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9 Tips and Tricks for Mastering Paint by Numbers

Learning how to paint by numbers is a process that can take time. The art form became popular as a way to teach everyday people how to paint by giving them a guideline to follow when creating art, but there’s still a lot you have to learn to master this process.

Paint by numbers kits will give you everything you need to start, but it will take time to hone your skills and feel brave enough to get creative with your projects. These simple tips will show you how to do paint by numbers with ease and build up the courage to move from beginner to creative artist, covering all stages from preparation to presentation.

#9: Be Prepared

Avoid the temptation when starting a paint by numbers picture to just jump right in without giving it any thought. Preparation is a key part of this process and spending a little time at the start will leave you much more satisfied with the final piece. Figure out your colors, the order you’re working in, what brushes and equipment you need, and have it all laid out in front of you and ready to go.

#8: Work in Descending Order

One of the biggest challenges for new paint by numbers artists is figuring out where to even start. There are a few approaches you can take, with some people swearing by their method, but the easiest way is to work in descending order. You’ll want to begin with the largest areas first and then work down to the smaller, and this is due to a couple of reasons. Firstly, it helps you get the hang of the painting system, and secondly, it’ll show you more of the painting as you progress and give you a feel for how it’s going to turn out.

#7: Darkest Colors First

If you’re trying to figure out where to even begin, it can help to organize the painting process by starting with the darkest colors first. This will not just make it easier to work your way through the painting, but it can help you figure out how the light and dark colors correspond with each other and what effect they have. This paint by numbers technique is used by serious artists and beginners alike, so make sure you try it out.

#6: Try Not to Smudge

It sounds easy enough to try and avoid smudges and marks on your painting, but it’s a pain that artists know all too well. The best approach is to start from the very top and work your day down so you lessen the chance of smudging paint all over the canvas with your hand. You might feel this takes even more out of the natural flow of the painting but you’ll be thankful when you end up with a clean piece of art that you didn’t ruin with your own hand.

#5: Cover the Numbers

Even if you don’t plan on hanging your piece and declaring to the world that you painted it yourself, you still don’t want the numbers to show when you look at it. The best way to ensure the numbers don’t come through is to apply a second coat of paint, but it has to be even. You can wait for the first coat to dry before you go again, or give it a few minutes and go over it. Either way, it’ll look a lot more professional when you can’t see any hint of numbers.

#4: Watch Your Supplies

All good artists understand the importance of caring for their supplies and it’s something that the paint by numbers beginner will have to learn as well. Keep an eye on everything you’re using and take care of it so you’ll be able to use it again. Wipe and wet brushes clean, practice good brush maintenance, and always put the lids back on your paint pots to keep them from drying out. Once you get the hang of these small details you can keep a professional set of brushes that will make your paintings even better.

#3: Break Some Rules

A paint by numbers kit will come with pretty specific instructions about how to create your own masterpiece. While they’re certainly helpful to follow, that doesn’t mean you can’t break some rules as well. Don’t be afraid to experiment with colors or try other brushes, because that’s how we learn. You might find that what you’ve come up with on your own actually turned out better than the kit recommended, and the final piece will have your personal touches to it.

#2: A Little Goes a Long Way

One of the most important paint by numbers techniques that you’ll need to learn is just how much paint to put on the brush. It can be tempting to dunk the whole thing and start painting, but you’ll soon learn this approach doesn’t work. A paint brush requires a surprisingly small amount of paint to work so only dip the very tip in and see how much it’s actually capable of covering.

#1: Make It Pop

Once you’ve finished your paint by numbers piece, you might feel that it’s still missing something. Even the best artists probably weren’t entirely happy with their art until it was hung properly, so the same goes for you. An important part of the paint by numbers process is what to do with your art when you’ve finished, so take the time to learn some techniques and hang your canvas or frame it to truly appreciate what you created.

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