape is, say blue, you can outline it with a hue of black to give it more depth. Such subtle “lessons” are the reason why paint by numbers is among the best gateways to real painting.

Mistake 17: Burning out

Michelangelo took 4 years to complete the Sistine Chapel. Same as Leonardo da Vinci with the Mona Lisa – roughly 4 years. Van Gogh took 12 months to paint the Starry Night while Picasso spent 3 weeks working on the Guernica.

If history has taught us anything it’s that it takes time to create good art. So, if you feel tired, take a break, have some coffee, get some sleep, go out and then resume when you’re feeling fresh.

Most importantly, enjoy the process. All the 17 tips for painting by numbers are not nearly as important as having fun. You’ll love the final artwork a lot more if you delight in this amazing form of art.

Paint Guide – Types Used by Artists

Types of Paints

To properly start our paint guide, we’ll begin with a thorough yet simple explanation of the two most widely used paint types in paint by numbers kits: acrylics and oils.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paints are synthetic paints that you can mix and blend just like oil paints. One of the main characteristics of acrylic paint is that it dries in a very short time.

In fact, if you don’t use the paint on your palette quick enough, it’ll dry right there. As such, acrylic paint is less forgiving with limited flexibility, so you must be decisive and act fast when you paint.

Because of the extremely quick drying time, acrylic paint isn’t the ideal choice for painting portraits or other subjects since you’ll probably want to go in again and make adjustments.

There’s, however, a bright side to having a short drying period: you’ll be able to paint layer over layer rather fast. This is because acrylic paint doesn’t follow the “fat over lean, thick over thin” rule like oil does (more on this later), which also makes it the go-to option for beginners.

Cons of Acrylic Paint

With that being said, if you are looking for commercial success early on as an artist, you need to consider whether this ‘stigma’ may influence your chances of selling your paintings.

  • To prevent your acrylic paints from drying in a short time, you can try using a spray bottle to lightly sprinkle water over your palette.
  • If you don’t have a lot of time to spare or you just don’t like painting for extended periods, consider picking only 1 to 3 colors to work with during each session and just paint the parts of the painting corresponding to those colors. For the following sessions, you can do the same but with new colors. This method stops you from filling the palette with all the colors at the same time, only for them dry on your palette.

Unfortunately, acrylic painting has a false yet popular bad reputation surrounding it, as a lot of people have the idea that being a painting master is all about using oil paints.

The truth is, the technology of acrylic paint has undergone major developments over the recent years, so they’re certainly not less in quality compared to oil paints. Not to mention, acrylic paints weren’t even available for most painting gurus back in the day.

Oil Paints

Time for an oil paint guide. Basically, oil paints consist of pigment (which gives the color) and a small amount of oil.

Most oil paints available on the market are toxic. So, make sure they’re always out of children’s reach and be extra careful when you use them. To paint using oils, you’ll need the following materials:

  • Oil paint
  • Medium (oil)
  • Paint thinner (solvent)

The oil paint is just the tube of paint. As we mentioned above, oil paint inside the tube is made out of pigment and oil. This serves as a binder.

When a medium is added, like more oil, the paint will apply more fluidly. So, you’ll end up using less paint from the tube.

The third material you need is the paint thinner. It works to break down the oil and thin the paint. In oil painting, the purpose of a paint thinner is to speed up the drying process. A consistent balance between the amount of oil and paint thinner used is crucial in oil painting.

You should also consider investing in odorless solvents as the smell of the conventional turpentine solvent can be strong enough to knock you out, or at least cause you a bad headache. Luckily, odorless solvents are now a thing and their smell is much less potent.

Paint Guide – Differences Between Acrylic and Oil Paint

We can’t have an oil vs acrylic paint guide without discussing the differences between the two, so let’s get to it.

  1. Acrylic paint is more suitable for beginners. Acrylic paints are widely considered the number one beginner-friendly medium due to their simplicity of use. Also, they don’t require as many materials and are much less harsh on the senses than oil paints.
  2. Oil painting tends to be more expensive. The extra expense of oil painting comes from the additional materials required such as special cleaning materials plus oil mediums and solvents. You may also need a wider selection of palette knives, and to top things off, the paints and paintbrushes for oil painting themselves are usually more expensive.
  3. Oil paints drying a lot slower than acrylic paints. While this means you’ll have to wait longer for your painting to dry completely (sometimes up to a year), you’ll also have more flexibility for adjustments with oil paints.
  4. Acrylics are safer. If you’re someone who often worries about environmental or health aspects of using oil paint, acrylics would be a super compelling option because they’re non-toxic and don’t give a pungent, unpleasant smell.

Other Differences Between Oil and Acrylic

  1. For oil paints, it’s a fundamental rule that you paint thick over thin and fat over lean. When using oil paints, if the top layers of paint dry before the lower layers of paint (which are the layers you applied earliest), then the top layers will crack.
  2. Oil paints are way harder to control and clean than acrylic paints. You’ll need to invest in special cleaning materials to keep the mess of oil paints in check.
  3. Acrylic paints tend to darken as they dry. This isn’t an issue with oil paints, although some types do develop a yellow tinge over time. As a result, you’ll need to keep in mind such a color change when applying acrylic paints.
  4. Blending is easier with oil paints. This is thanks to the long drying time. With acrylic paints, blending isn’t as easy because they dry much quicker.
  5. Glossy vs matte finish. Oil paint gives a bit of a glossy and refined finish, whereas acrylic paint gives a more matte finish.

Paint Guide – What Paint to Use When Painting

The decision is ultimately yours. We do recommend that after experimenting with both paint types, you end up focusing on just one of them. After all, it’s better to master one medium than be average in multiple mediums.

If you’re a beginner at painting, we recommend you start with acrylics. Once you have the basics down, you can try painting with oils.

Paint Guide – Final Words

Wrapping up this paint guide, we can safely say oils and acrylics are both excellent mediums. No matter which paint type you decide to focus on, you can be a great artist.

Beginner’s Guide to Make, Prepare & Handle Paint

Oil Paint

Oil is the most traditional type of paint. Its use dates back to the 7th century AD. It is basically a pigment embedded in oil. Usually, the oil is linseed or safflower oil.

Oil paint is known for its slow drying. It gives the artist more time to work on their painting and it helps with blending.

It is durable and lasts for centuries. However, the color tends to darken if it hasn’t been exposed to light for long. As soon as you expose it to light, it lightens up again.

When dealing with oil painting, it’s common to use mediums to thin it out. You’ll also need a solvent to clean your brushes. Note that the solvent might be toxic and flammable.

How to Make Paint – Oil

Oil paint can be expensive, but I’ll show you how you can easily make it at home.


  • Pigment
  • Cold-pressed linseed oil or safflower oil
  • A muller
  • A slab or a glass surface
  • A palette knife
  • Empty paint tubes

Linseed oil is what most oil paints are made of. It dries faster than other types of oil, but it yellows the most.

Safflower oil, on the other hand, doesn’t yellow, but it takes too long to dry. Personally, I prefer linseed oil.

As for the pigment, I recommend the brand Gamblin for pigment powder. I’m using the Gamblin Dry Pigment in the color cadmium red. The rest of the materials can be found at your local art store.


  1. Make a volcano of pigment on the glass slab.
  2. Pour some linseed oil on the pile of pigment.
  3. Start mixing the powder and the oil with the palette knife.
  4. You can add more pigment or more oil depending on if your mixture is too wet or too dry.
  5. Keep stirring until the powder pigment is completely mixed and saturated with the oil.
  6. Once it’s fully mixed, use the muller to grind the pigment further with the oil. Grind in small circles and in figures resembling the number ‘8.’ Don’t forget to wipe the excess paint off the muller.
  7. Use your palette knife to scrape the paint to the middle.
  8. Repeat the previous steps of grinding and scraping until you feel the paint becomes consistent.
  9. Transfer the paint into an empty tube or container.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is the most common type of paint, especially among beginners. It can be used on all types of surfaces. It’s easy to use and it’s cheap, so feel free to experiment with the paint as much as you need.

Acrylic paint dries fast as opposed to oil paint. This is an advantage if you want to build thick layers in a short period of time.

This type of paint can resemble oil paint or watercolors, depending on the quantity of water that’s used.

How to Make Paint – Acrylic

Acrylic paint is probably the easiest to make out of the types discussed in this post. The techniques used in making oil paint are quite similar to the ones needed to make acrylic.


  • Pigment
  • Acrylic binder
  • Glass palette
  • Palette knife
  • Water or alcohol
  • Eyedropper

We can use the same type of pigment that we used to make oil paint. I like to eyeball things when making mine, but keep in mind that some brands have their own ratio recommendations.


  1. First, we need to disburse the pigment in water or alcohol on the glass palette. Alcohol will disburse easier than water as it’s less dense. I like to use a mixture of both.
  2. Add more liquid to the mixture if needed. It’s recommended to use an eyedropper so you won’t add too much. You can add more pigment if the mixture needs to be thicker.
  3. Keep mixing the liquid and the pigment until you get a paste-like consistency.
  4. Now it’s time to mix in our medium. I use Liquitex 5008 Professional Fluid Medium.
  5. After mixing the binder with the pigment using our palette knife, start grinding the pigment using the muller as explained above.
  6. Keep grinding as long as needed until you get the consistency you desire.
  7. Lastly, transfer to an empty tube or container for storage.


Watercolor paint is made mainly of pigments bound together by gum arabic solution. One of the biggest pros of painting with watercolors is that you don’t need a lot of equipment. You just need brushes, watercolor paint, water, and a water-absorbent surface.

It’s hard to master watercolors because you can’t paint over an area where you made a notable mistake. This is due to the transparency of the watercolors. But this transparency also gives the colors a great deal of inner brilliance and clarity, which is primarily the reason why some people opt for watercolors.

How to Make Paint – Watercolor

Making watercolors consists of two steps: the first is making the binder and the second is making the paint itself.

Making the Binder

Our binder here mainly consists of gum arabic. It’ll be acting as the base of the watercolor paint.

  • Gum Arabic powder
  • Glycerin
  • Boiling, distilled water
  • Clove oil (optional)
  1. In a glass container, mix four parts boiling, distilled water with two parts gum arabic powder until there are no lumps.
  2. Add to the previous mixture one part glycerin. This is a humectant that helps retain its moisture. It also prevents cracking.
  3. Strain the mixture with a muslin cloth when pouring it into the storage container to make sure there are no lumps.
  4. You can add two drops of clove oil to preserve your binder for a longer time.
  5. Let the mixture sit for 24 to 48 hours before using it. It’s advisable to store it in the fridge.

Making the Paints

Now that you’ve prepared your binder (gum solution), it’s time to make the paints themselves.

  • Pigment
  • Honey
  • A glass surface
  • A muller
  • Palette knife
  1. Add honey to the previous solution. It’s best to use four parts gum solution to one part honey. Honey does the same job as the glycerin, but mixing both of them is advised for best results.
  2. Mix the binder with the pigment using the palette knife. Here you can use whatever ratio you like. Again, I like to eyeball it. Some like a one-to-one ratio, while others prefer more binder than pigment.
  3. Once you get a paste-like consistency, start grinding the paint using the muller.
  4. Keep grinding as illustrated before until you get the desired consistency.
  5. Now transfer the paint into plastic half pans or any containers you prefer.

How to Make Paint – Final Thoughts

Making your paint at home creates some kind of a connection between you and your paint. There’s something so appealing about using your own colors in your painting.

You need to make sure that you’re taking all the necessary precautions when making it though. The pigments that are used can be toxic.

It’s necessary to wear gloves and long sleeve tops. Also, you need to wear a respirator mask. This is essential to prevent inhaling any powder particles.

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