Cactus DIY Paint by Number Pillow + Free Paint by Numbers Template

November 3, 2015 separator Cactus Crafts

Learn how to make a paint by numbers pillow, and download your free paint by number template to make your own right at home!

DIY Paint by Numbers Pillow


If you like this, you’ll love creating your own custom paint by number art!

P.S. You can sign up for my newsletter for instant access to my library of free printable and downloads.

Today’s project is my first in a little series of posts with SnapBox, and I’m really excited about the DIYs that are going to come out of this fun partnership! In a rare turn of events, this pillow came out exactly like I was picturing it in my head! And believe it or not, I created it from this photo

This pillow, aside from fueling my ongoing cactus obsession, is a nod to those old school paint-by-numbers kits.

I was inspired by a mural I found on Katie’s Pencil Box literally years ago, and I finally found a way to incorporate it into rental decor until I have a wall I can paint freely!

More Cactus Projects:

Cactus DIY Paint by Numbers Pillow Tutorial

Want More Paint by Numbers Projects? 

If you love this cactus paint by number template but don’t want to make a pillow, then these two projects below are perfect for you.

You can still use the cactus template, of course. But you can paint it on a canvas, paper, or even a piece of furniture!

Save This for Later – Pin It!

DIY Paint by Numbers Pillow Tutorial with a Cactus SceneCactus DIY Paint by Numbers Pillow Featuring Mish as Product Tester


*If you want to try it on paper first or just want to create a flat painting, you can take the file to a copy shop and have them print you a test sheet. That way, you’re comfortable with your color palette before you’ve painted on the pillow!


Sign up to Access Your Free Paint by Numbers Templates & More in the Subscriber Library


DIY Paint by Numbers Pillow Instructions

You can paint the whole thing if you want a more finished look, but I personally love the charm of a halfway-painted pillow.

I think it’s fun to be able to see the rest of the outlines and number peeking through, and I think it’ll make for a great conversation piece!

Read on for the tutorial, my tips, and your FREE cactus paint-by-numbers template to download, print, and paint!

DIY Paint by Numbers Pillow - Step 1 - Numbering Your Color Palette
1. Use a permanent marker to mark a number underneath each well on your paint palette. You can wipe this off with alcohol later if it’s a glass or plastic surface, so don’t worry about ruining your palette. A glass or paper plate also works well!

DIY Paint by Numbers Pillow - Color Palette Mixing Guide

2. Refer to the color palette guide to mix up your first couple colors. I would stick to one or two at a time to prevent them from drying out in between colors.

DIY Paint by Numbers Pillow - Step 2 - Mixing Your Colors
3. Paint each color onto a piece of plain white paper to test and compare it to the guide.

Here, I decided that they were too similar, so as you can see in the next picture, I ended up lightening up the mixture for color seven.

4. Once you have a color mixed exactly how you want it, add a generous squeeze of textile medium. It’s a milky liquid that comes in a bottle identical to the acrylic paints you’re using.

While it’s not essential, I highly recommend using the textile medium. It thins the paint out a bit and makes it go further, and it goes onto the fabric’s rough surface more easily. It’ll also help it to dry flexible instead of stiff and “crunchy.”
DIY Paint by Numbers Pillow - Step 3 - Filling in One Color at a Time
5. Begin filling in the numbered sections, one color at a time. Here you can see I started with the darkest color (6), which only had a couple sections, and then I moved onto seven.

DIY Paint by Numbers Pillow - Step 4 - Adding More Colors
6. When you get through your first couple colors, mix up the next one or two, and keep painting.

DIY Paint by Numbers Pillow - Step 5 - Filling in Color
7. You can paint the entire pillow so that there’s no fabric left showing, or if you like the paint-by-numbers look, do what I did it and only paint certain parts.

If you want to replicate this exact look, I only painted sections 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9.

As you can see from my palette below, I mixed up a lighter color so that I could lighten up certain spots here and there to make them “pop” and add some variation since I wasn’t going to be painting the whole thing.

DIY Paint by Numbers Pillow - Color Palette
Thanks so much to SnapBox for partnering with me for this wonderfully throwback pillow and helping me do what I love!

Cactus DIY Paint by Numbers Pillow


  1. Greetings to everyone who is ready for an exciting gambling journey! I discovered Playnow Slots by chance and it’s like opening a new chapter in my life. The games are like works of art and the winnings are fabulous! I never thought that you can enjoy the excitement so much on your device. I recommend it to everyone, I am 100% satisfied.

  2. Pingback: 38 Απίθανα diy ψεύτικα έργα και ιδέες με κάκτους & παχύφυτα που θα αγαπήσετε | Τεχνοτροπίες Και Διακόσμηση
  3. Pingback: Nasıl Yapılır: Rakamlarla Boya Kaktüs Yastığı - Yükleniyoo
  4. Pingback: Diy Wooden Table Number Holders – WoodWorking Plans
  5. Pingback: 50 Cool DIYS & Projects For Sweltering Hot Days • A Subtle Revelry
  6. Pingback: The Free Trick for How to Turn a Photo into Paint by Numbers - Shrimp Salad Circus
  7. Pingback: Paint by Numbers Furniture - IKEA Hacks - Shrimp Salad Circus
  8. I would like information on your tutorial on making a picture into a paint by number pillow.

  9. Wonderful Idea, Lindsay!! I sent this link to my Cuz who loves to do paint by numbers and hes really good at it! I know he will love making this pillow! Thank you for all your great ideas & tutorials! I love your blog and keep coming back to see what great things you are doing! CJ

  10. WoW!!! What a fabulous project idea, so very clever!!! I’d love to learn how to turn a picture into a paint-by-number.

  11. All the heart eyes for your cacti!!

    Yes, please to share how I can create my own paint by number 🙂

  12. Shrimpy. There are not enough heart eye emojis to describe how beautiful this is. And so unique! <3

    1. Thanks, Brooke – be sure to share with #shrimpsaladcircus if you make it. I love love to see reader projects! <3 And thanks, Mish is the classiest photo bomber ever. 😉

  13. What a neat DIY. Super creative! I love it, and it looks very simple too. Thanks for sharing this with us!!

  14. This is adorable!! It makes me wish I was crafty but the paint by numbers would be right up my alley! So adorable 🙂

    1. Thank you, Samantha! And yeah paint-by-numbers is SUCH a good way to get your feet wet! lol

    1. You should totally give it a try, Tashena! 🙂 Be sure to share with #shrimpsaladcircus if you do – I’d love to see!

  15. Well, I’m obsessed with this!! I honestly, want to buy this from you!!!

  16. I agree with Laurel! Wow, wow, wow! I love the pillow! And I want you to teach us how to turn one of our pictures into a paint-by-numbers! Thank you! Wonderful!

    1. Aww, thank you, Pat!! I’ll definitely be sharing a tutorial for creating the paint-by-numbers template soon now that I know there’s interest. 🙂

  17. I love cactus crafts, I love the paint by numbers look and you can never have too many cushions, so think this is awesome. I would love to turn a photo of my dog into a paint by numbers picture, how did you do yours ?

    1. Thank you so much, Claire! I hope I never get tired of all things cactus… lol

      I’ll be sharing a tutorial in the next couple weeks about how I created the photo. I’ll let you know when it’s live!

  18. Such a fun pillow! The idea to print a paint-by-numbers template on a pillow is genius! And of course I love the cacti motif.

  19. LOVE!! It looks amazing — I love all the shading! And I’d love a tutorial on turning a picture into paint by numbers 🙂

Comments are closed.