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Channel Your Inner Bob Ross with These Paint-by-Numbers Kits

Need a mental getaway in a crowded house? Try painting your own happy little trees.

paint by numbers deer
CSA Images/Getty

Being home for an extended period of time means finding clever ways to entertain yourself—and sometimes keeping out of everyone else’s way. While many have turned to puzzles and board games to stimulate the mind and keep the hands from the devil’s work (opening the fridge for the hundredth time), the newfound popularity of these pastimes often means that they are as scarce on the shelves as toilet paper. So here’s another retro option: paint-by-numbers kits. (My own masterwork, an angora cat created when I was in grade school, still takes pride of place in my old room back home.) These kits were introduced in the postwar prosperity of the 1950s and peaked in the late ’70s, but now many of us finally have the time and patience necessary to fill in the blanks and see what takes shape. Here are five great options for beginning your artistic journey.

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1 Paint Your Own Masterpiece
Painting, Kiss, Modern art, Yellow, Art, Interaction, Visual arts, Illustration, Acrylic paint, Watercolor paint,
Courtesy canvasbynumbers.com

These canvas kits come in a variety of themes. Try tackling the complex color scheme of Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss or a William Morris pattern, or maybe just opt for some cute kitten art.


2 Paint Your Own Iconoclast
Text, Font, Smile,
Courtesy Etsy

If you’re feeling nostalgic, Etsy has a number of retro-style paint-by-numbers kits featuring modern subjects such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Frida Kahlo, or the ever-reassuring Mr. Rogers.


3 Paint Your Own Legend
Street art, Art, Illustration, Graphic design, Modern art, Fashion illustration, Visual arts, Painting, Style, Graphics,
Courtesy originalpaintbynumber.com

Dress up a dull space with your very own Pop Art painting of Audrey Hepburn as It girl Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.


4 Paint Your Own Photograph
Bird, Perching bird, Still life photography, Feather, Illustration,
Courtesty easy123art.com

Want something a little more personal? Upload a favorite picture to Easy123art.com, and you’ll receive a custom kit in return, complete with all the paints you’ll need.


5 Look Between the Lines
Courtesy dickblick.com

If painting just isn’t your thing or feels too messy, coloring books are the next best choice. This combination coloring book and object search will get your brain firing on all cylinders.


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