It’s been a while since I posted any of my crafts, I know (or posted anything at all, for that matter). Summer in the UK seems so short, especially for a heat-loving individual like myself, that I like to spend every second of it exploring new outdoor spaces. Craft projects are left for long, autumn and winter evenings at home. That being said, I do occasionally start a small DIY project in the summer, it just takes me ages to complete it.
This time, I decided to buy this adult painting by numbers activity set. It wasn’t until very recently that I discovered the existence of those. It looks like more and more of the popular children activity books are published in a hard version dedicated for adults. I’ve already written about adult colouring pages (and even created some patterns myself! you can download them for free here). I’ve also tried a “connect the dots” activity for adults, where the number of dots per page was around a few hundred. Then, a while ago, I saw a paint by numbers set for adults.
The painting kit immediately caught my attention, but I resisted buying it. The amount of arts&crafts sets and supplies I have is beyond ridiculous at this point, and I’m trying really hard not to purchase anything new – especially being aware that my spare time is limited and despite the best efforts, I can’t possibly complete more than maybe a couple of crafting projects a month. Easier said than done though! After discovering the existence of these sets, I started seeing them everywhere. The pressure on my willpower was strong, and after a couple of weeks I gave in. I saw this cute set with a panda picture in TK Maxx for £6.99 (which seemed a bit lower than the other kits I’d seen) and I decided to get it.
I would say what I love most in the concept of these sets is that they come with the pattern printed on a canvas. If it was just a piece of paper, I would have never bought it. But because it’s a canvas, it means that after completing the painting, you’ll have a piece ready to go on your wall. No extra frames required, no extra prep. Put a hook on the wall, hang the canvas on it – and Bob’s your uncle.
The set I bought came with the following:
- one canvas, with the colouring pattern printed on it
- a brush
- 7 small 5ml tubes of acrylic paint
- a palette for mixing the paints
- instructions with a copy of the pattern with numbers – super useful, because as you start painting, you’ll paint over the numbers and lose track of what colour should go to what field
And honestly, £7 for all of the above isn’t a bad price at all.
I was a bit worried that a small tube of paint may not be enough for colours used on large areas of the picture, but that turned out not to be an issue at all.
Each of the 7 colours you get is marked with a number (in my case 1 – titanium white, 2 – yellow, 6 – brown, 12 – green, 13 – darker green, 15 – blue , 18- black). If an area of the picture is marked with one number, you need to paint that area with the corresponding colour. Some areas are marked with two numbers, e.g. 1/15. In such cases, you need to mix equal parts of both colours (in the above example, white and blue) and paint over that area with the resulting colour.
Simple in principle, isn’t it? And just because it’s simple, I assumed it would be a fun activity for an afternoon, maybe two – tops. Boy oh boy, was I wrong. Because there are so many different colour combinations and the individual areas of the pattern are so small, finishing the whole painting is no quick task.
I’d be interested to know how others approach this activity. Personally, I tried to do all areas with the same colour in one go before moving to the next colour. It seemed to work pretty well, though I missed some parts and had to go back to them later on.
Something I learnt in the process was that my judgement around the amount of paint needed to cover a specific size of area of a painting is so, so wrong. This isn’t a problem at all when painting an area marked with just one number – I used the paint straight from the tube in those cases. However, when I needed to mix two colours for some elements, I ended up mixing way, way too much than I actually needed, every time. There was a lot of waste as result, since once acrylic paint is out of the tube, it has to be used or thrown away – unless I’m unaware of some clever methods of storing them and preventing them from drying. The good news, however, is that despite all that, I didn’t run out of any colours. I still have some leftover paints – a little bit of white, black, blue and one of the greens, and plenty of yellow, brown and the other green, since they were hardly used.
Finishing the whole painting took me probably around a week’s worth of afternoons, which I spread across about 1.5 months (because, life, summer and other priorities). Here’s the result after painting the whole pattern following the numbers and their combinations.
Comparing this to the guide photo in the instructions, you can tell it’s not exactly the same – the shading in the instructions is much more natural and complex, whereas painting whole patches with the same colour results in more of a blocky look. So, I decided to try to fix it – extremely worried that I would ruin it instead of fixing it, since my painting skills are zero. To my enormous relief though, I think the final result is pretty decent!
The panda is so adorable, and it fits perfectly on my wall, next to the gecko I painted two years ago. I think this part of the wall will be dedicated to colourful animal paintings from now on – especially since I’ve been planning to paint a neon, fluorescent, cartoon-ish owl for a while and spent ages trying to get my hands on some glow-in-the-dark acrylic paints.