Last updated: 16/10/2022

Drawing and painting is a creative hobby that many people of all ages enjoy. Not everyone is a natural talent, but with painting by numbers for adults, everyone can create small and large works of art. A paint-by-numbers set contains everything the hobby artist needs to get started. In addition to the canvas or the painting cardboard with the numbered fields, the buyer receives brushes, canvas and the matching acrylic paints. For many sets, matching frames are available, which give the self-created pictures a noble look.

To ensure that the first painting-by-numbers picture is an admired success, there are a few things to bear in mind. This applies to the handling of acrylic paints and brushes as well as to the correct painting technique. With the tips you will find here, you will be well prepared to create small personal masterpieces right away. We also have the answers to frequently asked questions about painting by numbers for adults. Look forward to your first self-painted picture.


  • Beginners often underestimate the time it takes to colour in many number squares. Larger pictures cannot be done in one go. Make sure that the colours do not dry out and the brushes do not become encrusted. Colours that have thickened slightly due to breaks in painting can be thinned again with a few drops of water to achieve the optimum consistency.
  • Paint by numbers pictures come in a set that includes a canvas or a painting board. A canvas is made of linen or cotton. It gives the picture a texture similar to a painting made with oil paints. The set often includes a clear varnish to seal the finished artwork and protect it from fingerprints and dirt.
  • When buying, make sure that all products included in the paint-by-numbers set are of consistently high quality. Acrylic paints, brushes and painting grounds should be well coordinated. Only then can you enjoy bright colours, precise edges and smooth transitions. To ensure that your hobby gives you unadulterated pleasure, it is better to choose a higher-quality product if in doubt.

The Best Paint By Numbers For Adults: Our Picks

Buying and Evaluation Criteria for Paint by Numbers Sets

Before buying a painting-by-numbers set, you should know what criteria to look for in order to get an excellent result. These points play an important role in the purchase decision:

When you start your painting-by-number hobby, you should not overwhelm yourself with the first motif. The time required to colour in the number fields is often underestimated. Large pictures with many filigree number fields also require many hours of dedication in order to enjoy a colourful and impressive painting at the end. Do you already have more confidence or experience in painting by numbers? Then you can also try a more complicated set with several parts. With a little patience and practice, you will soon be able to tackle elaborate motifs.


A good paint-by-numbers set contains all the colours you need to create the picture. The colours should be available in sufficient quantity and high quality. Environmentally friendly and harmless acrylic paints are water-soluble and ensure a luminous result. Thinning the colours is not necessary, but after a longer painting break the colours may thicken. In this case, it is advisable to dilute with water drop by drop to restore the optimum consistency. Are the colours clearly numbered and can they be clearly assigned to the fields? This is another signal for a well-matched paint-by-numbers set.


The canvas in a paint-by-numbers set consists of a painting board or a textile canvas made of cotton or linen. Convincing results can be achieved with both surfaces. A high-quality prepared painting cardboard is at least equivalent to a canvas made of cotton. Depending on the motif, a more or less strong structuring can improve the visual impression of the finished picture. The desired strength of this effect also depends on the artist’s personal preference.


At least three brushes should be included in the set in order to achieve a good match with the paint-by-numbers fields by using different brush sizes. The quality of the finished painting depends largely on the product quality of the brushes. However, in the case of elaborate motifs that require several sessions, even high-quality brushes may have brush hairs that stick out. The hairs can be trimmed into shape with sharp scissors to fill in the remaining number fields in the same quality and without colour splashes on other number fields. Synthetic brush hairs made of nylon or other fabric stand for a long life.


There is no question about it: a frame that matches the motif enhances every painting-by-numbers picture and creates a representative impression. An attractive frame therefore contributes significantly to the effect. Leading manufacturers offer matching frames as accessories if they are not already included in the set. Another useful accessory is clear varnish. Sealing ensures that you can enjoy the painting-by-numbers motif for a long time.

Guide: Questions and answers about paint by numbers for adults

What is the shelf life of the colours in a paint by numbers set?

To prolong the shelf life of the colours included in the paint-by-numbers set, you should open the paint pots only shortly before painting. The relatively small amount of paint in the containers is sufficient for most manufacturers, so that no excessive thriftiness is necessary. Paint that still sticks to the brush after application can be wiped off again on the paint pots. If the paint dries out completely, it can no longer be used. However, a slight thickening of the paint after a break in painting is no drama. By adding a few drops of water you can use the paint again after mixing it.

In which order should I colour the number fields?

A good painting-by-numbers set comes with painting instructions and a control sheet. Both documents give helpful hints on technique and sequence. Here it is also advisable to consider the order in which the number fields are to be filled in. A smudging of still wet colours by the painting hand can be avoided if you proceed systematically. Put the canvas in an ergonomically favourable position to avoid overexertion due to awkward arm posture or back pain.

How can the brushes be cared for?

Acrylic paints can be washed out with water. The environmentally friendly and simple care of the brushes and other materials makes painting by numbers an attractive hobby even for young people. Excessively frequent washing out and manual drying, however, stresses the brush hairs and causes them to wear out quickly. When changing the paint, washing out is of course unavoidable. Careful dabbing on kitchen paper is sufficient to dry the paint.

Does paint by numbers encourage creativity?

The popularity that paint-by-numbers pictures have gained in recent years has to do with the relaxing effect that comes with colouring in the squares. The fact that you are not exposed to any pressure to perform and can relax is a valuable leisure activity. At the same time, young people and adults train their fine motor skills and learn about the interplay of colours. Over time, your feeling for colour effects and the various application techniques will improve automatically. You master precise contours and let colours flow into each other in a controlled way. Already with the first picture, you will feel a sense of achievement. This makes painting by numbers a valuable leisure activity for adults.


More and more people associate painting by numbers with a creative activity that leads them away from smartphones and computers to a new expression and stimulates their imagination. Due to the variety of motifs, there is something for everyone who wants to impress themselves and their loved ones with beautiful pictures and enjoy them together.

A paint-by-numbers set includes everything needed to make the pictures, so there is no need to buy brushes or rides separately. As with any hobby, the user acquires skills that lead him deeper and deeper into the pursuit and to more complex motifs with which he produces impressive results and causes amazed looks. Painting by numbers is anything but trivial and is becoming more and more fun for adults.

Cover photo: totalpics / 123RF