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21 Paint by Number Mistakes That You Should Avoid

paint by number mistakes

Keeping brushes clean as you paint by numbers is a no-brainer. So is cleaning the brushes before switching paints. Or starting with light colors and finishing with dark ones. Today, we will discuss some paint by number mistakes most beginners make.

But before that, let’s understand what paint by numbers kits are. So, what are they?

What’s a Painting by Number Kit?

Paint by number is a paint kit that typically comes with a full-page outline of a painting, numbered areas corresponding to different paint colors, and paintbrushes. The paint by number method is a fun way to create a painting without having to worry about coming up with your own design.

Just follow the numbers and paint by the colors indicated, and you’ll end up with a beautiful picture.

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Here are some tips for getting the most out of your paint by number kit:

Make sure you have all the supplies you need before you start – canvas, paint, brushes, easels, etc.

Painting by numbers is a fun and easy way to create a beautiful painting, without needing any artistic talent! All you need is a paint by numbers kit, which includes a pre-printed canvas with numbered sections, and a set of corresponding paint pots. Once you have all your supplies, simply start painting in the sections with the matching color – it’s that easy!

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Ledgebay Extra Paint Set for Ritas Pansies Paint by Number Kit – Full Set of Acrylic Replacement Paints – Vacuum Sealed for Freshness – Exact Match for Unframed and Framed Kits
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Choose a quiet place to work where you won’t be interrupted.

Painting is a great way to express your creativity, but it can be frustrating if you’re constantly being interrupted. To avoid this, it’s important to choose a painting spot that is quiet and secluded.

If you’re painting indoors, try setting up in a room where you won’t be disturbed by family members or pets. If you’re painting outdoors, find a spot away from foot traffic and any areas where people might congregate.

Once you’ve found the perfect painting spot, make sure to have all of your supplies nearby so that you won’t have to move around too much and risk disrupting your work. With a little bit of planning, you can ensure that painting is always an enjoyable and relaxing experience.

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Work on one area at a time, starting with the larger areas and then filling in the smaller details.

Painting can be a very enjoyable and therapeutic activity. It can be a great way to express your creativity and relax after a long day. However, painting can also be frustrating if you don’t know where to start.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider painting one area at a time, starting with the larger areas and then filling in the smaller details. This method will help you stay focused and avoid getting bogged down in the details.

Take your time and enjoy the process!

For many people, painting is an enjoyable way to spend some time and relax. One type of painting that has become popular in recent years is painting by number.

This activity is perfect for those who want to enjoy the painting process without having to worry about being precise or following a complicated set of instructions. In a painting by numbers kit, each section of the picture is assigned a number corresponding to a specific paint color.

As you work your way through the picture, you simply need to fill in the numbered sections with the appropriate color. And don’t worry if you make a mistake – you can always go back and fix it! Painting by number is a fun and easy way to create a beautiful piece of art, so grab a kit and give it a try!

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Don’t worry about making mistakes.

Painting is an activity that is often seen as daunting, especially for those who have never picked up a paintbrush before. However, painting can be a relaxing activity, and it doesn’t have to be perfect to be enjoyable.

Do you want to create a landscape? A still life? It’s up to you! There are no rules when it comes to painting, so don’t be afraid to experiment. The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the process. Who knows? You might just end up with a masterpiece.

Paint by Numbers Mistakes to Avoid

If you’ve been painting by numbers for a while, then all these points seem obvious. But if you’re just starting out, then you’ll probably need some sort of guide on the don’ts of painting by numbers.

Let’s call them “the top 17 numbers mistakes to avoid before you start your first paint by number canvas.

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Here’s our paint by number tips on how to make your art or painting kit look even better:

1. Buying a Cheap Numbers Kit

Original paint by numbers kits, especially the popular paint by number kits, blow the cheap stuff out of the water. In addition to creating awesome art, original numbers 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 numbers 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 for Adults: Beginner to Advanced Number Painting Kit - Fun DIY Adult Arts and Crafts Projects - Kit Includes 16' x 20' Framed | Guiding Light | Mountain Paradise | Rails West
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Paint by Numbers for Adults: Beginner to Advanced Number Painting Kit - Fun DIY Adult Arts and Crafts Projects - Kit Includes 16" x 20" Framed | Guiding Light | Mountain Paradise | Rails West
  • CREATE A MASTERPIECE: Our follow the numbers system allows anyone to create a beautiful piece of art - EASEL INCLUDED
  • EXCLUSIVE DESIGN: This Masterpiece is licensed exclusively to Ledgebay and a portion of all proceeds will go directly to the Artist. The Vibrant...
  • ALL TALENT LEVELS: From beginners to pros, any painter will enjoy completing this DIY craft project

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 small areas 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.

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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.

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 number kits do come with a miniature version of the canvas for reference sheet. But you can never have too many backup plans when painting by numbers.

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5. Failing to Read the Instruction Booklet

All the best paint by numbers kits for adults and kids come with a step-by-step guide 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.

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.

yellow artist

7. Starting with Light Colors of Oil or Acrylic Paints

The conventional way of painting with oil or acrylic is to start with dark colors and move to light colors. 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 darker 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.

Pro Numbers Tips: If you’ve accidentally used the wrong paint color on a number, let the paint dry and completely cover the area with the correct color. You may need to add one or two layers depending on how opaque your paint is.

8. Using Clogged Brushes (Keeping Paint Brush Clean)

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

Before you even start, have a water bowl and wet towel nearby. This will help you from having to run back and forth between your painting area and the sink.

Plus, if you accidentally use too much paint or want to lighten the color, simply wipe it off with the towel rather than rinsing in water which could change the hue entirely.

painting terms art

9. Using Paper Towel 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.

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.

11. Not Buying Your Own Set of Brushes

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Paint by Numbers for Adults: Beginner to Advanced Number Painting Kit - Fun DIY Adult Arts and Crafts Projects - Kit Includes - 12' x 16' Framed Guiding Light
1 Reviews
Paint by Numbers for Adults: Beginner to Advanced Number Painting Kit - Fun DIY Adult Arts and Crafts Projects - Kit Includes - 12" x 16" Framed Guiding Light
  • CREATE A MASTERPIECE: Our follow the numbers system allows anyone to create a beautiful piece of art
  • EASY TO FOLLOW: Match the pre printed numbers on the canvas with the coordinating numbered paint
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A number kit often comes with a complete set of art materials including a canvas and brushes. However, you should always consider stocking up on extra sets of paint by numbers brushes. For one, the dry brush that comes with the numbers kit could be too bad for your liking.

Also, the numbers 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 new 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 Numbers Tips: Use a toothpick for the extremely tiny spaces in case you can’t find a suitable brush.

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 Numbers Tips: 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.

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13. Using Too Much Paint

Another common mistake is using too much paint on your brush. This can cause the paint colors to bleed into the areas around your stroke, giving your painting an unfinished look. 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. To avoid this, load your brush with just enough paint to cover the area you’re working on. 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. You may need to reload your brush more often, but it will result in a cleaner finish.

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

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 add a few drops of water to thin acrylic and watercolor paints. If you’re using oil, then turpentine or white spirit will do.

lessons on oil painting

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.

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.

oil painting definition

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.

18. Not Using Acrylic Paint Properly

Acrylic paint is the most popular type of paint for paint by numbers kits, but they can be tricky to work with. acrylics dry quickly, so if you’re not careful, you can end up with a lot of brush strokes in your finished painting.

To avoid this, start painting with a small amount of paint on your brush, and work in small sections. Also, be sure to keep your paint brush wet with water while you’re working, as this will help to prevent the paint from drying out too quickly.

You should keep in mind that acrylics can be difficult to work with, especially on a slippery surface. So, it might be a good ideas to apply clear gesso.

This will help stiffen up your canvas and make it easier to work with. Clear gesso also provides a matte finish which makes it easier for the paint to stick, and doesn’t interfere with any lines or numbers already on the surface.

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19. Poor Paint Quality

Finally, don’t skimp on paint quality! Cheap acrylic paints can be watery and difficult to work with, so it’s worth investing in a good quality brand. With higher quality paints, you’ll find it easier to achieve smooth, even coverage without any brushstrokes showing through.

20. Wet Paint Accidents

Make sure to take breaks often while painting – you don’t want to try and do too much at once and accidentally smudge paint. Give your eyes a break as well by focusing on larger areas, and hold your paint brush further from the bristles so that your hand doesn’t touch any damp paint on the canvas.

21. Switching from One Part of the Painting to Another

A way to finish your paint by numbers project without any flaws is to not go back and fourth from one area of your numbers kits.

For example, when you have already put a certain color on your brush, try and paint all areas that require that said color. Once you’re done with that, it’s time for you clean off your brush before applying the second paint.

So, there you go – our top tips on how to make your painted art look even way better by avoiding these painting numbers mistakes. The whole process can be such a lot of fun especially if you take these tips into heart.

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