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Knowhow: is a paint by numbers custom kit cheating?

Paint by numbers custom kits

This guide outlines what a paint by numbers custom kit can do, and questions whether it is considered ‘cheating’ to paint with one.

As you might know, the paint by numbers technique was invented in the 1950s, and the reason behind this technique was just to teach people how to create art and help them learn the basics of painting, which is reasonable and is not cheating from any angle.

However, some of you might be concerned or confused about whether it’s cheating or not. Working on a paint by numbers custom kit is all about replicating the colors, which helps you learn how to paint. And replicating is not cheating. You are just painting over a photo or image — or someone else’s artwork — which is not considered cheating as long as you don’t take recognition for it.

However, copying has been in the art field since forever. You might have heard the quote “good artists copy, and great artists steal” by Pablo Picasso. But the paint by numbers custom kit technique is not cheating. If something is helping teach you different approaches and sharpening your skills, then it’s not considered cheating. It is in fact an excellent way to start understanding how different applications of colour can work together to create an engaging image. Also read: Knowhow: simple guide to Color Theory and the Color Theory Wheel

What is a paint by numbers custom kit?

A paint by numbers custom kit differs from the normal paint by numbers kit that arrives with a mass-produced image. With a custom kit you send the supplier the image you want to paint, and they analyze all the colours and shades and turn it into a special one-off paint by numbers custom set, with the colours all mapped out on the canvas, and special numbered pots of paint to match all the shades.

This allows you to create a beautiful painting from special photos of images: a wedding, your children or grandchildren, your pets, memorable places you visited, etc. Also read: How to do paint marker craft projects for children: 5 great ideas

How to use a paint by numbers custom kit: Step-by-step guide

For a better understanding, we divide this guide into three main sections.

  • Before you start working on your paint by numbers custom kit
  • Preparing the canvas
  • Getting started with your paint by numbers custom kit

Before you start painting

Get a comfortable table or desk for your painting

Painting by numbers is a slightly longer task, so we strongly recommend that you get an easel or comfortable desk. Because you can’t paint in a single position for long. Changing position helps you relax while painting.

Remove all confusion on the table and in the room

If your room is messy, we recommend that you clean it first before you start painting. Because if the canvas falls onto your clothes or something else, they can catch colors.

Find a well-lit and comfortable room

Many small areas are marked on the canvas of paint by numbers. Therefore, we recommend that you put a magnifying glass and good lighting in the room. Good lighting will help you to see the screen clearly.

Always take a picture of your canvas

This is a permanent reference for your canvas. The canvas photo will help you zoom into the canvas and look at it again if you have filled the wrong color into a box.

Get a water bowl, and a clean cloth or paper towel

Water will help you keep your brushes moist. We strongly recommend that you clean the brush every time you change color. In this way, you don’t confuse two colors and the effect gets better.

Preparing your canvas

If you are familiar with the preparation of your canvas, you can proceed to the next section. Or if you want to know something about it, just stay with us.

We strongly recommend that you frame your canvas before you start painting. Because painting on a stretched canvas is easier than on a normal canvas. But it’s up to you whether you want to frame the picture or not, you can also do without framing it.

Always use a combination of easel stand and table when painting. Because painting only on the easel stand can lead to shoulder and neck pain, and painting only on the table can cause us neck pain.
Therefore, we strongly recommend that you use the combination of both.

First steps with your paint by numbers custom kit

  • Required items (included in the kit)
  • paint canvas by number
  • Painting
  • Required tools
  • Brushes in several sizes (included)
  • Clean cloth (not included)
  • Frame (optional)

Paint by numbers custom kit: Step-by-step procedure

Step 1: Choose your image

Choose your favorite design or photo to have converted into a paint by numbers custom kit, and send it to be analysed and turned into a kit.

Step 2: Open and examine the canvas when it arrives

Once you have received your paint by numbers custom kit, please open it carefully. It contains a high-quality canvas on which some numbers are embossed. These numbers refer to a color.

The paint supply pigments and the numbers on the canvas are the same. So please take a look at the picture to know how to read the canvas correctly.

Step 3: Roll out the canvas to flatten it

We have to roll out the canvas on a flat surface such as a table or floor to get started. If your canvas is not flat, you must roll it back to the other side and then open it again.

Step 4: Put all accessories on the table

This speeds up your painting process because you have all the things near you, which helps you to speed up your work. You get all pigments, brushes and canvas in a single place.

Step 5: Shake the paint well

Before you start painting, you should shake the color pigment well like cough medicine. This will help to mix the color very well.

Step 6: Get some water in a cup and a piece of fabric

You are working on several colors. That’s why you have to wash the brushes again and again, so we need water, and to dry the brushes we need a cloth or cotton.

Step 7: Use the brushes accordingly

If you need to paint on a small size, we recommend that you use the smallest brush, and if the area is larger, you can use the largest brush.

Step 8: Complete the paint by numbers custom image

This is the last step to complete your paint by numbers custom kit. Fill the canvas with all the colors marked on the canvas.
We will send you some additional colors in pigments to ensure that your color does not leak before the painting is finished.

Step 9: Frame the painting and hang it on the wall

Now that your painting is finished, it’s time to present your work. Simply frame this painting and hang it on the wall.

Do people think that paint by numbers is cheating?

Not everyone’s an artist, and not every artist think the same way. The paint by numbers custom kit helps beginners learn painting and give them a place to start painting. Even if you think that paint by numbers is cheating, give two people the same personalized paint by numbers canvas and wait to see what happens. 

Both of them will paint that canvas with different colors and in different ways, using their creative mind. It’s all about creativity and not cheating. There’s a reason why people call painting art.

Do artists consider paint by numbers as cheating?

People who are pro at painting and creating art do not work professionally on the custom paint by numbers but they would never look down on anybody who wanted to use special images to create their own painting.

Every artist has a creative mind, but to achieve that thinking of art and sharpen your skills, you always find ways to learn and paint by numbers is the best way to help you learn painting and its basics.

So, is the paint by numbers technique just a way to cheat? The answer is no. You don’t ask anyone to paint your paint by numbers custom canvas. It’s just you, your hands, colors, brushes, the canvas, and maybe a cup of tea or any beverage you like the most; you are all doing it yourself using your creativity.

Moreover, the paint by numbers custom kit doesn’t even require tracing or asks you to paint from a photograph. The numbers are just there to help you learn where to start and where to end to help you learn and sharpen your skills.


If you have the urge to learn painting, or want to immortalize one of your favourite photos as a painting, just go for it. Get yourself a good quality personalized paint by numbers custom kit and canvas from and start painting yourself using your creative mind.