DIY: Painting in 11 colors tutorial!


Do you remember I was working on a painting project?

Here’s the sneak-peek I showed:

Well, It’s finished!


Here is the result! I only used 11 colors, “Painting by Numbers”style. I’m very pleased with it, and so is my family. Now it only needs to go on the wall.

It is made in the same style as this one:

and this one:

In this post I will show you how you can make a painting like this yourself!

What you need:

-a canvas

-a computer/laptop with printer

-carbon paper

-a pen

-paint and brushes

– something to mix paint in and with, such as plastic cups and wooden sticks.


Step 1

You have a photo you want to use. Perhaps it is a photo you made yourself, perhaps it’s a picture from the web.

The photo I used came from the Big Wide Web:


Step 2

Once you have the picture you want, you will need to transfer it to a palet with fewer colors. There are various ways of achieving this. If you have Photoshop, you can find a tutorial to limit the colors here and here . Personally I use Adobe Illustrator to make the Painting by Numbers style. (for the Illustrator users: load the picture>trace>change number of colors).

Two other (free!) ways to alter your photo are PBNify en Photopad. Both work just fine!

PBNify is an online program. You can click which colors you want from your picture, and adapt the number of colors if the result doesn’t suit you. Here you see a photo that I used as an example:

One of my favorite Muppets 🙂

Here are some screenshots from PBNify:

You can click in your photo which colors you want to use. The red circles are the points where I clicked.


And this is the simplified picture PBNify made:


There is also an option to see the linedrawing with the color numbers!


Now you will only need to enlarge, print and transfer your picture (I will explain this later)

The program Photopad needs to be downlaoded. It’s a kind of  “Photoshop Light” with the  “Paint by Numbers” function as a nice extra. This program is also easy to use.

You just open your picture, click on >Creative, >Paint by Numbers and voila, there is your example and line drawing. On the right of your screen you can change the number of colors.


As you see, there are enough ways to change your photo into a Painting by Number style picture.

Step 3

Now that you have your line drawing, you will need to adapt it to your canvas size.

A good way to do this is via  You just load the image and can change the number of papers you need to  come to the right measurements.


When the picture has the right size, it’s printing time!


Step 4

After the printing is done, you have a bunch of papers with bits of your picture on them. Let’s get out the scissors and scotch tape, it’s time to stick the bits and pieces together.



It’s a bit of a puzzle, but then every piece is in the right spot!

Now you place the carbon paper between the canvas and the print. Trace over all lines with a pen. Make sure the carbon paper/print/canvas combination does not move!


The carbon paper transfers the lines to the canvas. Try to resist the urge to peek, because that will increase the chance that the picture moves and your painting gets ruined.

A tip: because a canvas has a wooden frame, drawing in the middle sections can be difficult as the canvas pushes down. I resolved that by placing books under the canvas to fill up the spaces between the wooden edges.


When you are ready with the tracing, your canvas should be looking something like this: (with another image, of course 😉   )



Step 5:

And now it’s painting time!

You also need to print a paper with the colors you will use.

It is very probable you will need to mix colors yourself. When making a color, you can test it by dripping a bit of mixed paint onto the printed color section.



I painted all colors separately. Two layers of every color, because the first layer still shined through.

And then in the end, I got this result:



Here are two close-ups:



It was a big project, but, as I said at the start of this post, I’m very happy with the result!

I hope you liked this tutorial, perhaps you are excited to make a Painting by Number Style painting yourself!



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