When you hear the phrase “paint by number,” you’re most likely picturing the crafty activity you did as a kid. You’re imagining the canvases with detailed outlined drawings that are just waiting to be filled in with the small set of paints. It was a satisfying activity; by simply matching the numbers in the drawing with the numbered pigments, you created a fully realized picture. No matter your skill level, you felt like a pro when you were done.
While paint by number kits might still seem like an act of your youth, they’ve recently become a fun activity for grown-ups. Going the way of the coloring book, paint by numbers for adults have the same supplies as their kid-centric counterparts, but the artwork features subject matter that grown-ups would want to display in their homes. Blooming succulents, a portrait of Frida Kahlo, and the fashionable fiddle leaf fig plant are just some of the things you can paint. This relaxing analog activity, coupled with nostalgia, makes this a great past time—especially if you are trying to decrease the amount you spend staring at a screen.
Paint by number kits are a popular choice when pursuing this hobby, but it’s possible to DIY it as well. The website PBNify makes it easy by allowing you to upload an image and select your color palette. It will then convert your picture into a paint by number template that you can print out and transfer onto canvas. Use your favorite acrylics and this special paint saver palette to turn your picture into a full-blown kit.
Here are some of our favorite contemporary paint by number kits that will inspire you to try one.
Wondering where the idea for Paint by Number kits came from? Read about the medium's fascinating history.
Looking for an analog activity that’s both fun and nostalgic? Try paint by numbers for adults!
Frida with Flowers
Fox with Chicory
Girl with a Pearl Earring
Desert Landscape with Cactus