How to Do a Paint by Numbers for Beginners

Is it your first time doing a Paint by Numbers kit?

Dan Robbins, the inventor of the art craze, created the kits in the 1940s. Sales for the kits began to take off in the 1950s. The kits have since become a popular leisure-time activity.

Even now, it’s a popular bonding activity for families, friends, and couples.

In this paint by numbers for beginners’ guide, we’ll show you can best go through the painting process. We also have some tips to make your first painting experience easy and fun.

1. Buy A Paint by Numbers Kit With Frame

The first step to this process is to buy a Paint by Numbers kit. In most kits, you have the choice to get them mounted on frames. If you’re a total beginner, it’s best to buy a kit that’s already mounted on a frame.

Paintings in smaller sizes may not have that option. If that’s the case, get a wooden frame for canvases and have the canvas stapled onto it or do it yourself. Make sure you check Google for the correct process of mounting it onto the frame first.

If your canvas has creases or wrinkles, iron it out first. Do this before you staple it onto the frame.

Many parents who want their kids to learn to paint often paint with them. Older kids often want to work on separate canvases. If you’re getting separate kits, choose Paint by Numbers for kids.

2. Prepare Your Work Area and Keep It Clean

It’s vital to have a clean, well-lit, and spacious working area. Work in well-lit environments, be it in natural or artificial light. As much as you can, choose natural lighting when working with paint.

When you have a designated area prepared, cover it up with old newspapers. This way, you don’t risk spilling paint onto the surface of the work area. Also, if you do, you’ll know the surfaces remain protected from permanent stains or paint splashes.

Always keep your work area neat. If you know you can be messy with paints, place old newspapers on the floor as well. If you’re afraid your kids may paint the walls as well, protect them with old newspapers too.

To ensure your painting dries up fast, make sure you also have proper ventilation.

Remember to prepare small containers of water and paper towels to clean and dry your brush with. Have at least two or three at the ready.

3. Start Painting With the Darkest Colors

Your canvas and workplace are ready. Now, it’s time for you to open the paints and begin painting. When you’re doing Paint by Numbers, it’s important to paint darker colors first.

Moving from dark to light helps you understand the image better. Also, dark colors often serve as an outline for the images. Even if you’re only painting as a form of art therapy, you’ll realize the composition of the image faster.

Often, kids’ Paint by Numbers kits features simpler images. Even if that’s the case, follow the same rule. Have them start with dark color paints before they move on to the next-lighter shade. Your little artist may even learn how shadows and contrast impact a painting from this technique.

4. Color the Background First

Many adults and kids prefer to start simple with subjects like flowers or fruits. If you took a Paint by Numbers flowers kit or something similar, you want to start with the background first. Not only will this lead to a satisfying finish, but it will also give you a better sense of the picture’s entirety.

Also, the background often has some of the darkest areas. These dark areas from the background serve to outline the subject of the painting. This makes it easier to fill in the central piece later.

5. Paint From the Top and Side

You want to think ahead and avoid smudging as you go down the canvas. Left-handed people must start painting from the top-right corner. If you’re right-handed, begin from the top-left corner.

Is your kid unsure about where to begin in his or her Paint by Numbers kids’ kit? Help your child decide what side he or she wants to start from. Suggest a top-down left to right or right to left approach.

Check that your child chooses the correct side to start painting on. Children often still have heavy hands and may lean on the canvas. To avoid the paint getting onto their arms and sleeves, have them begin painting on the correct side.

6. One Color at a Time For Paint by Numbers for Beginners

Doing art like Paint by Numbers for beginners doesn’t only help you boost creativity. Art also helps you focus better on your current tasks. Use this learned focus and apply it with life later.

Thus, when you work on Paint by Numbers paintings, you want to work with one color at a time.

You’ll notice the canvas has many parts with different numbers. Each number corresponds to a specific color in your kit. Your goal is to paint the colors on the areas with the matching numbers.

There’s no rule against opening all your paints and using every color at the same time. However, the best way to finish a task is to do it one step at a time. It’s the same with Paint by Numbers.

Focusing on a certain color can help you fill in every part that needs coloring. Another reason to focus on one color at a time is so you can clean your brush fewer times.

Remember to cover the numbers well. Otherwise, they’ll become visible in your final piece. As a tip, if your first coating is too thin and the numbers still show, add a second layer of paint after the first one dries.

7. Clean Your Brushes Before You Switch Colors 

Speaking of cleaning your brush, let’s talk about that. Before you shift your focus on the next color and number, clean your brush first. You don’t need to wash it under running water to give it a thorough clean.

You only need to have a container of water at the ready to dip your brush in. The water washes the paint off the brush hairs. Afterward, grab a paper towel and use it to take the extra water out of the brush.

It’s vital to give you brush proper cleaning before you go to the next color. This way, you avoid mixing any residual paint with the next color. This is especially important if you’re moving from a dark color to a brighter shade.

8. Use Moderate Amounts of Paint and Keep Your Paint From Drying up 

If you’ve never used acrylic paints before, know that they dry fast. If you’re not using a paint pot, close them well.

This is another reason why you need to paint one color at a time. Having unnecessary paint pots open can lead to dry paint.

Because they get to express themselves, art helps kids boost self-confidence. If you’re painting with young children, supervise them.

Are you worried you won’t have enough paint?

Often, a Paint by Numbers kit has enough paint to cover the entire canvas. You can even use your paint to add a second coating. The key to not running out of paint is to use them in moderate amounts.

9. Tips on Paint by Numbers for Beginners

This guide on Paint by Numbers for beginners won’t be complete without some helpful tips.

When you’re painting an area, start from the smallest bits to the largest segments. When you’re filling in tricky edges, paint with care and steady hands. This way, the paint doesn’t go over the lines and bleed into the neighboring segment.

Take time to look over your canvas so you’ll know where certain colors end and begin. Do this before you begin and during the painting process. Reviewing the canvas often also helps you note areas where the coloring can be tricky.

Don’t forget to take breaks between color changes or whenever you need them. Painting by numbers doesn’t only de-stress you. Because it boosts creativity, it also benefits your health.

Less stress boosts your happiness, which can affect your physical health as well. Creative activities improve mental state by releasing dopamine, the body’s natural anti-depressant. This upped creativity and happiness boosts your immune system.

Take your time. Remember, it took Leonardo da Vinci around four years to finish the legendary Mona Lisa. It’s not about finishing the piece as soon as you can.

It’s about practicing your fine motor skills, honing your creativity, and having fun. With that said, don’t forget to have fun.

Start Creating Art

That’s it for our guide on Paint by Numbers for beginners. We hope you learned a lot about painting on Paint by Numbers kits.

Whether you have a small or large Paint by Numbers kit, these techniques all apply. Note these tips as well because they’ll help you get better at painting with time. With enough practice, you’ll be ready for more complex paintings.

If you want to know more or get started with Paint by Numbers, feel free to get in touch with us at support@ledgebay.com.

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