DIY Paint By Numbers Art

“A beautiful oil painting the first time you try.” Our childhood memories of those easy to follow paint by number kits are sentimental and fond – so much so that in recent years, Lauren has started collecting vintage paint by number works at flea markets and thrift stores. So the timing couldn’t have been more serendipitous when I came across photographer Ashley Cambell’s tutorial for turning thrift store art into a self guided paint by numbers. It’s a brilliant way to give an inexpensive piece of art a face lift. Plus, it’s incredibly relaxing and wonderfully encouraging for those of us that aren’t skilled painters!

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You’ll need:

  • thrifted art
  • acrylic paints
  • a variety of paint brushes
  • pieces of scrap cardboard

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I found this floral still life at my local Goodwill for $15, frame and all. All you need to do it remove the backing and the work of art. The only type of art that probably wouldn’t work is a color photograph or super textured oil paining – only because the acrylic paint may not be applied easily. Now start by stepping back and examining your painting to decide on the colors you will use. The key here is to simplify, simplify, simplify! One type of flower, in the original painting, might have 6-7 different shades of color. When using the paint by numbers technique, narrow those shades to just one or two.

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For example, for all the greenery, I used a yellowish green, light green and dark green. Start with one color at a time, with the lighter shade first.

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Remember to not think too literally and just paint over multiple shades. Don’t worry about getting the edges too detailed or perfect – throw those brushstrokes out the window!

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Once all the light green color has been applied, go back and paint the darker shades with a dark green.

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Again, don’t worry if you think a lot of detail has been lost in the painting – it’s supposed to look that way!!

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Now work onto your next color. Here, I’ve mixed a dark blue and then added white paint to create a lighter shade with half of the paint. Apply the lighter shade first.

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Then go back and apply the darker shade of blue.

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Next is the white, which I highly recommend using – even if you have a really muted color. The pure white really makes the final product pop!

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If you’re using white, use a light grey as the darker shade. Continue adding colors until you’re satisfied.

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I left the vase and background unpainted – I love the juxtaposition of old and new.

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Put it back into the frame.

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Hang your new art piece and tell all your friends: I painted that!

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(images by HonestlyWTF)

Leave a Comment

31 Comments

  1. Ann Robie wrote:

    It’s beautiful and seems so simple to make – I have to try it

    1.7.15
    Reply
  2. This is such a fun idea! I love it!

    http://juliettelaura.blogspot.com/

    1.7.15
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  3. 1.7.15
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  4. HOLY CHIC!!!!

    1.7.15
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  5. Kristie wrote:

    Beautiful painting!

    http://www.bluelabelsboutique.com

    1.7.15
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  6. Eden wrote:

    Beautiful! Great talent.

    http://www.mintnotion.com

    1.7.15
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  7. nico wrote:

    Amazing!it’s so beautiful!
    http://www.modalujo.com
    http://www.nuevabarato.com

    1.7.15
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  8. Savannah wrote:

    This is what I need in my life! x http://www.justsavxnnah.com

    1.8.15
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  9. Mun wrote:

    Awesome! Way too many projects to get my hands on! x

    1.8.15
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  10. Thirty years ago I worked for an interior designer. She brought in a thrift store oil painting and said “this will be perfect for So and So’s house, it just needs more red and green. Can you paint that in?”
    Heresy.
    I’d been an art student. You paint your own work!
    NEVER in a million years would it have occurred to me to alter someone else’s art. But I did.
    And it was soooo liberating.
    Fast forward to present time and I am at TJ Maxx perusing the home goods section. Fab huge abstract art piece that would be magnificent over my fireplace. Except. It has LOTS of gold leafing and I don’t like gold.
    Stop at Michaels and buy silver leaf. Learn to silver leaf something.
    LOVE that piece of art.
    I highly recommend this project for everyone. It’s breaking the rules and no one gets hurt. (unless you accidentally score a Picasso, don’t realize it, and ruin it…..)

    1.8.15
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  11. A relaxing work to take your mind of …
    xoxo
    Yael Guetta

    http://www.ftwwl.com

    1.8.15
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  12. Neha wrote:

    Such a great idea!! Love it! Beautiful colors as well.

    1.10.15
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  13. Lauren wrote:

    this is such a wonderful idea, the painting looks of beautiful
    Lauren
    livinginaboxx

    1.13.15
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  14. Abby Davis wrote:

    I never thought of doing this, but it’s fantastic! I’ll go in search of a suitable painting tomorrow!

    1.14.15
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  15. Nav Brar wrote:

    LOVE this idea! I have to try it myself!

    1.20.15
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  16. Stephanie May wrote:

    I guess I’m the only one who liked it before….

    5.12.15
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  17. Franci wrote:

    Can’t wait to find a few thrift shop paintings! I suppose it will also work over faux paintings (embossed prints). Thanks for this great idea!

    6.11.15
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  18. You bet !

    7.28.15
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  19. Zen wrote:

    I like your take better than the original 🙂

    8.7.15
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  20. Rebecca Barnes wrote:

    Thank you thank you thank you for the awesomely inspiring idea! I’m going to try it for my new granddaughters nursery! I CAN’T WAIT!

    9.14.16
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  21. Isabelle Downey wrote:

    I have a gallery wall of vintage floral prints….I have this exact one. While I would paint the frame, I LOVE the look of the originals and would never alter it to get a paint-by-number look. I’m sorry. I do appreciate your creativity and the fact that you collect paint by numbers, but I think you just killed an incredibly beautiful old piece. Also, you might want to check the value of these old prints before painting over them.

    10.10.17
    Reply