How to Convert Photos to Paint by Numbers

Written by heather inks
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How to Convert Photos to Paint by Numbers
Using paint by number software will make learning how to paint easier for adults and children. (painting image by Linda Brotkorb from

Using paint by number sheets is an easy and economical way to break down complicated images so beginning artists can practice and master more advanced scenes. With the introduction of several easy-to-use software programs, converting photos to paint by number sheets is easier and faster than ever before. In the past, you would have to study a photograph, painstakingly draw the outlines of the scene, and key in the paint by number specifics by hand. This process could take hours or days. Utilising software allows someone of any level of artistic ability to turn a picture into a paint by number sheet with an accompanying key.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Photograph
  • Scanner
  • Digital camera
  • Computer
  • Paint by number conversion software
  • Printer

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  1. 1

    Select the photograph you want to convert into a paint by number sheet and key.

  2. 2

    Scan the photograph to your computer using a scanner and save the image as a jpeg or bitmap file. You can also download the image from your digital camera directly to your computer. Digital camera images are typically in jpeg formats.

  3. 3

    Search for and download a software application designed to convert your photos into paint by number pages and keys. It may be necessary to unzip the file first before you can add the program to your computer.

  4. 4

    Open or launch the program on your computer.

  5. 5

    Browse your image files through the software application to select the photograph that you saved to your computer for conversion to a paint by number format.

  6. 6

    Use the buttons in the application to adjust the colour and brightness, and then crop, rotate, or edit the photograph. You can crop just one element out of a photograph, such as one person's face or one part of a scene, rather than using the entire picture. It is easier for beginning artists to paint a paint by number scene of one small element.

  7. 7

    Choose the colour palette and designate the colour limit for your paint by number conversion. The colour limit is the maximum number of paint colours to be used in the conversion. If you only have 8 different colour paint tubes, chalks, or crayons, set the limit to those 8 colours. Some programs also allow you to select if you would like the colours to be mixed or blended. For instance, if red and white were in your colour limit, selecting yes to blending would allow pink to be blended from the red and white colour options.

  8. 8

    Click on the "convert" button or option. View the paint by number image. You may edit the colour choices, add text to the image, or change the colour limit again if you desire.

  9. 9

    Preview the paint by number image before saving or printing it. You can also select the size of the paint by number image, whether it will fit one printed sheet or more than one sheet.

Tips and warnings

  • Don't forget to save each of the photographs you convert to paint by number sheets in addition to printing them so that you can easily reference and print them again in the future or to share with others.

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