Top 10 Paint by Number Tips and Tricks

We have had over 185,000 happy customers and you have all taught us SO MUCH.

We get questions from all over the world, and most of the time, one of our customers has answered them for us. Here are the tips and tricks that we have learned from YOU!

Tip 10 - How to make the numbers not show through

Most of the time the numbers underneath don't show through, but once in a while our customers say they can see the numbers through some of the lighter paint when they're close. That's when someone suggested using white out pen or our white paint marker to cover the numbers, which works phenomenally!

Find the number and space on the canvas, but right before you paint, color over the number with the pencil! Who would have guessed?

White Paint Marker - Cover up number paint by numbersWhite Out Pen for Paint by Number


Tip 9 - Clear Gesso - How to make the paint stick better

Clear Gesso provides an degree of rough surface to to give acrylic and oil paints a better place to hold. Clear gesso is ideal for painting over paint by number kits because it makes the canvas surface better to paint on, but still allows you to see all the numbers and areas to paint between!

Tip 8 - Flow Improver - How to make the paint less thick or revive dry paint

Some people would like their paints to be a little less thick and easier to work with. Since these are acrylic paints and water soluble, you can usually get away with just a few drops of water. For the more challenging paints, you can splurge for a few drops of Flow Improver to make the paint easier to work with.

Tip 7 - Foam Board - How to keep your painting sturdy and mobile

Foam board is a great flat surface onto which you can mount your canvas. Once you have taped, tacked, or clipped your painting to the board you can bring it with you to paint anywhere you feel comfortable. It makes it so you can do your painting indoors and outside! Get our favorite Elmer's Foam Board, 18x24 Inch, Pack of 2

Tip 6 - Extra Paints - How to use those leftover paints when you're finished

Once you're done, you usually have a few pods of leftover paint that end up drying up and getting thrown out. We found that some of our customers like to test how their painting skills have improved by using those extra paints on a blank canvas (without lines)!

Tip 5 - Digital instructions - How to never lose your instructions again

Some of our customers find the numbers to be too small to see easily and wish that we included a magnifying glass in our kits. Having tiny spaces helps make the final paintings more detailed, so it's hard to strike the perfect balance.

Our customers have also found a very clever and innovative solution to the problem! Before starting your kit take a picture of the canvas! As you are painting, you can go back and reference the digital photo in your smartphone or camera and zoom in on any of those hard to see numbers!


Tip 4 - Wrinkled Canvas - How to flatten out those pesky wrinkles

Wrinkling is very normal for shipping canvases like this. Fortunately, just like wrinkly clothes from a dryer, you can use an iron to get them out! Check out this video below or our helpful blog post here


Tip 3 - Go one number at a time - How to keep paint moist

If you paint one number at a time and make sure to close the pods between strokes, it also helps keep the paint fresh and moist since they all won't be exposed to the air for long periods of time!

These paints are acrylic, so you can use water or Flow Improver to make it less thick should you want. You can find a how-to here

Tip 2 - ZigZag - How to PERFECTLY blur colors

There is no better explanation for the technique than by watching it yourself. Check out this video on the nifty way to make your painting look amazing!


Tip 1 - Cat repellent - How to keep cats off your work

We still have not solved this one--but they do make for excellent subject matter for a custom paint by number kit!

Photo Credit of Wally the Cat to Sharon Shore!

For other Paint by Number tips join our Facebook Support Group with over 8,000 members!



  • So glad I found these tips. They should help with my third painting. The white pencil covering numbers will be great. To bad there are no instructions when you receive canvas. You should enclose a website address we can go to for painting tips. I love the paint by number pictures. Thank you.

    Dawn Williams
  • I just did 3 of these which was relaxing.
    When young we use to spray the finished piece with cheap hair spray to set it. Should I be finishing these in some such way?

  • It looks like a fun project. I can’t wait to get my kit and learn the techniques. However, i think that if someone corrects the spelling, etc., in the demo videos and fixes misspellings like “explainations” (explanations), the site would look more professional.

    Dee Dinsick
  • do paint and paint brushes come with the paintings

    carmelita smith=barnes
  • Ik ben intussen een fan geworden en heb mezelf aangeleerd bij de grotere vlakken, eerst de contouren te schilderen en pas op het laatst het nummer dat in dat vlak staat verven. Als je dan even van je werk weg moet, dan weet je altijd met welke kleur je bezig was.
    De donkere kleuren zijn vaak niet dekkend na 1 x maal schilderen en je ziet dan het wit van het canvas door de verf nog heen komen.. Het helpt als je het canvas eerst met de verf en wat meer water schildert, laat drogen en dan een 2e laag eroverheen.
    Begin eerst met de lichtere kleuren, bv. wit en schilder dan de zwarte omlijning mee. De donkere kleur kan je er dan tegenaan schilderen en zo is je werk egaal en de lijnen vervaagd. Als je eerst met bv. zwart begint en dan wit, dan gaat het wit over het zwart heen en dat is niet fraai.

    Bij de zeer kleine vlakken gebruik je het penseel met de minste haren. Houd het penseel rechtop, dat vereenvoudigt het schilderen en dan ga je niet snel over de rand.

    Carla Maaswinkel

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