How to Make a Custom Paint By Numbers Canvas

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I was so tickled when I came up with the idea of creating a custom paint-by-numbers canvas for the Secret Garden Baby Shower. A party activity, a loving reminder of everyone who came to celebrate the arrival of the new baby, and a gift for the parents, all rolled into one.

I used the bedding the parents had registered for as the inspiration for my canvases.
The design had very simple graphics, so I decided just to sketch the design by hand on my canvases. But if it were a more complicated design, I would have used Color By Number 4, a software program that easily converts any image into a paint-by-number pattern. Had I gone this route, I would have printed on transfer paper and ironed the design on the canvases.

As it was, I bought two 10x10 pre-primed canvases from my local craft store, and a selection of craft paints in the colors I planned to use.


I simply sketched my design on the canvas, decided which color should be which number, and labeled all the sections. Don't forget to use a marker to write the number on the lid of the corresponding color right away! I forgot to do that when I first mapped everything out, and it took a surprising amount of time to figure out what I'd intended to do when I went back a few days later to label the paints.



I painted a band across the bottom of each canvas, and when it was dry, I used a fine-tipped Sharpie marker to write "Painted with love by" on each painting. After painting a bit of the image, each guest could sign her name at the bottom with the same Sharpie, creating a truly unique, custom memento of the occasion.

I could see this working magnificently at a wedding as well as a baby shower. What if you took a photo of the venue ahead of time, and had a large canvas printed up for all your guests to paint and sign? Best guest book ever!


Nicole Wills, creator of Tikkido