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Paint by numbers instructions

- Categories : Tutorials

Afraid of making a mess of your first paint by numbers?
It's natural - we've all been there!

Well, I've been there, at least. That's why we drew up a list of all the important things you've got to know before you start your first paint by numbers!

The list contains everything we thought of but we may have missed some pieces of advice. Please comment below if you still have any questions and we'll reply as soon as possible. 

When you begin

  • Clear a flat area to start.
  • Arrange your painting where there is good light.
  • Get a cup of water and paper towels handy to clean brushes. Clean them when they start to get all gunked up or when you change to a new color. To clean a brush, simply put it in a glass of water, stir as you would with a spoon, and wipe it up a bit with a towel.
  • Make sure the tops are completely closed when you’re done with them to prevent drying.
  • Use enough paint so as to cover the numbers and lines.

Where to start

I prefer to start at the top left because I'm right-handed. This way I let the paint dry without taking the risk of putting my hand/arm in it.

Some days, I’ll paint all the colors that are in a small area (circa 15cm X 15cm), 1 color at a time. And move to the next area only after having completely painted the previous one.

Other days, I’ll choose one color and paint all areas corresponding to its number before moving to the next color.

But in both cases, I’ll go from the top-left to the bottom-right of the painting.

That being said, this is really about what you feel comfortable doing. There is no right or wrong! 

Here are some suggestions: 

  • Top to bottom.
  • Dark to light. 
  • From the first number on. 
  • Top corner down. 
  • In the middle out. 


Some canvases come a bit wrinkled. Spray a light mist of water on it and iron on low setting on the BACKSIDE. (before you paint it!).

If you’d like to have a sturdy surface to paint, tape the canvas to a piece of foam board or cardboard.


You may find some paints a bit thick. It's always better to mix it up a bit before using it. If the paint is too thick, do not hesitate to add a drop of water of some flow improver. 

Now you are fully set, enjoy your painting! 

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