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12 Paint By Number Tips: How To Make A Painting Look Better & More Realistic

Dec 18, 2022

Creating art is one of the most therapeutic activities you can do, and paint by numbers allows beginners to get started in creating their very own masterpieces.

12 Paint By Number Tips

However, while you can just follow the instructions as they are, there are things you can do to make your painting look even better!

In this article, we’ll show you how to improve your painting and make it look no different from a regular painting. Before you know it, you’ll have your very own masterpiece and be able to improve your skills each time you paint by numbers (see also ‘Can Paint By Number Teach You To Paint?‘).

1. Get The Right Kit

Investing in a good paint by numbers set is the first step in improving the appearance of paint by numbers; a higher-quality set will produce better results.

Paint by number kits for adults are a good starting point for any artist (see also ‘10 Best Paint By Numbers Kits‘). They increase your painting confidence by teaching you how to manipulate the paint and how to utilise various brushes.

It’s also worth spending a bit extra when looking for a paint by numbers kit. High-quality kits will allow you to create better paintings and a glossier finish with the paints it provides.

2. Use Different Brushes

You will usually get a brush with your paint by numbers kit, however, you should also use some of your own. Having a good variety of brushes means that you can utilise different brush strokes to make your painting more professional. 

Having different brushes in a variety of sizes can also help you with fine lines, textures, and details that are important for making your painting look perfect. It will allow you to fill in narrow spaces, as well as cover large areas.

3. Use A White Pencil To Hide The Numbers

The majority of the numbers printed on the canvas are hidden by additional paint layers, however, sometimes lighter colours can be challenging.

You may still be able to make out a ghost of that number through softer hues that may divert the eye depending on the angle or lighting.

Erase the number with a white colored pencil before you start working on a particular section. The dark print can be softened with just one or two layers of light pressure.

4. Add Extra Coats Of Paint

When applying paint to your canvas, don’t be afraid to do so generously. A high-quality paint by numbers kit should provide you with enough paint to add additional layers of each colour on top of the base layer.

Adding extra coats of paint can make your painting stand out more with bolder and smoother colours. It can fix streaky sections and make the final outcome look more polished.

Two layers should be enough, but there’s no problem with adding more if you think your painting needs it.

5. Check You’re Using The Right Colour

Of course, this is pretty obvious, but also the easiest way to make sure your painting comes out just the way you want it to. 

Keep your instructions close by and always check you’re using the right colour before painting a new section. There’s nothing worse than painting the majority of your canvas, only to find out that you’ve been using the wrong colour.

As long as you keep track, your painting will be perfect when it’s finished.

6. Paint Darker Colours First

12 Paint By Number Tips

While painting by number, you should fill in the darker colours before you start painting the lighter colours. Moving from the darker to the lighter tones means that your painting will be neater, as you can easily correct it if they accidentally overlap.

Before you start painting, take a look at your kit and find the darker shades. Make a note of this and then fill them in. Once you’ve done so, let the paint dry before adding the lighter colours.

7. Clean Your Brushes

Make sure your brushes are clean before moving on to a new colour. Not cleaning your brushes will mean that the previous colour you used will tint the new colour, resulting in a painting that doesn’t look how it should.

Cleaning your brushes is also important for good brush maintenance. It ensures that the paint won’t dry on the brushes, causing them to become stiff.

Furthermore, while you can rinse the brushes with water at regular intervals, you shouldn’t leave them to soak in water. This can cause your brushes to become frayed, making them harder to paint with.

8. Blend

Due to the sheer nature of paint by numbers, some colours will have sharp borders around them. However, don’t be afraid to softly blend the colours together if you want your painting to have softer, more realistic-looking edges.

By gently sliding the brush back and forth along the edge of where the two colours meet, you may accomplish this flawlessly. Blend slowly and delicately while the paint is still wet.

To begin with, use shorter brush strokes and start with smaller areas. The more you work on your technique, the more adventurous you can be.

9. Use A Solid Frame

Purchasing paint-by-number kits that include a frame is one simple way to make your paintings appear more professional.

As you apply the paint, these frames keep the canvas tightly stretched out to prevent warping. Even if a painting is excellent, canvas sheets have a tendency to wrinkle and warp, giving the impression that it is clumsy.

10. Use Water

Paint by numbers kits often include acrylic paints. Contrary to belief, acrylic paints are actually water-soluble, which means you can use water to thin your paint and create some interesting effects.

Watered-down paint is also good for blending, so you can do this if you want to use blending techniques to create a more realistic painting. 

11. Use Sealant

All you need to do to improve the appearance of a paint by numbers painting is to apply a sealant.

It will not only help protect the painting from damage but will also give the piece a shinier and more polished appearance. Your painting will have a matte, glossy, or satin finish depending on the sealant you select.

Spray sealants are excellent because they are simple to use and apply evenly, although they are usually a little more expensive. Regardless, they’re the best ones to use to make your painting perfect.

12. Add Personal Touches

We know that paint by numbers is about following the rules, but who says they can’t be broken every once in a while?

If you feel confident enough with your skills, then don’t be afraid to change the colours and try something new. You can also add extra details and embellishments if you wish. 

Final Thoughts

The number one rule of art is that there is no right or wrong way to express yourself artistically, even when it comes to painting by numbers!

With this guide, you can make your own rules and use techniques to create a painting that looks beautiful and more professional.

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