Paint by Number for Relaxation & Enjoyment

Paint by Number as a means of Expression

Most of us like beauty and beauty is different to each and every one of us. Some of us like to create what we personally class as works of Art. I have done Paint by Number for quite some years, let us say over 20 years. I have posted a few pictures of some of the Paint by Numbers that I have done.

You can buy nearly any type of Paint by Number nowadays, all you have to do is Google it and you will find a place that does sell a Paint by Number that truly appeals to you. There are different levels to watch for when purchasing a Paint by Number and it will be noted as a skill level or an age group.

Pick what looks nice to you and what you think you are ready for, as for myself I like wildlife, fantasy or tranquil scenery. I have included a couple of wolf paint by numbers here and one piece of village scenery. I am working on another wolf and in that picture you will be able to see that there are many small spaces that have to be filled in.

Paint by Numbers generally come as a kit and will include the paint colors that you will need and generally one brush. With the more advanced kits you will need to do a fair bit of mixing, usually between two of the colors that have been provided, so you can achieve the desired effect. I have several brushes, varying in size due to the fact that the brush that is provided does not grow larger or smaller all on its own and instead of making larger areas tedious I will use a slightly larger brush, or a differently tipped brush.

I love painting, even if it is just painting in the spaces, but have not made a whole lot of time for it lately and I really must complete my latest piece. I have provided you a link to getting a taste of paint by number online, must say it is interesting and sure to amuse the young ones for awhile. Try out Online Painting here.

Wolf Paint by Number partially finished.  This is on the briefcase easel which opens up into a full sized easel.
Wolf Paint by Number partially finished. This is on the briefcase easel which opens up into a full sized easel.
Progress on the Wolf Painting.
Progress on the Wolf Painting.

Paint by Number Technique

As you will notice, by the partially finished Paint by Number to the right, I have only painted the left upper side of the board, I do this so that my hand does not go over an already painted surface. Yes it does mean you have to change colors more often but it helps to prevent the possibility of smudging your work. If you were left handed you would want to start in the right upper corner.

From this point, if you look at the imaginary line that is there, I will be filling in the parts of the wolf that are already encircled in paint. I will fill in that part of the wolf until I have a more solid diagonal line. From there I will most likely do the lower left outside 1 - 2 inches, bringing the line of paint slowly from all points down to the lower right corner. This is my method for doing Paint by Numbers.

  • You want to work your painting so that your hand does not have to go over top of where there is wet paint.
  • Most times I will do touch ups after it is dry enough so that if I do touch the paint with my hand it is much less likely to smudge.
  • I have posted an updated photo on the latest Wolf Painting to the right, you can easily see the pattern of painting I follow when working on my pieces.
  • It is possible that you can frame these paintings and sell them on craiglist, kijiji or any other like free to post place and make a bit of money; but you need to remember if you want them framed well it does cost so you have to factor in the cost when selling.

Painting Supplies

There are a few supplies you do need to have on hand if you decide to take up this venture, it makes things much easier. Some you can get by without and with others you can improvise, I will list all that I find very handy.

  • A Painting Palette - Here you can buy one, they come in many different shapes and sizes or you can improvise if budget is a factor. You could always use a plastic ice cream bucket lid, it'll work, or you can use a couple of them if need be.
  • An Easel - These also come in many different varieties, everything from tabletop to sketching easels to outdoor sketching easels. I have a studio easel, a briefcase easel and a tabletop one. I must say my favorite at this point in time is the briefcase easel. You don't have to have an easel to paint, it just makes it easier, especially if it is a larger canvas or board.
  • Painting rags - You really don't need to buy these, you probably have some scrap cloth around the house that is lint free, if you do use it. I say if it's a water based paint you are using you could probably get away with paper towel.
  • Brush Cleaner - If you are using oil paints you need the cleaner made for oil paints, I use the Mona Lisa brush cleaner and brush cleaning tank for my oils. For my water based paints I just use a small Tupperware jug filled with water and when I'm done with my painting for the day I clean my brushes and container properly with tap water. There are many varieties of soaps and mineral oils you can buy to aid in the proper cleaning of your brushes. You paid good money for your brushes, you want them to last, so clean them properly.
  • Good Brushes - When buying brushes, if you are going to go that route and buy a couple of extra brushes, buy quality ones. You do not want to be picking hairs off of your paintings and in the process smudging your work.

Paint by Number Scenery
Paint by Number Scenery

Seal your Paintings after they have dried properly.

A Plus for Paint by Numbers: I have also done freehand painting with oils and acrylics and I like that as well, but with Paint by Number you do not have to think as much and your mind is free to wander. Paint by Number is step by step, it is easy to pick up the next day exactly where you left off.

Please remember as with an oil painting or any other freehand acrylic painting you must make sure that you seal your Paint by Number after you have completed it.

Allow the proper drying time per medium before sealing. If you are using Oil paints many artists recommend the you allow a 3 month drying time before sealing with Varnish. For Acrylics it depends on the thickness of your paint, for thin layers only a few days, for thicker layers it can take several weeks.

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Comments Welcome 9 comments

wilderness profile image

wilderness 5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

Some nice paintings, and I especially like the white wolves. I had no idea this kind of work could be done with a paint by number kit.

On a separate note, your hub virtually cries out for some additional Amazon capsules. Perhaps showcasing some palettes, easels and brushes of the type you use. Give it a thought.


Magdelene profile image

Magdelene 5 years ago from Okotoks Author

Thanks Wilderness, yeah I have thought about putting more in there but then I thought it would look over done?


Dave Powell profile image

Dave Powell 5 years ago from Winchester, MA

Hi Magdelene! PBNs are wonderful things, aren't they! I just published a sort of "companion piece" to your great Hub... and hope you like it!


Spiritsandghosts profile image

Spiritsandghosts 5 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Hi Magdelene,

I had no idea you could paint by number. I love the brown wolf on the top of your post. This one is totally awesome! I'm going to give it a try. Cheers Be blessed. Thalia (spiritsandghosts)


Magdelene profile image

Magdelene 5 years ago from Okotoks Author

Thanks for the comment both Thalia and Dave. Paint by Number is great the only problem is making the time to complete it, when I get the latest paint by number done I am going to frame it and post it on here.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona

I never knew we could buy Paint By Number pictures that can turn out looking realistic. I'm going to explore this a little. Thanks for a good informational hub.


Magdelene profile image

Magdelene 4 years ago from Okotoks Author

Hi Pamela,

Yes, you can get all kinds, you just have to look around, you can also order some great ones online. If you frame them up nice they look fantastic.

The nicer paint by numbers do take quite a bit of time to get done, but definitely worth it.

Thanks for your input Pamela, much appreciated.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

Wow, the bits and pieces you've posted on your wolf painting look really professional. Thanks for pointing out this artistic endeavour. Voting this Up and Interesting.


Magdelene profile image

Magdelene 4 years ago from Okotoks Author

Thanks for stopping by Alocsin, paint by numbers can produce some great results, the only thing is that they do take time. Once you complete a good one and have it framed, it truly makes you feel good about the work you have done.

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