Are you looking into getting your own paint by numbers kit, but you are not sure what supplies are the best for you? If you have seen painting kits using oil paints advertised a lot, you might be surprised to find out that they are not, in fact, the best choice for painting by numbers. In my opinion, there are plenty of other better options, but what is it that makes oil paints such a bad choice?
For those of you who are already passionate about painting by numbers, this is a good opportunity to learn about what to use or not to use in your artwork, in order to get the best results.
It is even better if you are just getting into this hobby: it can give you a good perspective over certain types of paint, and a better idea of where they are actually used.
What are oil paints?
First of all, in order to make an informed decision, you should learn about the differences between different types of paints. Each type has its own features, making them better or worse depending on the way you plan to use them.
Just as the name says, oil painting is nothing more than using paints with an oil base. In the older times, this was the best tool for artists, and without it, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy paintings such as the Mona Lisa, or Picasso’s work.
Nowadays, we have plenty of alternatives to oil paints: there are acrylic paints, watercolors and many more, and whichever you choose depends a lot on what you use it for.
While in oil paints the pigments that make the colors so vibrant are mixed in with oil bases, in acrylics they are mixed in with polymer solutions. Because it is so easy nowadays to produce plastics, you might see acrylic paint becoming more and more accessible.
Oil paints, compared to acrylics, are much better for those dedicated artists that are willing to spend days and days on one painting. Although it is easier to blend oil colors, for a more painterly aspect, you can find many techniques to imitate oil painting texture using acrylics in your own projects.
The first image should give you an idea of the texture oil paintings usually have. Next to it, the image shows a painting made using acrylics: it shows that the painting layer is much thinner in the case of acrylics.
Difference with acrylic paint
In my personal experience, that makes using acrylics much easier especially for beginners, as it’s easier to paint even layers. With oil paints, I tend to make some layers much thicker than others, giving the artwork a messier look, which is not something I was going for.
Difference with watercolors
Watercolors are water-based paints, and because of that they are much thinner than oil paints, and they dry so much quicker. As they dry much slower, when you use oil paint mistakes are easier to correct, and you can layer up colors easily.
Watercolors are much cheaper than oil paints. Now only that, but in order to paint with watercolors, all you need is a special paper, which is easier to get than the canvas and supplies demanded by oil paints.
Are oil paints good for paint by numbers?
Although you may have seen it advertised on some websites, oil paints are really not good for paint by numbers, and there are many reasons for that.
Oil paints might not be the best choice for you if you are looking for an easy and cheap free time activity.
Painting with oil-based products requires so much preparation and so many additional supplies, such as solvents, special brushes, rags, a primer that helps the paint stick to the canvas and a large painting space.
Spending so much more on expensive supplies defeats the purpose of painting by numbers, which was created in order to make this hobby easy and accessible for anybody.
The image below shows just how many layers are necessary for oil painting usually: that’s why simply using a paint by numbers kit is not enough for oil painting, but luckily there are plenty of alternatives to that!
You should also know that the pigments found in oil paints are actually very toxic for you: when you paint using oil-based paints, solvents such as mineral spirits and turpentine fill the air around you with fumes that are dangerous to breathe in.
These solvents contained in most oil paints are incredibly hard to avoid as they are very common. Again, painters usually manage to avoid this by using good ventilation in larger painting studios, but it is usually not worth it for beginner painters when there are so many safer alternatives.
You might also find that finished paintings using oil-based paint usually get a slight yellow tint to them after a long time.
It usually gives a really old aspect to the painting, so if this is not something you’re looking for, then you might want to consider alternatives. More than that, Oil painting also takes a considerable amount of time, as it takes longer for the paint to actually dry out.
Again, if you are just looking for some relaxing, non-time-consuming free time activity, you should consider alternatives for this type of paint.
Alternatives to oil-based paints
Considering all the downsides of oil paints, you might try to consider alternatives.
Personally, I believe acrylic paints nowadays are the best alternative: they have become so much safer, and due to including more clear plastics in their composition, they now have much brighter, vibrant colors, perfect for any artwork. Because of that, most paint by number kits come with acrylic paints in their inventory.
While for oil paints it is essential that you buy something called gesso primer, which helps the paint stick to the canvas better, you don’t need that for acrylic painting.
For oil paints you need many other expensive supplies to begin working with them, but for acrylic paints you just need five starting supplies: the paint, a simple brush, cup of water, a surface, and of course your own creativity!
All of the acrylic paints included in paint by number kits are water-soluble. While painting, you must always remember to seal every paint you are not using, as they tend to dry really quickly. And yet if they do, no need to worry! You can always add a drop or two of water over it, and it will regain its consistency.
Using acrylics, painting becomes such an easy and convenient activity, as you can easily carry your supplies around and paint anywhere you want.
We offer a range of paint by number kits that use acrylic paints: no matter your taste or desired difficulty level, there is definitely something for you.
For those of you who enjoy the soft and elegant aspect of the vintage era, we have just the right kits for you. You can enjoy painting still life or beautiful flowers, and even fairy-tale like cottages, or amazing sceneries.
For me personally, painting nice flowers and nature is always relaxing, so if you are also a fan of them, you can find all of our vintage kits here.
You can also take a look at our easy paint by number kits for adults: they come with everything you need to start painting right away, so just pick your favorite image and give it a go! I definitely like the Japanese Koi set the most, but there are so many more to choose from.
On this page, you can find all the painting kits for adults, or you can choose a more specific category: if you are looking for an activity that takes a longer time, you may consider looking at our large paint by numbers.
Even more, we offer options even for complete beginners! They come with all the necessary supplies, plus instructions that are incredibly easy to follow. These paint kits usually follow some guidelines, but who says you can’t let your creativity take over, and experiment with the colors that you are given?
If you are an animal lover like me, you’ll definitely love this selection of kits.
As you can see, these paint by number kits come in many colors and styles, some being more realistic, using soft, natural colors, and some more abstract, using vibrant, bold colors. It all depends on you and your own style.
As you can see, although it is advertised in some places, painting by numbers using oil paints isn’t your best alternative, and could actually end up being not only expensive but toxic as well.
I recommend acrylic paints not only because they are so much cheaper and easier to use, but for me, the colors and texture end up so much nicer using this type of paint as well. They are great and safe to use for kids, so you can always include them as well in this nice leisure activity.