Passion for Paint by Numbers

Image by BHG.com

Image by BHG.com

One of my own favorites (12'x16"), I think the Asian themes lend so well to Paint by Number.

One of my own favorites (12’x16″), I think the Asian themes lend so well to Paint by Number.

I have been collecting Vintage Paint by numbers for years. There is something about  the way the pictures have been broken down into basic color blocks (similar to that of a silk screen image) that intrigues me.  Paint by numbers were hugely popular in the mid 50’s but the popularity was short lived dying out by the end of the decade. Recently their popularity has returned.  I first began seeing them quite often in magazines hung as collages but I have since notice a wide variety of articles on all sorts of paint by number themes. In 2001 the National Museum Of American History at the Smithsonian even organized an exhibition on Paint By Numbers. I discovered a website for a Paint by Number Museum that catalogs thousands of vintage Paint by numbers as well as information on the artists who designed them. Maybe it is the appreciation for paint by numbers as a part of out American pop culture but for what ever reason they are popping up everywhere. I have found some of the most creative ideas all inspired by paint by numbers. From fabric inspired paint by numbers to creating your own, Paint by Numbers are back, and hopefully here to stay.

This creative blogger at Under the Sycamore created her own Paint by Number out of a thrift store print

This creative blogger at Under the Sycamore created her own Paint by Number out of a thrift store print

Paint by Number inspired fabric line - Lush

Paint by Number inspired fabric line – Lush

Paint By Number Wall Mural so cute for a nursery. Find out how to do it yourself at Honest to Nod

Paint By Number Wall Mural so cute for a nursery. Find out how to do it yourself at Honest to Nod

After reading this you may decide you may want to start a collection of your own. Now that paint by numbers have become more popular they are pretty easy to come by on Ebay and Etsy, just be sure you read the condition carefully as imperfections may not be apparent in the photos. I like to buy my paint by numbers at garage sales and thrift or antique shops. Here I don’t tend to spend any more than $20 on them and most I have gotten for about $3-10. You can see what you are getting up close and if you compare them to the prices online they tend to be a much better deal, but as with most things you have to hunt for the bargains. If you are feeling Artistic you can even paint your own. There are hundreds of kits you can still buy today, but I will tell you it is harder than it looks.

Paint by numbers drawer fronts.Kate Sears at Country Living

Paint by numbers drawer fronts.
Kate Sears at Country Living

Etsy shop StudioLiscious makes these lovely paint by number art blocks out of recycled 1/2″ thick birch plywood scraps.

Etsy shop StudioLiscious makes these lovely paint by number art blocks out of recycled 1/2″ thick birch plywood scraps.

These are a couple I already own but the flamingo Paint by Number is the one I long for.

Comments

  1. Dear Maggie, thank you for sharing. It’s very inspiring. Though I’m myself a photographer in creating art, I have thought about collecting paintings by other after my visit to UK few months ago seeing many artist, galleries and their beautiful artworks. They looks amazing. Hopefully someday I could also start collecting art, I think it’s more like a hobby and something to enjoy and appreciate the creativity by others. May I know, does it requires a lot of effort to keep, maintain and protect the arts? Thanks, Paul.

    • Thanks for your comment Paul, I myself travel often an I like to buy a piece of art as a reminder of all the places I have traveled or lived. The most basic ways to preserve your art is to make sure the art is framed and matted properly (acid free),keep it out of direct sunlight to preserve the color, and away from areas of fluctuating humidity (especially kitchens and bathroom.) Don’t feel like you have to wait to buy art, it does not have to be expensive just beautiful to your eye. I often buy art from street vendors or at small galleries carrying hand made items, I have even bought a few beautiful pieces at yard sales. Big or small just buy what you find lovely.

      • Dear Maggie, thanks again for the tips and sharing. Its great to know that. I think starting with smaller size can be a good start for me. Cheers!

  2. What a fun post! I’ve been reading about the resurgence of paint by numbers and agree that it’s pretty neat. I think I only have one–an excellent, big scene of gathering maple sap–but will have to look for more!

  3. Love that photo of the thrift store paint by number! Looks so much better

  4. Anna says:

    Love the Geisha! Warm wishes for your move back stateside.

I'd love to hear what you think!

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