Paint-By-Numbers kits were first developed in 1951 by Max Klein who was the owner of Palmer Paint Company. Max Klein hired an artist by the name of Dan Robbins to create a craft kit for anyone interested in painting their own art. The idea took off and was highly popular in the 1950’s and 1960’s and then fell off the radar. Now, Paint-By-Number kits are enjoying a resurgence in popularity and demand.  Casual crafters and more experienced artsy types enjoy passing their time with this relaxing past time.

Manufacturers print light color lines on a plain white background and insert numbers into the spaces between the lines. The numbers correspond to the color of paint you are to use on that particular section. The Paint-By-Number kit manufacturers includes paintbrushes, paints and a color key along with directions on applying and blending paints. Some Paint-By-Number kits are of such high quality a casual observer will never know your art work began as a Paint-By-Number.

Paint-By-Number kits come in a variety of skill levels to beginner to intermediate to advanced. Regardless if you are an artist or would like to be one, a Paint-By-Number kit can offer hours of enjoyment and give you a feeling of pride and accomplishment when you are finished. Some Paint-By-Numbers end up with such a high quality finish, they would be suitable for gift giving. Paint-By-Numbers are available for children with larger spaces to paint or adults with more intricate detailing.

List of the Best Paint-By-Numbers Kits

Number 7 -- Paintworks Paint-By-Number Kits

Paintworks comes in with the easiest and most affordable kit. These kits are best for older children as they are fun to paint, but the finished painting doesn’t resemble a work of art, more like something Grandma would be proud of. They are not bad kits; they will keep an older child busy. The end result is ok and looks more like cartoon versions of animals and scenery. Scenes and animals are painted with acrylic paint. Paintworks offers a decent kit to help decide if you enjoy Paint-By-Numbers. Paintworks Paint-By-Number kits come in styles including, dogs, cats, dolphins, butterflies, horses and scenery. From a distance the finished painting looks really nice.

Number 6 -- Royal Brush Kits

Royal Brush offers an easy and affordable acrylic paint kit. Royal Brush is another good choice for younger and older children, teens and beginners. The paintings have some detail, but lack intricacies often found in paintings with a lot of detail. The finished product is decent, again more of a cartoonish version rather than a painting. Royal Brush also offers kits especially made for younger children in a series called “My First Paint by Number” along with a series entitled “Junior”.  Royal Brush will provide a few hours of fun and a painting you can hang on the refrigerator. 

Number 5 -- Col Art 

Col Art offers paint by number kits that are reasonably priced and offer a better finished picture than Royal Brush and Paintworks. Col Art has a somewhat unique textured board that gives the finished painting greater depth. These are good kits for the more advanced older child or beginning adult. The picture is completed with acrylic paints. Col Art has a variety of themes including animals and scenery. Overall, not bad at all for the price. Don’t expect an “real” work of art when you are done, but you will have a painting that you can be proud of.

Number 4 -- KSG Kit

KSG kits come with acrylic paints to create your painting. The styles are whimsical and some can be classified as cartoonish. These kits are for the beginner. Most pictures don’t have a lot of detail and do look more like cartoon versions of animals and scenes rather than a high quality painting. The completed project is a craft to be proud of, but it will also be obvious that this was a paint by number if you are up close. From a few away it will look like an overall nice picture.

Number 3 -- Bucilla 

Bucilla is still in the low end price range paint by number kits. Overall a nice finish project. Considering the price, Bucilla offer a decent amount of bang for the buck. Still more for a beginner or intermediate adult. The kit doesn’t offer the challenge of some of the other kits out there but all in all a good painting. With just a little inspection, you can see this is a paint by number even when finish, but not as noticeably as other brands.

Number 2 -- Plaid Kit

Plaid is slightly more expensive than the previous brands, but not by any means expensive. The finished paintings look more like paintings than -- making this a kit a good choice. Nice challenge for a more experienced beginner or an intermediate painter. Fun, nice finished picture and worthwhile.

Number 1 -- Schipper Kits

Topping the list in terms of price are Schipper. By far Schipper beats the competitors and sits firmly in the number one position. Schipper paint by number kits have a ton of detail and take time to complete. Schipper kits are more for the intermediate or advanced paint by number enthusiast. The finished paintings take very close examination and inspection to determine that this work of art started as a kit. Amazing color and detail. You would be proud to hang a Schipper on your wall or to give as a gift. Add a frame and hang it up and shortly you will be the recipient of oohs and ahhs from admirers. Well worth the price. Schipper deviates from the cookie cutter paint by numbers and comes out with some really beautiful styles and artworks including The Mona Lisa, King Tut and a Melting Red Rose.

Tango at Night Paint-By-Number Kit
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(price as of Aug 13, 2016)