I’ve always liked paint-by-number paintings, but have terrible luck at finding them on my shopping trips, despite the expertise I profess in my thrift store shopping master guide. When I saw Ashley’s post about creating your own thrift store painting makeover, I was excited to give it a try and kept my eyes peeled for a good candidate.
When I found this lovely frame and sad painting for $15 at a remarkably eclectic garage sale in a notably boring subdivision, the badly faded canvas seemed like a perfect victim for this kind of reckless artistic experimentation.
I jumped right into adding paint to create my own paint by number over the original artist’s work.
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Actually, I did have to pause for a bit- because to my horror I ripped the canvas as I was removing it from the frame! I almost scrapped the project then, but decided to apply some butchers tape to the back and hope for the best (Butcher’s tape is Kraft paper tape with water-activated glue on the back). My high school art teacher was a huge fan of this tape for paper and natural fibers and I guess I adopted that.
Turns out, it worked great for gently repairing this canvas from behind. I expected to have to paint over to hide the rip on the front, but after the tape dried I couldn’t even spot the 2″ tear unless I hunted for it!
Then I got started!
Initially, I wasn’t thrilled with the result I was getting. Even painting thickly with artist-grade liquitex acrylic paints, I couldn’t achieve the opaque paint-by-number look that Ashley managed. (2022 update note: having learned a lot more about acrylic paint since this project I’d definitely use heavy body acrylic paint if I did this project again, as the heavy body paint adds texture and is more opaque)
I kept with it, however…
and kept adding layers and layers of paint…
…and though it didn’t turn out exactly like I planned (does any art project?) I am pleased with the final result! Truthfully, I’m the queen of the technical aspects of painting (shading, highlighting, etc) so this method of not blending colors nearly killed me, but ultimately I liked it enough to hang it in my dining room.
My handy tip for making a paint palette, and all small painting projects: Press N Seal! I previously used flimsy plastic plates for palettes, but one day when I was out of plastic plates I decided to try press and seal over a plate and it worked perfect! Easy cleanup and a sturdy, easy to grip palette.