1 - What's paint by numbers?

Painting with numbers is a technique by which the canvas is divided into numbered sections. The number of each cell corresponds to the color marked with the same number. For example, if we have a small pot of red paint marked with the number "1", we will use that color for all areas of the canvas marked with a "1". Following this process, you can create beautiful paintings that otherwise would be impossible to paint! No previous experience is required; You just need to bring out your inner artist!

2 - Your paint by numbers kit

Your Canvas by Numbers kit includes everything you need to complete a stunning masterpiece:

- Pre-printed numbered 100% finely woven cotton blend canvas—great pigment absorption and easy to color.
- Numbered acrylic-based paint set. No mix required, non-toxic, and environmentally responsible. Safe for kids and pregnancy.
- Set of 3x standard paint brushes (1x small, 1x medium, 1x large).
- Hanging kit, including 2x screws and 2x non-track hooks.
- Protective box for the pre-stretched kit, safe for transit, and ideal for a gift. 
- Reference print with the color key and black and white print of the canvas lines and numbers. 
- Directions sheet.

3 - Before starting to paint

A) Find a comfortable and well-lit space. A good table or desk together with a sturdy chair will make your workplace better. The more detailed your paintings are, the smaller the cells they will have, so it is advisable to have a lamp or flexo handy if the natural light is not enough, along with a magnifying glass.

B) Remember to take breaks. You can set the alarm on your mobile so that you get up and stretch your legs every hour. It is essential to take care of the neck and back.

C) Clear your workspace. You would be surprised to see how paint can get everywhere. You can use old newspapers or plastic table cloth on the table. Wear home clothes just in case!

4 - Canvas preparation

Q: What is gesso? Should I use it with my Canvas by Numbers canvas?

You may have heard of gesso. Gesso is a primer material that facilitates the application of paint and achieves greater contrast by applying one or more layers to the canvas before painting. However, gesso is not strictly necessary for acrylic paints, being more common when painting with oils. Some will prefer to paint on gesso while others will find that the unprep canvas is completely fine! If you decide to use gesso, use a neutral color to avoid making it difficult to see the numbers and lines of the painting later.

Q: I bought a frame to mount. Should I stretch the canvas before or after painting?

We always recommend mounting the canvas before painting, although it will depend on whether you have an easel. A stretched canvas is not ideal for painting on a table or desk since it can lose tension if you lean on it. This will not happen when painting with an easel. If, on the other hand, you do not have an easel, it is better that you paint your canvas first, as described in section 5, and then mount the frame once it is finished and completely dry, which we will explain later.

5 - How to mount your DIY frame

Here's a video by Melanie Gilstrap that shows the process of stretching your canvas on the DIY frame. The DIY frame is an inexpensive way to frame your painting with excellent results. Remember that the most important thing is to align the paintable area with the edges of the stretcher bars.

7 - Paint by Numbers tricks

1. If you bought your kit without a frame, you could use masking tape to fix it to the surface (table) or to a piece of cardboard (cut-out box), which will provide us with a more solid base. If you bought your painting already pre-stretched, it is best to use an easel to paint it.

2. We recommend paint one number at a time, so the rest of the pots remain sealed. Acrylic paints dry quickly. Close the lids whenever you are not painting to prevent them from drying out!

3. Clean your brushes between colors. Dip the brush into your water, stir and wipe it against the paper towel. Repeat until there is hardly any color left in the brush (the paper towel will barely have any color trace).

4. Make the most precise strokes, conserve paint, and prevent your brushes from getting dried up and hard by using the tip of your brush!

5. If you are right-handed, go from left to right. For left-handed individuals, go from right to left. This way, you won’t smudge painted areas that may not be dry yet!

6. Made a mistake? If you use the wrong color, let it dry completely. You can then paint over the area with the right color paint.

7. Save any extra paint you have after your kit for future touch-ups or even a masterpiece of your own!

8. If you find that a paint pod has dried up or a little too thick, add a drop or two of warm water to bring it back to life!

8 - Advanced techniques

Paint by numbers does not end once your complete your painting! There is a lot of extra stuff you can try and even more to learn!

Melanie's Youtube channel is an excellent example of how deep you can go into advanced practices with your paint by numbers kit. She has tons of helpful paint by numbers videos. We partnered with her to offer you her awesome content. She does a terrific job, so do not hesitate to subscribe if you find it interesting.