30 Problem-Solving Paint by Numbers Tips [UPDATED]

25 Paint by Numbers Tips you just can not afford to ignore before you start your first Paint by Number Canvas. These tips will definitely save you from throwing your kit in the bin because you did not know how to do it the correct way.

Paint by numbers is on the list of 100 best hobbies of the century. It's a creative way to spend your free time and have fun. You can paint for fun and relaxation, but also to enjoy the pleasures of painting regardless of your age or level of expertise. It is the perfect first step for beginners to learn the art. You only need to fill the numbered spaces on canvas with the respective color. All Paint by numbers has hundreds of ready to painting kits you can choose from.


Paint by Numbers Kit


Best (40x50CM) Paint by Number Kits Picked For You

Beginner Paint by Number Tips

  1. Buy a Kit with Frame

It is better to work on a framed canvas so that the canvas stays tight while you work, and you are not likely to create creases on it. Most of our kits have a frame option, if you buy our standard size 40X50cm painting.

But if there is no frame option with your selected size, then you can buy the frame here. If you have bought DIY frame then read our guide (How to Frame a Paint by Numbers Canvas).

Framed Canvas for Paint by Numbers
  1. Keep the Work area Clean

It's useful to cover the area where you plan to work with old newspapers to keep it clean. The colors are not very liquid and the risk of dirtying up the place is not that high. Yet, having a clean and tidy location will help you focus on your work and avoid being distracted by splashes and stains.

Paint by Numbers Painting Tips
  1. Start from the Top

Start from the top of your painting canvas and continue downwards to avoid any smudging. If you are left-handed, it's better to start from the top right corner, while if you are right-handed start from the top left one. In this way, the risk of smudging will be minimal.

Paint by Numbers from start to bottom
  1. Start from the Background

Paint one color at a time, preferring darker colors. These are usually part of the background and will help you create an outline which will give you the general idea of the picture you are about to paint. As soon as you finish with the background, continue with the smaller areas.

DIY Paint by Numbers
  1. Keep the Brushes Clean

Clean the brushes every time you switch from one color to another of your paint by numbers canvas. The paint dries very quickly and will ruin your brush if you do not wash it immediately. You can prepare a bottle of water and a brush-cleaning bowl. Wet towel is also very helpful for cleaning brushes. Choose one from 1500+ unique designs from paint by numbers home now.

DIY Painting Kit
  1. Pay attention to the Paint

Be sure to close the paint lid when you are not using it, as it may dry out quickly. If the paint dries, you can try adding water to restore its creamy texture. If your paints have dried then read this guide (How to fix dry paints).

Paint by Numbers Paint & Brushes
  1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

If you fill in a number with the wrong color, you don't have to worry. you can wait for the paint to dry and cover the surface with the correct color. If you still see the wrong color below, try covering it with another layer of the correct one.

  1. Do not Overdo

You do not need to use a lot of color for each section of your canvas. Don't take a huge amount of color as the canvas may not absorb well the excess color and this may cause smudging.

Smudges on Paint by Numbers Canvas
  1. Take a Break

If you are new, just know that you don't have to complete it in one go. Do it in parts and you will enjoy more every time. Don't be hurried, whenever you feel like it's taking a lot of time; tell yourself that it took Leonardo Da Vinci, 7 years to complete Mona Lisa.

  1. Apply a light-colored base coat

If you're a beginner then you can face this issue of the lines & numbers showing up in the final painting. To avoid this apply a light-colored base coat before starting to paint, to cover up any numbers or lines that may show through.

  1. Use a magnifying glass

If there are very small sections on your canvas & the numbers on the canvas are not readable then use a magnifying glass or bright light to help see small details on the canvas. You can also use LED Light Pad to see the symbol son your canvas clearly.

Magnifying glass for paint by numbers
  1. Avoid too much pressure

Its' recommended that to keep the paint from bleeding through the canvas, avoid applying too much pressure to the brush when painting. You need to work on your canvas with a very light hand & slow paint strokes.

  1. Use an easel

If you're working on a large canvas, prop it up on an easel or against a wall to make painting more comfortable. It will be convenient for you to work on as the canvas will be fixed to it's position.

Paint by Numbers Easel
  1. Use a hair dryer

It's very important for your canvas to dry up immediately, otherwise there would be smudges all over the canvas ruining the end results. So if you're painting in a humid environment, use a hairdryer on low heat to speed up the drying process.

  1. Organize your paint pots

While working on your paint by numbers canvas, it's quite important to pay attention to your paint pots. You don't want the paints to spill & destroy your master piece. To avoid making a mess, use a tray or a shallow box to hold your  paint bottles. This will help you organize your work space.

Expert Tips

Tip #1: Clogged Brushes

The paint comes in the kit of paint by numbers are acrylic paints. This thick paint usually gets stuck in the brush once they are dried and does not come out easily. That eats up your plenty of time to remove it. Grab nail Polish thinner and dip your brush in it just for few seconds. The clotty color will leave hairs of the brush quickly without any hassle.

DIY Painting Tips

Tip #2: Don't hesitate to use water

I would suggest you not to use the color directly on the canvas. AS I have told you this paint is thicker, it is better to add a few drops of water in it before applying to make its consistency according to your need.

Paint by Numbers Paints

Tip #3: Wet piece of Cloth

Let me tell you a secret here. Your brushes require to be cleaned frequently while painting, use a wet piece of cloth instead of paper towel. Paper towel wear off quickly as compare to wet piece of cloth. It will help you to remove the residuals of the paint from the brush quickly and effectively.

Paint by Numbers Brushes Cleaning

Tip #4: Be comfortable with the brushes

Sometimes it requires little effort to work with new brushes, although the brushes' comes in the kit works well. But I would suggest; if you have your own familiar brushes then use them instead because the control and comfort it gives you. If you are a painter, then you must know what I am talking about when it comes to using new brushes.

Paint by Numbers Brush Kit

Tip # 5: Art of blurring

If you like to give the background or the corners of the picture a blurry look, then the best way to do is to stroke the painted color over the other near color on the canvas with the help of a clean and dry brush, or you can use your finger as well.

Insider tip: Use a Retarder if you want to slow the drying time of your paints for better blurring.

Tip #6: Purpose of three brushes

There are three different sizes of brushes you will find in the kit. Each one has a different job to do. The big, medium and small brush are used for softness, sharpness, and crispness, respectively and for large and small areas. However, you can use them as per your need, but keep in mind not to paint all the parts with the single brush. Nonetheless, you can buy 10 pieces of brush set of a variety of sizes from us as well.


Paint by Numbers Detailing Brushes


Tip #7: Use of translucent

If you are a beginner, you might have some difficulty painting on the canvas, though the canvas you buy from all paint by numbers, is of extremely good quality. However, to avoid any inconvenience, apply gesso translucent on the surface of the canvas. It will give slightly textured and ready-to-adopt paint touch to the canvas. Further, it will give a look of a matte finish as well.

Here is how you can make your own Gesso:

Tip #8: Be clever

Oh, you will love this trick guys. Bring out your smartphone and take a full picture of the canvas before it gets painted. This will help you to check out what number was associated in a particular section before it was painted, in case you forgot. Or you can zoom the picture in your phone to see the tiny numbers in the tiny section, in case you can't see it properly.

Paint by Numbers DIY

Tip #9: Deal with a large canvas carefully

If you're painting a large canvas, consider dividing it into smaller sections to make it more manageable. Take frequent breaks to avoid eye strain and fatigue. You need to work in sections as it helps to avoid accidentally smudging wet paint with your arm or hand. Take your time to paint neatly & complete the section before moving towards next section.

Tip #10: Start with light colors

Begin your paint by numbers project by applying light-colored paints first. This allows you to layer darker colors on top without affecting their vibrancy.

Painting by Numbers

Tip #11: Follow the Numbers Carefully

Each section of your canvas is marked with a number corresponding to a specific paint color. Follow these numbers closely to ensure accuracy and avoid mistakes.

Pint by Numbers Tips

Tip #12: Work on One Color at a Time

Focus on painting one numbered section at a time rather than jumping between colors. This helps maintain concentration and prevents mixing up colors.

Tip #13: Seal Your Finished Painting

Once your painting is complete, consider sealing it with a protective varnish or sealant. This preserves the colors and adds a professional-looking finish to your artwork.

Tip #14: Frame Your Painting for a Professional Finish

Enhance the presentation of your finished painting by framing it. Choose a frame that complements the colors and style of your artwork for a polished look.

Framed Paint by Numbers

Tip #15: Time for mother of all tips

All the tips and tricks are useless until you are not emotionally, physically and mentally ready to paint. Build a passion for art in yourself and be comfortable and relax. Feel the first stroke of the brush like a feather on your nerve and try to blend your emotions with the lovely colors, then only you can master the art of painting fully and effectively.

Precious Customers Responses

I've brought 2 paint by numbers paintings an love them. I’ve started on the Elephants, really enjoyed it but now I've miss place the number 8 colour paint, can’t find it anywhere. Do you have any suggestions on what I can do?

Trina Magennity  Jan 29, 2019

 I am just starting with my second paint by number and i really enjoyed my first one. Thoroughly relaxing!

Elina C.  Mar 31, 2019

Paint by numbers is a really fun activity. These wonderful tips have made it easy to work better.

Debra Mariotti  Jul 2, 2019

New at this. My painting came folded. Is there a trick to getting the creases out? Thank you.

Pjdaly  Sep 8, 2019

These painting tips are helping me to work like a pro. Using a paint by numbers kit was never so much easy before.

Nellie Green  Nov 21, 2019

I bought my 1st paint by number kit and also a 36 Arteza metallic acrylic and the set of 60 acrylic colors to use in place of the provided paint pods. I notice that the paint by numbers show through to muck on the canvas. Will making the besos and applying it first help cover the numbers better. Thank you. Awesome video.

Sharon white  May 8, 2020

I've just found what I was looking for. These pictorial tips are very handy that anyone can adopt paint by numbers art. You've made my day.

Janis McMahon  Sep 14, 2020

I have done so many wonderful paint by numbers large one's that I don’t.t know what to do with them all. I love this hobby I love art but drawing takes time and I like to paint most so painting is not easier but more fun and its paint by numbers for me. But unless you know how to stretch the canvas yourself best buy your picture framed and ready stretched.

Jane Bailey  Dec 25, 2020

Numbers on the canvas do not match numbers of the paint. I have 10 colors and there is a number 11 on the canvas?? Help

Julie Johnson  Feb 22, 2021

By following these fantastic tips I've experienced the true fun hidden behind paint by numbers kit. Great fun.

Lauren Brown  Jun 15, 2021

Hi, I am Glad to find this page. I bought this DIY oil Painting years back. I didn’t finish it as I was heavily pregnant then moved house. Found the canvas but did not find the colours that I was using for it. I hope to complete the canvas. May I know how can I buy the colours. I will buy some brushes and easel from your accessories but hope to get some advice on the colours. Thank you in advance.

Jobina Goh  Aug 21, 2021

I did paint by numbers when i was a kid and it was my favorite hobby. It was way easier and less detailed as to what is available now a days. I have bought some of the kits as i couldn't resist the temptation. I hope all is delivered as advertised and the end result is positive.

Erika King  Oct 9, 2021

No doubt all these tips are quite helpful. I've tried some of these & they were amazing that helped me a lot to work better with my paint by numbers kits.

Glynis Alley  Dec 15, 2021

Easy to follow tips & tricks for better results. Thanks for sharing.

Cynthia Gustafson  Jan 20, 2022

I really need help paint by number is saying "Load Failed, Ad isn't ready" Sincerely, Mrs Sherlock Holmes.

Mrs.Sherlock  Mar 8, 2022

Hi, in Tip 7, you recommend putting Gesso before painting, can Gesso be put on the drawing by numbers?

Angela  Apr 28, 2022

I am painting Mothers Pride and I just noticed some of the numbers wore off now I do not know what two to blend or what the colors are. Some are obvious but others not. Do you have a listing of the numbers? I am painting this for my granddaughter for Christmas. Did one for her birthday and she loves it. Thank you.

Sandra Mable  Jul 15, 2022

Angela, only use clear gesso when painting it on a pbn canvas before painting. I do pbn's a lot and have never used clear gesso before painting because the canvas actually has an opaque gesso coating put on the canvas before the pattern is applied.

Terre Fletcher  Sep 20, 2022

Do I cover the whole canvas with gesso and let dry before I begin painting?

Jane Thornhill  Nov 23, 2022

To the person who is worried about covering up the numbers in “paint by number” - it was “clear” gesso that was suggested here...

Shauna  Feb 7, 2023

Hey i didn't think of a lot of these solutions, you guys really have made things a lot easier for me. Lately, i have been wondering if there is any way i can make the process more efficient and this article has certainly helped me with that. Perfect timing I'd say! I loved the article, as someone who is beginning to spend more and more time with the paints, i have found myself becoming slightly addicted and obsessed with it. The stress relief which it provides as well as the satisfaction when the job is done is hard to find elsewhere.

Jesse W  Mar 15, 2023

Hey i didn't think of a lot of these solutions, you guys really have made things a lot easier for me. Lately, i have been wondering if there is any way i can make the process more efficient and this article has certainly helped me with that. Perfect timing I'd say! I loved the article, as someone who is beginning to spend more and more time with the paints, i have found myself becoming slightly addicted and obsessed with it. The stress relief which it provides as well as the satisfaction when the job is done is hard to find elsewhere.

Jesse P.  May 18, 2023

Hey, I've recently been having trouble with my brushes, I don't know how to keep them clean properly. Thanks for the great article about tips and tricks but has anyone used nail polish remover before? I am afraid that it may make the bristles a bit dull over times as I assume that i would have to dip them in the remover for a while. Other than that I love the paints! I have been referring them to others as well! Now every Sunday I have a group of friends over and we all paint together. It really has become somewhat of social gathering brought together by paints! Who would have though?

Katherine Short  Aug 8, 2023

I love the fact that I have now come to the stage where I am reading tips and tricks about paints. You wouldn't think that there are any tips and tricks to learn, but it was really reassuring too read about the new ideas which this article has suggested. I love getting a different perspective on things and how to make the most of my time painting. Moreover, the tips actually did make things a bit easier and I have found myself appreciating the artwork even more than before. Painting canvases as such really can give you a sense of relaxation which you never knew even existed. I will be trying out a bunch of these tips when i order my next painting.

Kevin Strongarm  Sep 9, 2023

Hey the idea of taking a picture of the canvas before I started was great. I love the idea of looking back at the empty canvas after I have completed the entire painting. It gives me a sense of fulfillment when I see the efforts which I have put in and how much work has come out of it. I have also decided to frame some of my best work and put them up around the house and my office. I love it when people comment on it and I tell them that I made that.

Sandy Lu  Nov 15, 2023

I have always loved paintings but never been good enough to do it myself. I have a major problem blending colors, the lines look really prominent when I color spaces. Hence the reason I never really pursued paintings as a hobby, even though I enjoy touching up some of the wall paint in the house when I get the chance. The paint by numbers has given me a chance to learn how to paint just a little bit better. It helped me with what I needed the most actually, it helped me develop a better understanding of color.

Donna S. Dec 12, 2023

Thanks for sharing this post. Just scrolling the internet for material to research… We have recently started our family home painting business, so I appreciate you taking the time to educate on some of the points above – I am very much still learning the craft myself so thank you! I think I may go back and read some of your old posts as well.... :) If there are any other blogs or resources for someone new to the industry would love to hear. Have a great day!

Craig Kelly  Jan 24, 2024

I always take the time BEFORE starting to paint, to fill in all the numbers arrowed in from OUTSIDE the small areas-- INSIDE with a fine pencil as I have painted over them before and found myself in trouble. I also save the sealed tubs of unused paint from kits in case I run short of a color needed. (I just wish the color and numbers were standardized so that a #5 blue on one painting was a #5 in another.)

Duane Gevert  Feb 7, 2024




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