Do You Remember Paint-by-Number Oil Paint Kits?

by AngelaJohnson

Paint-by-number kits are not as popular as they were in the 1950s, but you can still buy them today. It's a fun art project for kids and adults of all ages.

Paint-by-number kits had a board with a pre-printed design, two paint brushes, and small containers with various colors of oil paint. Numbers were printed in each area of the design to show you what color paint to use.

Max S. Klein invented these kits in 1950 and developed and marketed them through his own Palmer Paint Company of Detroit, Michigan. Dan Robbins, a commercial artist, created the painting designs.

In 1951, Palmer Paint Company sold over 12 million Craft Master brand paint-by-number kits. "A Beautiful Oil Painting The First Time You Try" was printed on each box top. Because of their popularity, other companies also began creating them.

Paint-by-Number kits are great fun for the entire family, and are perfect for birthday or Christmas presents. They can keep kids occupied at birthday parties and sleep-overs, or are a great surprise to pull out on a dreary, cold, or wet day.

Photo from flickr creative commons

People Had More Leisure Time in the 1950s

pain-by-number paintingsAfter World War II ended, many Americans made more money and had more leisure time for hobbies and entertaining. 

In the early 1950s, the paint-by-number concept was created and promoted on television. Oil painting became a popular hobby even if you weren't an artist.  

Each paint-by-number kit included two brushes and small containers of different colored oil paints, each with an assigned number. The painting board had a scene drawn out in light colored lines and areas were enclosed according to the color they should be painted.  Inside each enclosed area was the number of the color you were supposed to use.

Using a paint-by-number kit was enjoyable and relaxing, and it was fun to watch your picture develop right before your eyes (sort of like a jigsaw puzzle).

Many people today collect old paint-by-number kits and completed paintings.

Photo by landschaft on flickr

There Are Many Paint-by-Number Kits on Amazon

Check descriptions and customer comments on how easy or difficult each painting is to complete
Dimensions Needlecrafts Paintworks Pa...
$10.99  $7.44
Dimensions Paintworks Paint By Number...
$7.99  $5.93

Have You Ever Painted-by-Number?

An Interesting Video About the Paint-by-Number Craze

I Had Several Paint-by-Number Kits When I Was in Grade School

young girl with glassesI attended grade school in the 1960s and had several paint by number kits.  

Back then, the paints were oil paints rather than the acrylic paints used today.  You needed linseed oil to moisten the paint if you left the top off too long, and turpentine to clean your brushes. I'd be more sensitive to the smells of paint and turpentine today, but back then I liked the smells. 

I don't have any of the paintings I completed anymore, but I sure was proud of them at the time.

When I later attended high school, I took an art class each year.  I liked all mediums of art, but especially oil painting.  

I think it'd be fun to paint with a paint-by-number kit now that I'm an adult.

Paint by number kits for kids

Royal Brush My First Paint by Number Kit, 8.75 by 11.375-Inch, 2-Pack

ROYAL LANGNICKEL-My First Paint-By-Number Kit. These simple paint-by-number kits are perfect for teaching the basics of painting with easy to follow instructions. Each kit conta...

Only $5.99

View on Amazon

Royal Brush My First Paint by Number Kit, 8.75 by 11.375-Inch, Sea Animals

ROYAL BRUSH-My First Paint By Number Kit. These cute and simple painting kits are perfect for the beginning painter with non-toxic paints bright colors and fun pictures. These k...

$9.72  $3.82

View on Amazon

Royal Brush My First Paint by Number Kit, 8.75 by 11.375-Inch, Farm Animals

ROYAL BRUSH-My First Paint By Number Kit. These cute and simple painting kits are perfect for the beginning painter with non-toxic paints bright colors and fun pictures. These k...

$3.89  $3.83

View on Amazon

Updated: 12/09/2016, AngelaJohnson
 
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brendamariefl 21 hours ago

I had a few but that didn't come out that good.

AngelaJohnson on 06/03/2015

CruiseReady - it would be fun to have a weekend paint project where everyone has their own paint kit. And the modern kits with acrylic paint are a whole lot less messy than the oil paints I used when I was young.

CruiseReady on 06/02/2015

I remember completing one of these kits a time or two when I was young, and it really was enjoyable.
It would be nice for today's kids to experience that, wouldn't it? Grandparents who never know what to 'get' for the grand kids might put a simple paint by numbers kit on their list.

DerdriuMarriner on 11/14/2014

burntchestnut, The intricacy of some of these paint-by-number drawings is amazing. It would be easy to slip outside of the lines on some of them.
I enjoyed the video, especially the tour of the house with the collection of over 500 paint-by-number paintings!

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