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Readers Respond: Have you ever done a Paint by Numbers picture of any kind? What was it like?

Responses: 52


From the article: Painting by Numbers
Did you have a Paint by Numbers set as a present? Have you ever started one but not finished? Did you enjoy it so much you frame it after you'd finished?

So Therapeutic

Several years ago I went through a nervous breakdown after loosing a baby. Saw a PBN in an art shop and tried it. I can honestly say that concentrating on painting the pictures my life began to get back to normal and on track again. I did a total of five paintings and experimented putting my personal touches to them. My family had them for many years hanging on their walls. My husband of 56 years now has developed dementia and has kidney problems. I have pressure of caring for him and find that painting again helps so much to help me to relax and face any problems that occur.
—Guest Marjorie Watkiss

Enjoyable Pastime

I enjoy painting by numbers -- yes, it is not creative art, more like filling in the blanks. But, nevertheless, a most enjoyable way to spend time. At the end of it, you get a nice picture that has value because one puts in time and effort. The only problem is that the paints dry up and there is no way to get replacements. I think I will have to learn to mix colours to get the shades I need.
—Guest Prabha

Not Enough Paint

There is never enough paint with the Paint by Numbers and I can't find anywhere to order extra colours.
—Guest Angela

Yes. Love the Newer Ones

I started doing paint by numbers years ago. At first I avoided the ones that involve mixing some of the paints to get additional colors, but once I tried one I found it wasn't hard at all, and having more different shades makes for a much nicer picture.
—Guest BevK

PBN Adventure

I did a couple of PBN as a kid -- enjoyed the puzzle aspects (as someone else mentioned) as well as getting an idea of what working with oils was like. To me, they were a lot like embroidery kit -- a "get your feet wet" taste of what can be done.
—Guest Beth


I believe that PBN's are highly appreciated because everyone knows how much time they take to complete if done well. I think they can definitely take a lot more time than painting originals. My advice...acquire super fine tipped brushes, compare the paint given (focus on the bright colors) with the cover picture given, swap out colors with truer colors if they do not match the photo and if you do not like it. Use a high magnifier such as a loupe for ease of viewing tiny areas, paint as many of same numbers as you can see at one time, and view the straight lines as the most important thing that needs to be correct to make your pic great and eye and facial details if there are people or animals in the pic. I kind of view PBN's as a puzzle in a way, like a game/challenge, great techniques required, and it brings out the child in me; a lot of fun really.
—Guest Karen


I started PBN just after starting a different work shift, got hooked. Now I buy very detailed and colorful ones. I can't paint like a true artist, so I do this.
—Guest liz

Just Started

Mum got me my first PBN the other day. I have wanted one since I was a child, but we never got one because of being hard on money. I'm 19 now. Mum got me one of two puppies on a blanket. I was really excited to try it out. When I opened it I was a bit overwhelmed by how much you have to do! I had a go, but I spent ages on a few sections and went over the lines, then I lost my patience. Painting was always one of my weakest skills at school. That's why I thought I'd give this a go. Sadly, I don't know if I will finish it, it's completely scary looking at all the numbers. Plus the Reeves PBN set I got, they messed up my paint colours which was a disappointment (the colour on my packet is a deep purple, yet they gave me a light blue colour). I was also confused at the fractions on the packet. I'm not too sure how to mix and all that. Whenever I tried anything paint wise at school, I always messed up with mixing. I'm a bit scared to try as the paint dries VERY quickly. I will try again.
—Guest BB


I was given a PBN kit at about the age of 8. I don't remember much about it but I did enjoy the activity and it got me started in Art. Unfortunately life got in the way and I was sidetracked until I retired. I have since taken up oil painting and have attending college classes on painting. A good way to start for the younger painters.
—Guest George

Paint by Numbers

I have a pbn of a leopard...I worked very hard on it to go beyond a pbn and was creative with shading and other techniques...my father thought it was a painting done by my sister who is a bona-fide artist and was very impressed with it...til I told him I had done it starting with a pbn...well his appreciation for it was like day to night...he immediately dismissed it as not being worthy of any consideration. It really is too bad that people have such a bad regard for pbn's. I am currently doing another one and love doing them...I do like to 'think out of the box' so to speak and go to a next level with painting them. I love to paint and they start me off with the drawing already done for me. Go on line and wow there are some absolutely gorgeous kits available out there. I hope to do some more and I really would like to see better acceptance of them.
—Guest Jan

Paint by Number

Several years ago a friend gave me a large paint by number Victorian-like picture of a cat and kittens. I did finish it and enjoyed doing it. It was almost more like putting a puzzle together than painting a picture. It was fun to see the picture emerging as I painted each numbered area. I still have it but haven't framed it.

Thanks Paint by Numbers!

I have severe arthritic fingers now and I am just still painting by hand but, wow, my husband has been so ill with heart and brain surgery and he has taken to painting by numbers which is incredible. He loves it and this has been fantastic therapy for us both. Thanks paint by numbers!
—Guest patc

Paint by Number John Lennon

I bought a paint by number kit from numberedart.com that was totally amazing. It is a painting of John Lennon in blue colours. I eventually had it mounted on a box frame as the kit was on thick canvas.
—Guest Jim Walsh


I will never paint by numbers, makes me feel like I've got no talent whatsoever. As it is I feel that I cheat if I paint from a picture. The only thing that makes me happy is when I took the photo myself, arranged the subject as I want it and then paint it. I will never copy the old masters and will never paint something that's already been painted.

Paint by numbers? I still do!

Paint by number? I still do! Especially portraits. Various Photoshop filters applied to a copy of a scanned copy of a photo give me a contour drawing based on six or seven values. I trace that onto the canvas, select the colors based on cool darks and warm lights generally, number them on the palette and the canvas, and then complete the painting. It is always an excellent likeness and from more than five feet away, you can't recognize the PBN structure.
—Guest Edgarc

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