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