Beginner’s guide to paint by numbers


Painting by numbers is one of the most amazing artistic skills you can ever acquire. This art expresses emotions, ideas, and events using certain aesthetic qualities, in a two-dimensional visual language. Unlike other forms of painting, paint by numbers is a process that can take a lot of time to learn, especially if they are as green as grass in the art world. 

So, if you are planning to start painting by numbers, this beginner’s guide is for you. This guide contains comprehensive step-step instructions and descriptions of how this artwork is done. It also entails the tips, principles, and ideas you need to know before creating any artwork with paint by numbers. 


  • Before you start painting by numbers
  • Get your Canvas Ready
  • A step-by-step guide to painting by numbers for adults
  • What do I need to get started with painting by numbers? 
  • Wrap up

Before you start painting by numbers

If you haven’t attempted to create art with paint by number, you might not know how exciting and fantastic this artistic process is. Unlike other ways of creating imaginations in a visual structure, painting by number teaches both adults and kids how to paint using simple guidelines. Meanwhile, there are a few ideas to have in handy before you start to paint by numbers. 

For instance, it would be challenging to deliver a unique artwork using paint by number in an uncomfortable or darkroom. Although you might eventually produce a piece, you might not get a satisfying output like when you paint in a comfortable and well-lit room. On your canvas, you will find spaces of different sizes. Meanwhile, you can only efficiently paint the numbers and spaces with a more detailed kit and a well conducive atmosphere. 

Besides finding a convenient environment to paint, you also need a comfortable table or desk to paint. With a comfortable desk, you can quickly switch position for comfort while you paint. Likewise, never paint in a wet or dirty space. Make sure the table you are painting on is clean, dry, and comfortable. 

Before you paint, make sure you have your accompanying postcard-sized reference photo of how the finished painting should look like. Use this to compare your progress, but don’t expect your painting to look exactly the same – your personal style will always show up on the finished painting. 

Get your paint by number canvas ready! 

A canvas is a strong piece of woven cloth on which an artwork is produced. To some artists, the canvas is the backbone of any painting work. It serves as the support on which you paint. Canvas is available in different forms. While the linen canvas is the most costly surface cloth, the cotton variety is strong and durable. Aside from the fact that your canvas should be dirty-free, it also needs to be well-stretched. A well-stretched canvas allows you to paint your work smoothly. However, you might have gotten your canvas folded. So, the question is, should you stretch the canvas? And should you do it before or after painting? 

It is really up to you. You can also choose to stretch the canvas ower a DIY wood frame. It is essential to know that stretching canvas can be a bit tricky. Not only do you need to be sure that the numbers and spaces are all in order but also line up the border with the DIY frame.

The easiest way to go about it is just laying the canvas down on your table, maybe tape the corners and start painting. If the canvas has some wrinkles or creases, you might want to iron it lightly which will make the canvas all flat and easy to work with. 

You can read more on how to iron your canvas here. 

A step-by-step guide to painting by numbers

Since you are a novice, we need to make sure that the instructions explained are as simple as possible when it comes to painting by numbers. With that, you can always create a piece of art that is exceptional and stress-free. Let’s consider a few steps by step instructions to paint by numbers 

We know you are delighted to get your hands on your first paint by number kits. However, you need to be much more careful while using these materials. Layout the brushes, paints, and canvas on a flat surface after unpacking your paint by number kit. Some of these canvases have creases or wrinkles when unpack. So to remove the wrinkles on your canvas, unroll it and carefully iron it. Canvas is made from linen or cotton, so no matter how much you iron them, they still have their qualities intact. 

Make sure the canvas is firmly held to the board or flat surface to make your work simple and fast. Also, mask tape any area that may be left on the canvas. What you need to do next is to fill up two small cups of water. You make one of the waters your dirty water and the other your clean water. The clean water makes sure that the existing paint color is removed before applied to another. You also need a few paper towels to clean your brushes when changing colors. 

Although this instruction is not essential, we are offering it to you as a bonus step. As a beginner, it is advisable to take a digital picture of your canvas with your mobile device before painting. The picture you have on your smartphone acts as a permanent reference sheet while your paint. It also prevents shredding, crumpling, burning, tearing, or spilling the paint while creating your artwork. Zoom in on tiny spaces or small numbers to avoid mistakes while you paint. 

If you have no smartphone in handy and can’t find a reference sheet with the paint by number kits, there is always another way around it. Take your brush and paint each of the colors on one side of the canvas. After that, number each color as it is written on the pot. With that, you can always confirm if you are on the right track while you paint. 

In your kit, you will find some numbered paint pots. Most times, these numbers range from 1 to 24 paint pots. Some paint by number kits has numbered paint pots with lesser numbers of pots. What you need to do here is to match the numbered paint points with the pre-numbered area on the canvas. For instance, if you have your pink color pot numbered 3, you will have to fill the color in spaces on the canvas with number 3. There is some paint by number kits where you will have to mix two or more paints. However, you will need some sets of numbered paint pots with alphabets on them. It is advisable to color one number at a time to avoid opening the whole paints simultaneously. If you have the purple color as the number 1 color, paint all spaces on the canvas with the paint before moving to the second pot. 

Meanwhile, it is not important to paint the canvas according to how the numbers are arranged. For beginners, we recommend you start painting with the darker colors then proceed to the lighter ones. Likewise, make sure you paint from top to bottom to prevent the paint from spilling into one another. Right-handed artists can always make their way easy from the top to the bottom of the canvas if they paint from left to right. This visa-versa applies to left-handed artists. 

Also, it is important that you only paint the canvas using the tip of the paintbrush. Not only will this help you stay within the lines, but it will also increase the precision of your strokes. Therefore, make sure you dip the paintbrush tip directly into the numbered pots if you find out that the paintbrush tip isn’t well-shaped. You can always give it a haircut with the proper devices. 

There are some paint pots or pods that often come with no number. Others come with a gray dot. All you need to do is to match such pot color with the blank area on the canvas with no number. If the blank area has any dot of gray, paint it with the gray pod. Don’t forget to also moisten your paintbrush before dipping it in the paint pod. That is why you have two cups of water there with you. You can moisture each of the paintbrushes in both the clean and dirty water to erase the existing paint. 

There are periods when the number and spaces on the canvas show through the paint. This might be due to the nature of such paints. While some paints are opaque, others are transparent. The numbers or spaces do not show once you apply the paint on them for the opaque paints. In a different vein, the numbers show on transparent paint. So, you need to cover the spaces or numbers with white colored pencil or whiteout. 

It is always cool to have some extra paints saved for future touch-ups. You can also use the extra paint to create a masterpiece of your own! If you find some spaces on the canvas too tiny to paint with a brush, you can always use a toothpick for even the canvas’s tiniest lines. 

After several paintings, there are different ways you can showcase your masterpiece. You can hang the painting by putting holes in your wall. However, if you don’t buy such an idea but still want to hang your artwork, you can use double-sided tape or reusable adhesive tabs to hold the painting to the wall. This method is not only easy but also quick and affordable. 

You can buy frames and more accessories for display here

Wrap up

Painting by numbers can take time to learn, especially for beginners. But with this ultimate beginner’s guide, you can always create amazing artwork with no stress or challenges. Meanwhile, the beauty of your work all falls on having the best paint by number kits. You can always get amazing and durable paints by the number of kits from No matter where you are around the world, we will deliver the kits to your doorstep!