Paint Your Numbers

Are Paint by Numbers Hard? (Answered for Kids & Adults)

Paint by numbers is an easy practice for both kids and adults. It requires you to follow a reference guide and match a printed number to a designated color. You can select the level of complexity you would like while uploading your custom photo.

Painting is a long-existing art form many people use to express ideas and emotions. It was a practice reserved for good artists such as Vincent Van Gogh and Picasso, for a long time, until 1950 when Dan Robbins created the first paint-by-numbers kit.

Paint by numbers is a blank picture with numbered regions corresponding to a specific color for you to fill. It is accessible to beginners, intermediates, and expert painters.

DIY paint by numbers is a low-effort activity that relaxes you while teaching you painting techniques and color theory. Plus, you can create paint-by-numbers from a custom photo.

In this article, you’ll learn the difference between paint by numbers for adults and kids and if this art form is hard for either group. You’ll also learn a few benefits of number painting for adults and children. Lastly, we will show you how to make paint by number easy and fun through actionable steps.

Exciting, right? Let’s begin.

What’s the difference between paint by numbers for kids and adults?

Paint by numbers is a fun, creative activity for adults and children. However, the canvases for both demographics vary based on color choices, themes, size, difficulty, and price.

Color choices

Paint-by-numbers kits for adults have a more comprehensive range of colors to create shadow, depth, highlights, and contrast in the paintings.

Paint by numbers for kids has fewer pre-selected vibrant colors that do not add intricate detail to paintings.


A paint-by-numbers kit for adults features different themes, such as landscapes, portraits, and abstract designs. They also come in various art styles, such as mosaic or geometric art.

Paint by numbers for kids has simple themes such as fairytale characters, animals, and other kid-friendly subjects.


Paint-by-numbers kits for adults come in large sizes that can work as wall portraits. An adult must get a solid wooden frame for a blank canvas to work on it correctly.

Paint by numbers for kids is more miniature for their little hands. The kits don’t need to be mounted, so a child can work on them anywhere and anytime.

Difficulty level

Paint by numbers for adults can be mentally challenging because they have tiny regions to color that require patience and intense concentration.

Paint by numbers for kids is straightforward. It has larger regions, fewer details, and demands fewer skills from a child.


Paint by numbers for adults costs more due to increased complexity and materials, such as high-quality blank canvas and brush sets.

Paint by numbers for kids costs less and is more accessible in local art stores.

How hard is paint by number for adults?

Paint by numbers for adults can range from easy to challenging depending on the complexity of the painting and the adult’s skill level. If you are a beginner, choose a simple design to introduce yourself to painting.

The great thing about paint by numbers is that it bypasses a stage most painters dread, artists’ block, by providing a reference guide to use in case you feel stuck.

We will provide tips below to create your own paint by number easily.

How hard is paint by number for kids?

Paint by numbers for kids is easy and focuses on creating a fun activity rather than overwhelming a child.

However, younger children may need help painting within the printed number regions and keeping track of colors.

How long does paint by numbers take?

Paint by numbers can take hours or days to complete depending on the time you allocate to paint. Our advice: don’t rush it. The best thing about paint-by-number crafts is that they are personal projects, not bound by time.

Benefits of paint by numbers

Paint by numbers offers different benefits to both kids and adults. Check out some of them below.

What are the benefits of paint by numbers for kids?

For kids, paint by numbers teaches color theory, helps them socialize through art therapy, teaches them self-expression, and develops their fine motor skills.

What are the benefits of paint by numbers for kids?

It teaches color theory

Color theory is the science of determining colors that work well together. Painting by numbers allows kids to figure out which colors look good together and which do not. Most often, people use color wheels to analyze the relationship between colors.

It teaches color theory

It helps them socialize with other kids and parents

Children can involve their friends and family when creating number paintings. It can also be a way for them to make new friends, thus creating bonds and social interactions with those around them.

Paint by numbers is an excellent tool for group therapy as well. It provides a medium for kids to express their feelings with others creatively and helps them start deeper conversations in the process.

It teaches kids self-expression

Kids learn to channel and describe their emotions and ideas when painting by numbers. They can grow their creativity by experimenting with different colors than what is instructed in the reference guide.

They learn to decide what they think is suitable and how to fix mistakes or incorporate them into their paintings.

It develops their fine motor skills

Fine motor skills are the ability to coordinate the small muscles in the body to perform a task. Paint by numbers lets kids practice perfecting these skills by teaching them how to paint in lines, hold brushes for a while, and balance palettes.

It boosts their attention span

Paint by numbers boosts kids’ attention spans by making them focus on a subject for a while. It is helpful for fidgety kids who struggle to concentrate on one task.

It gives them a sense of accomplishment

Kids experience a feeling of satisfaction and pride when they complete their number paintings. This feeling boosts their confidence in their ability to paint and their self-esteem.

A sense of accomplishment also encourages persistence in kids. They learn to complete projects despite challenges because of the emotional satisfaction they will get.

What are the benefits of paint by numbers for adults?

Painting by numbers is a way for adults to relieve stress as a form of art therapy, boost their attention span, nurture their hobbies outside work, and get a sense of accomplishment.

It is a stress relief

After a particularly long day, painting by numbers is an excellent way to decompress and distract your mind from stressful situations and negative thoughts. It is also a great way to express emotions such as anger and anxiety safely and creatively.

The act of painting in slow, deliberate brush strokes can calm the mind. It helps adults focus on their surroundings and paintings, thus reducing anxiety as well.

It boosts their attention spans

Painting by numbers teaches adults to sit and focus on one task for a while. They can use this improved attention span at work and in other areas, such as academics and improving their mental health.

It nurtures hobbies outside of work

The day-to-day lives of a lot of adults rarely afford them the time to develop hobbies outside of the work they do. Paint by numbers is an easy, creative way to nurture their talents when not in the office.

It gives adults a sense of accomplishment

Just like kids, adults feel a sense of pride when they complete a painting by number. It boosts their morale and self-confidence.

This feeling is further boosted when adults hang finished paint-by-number projects as art in their spaces.

Tips for making paint by numbers fun and easy

To begin creating a masterpiece, use a wooden frame on your canvas. Use old clothes to keep your space tidy, find a serene spot to paint in, apply gesso to your canvas and invest in a high-quality brush set.

You should start painting from the top of your canvas with darker colors. Focus on one color at a time, tackling the more significant regions first. Clean your brushes as you paint, and keep your paint pods closed when not in use.

Let’s dive deeper into these tips to make paint by numbers fun.

Frame your canvas

The foundation of paint by numbers is the canvas. Keeping it tight and secure provides a stable surface to work on and see your progress as you go along.

Quality frames have clips to secure your canvas and come in various materials, such as wood and metal.

If you want a DIY frame, you can make a canvas wooden frame from scratch or get our pre-cut wooden frame ready for assembly. If you don’t want all the hassle, tape your canvas to a large desk, and you’re set!

Use old clothes and paper to keep your painting area clean

You don’t want to follow up a peaceful painting session with the tedious chore of cleaning. Lay old clothes or newspapers around your canvas to catch paint splashes and stains.

If you get paint on your surfaces, you can easily clean them with soap and water.

Find a peaceful setting to paint in

Painting can be a meditative tool for relaxation, focus, and expression if you do it in a serene environment. Find a spot that is least frequented by members of your household and make it your own little space.

Choose an area with a lot of natural light and good airflow. Set the mood with a playlist that brings you joy and paint away!

Apply clear gesso to your canvas

Using acrylic paint on slippery canvas can be tricky, especially for beginners. Clear gesso on canvas provides a neutral surface to work on and creates friction, allowing you to paint within printed numbers.

Gesso is an excellent way to make the paint adhere to the canvas and protect it from aging. It gives your completed painting a beautiful matte finish.

Avoid using white gesso because it will reduce the visibility of your paint. White gesso is ideal if you want a plain white background to start painting on.

Invest in high-quality brushes

Invest in high-quality brushes

Paint brushes are instruments for bringing your paint by numbers to life, so why go for the wrong kind? Poor-quality brushes have twisted bristles and stray hairs. They fall apart quickly because they are held together by a weak glue, ultimately ruining your painting experience.

Invest in beautiful good, quality paint brushes with a longer shelf life.

Start painting from the top of your canvas

Painting from the top ensures you do not smudge your work as you progress. If you’re right-handed, start from the top left, and vice versa if you’re left-handed. This tip will keep your hand away from drying paint and your canvas clean.

Start with dark colors

Beginning with dark colors helps distinguish different regions in your painting. It gives you a base to build any lighter shade.

Starting with a darker color ensures you will not paint over the lighter colors afterward, giving you a more precise final painting.

Paint one color at a time

Juggling many colors at once will surely confuse you when painting. You can stay organized by focusing on one printed number and its corresponding color at a time.

When you step back after painting, you will better understand the color's effect on the whole picture and decide on the next one.

Paint the larger regions first

An important tip when painting with numbers is to start with the large regions because it helps you establish the structure of the painting. It is easier to fill in small details once you map out the image you’re painting.

Painting the more extensive printed numbers first lets you cover most of the painting in a go. All that’s left afterward is to use the smaller printed numbers as shadows, highlights, and contrast. You will find yourself completing the painting faster by utilizing this trick.

Blend the acrylic paints as you go along

Blending is the trick to achieving that realistic look you see in professional paintings. Blending takes away the harsh separation of paint in different paint-by-numbers regions.

Make small brushstrokes on the wet paint where two printed numbers meet to achieve that natural effect.

Regularly clean your brushes

Always clean your paintbrushes when you switch from one color to another. Dipping a brush with one color in another paint pot has the unwanted effect of creating a new color blend. Your final acrylic paintings will look different from what you intended afterward.

Here’s a pro tip: keep a small jar of water and a cloth or paper towel beside you to wash away the previous paint and dry it before dipping your brush in a new paint pot.

Acrylic also dries hard, thus making your brushes brittle and destroying them with time. After every painting session, gently clean your brushes with mildly warm water and soap, then dry them before storing them with the bristles pointed upwards.

Take care not to use hot water because that weakens the glue holding the bristles together. If dried paint has completely clogged your brushes, soak them in nail polish remover, then wash them with warm water and soap.

Keep your acrylic paint pots shut

Dry acrylic paints are impossible to work with. Due to the water-based nature of acrylic paints, they dry in hours when exposed to open air, unlike oil paints. It is essential to keep the paint pods closed when you're working to preserve extra paint quality.

If your paint is already dry, reactivate it by adding a few drops of water at a time and using your paintbrush to mix it until it's liquid.

Dilute your acrylic paints

Acrylic paints come thick, and that consistency may be hard to work with because it smudges easily and is hard to clean up on the canvas. Add a few drops of water until you get the consistency you can work with.

Thinner paint also has beautiful effects, such as creating highlights against darker colors and tinting subjects you want to have a transparent feel, such as glass and water.

Make sure to swatch the paint on a piece of paper as you thin it so that you don’t go overboard.

Invest in a palette

If you’re painting by numbers, it is safe to say you’re curious about mixing acrylic paints. Rather than mixing them in their respective pots, invest in an artist's palette.

A palette is a smooth wooden, plastic, or glass surface you use to arrange and mix colors before painting. This tool will ensure you maintain the original acrylic paint quality while also letting you break the rules and create your unique blend.

Apply the acrylic paint in two coats

Using two coats will produce a final result that is vibrant and smooth and covers up the indicators printed on the canvas. Use the numbers on the canvas as a guide to applying the first coat of paint. Afterward, it is easy to follow along when applying the second coat. 

Use just enough paint such that it doesn’t drip when you pick it up. And wait for each coat to fully dry before going in with another to prevent smudging.

Take breaks in between painting

Painting can understandably put you in a trance but also exhaust your eyes after a while. An exhausted painter seldom makes good art. You should not aim to complete the painting in one sitting.

Take time away from the canvas to regain perspective on how you want your final result to look. This tip also lets you easily spot errors you made along the way and fix them.

Use a sealant after the acrylic paint dries

Are you curious about how to make your painting look even better once it is dry? Use a sealant.

Sealants provide paint-by-numbers crafts with a glossy look that makes the colors even more vivid. They also protect your artwork from elements such as water and dust and prevent fading due to UV light.

There are sealants that you use a brush to apply and others that you spray onto the canvas. A brush-on sealant gives you greater control when applying, while a spray-on sealant quickens the whole process.

Make sure to apply the sealant in a well-ventilated room or outdoors facing away from the wind, especially when using spray-on sealant because it is toxic when inhaled.

Skip this tip if you would like to repaint the paint by numbers in the future. Sealants are permanent, and removing them would destroy the canvas.

Allow yourself to make mistakes

We’re not asking you to make mistakes intentionally. We’re asking you not to hyperfocus on perfection; otherwise, you will not enjoy the painting process. Accept the stray brushstroke and the imperfect linework, and focus on having fun.

Little mistakes also teach you new techniques you may not have thought of otherwise. As you paint, you will gain confidence in your ability and loosen up, thus creating a more expressive painting.

Making mistakes is also great for developing your decision-making skills as you find ways to fix the errors or incorporate them into your final work.

Experiment along the way to personalize your painting

Paint by numbers kits can feel generic because of the defined number indicators and pre-assigned colors. Well, they don’t have to. Break the rules and mix it up a little.

Paint a region with a different color and see if it works for you. If it doesn’t, use enough paint to cover it and try again until you like what you see.

Experimenting is an excellent way to make unique pieces you can give as wedding gifts or housewarming presents to make your loved ones feel appreciated.

A paint by numbers kit is a personalized experience, and you can make rules along the way. Make sure you use a palette when mixing to avoid damaging the original paint pods.

Turn any custom photo into paint-by-numbers art today!

No matter your skill level, a painting-by-numbers kit is the perfect way to hone your talent and grow your artistic skills. It is an avenue for you and your kids to bond over a shared interest and teach them a thing or two about nurturing their creativity.

We have removed the hassle at Paint Your Numbers by providing all tools you need in one convenient kit. Our paint-by-number kit includes a rolled canvas, paint pots, a brush set, and a reference guide.

Preserve your perfect moment by sending us a custom photo, and let us turn it into a fun activity for you and your loved ones.

Upload your photo and order your custom paint by number kit today!