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Painting over a Thrift Store Painting Paint by Number Style Makeover

I’ve always liked paint-by-number paintings, but have terrible luck at finding them on my antiquing and garage sale trips. When I saw Ashley’s post about creating your own paint by number painting, 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.

No Filter!  It's interesting to think where this painting must have hung to be in this shape!

No Filter!  It’s interesting to think where this painting must have hung to be in this shape!

I jumped right into adding paint to create my own paint by number over the original artist’s work.

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!

How I stage art night at my dining room table!

How I stage art night at my dining room table!

Painting over a thrift store painting to create a paint by number style painting.

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. (2018 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…

Painting over a thrift store painting to create a paint by number style painting.

and kept adding layers and layers of paint…

Painting over a thrift store painting to create a paint by number style painting.

…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 fake paint by number, at home on top of a vintage teachers mailbox cabinet.

My fake paint by number, at home on top of a vintage teacher’s mailbox cabinet.

 

Painting over a thrift store painting to create a paint by number style painting.

 

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.

 

Make disposable Paint Palletes with plates and press n seal.

 

 

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pollyplum

Tuesday 28th of October 2014

I didn't realize from Ashley's original post that you'd take the print out of the frame before painting. If the frame was old/shabby,I think I'd leave the painting in the frame and touch it up, too.Did you get your white floral picture at Goodwill/Salvation Army? I can't wait to try! And how much did you spend on paint?

Lindsayanne

Tuesday 28th of October 2014

Yeah! I loved, loved, loved the frame- so wanted to make sure it didn't get any paint on it! I picked this one up at a garage sale- I think I paid $25? I'm usually super-super cheap, but I thought the frame was unique enough to warrant a little splurge.

I just used paint I had on hand, so consider it more or less free. ;-) The nice thing about doing a paint by number style is that you do not need lots of colors. I think I just used white, yellow, and brown.

You will want to use higher quality artist-grade paints, not craft paints, to improve coverage. (I used Liquitex's entry grade acrylics, and think I would have had a better result with even better paint)