One of the beauties of Painting by Numbers is that one purchase gets you a kit that contains everything you need to complete your masterpiece. That’s why it’s such an easy and affordable artistic hobby. Still over the years, I have learned that it’s best to keep just a few extra supplies on hand if you want to get the best possible final results.
This is what I keep in my “PBN box”:
A Fine Paint Brush: The paint brush you get in standard-quality Paint by Number kits is usually pretty good and should serve you very well from start to finish. But if your kindergarten teacher really drummed the importance of “staying inside the lines” into your head, you might find it a bit hard to do a really good job on the finer points of your painting. Also, it makes a huge difference to me in particular because I like to embellish my PBN projects with little touches of light and shadow, and this would look pretty clumsy with the oversize brush provided. To solve this problem, I made a one-time investment in an artist-quality fine paint brush. It cost me $5 and is a joy to use over and again.
An Extra Tube of White Paint: The color that you will most often use when painting by numbers (and probably in any kind of painting) is white. Yet for some reason, the little container of white paint is the same mini-size as all the other colors that come with a standard PBN kit. I don’t like to ration my white paint or get stressed out if any gets wasted, so I bought an small tube of white acrylic craft paint and this is plenty to last me through 2-3 projects. If you are like me and you really enjoy mixing your colors a bit experimentally, then you definitely need an extra tube of white paint.
A Palette: I’m sure that there are lots of fancy artists palettes you could pay money for and one day I probably will buy one, but for the time being I’ve done just fine with the lip of a heavy-duty plastic container. This is good because when I’m finished, I just put all the paints, rags, paint brushes, and cup inside the container, put on the palette/lid and then all my supplies are in one place. You could also use a smooth plastic plate as a palette.
A Cup: You will need to fill this up with fresh water every time you sit down for a painting by numbers session. You will use it to wash your brush well before dipping it into any new container of paint. I keep a simple, clear plastic cup with my other supplies.
A Rag: Keep an old rag or thick disposable napkin on hand when painting by numbers. I think I picked this trick up in art class as a kid. After I wash my brush I always wipe it gently on the rag, to remove the traces of dirty water from it. This keeps your paints clean and pure.