Techniques for Paint-by-Number Projects

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The paint-by-number kit was designed and developed in the 1950's. These kits included pots of pre-mixed oil paints. The modern day kit will feature pots of the faster drying non-toxic acrylic or water color paints. The more involved paint kit has the standard number guide plus a series of letters or numbers for paints that must be mixed to create a second set of colors. Paint-by-number kits are available for wall murals, furniture decoration, fabric design and window murals. Kits are made on canvas boards, transparency film or foil paper mounted on cardboard.

Tools

  • The standard paint-by-number kit comes with a pre-printed textured board or canvas. The outline and color numbers are printed in a light blue ink color which is hidden once you paint it. There are a collection of colors in plastic pots with hinged, snap tight covers. Each pot of paint has a number which matches the area marked on the painting canvas. You will find a black and white pattern sheet to use as a guide once the painting is begun. A paintbrush with a fine point which can be used fill in small and large areas is included. It is helpful to add a toothpick or a number 0 or 00 acrylic paintbrush for the tiny sections on the canvas. A cover from a recyclable plastic dairy product container will be useful for you to mix your paint on when it is required to make secondary color blends. Find a clean recycled glass or plastic container to partially fill with clean water. You must rinse off your paint brush thoroughly after using a color. Paper towels can be used to clean excess paint and water from the brush.

Mixing Color

  • Use a separate toothpick to dip into the individual pots of color. Scoop a small amount of paint out on to your palette. Stir the two colors together to get the color that is needed for the matching letter. Mix small amounts at a time to ensure that there is no waste of paint. Look at the cover of the box which shows a fully painted version of the project you are working on. You can check to see if the color blend is light or dark enough to match. To darken the color, simply add more of the darkest paint color that you are directed to mix.

Paint The Subject

  • Start at the top of your painting. This will keep the drying paint above the side of your hand as you paint, preventing smudging of the colors. Dip only the tip of the brush into the paint. You should paint with the tip of the brush in smooth strokes without pressing the bristles down on to the canvas or project. Too much pressure causes the bristles to fan out which will ruin the shape of the brush and can damage the canvas. The small sections on the painting can easily be filled in with the end of a toothpick. Dip the very end into the required paint color then gently glide the toothpick from the end in toward the larger area of the section. After completing several kits you can use transfer paper and pencil to copy the painting guide on to an unfinished wood piece, a wall or piece of furniture enable you to create the paint-by number design on to the project.

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