If you’re looking for an artistic and relaxing activity, then you might want to invest in a paint-by-numbers kit. One typically includes a canvas, acrylic paints, and brushes and cost as little as $10.
To help with your search, we evaluated the best paint-by-numbers kits for adults, taking into account cost, difficulty, and overall aesthetic. Our top pick is the CraftBarn Paint-By-Numbers Kit. We especially appreciated the high quality paints it included, as well as the varying difficulty the kit offers with its two paintings.
Here are our best adult paint-by-number kits.
CraftBarn Fruit Paint-By-Numbers Kit
High-quality paints pop on canvas and cover the numbers well
Two paintings of varying difficulty help you grow as a painter
Brushes may fray
Who doesn’t love a two-for-one deal? Available in fruit and flower prints, CarftBarn’s acrylic paint-by-numbers kit comes with two flax-cotton canvases, each one varying in difficulty. That said, both images feature fine detail work, so even the beginner piece is still a challenge. And since each painting comes with its own set of brushes and paints, this is the perfect purchase for a parent who is looking for a fun activity to do with their child.
Former customers rave about the paint, both in terms of quantity and quality. Several reviewers deemed the paints high quality, noting how well they cover the numbers and pop on the canvas. The brushes, however, had mixed reviews, with some customers saying they bought separate ones.
Dimensions: 10 x 10 inches | Framed: Yes | Brushes Included: Yes | Difficulty: Beginner, intermediate
PaintWorks Animal Paint-by-Numbers Kit
Paints are pre-mixed
Three paintings for the price of one
Canvases arrive wrinkled and creased
If Lisa Frank’s adorable, colorful creatures grew into adults, they would be the animals featured in PaintWorks’ paint-by-number kit. But don’t let the amount of color and detail fool you, as these fill-in paintings are perfect for beginners.
To start, all of the paints come ready to use, meaning there is no blending or mixing required to achieve the bold hues. Second, this kit comes with three paintings, allowing you multiple opportunities to improve and perfect your skill. On top of that, each painting has its own set of paints and brushes, so you don't have to worry about purchasing extra supplies.
The only critique among a sea of rave reviews is that the canvases are creased when you take them out of the packaging. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution: Before you begin, simply iron out the canvas or put several heavy books on top of it to flatten it out.
Dimensions: One 16 x 20-inch painting; two 20 x 16-inch paintings | Framed: No | Brushes Included: Yes | Difficulty: Beginner
Best for Beginners
PaintWorks Tropical View Paint by Numbers Kit
Technique sheet teaches new skills
Only one paint brush is provided
Cheaper than a plane ticket, PaintWorks’ paint-by-numbers kit will transport you to the tropical oasis of your dreams. Not only does the final product look like a dream beach destination, but the cool colors featured will provide the same sense of calm you’d feel soaking up the sun.
Although this kit is easier than most, you won’t just be mindlessly filling in white space. Some of the sections in the piece require specific painting techniques, which you learn through the provided, easy-to-follow instruction sheet. This is perfect for painters who are ready to graduate from beginner to advanced beginner.
It’s worth noting that the kit only includes one brush, and it’s meant to tackle tiny details. To reduce the amount of times you have to clean your paint brush, you may want to purchase a few extras.
Dimensions: 14 x 11 inches | Framed: No | Brushes Included: Yes | Difficulty: Not listed
Best for Intermediate Artists
Artist's Loft Necessities Van Gogh Vase Paint-by-Numbers Kit
Great for new and advanced artists
Numbers may be difficult to see
Paints may dry out quickly
This paint-by-number kit is perfect if you want to feel like Van Gogh, but don’t have his abilities. Designed with intermediate artists in mind, you need some basic skills to perfect the tiny details seen in the piece, but overall, the process shouldn't be too overwhelming. And thanks to the provided brushes—two detail brushes, one small round brush, and one small flat brush—it’s even easier for newer painters to tackle this masterpiece.
This painting, however, may not be best for people with poorer eyesight, as several customers commented that the numbers were difficult to see due to their size and shade. Another customer-reported problem: the paint may dry out quicker than expected. With this in mind, you’ll either want to use the kit shortly after purchasing or, as one person suggested, dilute the paints with water. Once the colorful creation is complete, you can show it off with the provided wooden display hanger.
Dimensions: 16 x 20 inches | Framed: Yes | Brushes Included: Yes | Difficulty: Intermediate
Best for Advanced Artists
Winnie's Picks Cherry Lane Paint-by-Number Kit
Canvas arrives wrinkle-free
Frame is an additional cost
Created by American artist Johnathan Harris, Cherry Lane allows at-home artists to capture the beauty of Cherry Blossoms. However, take note that this painting isn’t for first-timers. The accentuated colors and abstract details make this a more advanced kit—perfect for someone who is looking for a challenge.
Like most kits, this one includes a set of acrylic paints and brushes of varying sizes. But unlike the typical kit, this one keeps the canvas rolled in a tube rather than folded. So you can get started right away instead of ironing out the wrinkles first. And, if you want to frame your work when it’s done, you can add a DIY frame to your order for an extra $10.
Dimensions: 16 x 16 inches | Framed: No | Brushes Included: Yes | Difficulty: Advanced
Best for Seniors
Adult Paint By Number Aesthetic Mexican Otomi
Bright, bold colors
Easy to complete
Frame is an additional cost
This paint-by-numbers kit is rich in color and Mexican culture, as the piece brings Otomi embroidery to a canvas. Originating in Tenango de Doria, Hidalgo, Mexico, this embroidery style highlights the native flora and fauna of the Otomi region.
Unlike the intricate craft of Otomi embroidery, which involves drawing the designs before hand stitching them onto muslin, this Otomi paint-by-numbers kit is easy for even beginner crafters to master. As opposed to other kits that feature intricate detail and require paint blending, this one relies on big patterns and bold but simple colors.
Though a frame comes at an additional cost, you can use the included hanging kit to display your completed masterpiece.
Dimensions: 16 x 20 inches | Framed: No | Brushes Included: Yes | Difficulty: Beginner
Best Famous Rendition
Canvas By Numbers The Great Wave
High-quality paints and brushes
Based on a famous piece of art
Famous works of art come at a cost; unless, of course, you recreate it yourself. Canvas By Numbers sells kits for several legendary paintings, such as Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Claude Monet’s Water Lilies. But there is something about Katsushika Hokusai’s The Great Wave that makes completing it a challenging and calming activity.
The paint colors provided aren’t an exact match for the original hues, but that gives you the chance to make it your own. And given the high-quality of the paints, you don’t have to use a heavy hand when filling in this masterpiece.
This iconic design is a bit more intricate than other paint-by-numbers kits, so be prepared to take your time—seriously. Several customers wrote that they worked on the piece a little bit each day. Although that might not be ideal if you’re using the kit to create a gift, it’s perfect if you’re using it as a way to wind down at the end of the day.
Dimensions: 16 x 20 inches | Framed: Yes | Brushes Included: Yes | Difficulty: Not listed
Komking 'Up' Paint-by-Number Kit
Improves painting skills
Great paint quality
Paint colors may differ from those in reference image
If you’ve mastered beginner paint-by-numbers kits, this Disney-themed will take your skills up a notch. Though it may look simple from afar, completing this painting requires shading, blending, and several other skills that may intimidate a beginner, but are perfect for someone looking to grow as an artist. It’s also great for someone who is looking for a longer term project, as the detail work may take some time to complete.
The kit includes three brushes of varying sizes and 24 acrylic paints. Though customers rave about the quality and quantity of the paints, some note that the colors vary slightly from those in the reference picture. Several also noted how the canvas came folded, requiring them to iron it before painting. Note that each kit also comes with a frame, but they can also be purchased without one for a fraction of the cost.
Dimensions: 16 x 20 inches | Framed: No | Brushes Included: Yes | Difficulty: Intermediate
Book Street Diamond Painting
Less mess than traditional paint-by-numbers kits
More creative approach
Some people like the idea of painting, but not the mess that comes with it. Enter the diamond painting kit. A cross between paint by numbers and cross stitch, this method creates art by applying sparkling resin rhinestones, one-by-one, onto an adhesive color-coded canvas painting. Because of the method, this may take longer to complete than a traditional paint-by-number piece, but the end result is just as beautiful—and has an extra shine to it.
What’s particularly great about this kit from Paint Plot, is that the company sends newsletters with tips to help you complete your painting. Each kit comes with a complete set of diamonds, plus a diamond pen, diamond storing tray, and canvas.
Dimensions: 16 x 20 inches | Framed: Yes | Brushes Included: Not Listed | Difficulty: Beginner
TextureOfDreams Personalized Paint by Numbers Kit
Final product resembles an oil painting
Paint colors may differ from those in reference image
Why settle for a generic image, when you can paint something that’s meaningful to you? Etsy seller TextureofDreams turns your photos into a framed paint-by-number canvas in a variety of sizes, from 12 x 16 inches to 24 x 6 inches.
The degree of difficulty will vary based on your photo, but TextureofDreams makes the process a little easier by lightly coloring the sections on the canvas to better guide the painting process. And speaking of paints, each kit comes with high-quality acrylic paints that, when dried, resemble an oil painting. Since these kits are custom ordered and not mass produced, the colors of the paint may differ from those in the original image. Most customers said this wasn’t an issue, but definitely something they noticed.
Dimensions: 12 x 16 inches and up | Framed: No | Brushes Included: Yes | Difficulty: Varies based on image
What to Look for in a Paint-By-Number Kit for Adults
Painting by numbers should be a relaxing activity, so it’s important to pick a kit that matches your skill level and isn't too advanced for your artistic abilities. If you’re hoping to also challenge your artistic abilities, you can gradually select kits that are more difficult.
Most kits come with a canvas for a 16 x 20 inch painting. If you notice a kit that costs significantly more or less than the others, check the size of the canvas to see if it matches the price.
Paint-by-number kits have come a long way since your childhood. From recreations of famous works to customized creations, the designs are limitless (and all worth hanging in your home once completed). If you can’t seem to find a kit that matches your aesthetic, try doing a specialized search to help you find what you want.
Quality of Materials
By their nature, paint-by-number kits are made to be discarded once the project is complete, so it makes sense that the quality of the canvas, paint, and paint brushes might be lower than if you were to go to an art supply store and buy everything individually. Still, some kits hold up better than others. Pay attention to whether the canvas is made of paper, or something stronger, like linen or cotton. Look at how other reviewers describe the paint and brushes included, to get an idea of whether the paints dry out quickly or if the brushes fall apart after one use.
Should you start painting with light or dark colors first?
It may seem counter intuitive, but you should paint from darkest color to lightest colors. The reason, according to several artists, is that a dark base layer creates the illusion of depth and helps with shadowing. Additionally, this method allows you to better see your painting develop and visualize the end.
The one exception to this rule is if your paint kit uses watercolors, as their transparency doesn’t allow for light colors to show up dark colors.
Do you need an easel for paint by numbers?
Although an easel is not necessary for paint-by-numbers kits, it can make the process easier—and a little more comfortable. Being hunched over for long periods of time can cause pain in the neck, back, and arms, which takes away from the relaxing element of painting. Using an easel can minimize the strain on the body and makes it easier to transport your painting without risking any damage.
And before you invest in a large standing easel, consider a tabletop easel. These take up less space and are easier to store when not in use.
What is the difference between paint-by-numbers and diamond paint kits?
Both paint-by-numbers and diamond paint kits allow amateur artists to create images using a fill-in canvas. The only difference is the medium: While paint-by-number kits use paint, diamond paint kits use round or square resin rhinestones. Because of the more meticulous nature of diamond painting, these kits might take a little longer to complete.
Are paint-by-number kits good for anxiety?
Studies have shown that artistic activities, like drawing, coloring or painting, can minimize anxiety and combat negative moods. "Paint-by-number kits can divert attention from picking the right colors or painting perfectly, thus helping individuals let go, have fun, and enjoy the process," says Leela R. Magavi, M.D., a psychiatrist and Regional Medical Director for Community Psychiatry.
Even perfectionists who find art anxiety-inducing may find some calm when painting by numbers. For that reason, some individuals who are perfectionistic may fixate on painting things in a specific way and may actually experience more anxiety for this reason," says Dr. Magavi. Always talk to your healthcare provider if your anxiety goes beyond the occasional, everyday worry as this may be the sign of anxiety disorder, which requires.
Why Trust The Spruce Crafts
Leah Rocketto is a writer for the Spruce who's passionate about creating the ultimate home environment, whether that’s through decorations, baked goods, or family fun. She is currently a freelance content creator and strategist. She spent hours researching the best paint-by-number kits from top brands in the category. Leah also spoke to Leela R. Magavi, M.D., for her insight on the connection between painting and anxiety.