Paint-by-numbers should be your next relaxing self-care hobby

Welcome Summer

When it comes to self-care these days, your efforts to wind down don’t always have to be ambitious.

You should mediate, tackle a reading list, or set out to complete a challenging home improvement project if those things soothe you. But perfect self-care activities can also be as simple as playing with sidewalk chalk, coloring with crayons, or doing a puzzle.

In the spirit of reclaiming beloved childhood activities as a means of de-stressing in adulthood, we have a suggestion for your new self-care hobby: Paint-by-numbers. Next time you need to relax, give it a try.

The allure of losing yourself in methodical tasks

Some of you may remember making paint-by-numbers artwork when you were younger, but for those who’ve never tried it, or who have simply forgotten what it’s like to immerse yourself in the mundane task of filling in little numbered areas with colorful paint, let’s review.

A paint-by-numbers kit comes with a piece of paper or canvas that features a numbered, outlined design. You’ll also receive small containers of different colored paints, and a variety of different size brushes.

Paint-by-numbers should be your next relaxing self-care hobby

Image: Getty Images / iStockphoto

The directions that come with each DIY kit will break the paint-by-numbers process down for you, but essentially, your job is extremely simple: You fill in the areas of white space on the page with paint. You’ll be able to determine exactly which color goes where by matching the numbers on the top of each paint container with the corresponding numbers on the paper. Depending on the difficulty of your project you might be asked to mix some paints together to form new colors, or occasionally wash some brushes, but otherwise the activity is mostly straightforward and mindless.

For several minutes or hours you can give your brain a rest from worrying about the world and take solace in thinking solely about which paint color goes where. You can train your eyes to scan the canvas in front of you for numbers like “5” or “29,” and let yourself feel a small sense of accomplishment as the once bleak page before you transforms into an eye-catching masterpiece. 

Doesn’t that sound nice? And one of the best things about paint-by-numbers is that they help even the least artistic people to create professional-looking depictions.

A perfect quarantine craft

Completing paint-by numbers, especially more complex ones, often requires some time. Which is why the guided painting projects are a perfect quarantine craft.

If you’re looking for a way to keep your hands and mind busy while staying at home, something to fill your empty social schedule, or a delightful distraction from social media, consider investing in a paint by numbers kit. And if you have old paint-by-numbers that you haven’t yet used, now’s the perfect time to dig them out. 

People of all ages are falling in love with paint-by-numbers in quarantine, and since you end up with a nice picture to show for your time, it’s truly becoming a self-care hobby worth sharing with the internet.

Where to find paint-by-numbers kits

If you’re looking to get into this very low stakes hobby, there are a bunch of places to shop for kits online. Try Etsy, JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores, Michael’s, Herrschners, and Artsool, among others. OriginalPaintByNumber.com also has a great selection of templates to choose from, and for $30 you can transform your own photograph into a paint-by-number activity, too.

Here are a few of the many paint-by-numbers templates that are just waiting to be filled in.

Mountain Spring River

Paint-by-numbers should be your next relaxing self-care hobby

Price: $27 on Etsy.

Pink Vespa Roses

Paint-by-numbers should be your next relaxing self-care hobby

Price: $30 on Etsy.

Houseplant Set

Paint-by-numbers should be your next relaxing self-care hobby

Price: from $10.00 on Etsy.

If there’s a specific subject you’d like to paint, such as animals, plants, scenery, or food, be sure to include it in your search terms. And when you’re seeking out your perfect paint-by-numbers template, keep in mind the level of difficulty you want to take on. Consider starting with a more basic version and then see if you want to move on to more intricate ones.

If paper and paint isn’t your style, have no fear. You can always download a paint-by-numbers app — like Paint By Number, Happy Color, or Colors by Number – No.Draw— on your phone or tablet for a soothing virtual experience. 

Whichever method you use, we’re sure paint-by-numbers will add some serious variety and color to your daily unwinding routine.