Paint by Number Kits

Do you remember paint by number kits? I hadn’t thought of them in a long time until talking with my 9-year-old granddaughter Kalia the other day. We were talking about art generally but during that conversation I remembered the kits. Maybe you’re familiar with them.


They were one of my favorite gifts to receive when I was little. I was always in awe of the beautiful pictures with so much detail. I tried to get my painting to look just like theirs on the front of the box. Sometimes I came very close.

My imagination always saw different colors than what they used, most of the time anyway. Often, I would use different colors then what they listed on their paint grid. So, mine were usually filled in very differently than theirs. 

I never thought they put enough paint in those wee little plastic caps. Back then they came in a thin cardboard box, usually 3 per box. I knew they wouldn’t be saved or hung up. I still treasured the creation though. Sometimes I believe it may even be the process itself that I enjoy so much.

I cannot tell you the number of times I have drawn, painted, or otherwise put creation to a canvas and not like what I created. I stare at it knowing that I will revamp it down the line, yet it allowed me to release something that was needing to get out. I have thought at times it was just frustration. Life frustrates me into creating some of my best pieces.

Stay in the Lines

Coloring books were another one of my favorite gifts to receive. I own quite a few now, in fact, I was given one for a Christmas gift. It’s a songbird coloring book for adults. I love it. Reminds me of when I was little laying out in the grass with a blanket for hours in the afternoons, listening to the birds, the wind and watching the clouds in hopes to see a dragon, boat, or a pirate. It also reminds me of the long hours of my youth when for whatever reason I was inside and bored.

The colors and pictures allowed me to temporarily escape my world just as reading did but in a different way. It gave me a sense of control. Choosing what pictures to color, choosing the colors themselves and doing my best on it so I could stash it away and save it. 

“Remember to stay in the lines,” one of my early elementary teachers used to say while trying to encourage us. I loved  coloring in school because they handed out sheets instead of books so you could keep it and take it home. That meant I could also use my watercolor set and paint them to life.

The Old is New Again

Activities that we participate in whether a lone or as a community help us manage this world, our lives and the stressors that exist in both. In the beginning of the covid pandemic paint-by-number kits skyrocketed into one of the top quarantine activities, for both adults and kids, mainly because the vast majority do not require any major skill and it is a stress reducing activity plus you can participate whenever you like, for as long as you like. You walk away feeling a little less burdened. You also have a nice picture to display or gift it. Somethings never change.

Get the Picture

It’s amazing nowadays how many different sorts of kits there are to pick from, not just paint by number but model car kits, bird house kits, jewelry kits, crochet kits, sculpture kits, almost anything you can think of. Just run a search on the internet and see how many different ones pop up. I may just have to try a woodworking kit, or whittling, or…well, you get the picture. Pun intended.

I truly hope you are enjoying my blog. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Have a wonderful day and remember to be good to yourself.

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All the best,

Gma Katherine



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