Review: Custom Paint by Numbers Portrait

Remember when adult coloring books took off like crazy? Perhaps 2020 is the perfect year to take up a new artistic hobby, like paint by numbers!

Earlier this year, I was contacted by Winnie’s Picks to see if I wanted to try their premium Paint by Numbers kits for adults. They suggested a custom kit based on one of my photos, so I sent them several options and then helped me choose an image that would translate well to a Paint by Numbers kit.

We settled on this photo of my son when he was a baby.

Custom Paint Elliot

Tip: High-quality close-ups with good lighting and a background that isn’t too cluttered usually give the best results.

I had the kit sent to my mom, who is an excellent painter! I thought she’d enjoy doing a project like this, especially if it meant having a family keepsake afterward. So all these photos are of her work.

Portrait Paint by Number 1

Here is a close-up of the finished Paint by Numbers kit. Pretty impressive, right?!

Portrait Paint by Number 3

When the Photo to Custom Paint by Numbers kit arrives, it is rolled up in a tube for easy shipping.

Portrait Paint by Number 4

My mom’s kit came with the following 35 colors. Some are shades of his skin tone, but other colors are not so obvious given the original photo.

Portrait Paint by Number 8

Each of the colors corresponds to a master “legend” which is printed on paper. The idea is that you keep this sheet nearby while you paint on the rolled-up canvas which has the same areas numbered.

As you can see, many of the numbers are printed TINY, making it’s harder to see them. For that reason alone, I wouldn’t recommend this kit for a total beginner, but someone who has some artistic skills, a steady hand, and a lot of patience!

Portrait Paint by Number 7

Here is a view of the canvas before it was painted. The kit did not come with printed instructions, but the numbered paints and numbered legend makes it possible to jump right in.

paint by number start

At first glance, you might not realize how some of the color choices will match up in the final painting, like this mossy green on the face.

paint by number face

But pretty soon, the face begins to take shape and that layered shadow adds a lot of definition! This way of painting can help you tackle a larger portrait one color or number at a time, as long as you work at your own pace and enjoy the process. If you don’t have a custom portrait that you’d like to paint, Winnie’s Picks has several pre-packaged Paint by Numbers kits based on modern art that you can order to try it out.

Portrait Paint by Number 5

My mom estimates this whole project took her about 12 hours from start to finish, over multiple sessions. After completing the custom paint by numbers on canvas, you’ll probably want to stretch the canvas onto a wooden frame to display it! If this is the case, some small metal hanging hooks are included in the kit, but no other mounting materials are included.

Custom Paint by Numbers final

Thank you to Winnie’s Picks for sending this free Paint by Numbers kit in exchange for a review. If you’d like to try your own, start combing through your photos for a close-up portrait that’s well lit with an uncluttered background. You can do it!


I’m Lindsay Conner, and welcome to my sewing home! I am a modern quilter, author, editor, pattern designer, wife, and mom. I use this space to share my latest projects, tutorials, and patterns!