Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Paint-by-numbers ~ the new trend in home decor?

Country Living
    As I roam around blogland, I have noticed something that was put out with the trash in my house decades ago- old paint by number art! Of course, it is now Vintage and collectible, as most things become after the generation that created it fades out and new generation discovers its charm.  For those of us who spent many hours completing the kits we received for Christmas, it brings back many wonderful childhood memories. I remember how proud I was the first time I completing a painting (of course, I don't remember my Mom ever putting one of these on her living room wall)! It was these kits that motivated me to learn how to paint, which led to art shows and an invitation to attend classes at the Massachusetts College of Art when I was only a Junior in high school. My life took a different turn and I left my art dreams behind, but just recently I have gone back to my first love~ art & design.
    Paint-by-Number kits have an interesting history. It was developed by artist/designer Dan Robbins with the support of Max S. Klein, owner of the Palmer Paint Co., in 1951. Inspired by the reports of DaVinci numbering parts of his paintings so that his assistants could complete them, they thought that this might be something that would appeal to adults. Post WWII, people were moving to the suburbs, had more money and leisure time. It was also a time of conformity. The idea of  of conformity in art was something that apparently was welcomed by the general public, as sales soared as Craft Master and Masterpiece began to sell the kits. By the time the craze was dying out around 1957, about 24 million kits had been sold. What was once laughed at and reviled by the art community, has become today a legitimate, albeit kitschy, form of art. There is even a Paint-by-Numbers museum and exhibits have taken place at museums around the country. Lots of home decorators have been bitten by the collection bug, looking for a quirky retro  decorating fad to revive. It's fun and colorful. Some people collect the whole range of subjects, while others concentrate on one. Betsey Speert loves to collect tropical birds. She has ceramics, plates, and paint-by-numbers all with the tropical bird theme! Prices for this art has a very wide range.               I found this painting on Etsy for a whopping $80!

While this one was listed don Ebay for only 12.99!

Here are some pics of rooms decorated with paint-by-numbers:

Mint Design

Mint Design

Shannon Berrey

One of the most creative uses of the paint-by-numbers technique is this mural:

Go to The Lettered Cottage to see how this mural was created.

So what do you think, would you use vintage paint-by-numbers in your home decor? How about trying your hand at painting a mural? I am considering both...hmmmm...just another thing to add to my idea file!


  1. I have two.....Emmett Kelly clown pictures. They were painted by my parents when they were trying to quit smoking. I would never have guessed that my father would do this. Since I am a clown they are even more special.

  2. Debby, that's nice that you have paintings done by your parents, makes them so special.

  3. I'm kind of drawn to paint by numbers. My dad did a huge last supper one and I did a couple of little ones so I guess it's nostalgic for me. Hmmm - would I put one in my house? In a cottage, maybe. ~ Maureen

    1. I used to think they were tacky, but as I get older I have become more nostalgic.I could picture them in a lake cottage or in a ski lodge, since so many of the p-b-n scenes were of these subjects.

  4. Wall mural is my professional job, it is my true passion and I always have a great time by doing it, it intends me to get different and creative ideas which make me so confident.

  5. I love murals. Do you have any pictures online that we can see?