The Palmer Paint Company introduced the first paint by number kits to American consumers in 1951. Although this seemingly simple hobby is often the target of gentle mockery, paint by number kits not only hold a steady place on the market but have recently enjoyed something of a resurgence in popularity. A relaxing hobby and creative outlet, paint by number kits for children and adults alike are relatively inexpensive and easy to find.
- Skill level:
Determine your skill level. Paint by number kits are manufactured for different skill levels ranging from young children to adults or beginner to advanced. Don't worry about your age: Adult beginners may wish to start with a child's kit and an advanced child may be able to work with an adult kit. Children's, or beginner, kits offer simple, less detailed images and generally come with step-by-step instructions and guidance on paint mixing and usage. Adult, or advanced, kits typically contain more complex images that require attention to small details and colour shading. If you've never worked with paint by numbers, you may want to start with a beginner's kit to get a feel for the medium.
Choose your theme. Hobby stores, craft stores and Internet retailers offer a very wide selection of paint by number kits that contain a plethora of images--from fun cartoon art to complex, intricate scenes and landscapes. Customised paint by number kits are also available from some retailers; you send them a photo from which they produce a one-of-a-kind paint by numbers canvas for you to paint (see Resources section).
Choose your medium. Paint by number kits utilise various mediums including acrylic paint, oil paint, watercolours and even coloured pencils. Coloured pencils and oil paints are most suitable for beginners. Coloured pencils offer the most control and there is no need to consider drying time. Oil paints dry slowly, thus affording you more time to paint and blend colour. Acrylic paints and watercolours are more suitable for higher skill levels. Watercolours can be difficult to work with, as they offer less control and can run or bleed if not mixed properly. Acrylic paints dry quickly and require a fast, more experienced hand.
Compare prices. Fortunately, most paint by number kits are relatively inexpensive. Compare prices between local vendors and Internet retailers. An Internet search may yield deeply discounted kits that are not available locally.
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