Does staring at a blank canvas make you nervous? Have you bought a beautiful painting by numbers project but you’re afraid to start? Afraid you might ruin the canvas?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. That’s a normal fear to have, even more so when you’re doing it for the first time.
The best thing to do is to remind yourself that it’s supposed to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience! Try to let go of those inhibitions and let yourself have fun.
The next best thing to do is arm yourself with a lot of tips and tricks so that you have the right know-how to do your absolute best painting by numbers.
Looking for such information? Keep reading! We’ve collected ten of the best tips and tricks to make your painting experience as smooth as possible.
1. Make a Painting Plan for each Painting by Numbers
Every good painting starts with a plan. Coming up with a plan helps make the blank canvas appear conquerable. Otherwise, all of those little sections might overwhelm you so much that you never start.
We suggest going by descending number order. The bigger numbers often contain the largest sections and this lets you see lots of progress in a short amount of time.
Another way to go is to pick your favorite paint pot and start with that one. The plan doesn’t matter as long as it helps you start painting!
2. A Little Dab Goes a Long Way
When you’re working with so many beautiful colors, it’s tempting to dip your brush all the way into the paint pot. More color must be better, right?
The problem with this way of thinking is that you’ll end up with too much paint on your brush. A lot of the sections are small and detailed, and you don’t need much paint at all to cover them. If you have too much paint loaded on the brush, it’s easy to go outside of the lines.
It’s better to only take a small amount of paint at one time and dip back into the paint pot if you need more. This way you’re never wasting any paint and you ensure that each brushstroke is precise.
3. Don’t Forget a Second Coat
Although your kit comes with pigmented paints, a second coat makes them even better. Adding another layer of paint lets the colors become even more vibrant, giving a natural brightness to the picture.
It’s a great way to cover up any places that might be thinner than others, or any places you went outside of the lines.
Plus, once you’re done painting, you don’t want those numbers to ghost behind the paints. A second coat stops this from happening, letting your painting speak for itself without anything marring its beauty.
4. Keep Clean Water Nearby While Painting by Numbers
Water is a necessity when it comes to painting with acrylics. Keep an old jar or yogurt cup with fresh water near your work station whenever you pull out your project.
It helps you clean your brushes in between different colors, which stops your paints from going muddy before you even paint them. Make sure to swirl the paintbrush in the water to get rid of all the paint before moving on to the next color.
Water’s also great for cleaning up an accident, instead of needing to rush off to the kitchen while the mess spreads.
When the water starts to look murky that means it’s time to rinse it out and replace it with clean water again.
5. Thin the Paint For Smoother Coverage
Acrylic paints often come in a thick consistency. This is part of what makes the colors so vibrant and beautiful. The downside to this is that the thickness makes it difficult to lay down a smooth wash of color without ridges forming from the brushstrokes.
Although this gets easier with time, there’s an easy trick to ensure every layer of paint comes out nice and smooth.
A couple of drops of water thins out the paint enough that it spreads evenly on the canvas. You don’t want to add too much, however, or else the paint goes transparent. A few drops are all you need to make the paint more workable.
Doing this means you’ll need at least a second coat, sometimes even a third if you don’t feel like the colors pop enough. The cool thing is that by thinning out the paints, you’ll make them last a little longer, too.
If you’re nervous, add one drop at a time and then paint a little swatch on a scrap piece of paper. This way you’ll be able to tell when you have the paint thin enough without ruining your painting.
6. Complete One Color at a Time
As you’re painting, try not to jump around from one color to the next. You’ll end up wasting a lot of paint every time you rinse off your brush in between the different colors.
More paint lingers on the brush bristles than you might think, so try to use up all of that paint while you’ve got it on the brush. It’s tempting to try all of the paint colors, but it makes the process easier if you stay with one color at a time.
Plus, there’s something very satisfying about seeing an empty paint pot once you’re done with it!
7. Be Patient During the Drying Time
Once you’re done with a layer of paint, leave it alone to dry all the way through. Trying to add another layer or brushing up against half-dry paint creates a caked-up smudge that isn’t easy to fix.
You want to make certain that the paint is dry before doing anything else to it. Change to a different section of the painting or take a break for a little while before coming back to that previous section.
The nice thing about acrylic paints is that they don’t take long at all to dry. Depending on how thick the paint is, it takes anywhere from five to fifteen minutes to completely dry.
Your art is important! Don’t mess it up by being impatient.
8. Pick the Right Brush for the Job
As you start painting, you may find a brush size that you love. You’ll want to use it for everything, regardless of the section you’re working on.
To get the best results, it’s important to switch to an appropriate brush size. Using a big brush in tiny detailed areas leads to mistakes. Using a tiny brush in a large area makes it difficult to lay down a flat layer of color.
Use a brush that makes sense for the section you’re working on. Don’t worry, you’ll pick up your favorite brush again soon enough!
If you don’t have the right size brush for the section you’re working on, it’s a good idea to invest in some extra brushes. This way you always have a variety to choose from during future projects.
9. Toothpicks Are A Painter’s Best Friend
Sometimes even the smallest of brushes isn’t enough to get into the tiny details of a painting. This is where a toothpick comes in handy.
Put a little paint on the end of one of these and you’ll have no trouble covering every nook and cranny of your paint by numbers. Draw out a glob of paint with the toothpick to reach up to the edges of a section without going past the lines.
If you have paints to mix or you want to thin out the paint, it’s better to use a toothpick to do this. Using a brush seems more convenient but that tends to clog up the brush with too much paint.
10. Always Remember to Close the Paint Pots
It’s worth mentioning the importance of closing the paint pots after each painting session. Acrylic paints dry fast and once they’re dry, they’re stuck that way. Even a small gap between the lid and the container leads to a harden paint puck that’s unusable.
Before you put all of your materials away, take an extra couple of seconds to go through each pot and give it an extra push. This habit will stop any chance of having ruined paints the next time you want to work on your painting.
Dive Right In With Your First Painting By Numbers Project
Now that you know all of the best tips and tricks to tackle your first painting by numbers, there’s no need for any more hesitation. It might still be a little scary to let go and dive into the painting, but don’t be afraid of making mistakes.
Even professional painters make mistakes. That’s how we learn and get better with every painting we complete.
Don’t wait any longer. A whole world of color and creativity awaits you!
If you’re looking to get your very first painting by numbers kit, don’t forget to take a look at some of our most popular designs!