8 Useful Paint By Numbers Tips And Tricks + FAQS

I love easy projects, and a Paint by Number kit definitely qualifies as one. The kits come with everything you need, and all you need to is fill your canvas with color. I’ll share my Paint by Numbers Tips and Tricks in this post that will encourage you to start, troubleshoot and successfully complete a kit!

I just finished my first Paint by numbers kit and learned a lot along the way. Today, I’m sharing my Paint by Numbers tips and tricks. These canvases use acrylic paints and if you are looking for more ideas- check out all of these Simple Acrylic Paint Tutorials.

Once you try a Paint by Number Kit, you can next try these 20+ Incredible Ways How to Use Watercolor Markers and create easy art.


I don’t know what I expected when I bought this paint by numbers kit. This became the perfect creative break I needed every day. 

VIDEO: Paint by Numbers Tips for you:

I share all of my Paint by Numbers tips and tricks for finishing your canvas in this Artist Loft Paint By Number YouTube video. Not only that- you get to watch the canvas come alive with color. Enjoy 🙂

Affiliate links have been used below at no extra cost to you. If you purchase using these links, I might receive a small commission. Read more in my disclosure here.

Where can you buy your Paint by Number Kits?

I absolutely love variety of designs of the Paint by Numbers kits you can find at Michaels. Below are the Butterfly design and Eiffel Tower design. You can find many kits on amazon.com too, but I have not tried any of them.

TIP: Buy a design that interests you and has colors that make you happy. You will be spending a good chunk of time with this kit 🙂

Artist loft paint by number kit review

ETA in 2021: Here’s how many paint by numbers we have now. This Red Cardinal one was super complicated even though it says intermediate level. It was not a fun one to complete. We’re now starting the Snowy Cottage, Dalmation and Mountain Scene.


Is Paint by Numbers easy?

Short answer, yes. It is basically coloring in the lines with a paintbrush. You don’t need any previous painting experience at all. Just be patient and take time to fill in all those colors evenly. I bought this kit for my daughter, she’s 11 years old, and she surprised me with her focus to finish it. She enjoyed it and it kept her busy for hours!

Painting by numbers for self care

Can Kids do Paint by Numbers?

Yes!! I paint with my kids all the time and it’s our special time together.

I would recommend buying the kits that are labeled “EASY” for kids 7 to 11 years old depending on how crafty they are. Adults and 11+-year-old kids can do the INTERMEDIATE level.

Try making it a group activity and enjoy the time together.

What all comes in the kit?

A rolled canvas, all the paints needed to complete the canvas, 4 paintbrushes, a reference guide, and also a picture in color of how the canvas will turn out. A frame is also included in the Artist Loft kit. This is a “no-mix” kit. Which means that all of the paint colors come premixed and ready to paint. All you do is match the number on the canvas to the paint and fill it in.

How to flatten Paint by Number canvas:

Since the canvas comes rolled, you will need a way to keep it flat while painting. My hack was to use some cardboard and masking tape. Both of these items are not included in the kit.

I cut out a large piece of cardboard from a box, and then using a wide 2-inch masking tape I stretched the canvas to lay flat and taped it into place. If you don’t have a piece of cardboard that is large enough- see if you have a piece of wood or a pre-stretched canvas to tape this onto. You can alternately tape this onto your desk directly too.

how to flatten your paint by number canvas

If your canvas comes folded instead of rolled, it will have some hard creases. You can try ironing the canvas gently from the back side. You could also maybe use a steamer?

Do you Paint light or dark colors first?

Start with the lightest color. I found that the paints came numbered and grouped in colors. 1 to 10 were the yellows to darkest orange, then 11 to 20 were the greens lightest to darkest, the pinks were 21 to 25 and the last numbers were dark grey to black.

I worked in color groups. Started with the yellows and once they were all done, I painted in the pinks. I love flowers and couldn’t resist painting those! I filled in the rest of the green. The greens took forever to finish and were not as much as fun as the flowers for me 🙂

Paint by number kit review

Can paint by numbers teach you to paint?

No. You might learn how to lay your paint down evenly or with some texture. But there is no design or color work here. Which is actually why I loved painting this kit so much! It is a thoughtless activity. You just pick up color and fill in the canvas area. Very relaxing + satistying!

Should you wet your canvas before painting?

Don’t add water at all! Keep your canvas dry at all times. Make sure that you do not add water at all into those paint wells. Always dip a dry paintbrush to pick up your paint.

What kind of paint comes with paint by numbers?

Paint by numbers tips

The kits includes all the paint you will need. I was very impressed with the paint quality that comes in the kit. At first, I was scared that the paint might splash or drip onto the canvas, but that was not the case at all. It is super thick paint- a joy to paint with.

On your first day- paint just one area let it dry first. This will give you an idea of how the paint is drying, whether you are applying too little paint or if there are white gaps in you application. I realized the next day- that I was able to still see the printed numbers beneath a paint and this no fun! So I went back and layered more paint to hide the numbers. This also taught me that I was not using enough paint at all.

How long does paint by numbers take?

Don’t expect to finish this in one weekend! I did not mean to focus on my canvas so much, but found painting it addictive! I would gravitate towards my canvas each night and paint for 15 minutes. It took me about 21 to 22 days to finish it completely

Do you use the paintbrush that came in the kit?

Yes, I only used the paintbrushes that came with the kit. There were a few sizes of paint brushes, but I used the medium-sized one the most. The key is to wash your brush thoroughly after each use and maintaining the fine tip of the paintbrush. Preserve your paintbrush well. Watch my Artist Loft Paint by Number video to see how I do it.

Fun Twist: How To Add Glitter to you Paint by Number Canvas!

Here is a fun paint by numbers tips- sprinkle glitter onto white paint and I love how glittery and shiny it turns out! Watch the video below for the whole process!

how to frame paint by number canvas

The Artist Loft Paint by Number Kits come with a wooden frame included. At time frame 05:27 of my video I show you how to frame Paint by Number canvas easily!


The frame in the kit is of pretty good quality and does the job. For the Cardinal on the right, I used a white frame instead! You can also try using this magnetic frame– it’s easier to put together.


paint by numbers tips and tricks

Paint by number
DIY paint by numbers kit
  1. Start with a small area first: On your first day, paint a small area, and let it dry. Come back and see how the paint dried- and whether you applied too much or too little paint. Adjust accordingly.
  2. Work one color at a time: Midway through my canvas, I realized I get more area covered if I just pick one color and move the canvas around to fill ALL the areas of that number.
  3. Lay the paint thick especially light colors: If you apply a thin coat of paint for those lighter colors, you will be able to see the printed number on the canvas once it dries. So apply a thick layer of color from the get-go. Don’t worry about running out of paint, I had lots of paint left over after I was done.
  4. Take breaks often: Don’t try to do too much in one sitting. You might inadvertently smudge wet paint when you try to do too much at once. Not to mention strain your eyes if you are painting super small areas.
  5. Work with a task light: I love using this task light on my desk while painting. It helped me see those tiny printed numbers VERY easily.
  6. Keep your reference sheet: If your kit comes with a reference sheet, keep it safe. I thought I wouldn’t need it but ended up pulling it out a few times to check orphan areas that were missing numbers. Sometimes, you paint just a partial area, and later realize there is a blank area with no number!
  7. Work left to Right: If you are Right-handed: You will always need a dry area to rest your wrist while painting. So I like to work from the top left corner of an area to the bottom right corner.
  8. Make a habit of it: I enjoyed this canvas SO much more than I expected, mainly because I would sit and paint just 10 or 15 minutes each night and it was the perfect way for me to end the day.

What Paint by Numbers Kits I would love to try next

Other FAQS

Are these fun? They look very detailed!!

These are very detailed but also very fun! I painted an Intermediate level kit here. Maybe try an easy level first.

Help! My kit didn’t come with a frame.

Use this magnetic frame instead.! It’s an easy way to hang a canvas without a bulky glass frame.

I’ve never tackled one of these before. Is it advised to start with darker colors or lighter colors first?…or does it matter? Thanks and happy painting!

Start with the lightest color. The lighter colors are more forgiving if you make a mistake.

How can I prevent the printed numbers from showing through?

One of my favorite Paint by Numbers Tips that a follower shared- use a white gel pen to cover the printed number before painting lighter paint colors!


In short, you should try a Paint by Numbers kit if you are looking for a creative break. Painting in numbers is a fantastic way to express yourself artistically. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced painter, this activity is sure to bring you joy and satisfaction.

The kits are convenient as they come with everything you need. Filling in the canvas with color is very satisfying. It’s a mindless repetitive task that helps calm you down and relax. A great way to play with paint without the design decision making.

I was very impressed with the quality of products included in these Artist Loft Paint by Number Kits. They even have a frame included!

The kit will not teach you to paint, but it will help you finish a canvas that you can display in your house and proudly say “I painted that”.

So these are my Paint by Numbers Tips for you friends, let me know in the comments if you have any for me! I’d love to learn more.

Painting by numbers for self care

Let me know in the comments below what other Paint by Numbers tips you have to share!

Hi I’m Smitha! I live in Minnesota with my husband and two daughters. You’ll always find me painting florals in my sketchbook. And I love the sheer joy of making something with just my hands! But my bigger love is capturing it all on camera Read more.

Thanks for stopping by today! If you learnt something from this tutorial, do share this post with a friend or on social media! Tag me @smithakatti #smithakatti I’d love to see what you create!


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  1. Can you order just the paints? Some of mine have dried up before I was able to finish.

  2. I just bought the Nite Cafe kit. I’m so glad I found your video, great tips/hacks. I’m left handed so it was good you suggested the direction for me to paint. Some of my colors seem dull, I’m thinking I might want to experiment with mixing colors on the fly. I’m also in Minnesota! Your daughter is adorable.

  3. how do you use those hooks that come with the kit to hang the finished painting?

  4. You talk about using a dry brush, if you change colors in the time you are painting, do you dip it in water and then dry the brush with like a paper towel? That is what I did in between and it seemed to work for me.

  5. Just bought my first one and it is saying to mix two colours together, what is the best way to do this ,mix on a separate piece of paper then apply to the canvas ?

  6. I lost the paper with the instructions on how to add the wooden frame that comes with it. Can you please explain how to do so? Thanks!

  7. If I paint one color at a time , don’t I run the risk of smudging with my hand when I do the other colors?

    • I paint from the top left corner and move downwards to the bottom right. I also will mostly paint for 15 to 30 mins and then walk away from the canvas. No smudging as the paint dries very quickly.

  8. I received 2 Artst’s Loft paint by number kits as a gift. The Dalmatian and another one of scenery. The pictures on the canvas are so pale I am having difficulty seeing the numbers or borders. I have tried different lights, different backing, and magnifiers. etc. Is there any way to make the lines more visible so that I can paint these pictures?

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