diy {goodwill print to Paint by Number art}

My favorite subject in school was art. During my senior year all the AP art studios had studio spaces in one big room. We had free creative reign to decorate as we wished. I shared a spot with a guy named Chris (not the Chris I married). I ate most of my lunches in the studio laughing with that crazy bunch of art students. Good memories. Another memory from my days in art classes was the practice of changing paintings. All the way back to elementary art classes I remember being given photocopies of paintings or drawings from famous artists and being instructed to paint or color over the original work. It was a good practice in learning how to draw and learning different techniques. So for craft week, I thought I’d show you how to do it.

A while back I picked up a poster/print from Goodwill. I mainly bought it for the frame, but I kind of liked the flowers too. Well last winter I covered all the paintings in my living room with wrapping paper and taped Christmas cards to them. When I took the paper off, the tape peeled the corners of this painting. I’ve been meaning to replace it and then thought it would make a fun Paint By Number painting. So here are some basic steps to do your own:

Supplies: acrylic craft paint, Acrylic Sealer/Finisher Glossy

Here are some tips on Paint By Number paintings:

* There is no blending together of colors…the colors are more like blobs with very defined edges

* The more colors you use the more complex (and time consuming) the painting

* You can combine similar shades. For instance, if there are 5 different tints of yellow near each other in the original..combine all 5 into one yellow for your Paint by Number, unless you want it more detailed.

* Florals and landscapes are the easiest to tackle for a first time project.

To begin: Pick a main color and begin painting over it using defined edges…think BLOBS of paint. If your picture has tons of colors I recommend taking a step back and seeing what the strongest colors are…then begin painting those areas. Just keep going from there….


Did you know we have a large sycamore tree in our backyard? It is where we do most of life…hence the name of this blog Under the Sycamore! When I craft I usually try to have the kids doing something similar near me. I did some of my painting outside while the kids did their spin art. On a side note: this is one of my kids favorite ‘toys’. When we run out of paint I use my acrylic craft paint (3 parts paint, 1 part water) in the little bottles.

You can see on the painting that I continued to add more colors. I choose to use colors a lot brighter than those in the original painting.


Continue on until the entire painting is covered. I did opt to the leave the top background of mine untouched…I like the eclectic feel of it that way.

Once all the painting was done I sprayed an Acrylic Sealer over the entire thing. I chose to go with glossy to give it some shimmer.
And then hang it back on your wall.

If you are wondering if that is a branch with cupcake liners hanging on my living room wall…well, Yes, it is. Doesn’t everyone do that?


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  • Amy @ dwell in the season - This looks amazing! Nice job – I love it!

  • Cristy - Brilliant idea! Pinned for future reference.

  • The Motherload » Amy’s Notebook 06.29.11 - [...] would love doing this paint by number art (@ under the [...]

  • Suzy - So fresh and bright…love the idea!

  • Sarah Baker - I have looked all weekend for a paiting to do this to! I love it so much! Do you know how many I’ve passed up over the years at estate sales? Too many I tell you. Great job!

  • Steph @ BirdHouse - This is such a wonderful idea! I’ve been wanting to start painting, and this seems like such a fun way to get my feet wet. And I love how yours turned out!

  • Tina I. - Just did this today with my kids after being inspired by your post. Thanks for the great idea for a mom who is most definitely NOT crafty!

  • Kara Paslay - I’m just catching up on your blog and I LOVE this! I am definitely going to be copying it- you may see this idea at Anthro in a few months! :)

  • Deanna - We love our spin art machines. You can use fabric paint and “stamp” the painting on a shirt. That’s how we did our chickfila shirts this year.

  • Friday Reader Roundup — SoEclectic - [...] been doing crafts and every single day I’ve loved what she’s posted. On Tuesday she did DIY Paint By Numbers (PBN) and it’s just too cool. I’ve been eying every vintage PBN lately, but I just [...]

  • This Birdie Needed a Makeover | MixedMolly Designs - [...] transformation is inspired by a do-it-yourself post I once read at Under the Sycamore. Ashley used a paint by number technique to transform a painting she purchased at [...]

  • DIY Paint by Number Round Up » - [...] on the wall. #1 Wall Mural @ The Lettered Cottage #2: Turn a thrift store find into a PBN @ Under the Sycamore #3: Turn a picture into a PBN for $40 @[What a fun gift?!] #4:Wall Mural @ [...]

  • DIY | Tied Up With String - [...] Goodwill Print to Paint by Number Art [...]

  • Kristen - Check out this website where you can upload any photo and it turns it into a color by number project you print and color at home for free! You can even use the old crayons you have in your junk drawer to finish the project with your kids. So awesome! I love Spinniest Orange!

  • DIY Paint By Numbers Projects | Broke-Ass Stuart's Goddamn Website - [...] Cover Up: If you’ve already got a paint-by-numbers art work but it’s not quite doing it for you, consider giving it a cover up by painting over it with a different color palette or technique to update it. Just don’t forget to spray some sealer on it once you’ve finished. [...]

  • 2013 Pinterest Projects | These Small Hours - [...] 6. Family Cookbook from Clover Lane | 7. Painted Chalkboard Goals  from Mary Kate McDevitt  | 8. Paint-by-Number Makeover from Under the Sycamore | 9. Chalk Clock (source unknown) | 10. Anthro-Inspired Snow Globes from Whipperberry | 11. Chalk [...]

  • keisha - I LOVE this! And congrats on this post being featured in Apartment Therapy.

  • Kimberly @ Colors Mixed Together - Oh wow! I absolutely love what you did with the painting. I am going to be on the hunt at yard sales and good will now. Thanks so much for the idea. I have such fond memories of high school art class too. I would love to do that all over again. Thanks again!

  • Gagyi csendélet | Édes Öko Otthon - [...] És jaj annyira élveztem a festést, nem akarja valaki a megunt pasztell képét átfestetni? Az ötlet egyébként innen, ezer éve olvastam és vártam erre a napra. Eredeti; bevallom él?ben így is nagyon tetszett. [...]

  • shout outs - A girl and a glue gun - [...] can do HERE to read all about [...]

  • Passion for Paint by Numbers | Maggie Overby Studios - […] creative blogger at Under the Sycamore created her own Paint by Number out of a thrift store […]

  • Maggie Overby - What I great Idea! Beautiful Blog! Shared a link to you tutorial in my blog on Paint By Numbers

  • Thrift Shop Find, Updated | Little House Design - […] take old thrift shop paintings and update them by painting over or accenting the original (examples here, here, and […]

  • DIYable Thrift Shop Find #4032 | Little House Design - […] via Under the Sycamore […]

  • friday favorites. | a BEAUTYful home - […] How beautiful.creative.abstract is this paint-by-numbers update technique. Need to get my hands on an outdated/semi-ugly […]

  • Alice Sheridan - Great idea – modifying art is often seen as trashing it, but this is great way to transform those dated finds in auction rooms.

  • Chris - I tried this but failed, I couldn’t get those defined edges. Did you use markers or paint?

  • AshleyAnn - Chris – I used paint brushes and put it on pretty thick

  • Michelangelo, Picasso, and You | Nashville Painting Blog - […] matter who created it. And, if you don’t love it, there are ways to improve it. According to Under The Sycamore, you can transform a mediocre thrift store painting into a one-of-a-kind showpiece by layering […]

  • This Week: Two weeks in One | Oh Hey, Hooray! - […] also stumbled upon this easy artwork and can’t wait to try […]

  • Jeanette Comlekci - You said this was a poster, so I assume you are painting right on the paper? Does this cause any problems? Love it!

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