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Article: A Short History on How Paint by Numbers was Created

A Short History on How Paint by Numbers was Created - BestPaintByNumbers

A Short History on How Paint by Numbers was Created

Many know paint-by-numbers kits as these adorable, quick, and easy-to-use painting sets. We have seen it everywhere–from the news to social media and even in art books. We may also know someone who has tried the kits and/or is a craft kit enthusiast. With the sudden increase in sales among paint by numbers kits, many people, artists or otherwise, have jumped onto the trend and tried it themselves.

You may know the name, the technique itself, or have tried it before in one form or another. But the question is, do you know how paint by numbers was created? Moreover, do you have an idea who is the genius behind these fantastic painting kits? If you are curious to know a little something about art history, continue reading this article to learn more. Do not wanna miss out on this one!

high angle shot of a woman painting

Paint your own photo with a paint by numbers custom kit

What exactly is Paint by Numbers?

Paint by numbers is a type of art that uses numbers to indicate the colors that should be used to create a picture. The artist fills in these numbers on a grid and then paints over them with paint. This technique is a beginner’s dream for a step-by-step guide to creating a masterpiece.

painting brush on palett

The surprising connection between Leonardo da Vinci and Paint by Numbers

Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance painter and sculptor. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest painters of all time, and his work has been featured in many museums across Europe, including the Louvre in Paris.

He also invented a way to teach his apprentices how to paint with oil paints: he used a series of numbered squares on which he would draw lines at different angles (as you can see here).

The apprentice would then copy these lines onto their canvas before filling in some of them with color so that they could begin painting. And that, according to the original maker of PBN kits, Dan Robbins, was the inspiration behind the famous painting sets. 

sculpture the statue piece

Paint your own photo with a paint by numbers custom kit

How Paint by Numbers was Created: A Timeline

In this section, you will learn more about the history of paint by numbers. We only highlighted the important details because we don’t wanna bore you!

Paint by numbers was invented by an artist named Dan Robbins in 1951

In 1951, an artist named Dan Robbins was asked by Max Klein and Company to create a paint-by-number kit using Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa as inspiration. He began by painting small portions of the Mona Lisa on canvas before doing this large scale.

The result was that he painted every detail in order, from left to right and top to bottom with no mistakes! This technique became known as “Paint By Number” because you could follow along with each step your stencil made like a recipe.

A cluster of paint pots on a white board

He had been working for Max Klein and Company, an art supply company that made stencils, paint by number kits' precursor.

Max Klein and Company was an art supply company that made stencils, paint by number kits' precursor. This is where he had been working for several years, but he had never made any money from his labor, as he was paid only by the hour and received no commission on the products sold. He was also struggling financially; his wife was expecting their first child, who would be born in just a few months.

In 1870 George Henry excelled at stenciling because of his love for art and business acumen (which came from being able to understand complex ideas quickly). He knew how important it was to create something as beautiful as possible: "If you want people to buy your product," said George Henry during an interview with The New York Times Magazine in 1881, "then make sure they are pleased with what they see."

A photo of a lady painting

Paint your own photo with a paint by numbers custom kit

They used acrylic paint for the kits because it dried faster than oil paint, which meant that the product could be mass produced.

Robbins wanted to make an art form where people could create their paintings without having to know how to paint or draw. To do this, they created acrylic paints which dried faster than traditional oil paints—which meant that people could make products like kits that contained all the materials needed for making a painting with just one step: mixing colors!

A man painting a canvas outside

The paint by number kits sold 200 million copies and were extremely popular among adults and children alike

Paint-by-numbers kits were extremely popular in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. They were also a great way to get children interested in art. Adults loved them as well because they allowed them to express themselves without having to draw everything out by hand. It is no wonder that the recent events of the pandemic brought the kits back to their popularity peak!

A photo of an elderly man painting

Paint your own photo with a paint by numbers custom kit

The history of art is long and winding but you can pick up a brush and start painting today!

It can be difficult to find the inspiration you need in your everyday life, but art is a great way to express yourself. You can find inspiration everywhere! Many of the greatest artists have drawn their inspiration from nature itself. From da Vinci's paintings of flowers and birds to Monet's depictions of water lilies, it's clear that these men and women were able to capture beauty through their work with paint.

Today at Best Paint by Numbers, we carry a wide variety of supplies for artists who want to create something special for themselves or others—and if you're looking for something new and exciting (or just want some fun), we recommend using this kit as an entry point into the world of painting by numbers!

A close up shot of a person painting on a canvas

Final Insights

We hope that this article helped you learn more about the kits. So, what are you waiting for? Grab a paint-by-numbers kit at BPBN. Experience the magic of painting while improving your skills at the same time!

Paint your own photo with a paint by numbers custom kit

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